Sep
19

Author:

Comment

Daily Kickoff: Trump talks peace, Bibi focused on Iran | Meet Obama’s go-to speechwriter for kishke speeches | Dicey future for jarred gefilte fish

JI_logoCP2

Have our people email your people. Tell your friends to sign up for the Daily Kickoff here!

OUT TODAY — “Thanks, Obama. My Hopey, Changey White House Years” by former White House speechwriter David Litt: In advance of the book’s publication, we conducted an iMessage interview with David late last night. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

JI: In the book, you write “if something kishke-related came up (at the White House), I was the go-to guy.” How did you become that guy?

Litt: In 2011, President Obama delivered a speech at the Union of Reform Judaism’s annual meeting. I had this moment where I was like “As a kid, I did eight years of Hebrew school and never knew why. This is why!” After that speech if something was going to be delivered to the American Jewish community, I generally handled it.

JI: How was teaching Hebrew to the President?

Litt: It was great, except for the hard ‘CH’ sounds. Those didn’t go so well. People could be pretty hard on him if he didn’t get a “Chag Sameach” right, but I write in the book about how he gave it plenty of tries. And it’s not like he grew up with that sound. As we all know, it’s a tough one!

JI: In 2012, you were in the storm path of one Harvey Weinstein. How did that happen? 

Litt: Maybe it’s best to let people read the whole story in the book!

JI: You mention your great-grandparents from Eastern Europe several times in the book. If they were still with us, what do you think they would be most surprised to read?

Litt: Honestly, I think they’d be stunned that I ended up in the White House just a few generations after they arrived here with almost nothing, in many cases not even speaking English. That’s such a typical American story, but we shouldn’t lose sight of how remarkable that typical-ness is. And I like to think they’d understand that in it’s own way, the fact that I got serve under America’s first black president is part of that story too. This is a country that at its best is always expanding its definition of what’s possible, and my family got to be part of that.

JI: Not to spoil the ending to a chapter about the legendary Correspondents’ Dinner speeches, but what did you have to tell the President after he asked what happened to using a photoshopped picture he liked of him and Bibi Netanyahu in 2013?

Litt: “I’m sorry, Mr. President, we just couldn’t use that picture. You kind of looked like Hitler in it.” Like you said, it’s a long story. $18.29 for the hardcover. Available now [Amazon]

“Ivanka Trump talks Hillary’s book on ‘Dr. Oz’” by Maggie Coughlan: “The first daughter sat down with Dr. Oz for an interview about her life in Washington, D.C., but surprised the audience when she commented on Hillary Clinton‘s newly released book… Ivanka said she’d be curious to know what Hillary, 69, would do when she disagreed with husband Bill while he was president. During the interview, Ivanka, 35, also revealed that she suffered from postpartum depression following the birth of her first child, Arabella… “The highlight of the show was when Ivanka joked about taking over her father’s Twitter account.”” [PageSix]

TODAY AT 10:30 AM: President Trump delivers his much-anticipated address at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will attend the President’s speech. Netanyahu is expected to speak around 1:00 PM. Trump will be in the UN building, meeting with the UN Secretary-General, during Bibi’s speech. [Livestream]

“Egypt’s Sisi meets Israeli PM at UN for first public talks” by Emmanuel Parisse: “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu publicly for the first time in New York to discuss Middle East peace… Sisi emphasized the importance of “resuming negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian sides to reach a comprehensive solution,” the [Egyptian] presidency said. The two leaders discussed “ways to resume the peace process and establish a Palestinian state,” it said.” [YahooHaaretz

BIBI MEETS TRUMP: Trump met with Netanyahu for over an hour yesterday at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. Ahead of the meeting, Trump that there’s a “good chance” for Middle East peace. “It’d be a fantastic achievement. We are giving it an absolute go.” Netanyahu said, “I want to say that under your leadership the alliance between America and Israel has never been stronger, never been deeper… “I want to say, that under President Trump, America’s position towards Israel and the U.N. has been unequivocal. It’s been strong.” [Video]

HOW IT PLAYED: “Trump at U.N. Talks Up, but Does Not Press, Mideast Peace” by Mark Landler: “While Mr. Trump has clung to the hope for peace… he has put much more time into cementing alliances with the Sunni Muslim kingdoms of the Persian Gulf, as a way of confronting Iran… “Middle East peace is desirable because it’s the mother of all diplomatic deals,” said Robert M. Danin, a senior fellow… at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But the conflict that’s taking place in the Gulf is harming U.S. interests in a more immediate sense.” … The allure of a history-making peace accord is still strong, as Mr. Trump’s remarks with Mr. Netanyahu illustrated. While the Israeli leader kept his focus on “the terrible nuclear deal with Iran,” Mr. Trump spoke expansively about a peace agreement as though it was a genuine possibility, somewhat to the Israelis’ surprise.” [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Netanyahu said that he “shares the desire to reach peace with the Palestinians, but I insist on those vital interests – the goal is peace, security, security and peace. There will be no peace if we cannot anchor the security of the State of Israel.” Despite the fact that the peace process was the only topic mentioned by the President during the photo op, Israeli and US officials told Kafe Knesset that the issue took second place during the meeting, which was mostly dedicated to Bibi’s favorite topic – Iran. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Mea Culpa: I Said Trump and Bibi Would Blow Up” by Aaron David Miller: “A year or so ago in this space… I predicted that it would be only a matter of time before U.S. President Donald Trump and… Netanyahu would be annoying the hell out of one another… Even I’m a little stunned by how the relationship has blossomed seemingly without serious disruption and complication… Trump may be unpredictable on many issues, but when it comes to the U.S.-Israeli relationship he’s been preternaturally and consistently pro-Netanyahu.” [FP]

BRIEFING: “The President and Prime Minister Netanyahu had a very good meeting,” State Department Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook told reporters at a briefing yesterday. The President reaffirmed America’s unshakable bond with the Jewish state.” The two leaders, according to Hook, discussed “at length” countering Iran’s malign influence in the region, not allowing the “Lebanization” of Syria, and the Middle East peace process.

Hook told JI’s Jacob Kornbluh that the peace process didn’t take up much time in the meeting: “I didn’t keep a stopwatch, in terms of just how long everybody discussed each subject. As I said, they spent a lot of time talking about Iran and about Syria — Middle East peace. I would say it was an equitable distribution of topics. I think each was given the time necessary needed to kind of give it full justice. So, it was a very good discussion. But these discussions are so regular, it wasn’t a lot of time that had elapsed because the trip that Jared and his team recently made was only a few weeks ago. We’re in regular discussions with the Israelis.”

Hook on the two-state solution: “What the President has been talking about in the context of Middle East peace is trying to avoid bumper stickers and slogans around this. He does not want to impose a solution. And what he’s really trying to do is work as a facilitator to find a solution that both sides can accept. Ambassador [David] Friedman has talked about it in terms of a win-win for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. He does want to take a new approach.”

‘Ridiculous’ if Trump doesn’t back two-state solution: Palestinian official: “It would be utterly ridiculous if Mr Trump doesn’t eventually say that,” Nabil Shaath, a senior Abbas adviser, told journalists in Ramallah when asked about the two-state solution. “What the hell are we negotiating? We are negotiating a diplomatic accord between Abu Mazen and Mr Netanyahu where they can meet each other? No.” [YahooNews] • More Palestinians Seek Abbas Resignation; Skeptical of Trump [AP]

WHAT NETANYAHU WANTS TO TALK ABOUT — Netanyahu at a briefing for Israeli reporters: “The American establishment has changed its approach toward Iran. We’re in agreement with the Americans that this agreement is terrible. There’s a clear American interest, which was conveyed to me explicitly, about the desire to fix the problems in the agreement… I said in the past that the biggest problem I see isn’t if Iran violates the agreement, but if it upholds it… The president’s starting point regarding Iran is identical to ours. That wasn’t the case in the previous administration. Like us, this president sees Iran as the root of the Middle East’s problems.” [Haaretz

ON THE HILL — JI’s Aaron Magid asked Senators yesterday what they’d advise the administration to do on October 15th, the next certification deadline for the Iran deal.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “I would support the administration on decertifying Iran from adherence to nuclear deal. He (the President) can lead on that particular issue, which is fine with me.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): “I think as they (Iran) are adhering to the nuclear agreement, we should stay in the agreement and not change it. All of the reports have said so. The Trump administration has certified that they (Iran) have been.”

HAPPENING TODAY — United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) will host its second annual Iran Summit at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Speakers include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, General (Ret) David Petraeus, HRH Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, Joe Lieberman, John Bolton, Dennis Ross, former Governors Jeb Bush and Bill Richardson; Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ron DeSantis, former Congressman Steve Israel, former Senator Mark Kirk, and former Attorney General of Canada Dr. Irwin Cotler.

HEARD YESTERDAY — Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt called on the Palestinian Authority to reassert control over Gaza in an address before donor nations to the Palestinians. “The time has come to stop monitoring the situation in Gaza and start changing the situation in Gaza,” Greenblatt said, according to a transcript released by the White House. The New York attorney slammed Hamas for its abusive treatment of Palestinian people since its 2007 coup over Gaza. “For too long, Hamas has exploited the people of Gaza as hostages and shields, bullying them into submission. Hamas rules by the fist, instead of by improving the lives of the people it purports to govern,” he added.

While the Trump administration is now supporting the Taylor Force Act, which would cut off all US economic aid to the PA for terror payments, Greenblatt urged donor countries to help the PA during its current economic struggles. “The PA is still dependent on international donors and is unable to afford important services which Israel is willing to provide – so I encourage all of us to work with the parties, in a coordinated manner, to reduce fiscal losses and ensure that the Palestinian Authority collects the taxes it is owed,” he explained.

“The Hubris of Hezbollah: How the militant group will fumble into the next Middle Eastern war” by Andrew Exum: “Israel knows it cannot intercept each and every shipment of arms. Sometimes the weather is too poor, or the intelligence too fuzzy, to act. And now Hezbollah is reportedly developing indigenous arms-making capabilities that will render cross-border shipments of advanced weaponry less necessary. So, for nearly two years now, Israeli military and intelligence officials have been warning every American official who comes through Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that the next war is coming. Israel has methodically prepared its allies—and most especially the Americans— for a very, very ugly war on the horizon… Hezbollah has grossly underestimated Israel, a mistake that will prove costly. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of Israelis could die in another conflict, but Israel isn’t going anywhere. This is existential for them. It will be the Lebanese who suffer immeasurably more.”[TheAtlantic]

“Putin Seeks Syria Deal That Both Iran and Israel Can Swallow” by Anshel Pfeffer: “According to well-placed sources in Moscow, Putin is planning to propose a formula to Netanyahu whereby no foreign country will be allowed to turn Syria into a platform for attacking neighboring states. This won’t go as far as Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran be prevented from establishing a permanent presence in Syria. If enforced, though, it would prevent them from establishing air and missile bases there. Netanyahu is unlikely to accept such a formula in public, but he is unlikely to have much of a choice.” [Haaretz] • U.S. Establishes Permanent Military Base in Israel [RealClearDefense]

** 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: Kushner Cos. Acquires New Jersey Apartment Complex for $190 Million [Bloomberg] • Rubenstein Partners Sells 1000 Washington Street in Boston [BusinessInsider As ‘Diller Island’ Sinks, Whitney Plans Major Artwork on Hudson [NYTimes]

Exhibit Allows Virtual ‘Interviews’ With Holocaust Survivors: “An exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City called “New Dimensions in Testimony” uses hours of recorded high-definition video and language-recognition technology to create just that kind of “interview” with Eva Schloss, Anne Frank’s stepsister, and fellow survivor Pinchas Gutter. “What we’ve found is that it personalizes that history,” says concept designer Heather Smith. “You connect with that history in a different way than you would just seeing a movie or reading a textbook or hearing a lecture.” The project is a collaboration between the Steven Spielberg-founded Shoah Foundation, which has recorded nearly 52,000 interviews with Nazi-era survivors, and the Institute for Creative Technologies, both at the University of Southern California.” [AP]

“When Life Asks for Everything” by David Brooks: “Most religions and moral systems have aimed for self-quieting and, figuring that the great human problem is selfishness. But around the middle of the 20th century, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and others aimed to liberate and enlarge the self… Rabbi Wolfe Kelman’s life was fraught with every insecurity when he marched with Dr. King in Selma, but, he reported: “We felt connected, in song, to the transcendental, the ineffable. We felt triumph and celebration… That was a warming, transcendental spiritual experience. Meaning and purpose and mission were beyond exact words.”” [NYTimes]

“TV tonight: Seinfeld stand-up, Conan goes to Israel” by Kelly Lawler: Jerry Before Seinfeld Netflix: Jerry’s back. The comedian is debuting an intimate stand-up special on Netflix, the future home of his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee series. The nostalgic special was filmed at The Comic Strip, the New York club that helped launched his career, and mixes new and archival material and even childhood videos… Conan Without Borders: Israel – TBS, 10 ET/PT: Conan O’Brien is on the move, again. The host of TBS’s Conan is taking his seventh international trip in the past two years, this time to Israel, where he visits Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other sites. The trip follows earlier sojourns to Mexico, South Korea and Cuba.” [USATodayNYT

DESSERT: “Treif No More at Franklin Barbecue: Aaron Franklin goes kosher for the day” by Daniel Vaughn: “Last week, under the burned out shell of Franklin’s now-fireless pit room, this barbecue brain trust gathered to cook a trio of kosher briskets, the likes of which had never been attempted at Franklin. The idea was hatched during a brisket competition in Brooklyn. Franklin and I were judges, and agreed with the five others on the panel to crown Sruli “Izzy” Eidelman the Brisket King of New York. His duo of smoked brisket and pastrami, both of them kosher, wowed the judges. He celebrated with his friend and fellow kosher barbecue cook, Ari White, who took 2016’s title. Eidelman felt especially proud that judges from Texas had crowned his barbecue.” [TexasMonthly]

WSJ A1: “‘I Still Have Nightmares.’ The Dicey Future of Jarred Gefilte Fish” by Lucette Lagnado: “Traditional jar fans haven’t gone away by any means, but times and tastes have changed. In an artisanal food world, Manischewitz is struggling to make its shelf-stable product hook a new, more-finicky generation of eaters. Among its more popular innovations are gluten-free gefilte fish and a “Premium Gold” version. A new secret variation is yet to come. The emphatic response from Jewish foodies? Don’t bother. “I ate gefilte fish from the jar as a child,” says Chanie Apfelbaum, a gourmet cook and kosher blogger from Brooklyn. “I still have nightmares.”” [WSJ]

SPOTTED: Mrs. Sara Netanyahu at Reserve Cut, a kosher steakhouse in NYC’s Financial District, last night. [Pic]

BIRTHDAYS: Entrepreneur and philanthropist, co-founder with his brothers of a large industrial parts and electronic component distribution firm, Morton Mandel turns 96… Actor, writer and Dean Emeritus of the Drama School at Pace University, James Lipton turns 91… Professor of Jewish history and literature at Yeshiva University, he is the only son of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Haym Soloveitchik turns 80… Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2016, he was a professor of health management and policy at the University of New Hampshire, Jeffrey Colman Sallowayturns 76 (h/t Jeff Wice)… Professor at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law and director of the Innocence Project, he became famous as a member of O.J. Simpson’s defense team called the “Dream Team,” Barry Scheck turns 68… Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, after a 28 year Pentagon career as a Middle East expert, Harold Rhode turns 68… Reporter for the Voice of America, following a long career as the Washington correspondent for the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, Bruce Alpert turns 67… Stockton, California-based physician, he is Board certified in both sleep medicine and pulmonary medicine, he practices at The Pacific Sleep Disorders Center, Ronald Kass M.D. turns 65…

Reporter for The Wall Street Journal, she was born to a Jewish family in Cairo, Egypt, and wrote a prize-winning book about her childhood, Lucette Lagnadoturns 61… Attorney at the Boston-based law firm of Weston Patrick, Mark A. Chapleau turns 57… Bow tie-clad field reporter for “Major League Baseball on Fox” since 2005, sportswriter and reporter Ken Rosenthal turns 55… Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington since 2001, Ronald Halber turns 49… Author of four popular business books, former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Mike Michalowicz turns 47… Founder and CEO of MassChallenge (a startup accelerator), John Harthorne turns 44… Director of external relations at the DC-based bipartisan think tank, the Center for New American Security, Neal Urwitz turns 34 (h/t Playbook)…

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]

Sep
18

Author:

Comment

Daily Kickoff: Meetings on meetings on meetings at UNGA this week | Bibi, Ron Lauder make amends? | Jann Wenner puts Rolling Stone up for sale

JI_logoCP2

 Have our people email your people. Tell your friends to sign up for the Daily Kickoff here!

DRIVING THE DAY — President Trump will meet at 1:00pm today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the New York Palace Hotel in Manhattan. According to Israeli officials, Netanyahu is expected to present “concrete ideas” for fixing or canceling the Iranian nuclear agreement in both his meeting with Trump and his speech at the UN General Assembly tomorrow.

“Iran: The one issue Netanyahu wants to discuss with Trump” by Oren Liebermann: “The conversation itself will be private, but Netanyahu has made it very clear what he wants to discuss: Iran.” [CNN]

— “A White House official told Israel Hayom… that the meeting… would “enhance the already strong and long-standing relationship between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. It will touch on a variety of issues with a focus on Iran, and the president will reiterate the U.S.’s unwavering commitment to the State of Israel,” he went on to say… The issue of Israeli-Palestinian peace will also be addressed. The White House official told Israel Hayom that while the issue would not be the main focus of the bilateral meeting, efforts to achieve a peace deal were still underway.” [IsraelHayomNYTimes

SPOTTED YESTERDAY — Jared Kushner, Amb. David Friedman and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt met with Netanyahu for 2 hours and 15 minutes at The London NYC [Pic] • An administration official described it as “just a casual hello meeting.”

WEST WING MINDMELD: While the White House is feeling optimistic about the Israeli-Palestinian peace conversations, they are lowering expectations for the United Nations General Assembly meetings this week telling folks not to expect a lot of news to be made on the peace front. “President Trump’s meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu is set to focus on Iran and his meeting with President Abbas on Wednesday is more of a check-in and relationship builder. The White House understands each party will have to publicly speak to their bases and constituencies around the UNGA. The peace conversations are ongoing on a separate track and the peace delegation has never seen UNGA as a big moment. Next steps will be shared at an appropriate time.”

KAFE KNESSET — Making Amends — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Netanyahu dedicated yesterday afternoon to patching up relations with Jewish leaders. First, he met with WJC president Ronald Lauder, marking the end of a lengthy silent treatment between these two. Lauder and Netanyahu used to be BFFs, but the relationship soured in recent years and even more in the past year. Lauder was questioned in Israel on one of Bibi’s criminal investigations and Lauder, who is also close to President Trump, has been pushing his peace dreams on the past year, much to Netanyahu’s chagrin. Kafe Knesset learned that Lauder recently flew out to Jordan to meet King Abdullah. According to a source close to Bibi, the meeting with Lauder was mostly about Jewish issues, meaning the suspended Kotel agreement and conversion bill, and was “positive and good.” Kafe Knesset is still seeking a fly on the wall to get all of the juicy details. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

Netanyahu also met for over an hour yesterday with eight prominent Jewish leaders including the Conference of Presidents’ Malcolm Hoenlein and Stephen Greenberg, AIPAC’s Howard Kohr and Lillian Pinkus, JFNA’s Michael Siegel and Richard Sandler, and AJC’s John Shapiro and Jason IsaacsonConsul General Dani Dayan was also spotted leaving after the meeting. “The conversation dealt with the Iranian issue — both the nuclear issue and Syria and what impact it has on Israel,” the PMO’s said in a readout. The leaders “asked the Prime Minister to clarify to US Jewry what he was doing to create a united prayer platform.” Hoenlein told us that the Prime Minister was very “forthcoming” in what he described as an “excellent” meeting. “The leaders came away with a better understanding of the issues,” Hoenlein added.[Video]

“Ahead of UN meeting, Abbas prepares united Arab position” by Uri Savir: “According to the PLO official, Abbas will come in a positive spirit to meet with Trump… The PLO official also said that Ramallah will coordinate its next steps with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The idea is for Abbas to arrive to his meeting with Trump with a united Arab position, hoping to link progress on the Palestinian issue with progress on the anti-radical Islam and Iran issues. According to the official, Abbas will propose to Trump that senior Palestinian negotiators be dispatched to Washington to meet periodically with US officials and possibly with Israeli officials, so as to set a process in motion.” [Al-Monitor]

Hamas Says Ready to Hand Gaza to a Palestinian Unity Government:“Hamas has agreed to dissolve the administration that runs Gaza, it said on Sunday, a major step towards handing control of the enclave to a Palestinian unity government after a decade of bitter rivalry with President Mahmoud Abbas.” [Reuters]

— “Senior US officials have raised the possibility of announcing the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem as a penalty if Abbas uses his UN speech to attack the Trump administration.” [Newsweek]

“How Trump could save Palestinian statehood” by Jackson Diehl: “[David] Makovsky proposes a simple trade-off: Netanyahu stops building in areas beyond the West Bank fence, and Abbas stops paying off militants and their families. Yes, Trump’s envoys already pitched that and so far got nowhere. “But the good news,” Makovsky says, “is that neither leader wants to say ‘no’ to Trump.” If the president aims in his New York meetings at pragmatic results, rather than “the ultimate deal,” he might do some real good.” [WashPost] • Aaron David Miller comments “Sensible on peace process. But as Baker said to Assad if frog could fly it wouldn’t drag its butt on ground”

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Trump, Nikki Haley to share U.S. spotlight at U.N. gathering” by Michelle Nichols: “Haley arrived at the 193-member world body in January pledging to “take names” of allies who did not have Washington’s back. Trump administration officials say the president, happy with her performance, views her as both tough and smart. He speaks regularly with Haley… A senior administration official… said that during a National Security Council meeting on Iran this month, Trump specifically asked Haley’s opinion about what strategy to pursue. “She gave her opinion, and he liked her point of view,” the official said… A senior Iranian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “This lady for some reason is very angry with Iran.”” [Reuters] • When U.N. Envoy Nikki Haley Talks, Does President Trump Listen? [NYTimes]

“As UN meets, some ask, ‘Where’s Rex?’” by Nicole Gaouette: “”The perennial question will have to be asked again — where’s Rex?” said Aaron David Miller… who says he’s not a critic of Tillerson’s, but that he’s struck by “the strangeness of what’s occurring.” “If this were not a galaxy far, far away, if we were back on planet Earth, we would have the secretary of state leading on Arab-Israel issues, Iran, climate change and being the repository of responsibility for foreign policy,” Miller said… Trump “certainly hasn’t empowered the secretary of state as the primary repository of responsibility for foreign policy,” Miller said.” [CNN

“How Rex Tillerson alienated every ally he needs” by Jonathan Swan: “Eliot Cohen, who founded an influential foreign policy network with Tillerson’s top adviser Brian Hook, told me: “I think he really will go down as one of the worst secretaries of state we’ve had.”” [Axios]

“Criticized by Trump, Iran nuclear deal faces tough scrutiny in U.N. talks” by John Irish and Parisa Hafezi: “French President Emmanuel Macron… will warn [Trump] that weakening or scrapping the deal would not only add fuel to a regional powder keg but deter North Korea from negotiating on its nuclear program… Macron will meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani immediately after Trump to tell him that Tehran must play its role in not stoking American anger through its activities in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.” [Reuters] • Iran Accuses U.S. of Sabotaging Nuclear Deal Ahead of U.N. Talks[WSJ]

“IAEA Received Info About Suspected Iranian Sites but Didn’t Inspect Many of Them, Israel Says” by Barak Ravid: “The officials noted that almost all the suspected sites have not been visited by IAEA inspectors – either because of Iran’s refusal to grant entry or UN officials’ reluctance to confront Iran on the issue.” [Haaretz

HEARD YESTERDAY — National Security Advisor Gen. H. R. McMaster on Fox News Sunday“We know Iran has already violated parts of the agreement… The IAEA has identified and we’ve identified some of these breaches that Iran has then corrected. But what does that tell you about Iranian behavior? They’re not just walking up to the line on the agreement. They’re crossing the line at times. So, there has to be much more rigorous enforcement of the deal and we have to recognize the fundamental flaws in this deal. It is — as the president said — the worst deal.”

“As Persian Gulf crisis persists, alarm in Washington deepens” by Karen DeYoung: “Tillerson has gone out of his way to bolster Qatar, calling demands by the Saudi-led quartet unreasonable and signing a new memorandum of understanding on terrorism financing with Doha. But the administration has left itself little leverage with the other side, unless Trump is willing to sacrifice arms sales and other Saudi-U.S. business deals, or temper his own fulsome praise for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the principal Saudi partner in the fight against Qatar.” [WashPost]

ON THE HILL — Democrats still on the fence about Anti-Boycott Act — by Aaron Magid: Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) told Jewish Insider that he has not read yet the legislation, adding “I can’t lean one way or another until I read it.” Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) noted that he has yet to co-sponsor the bill. “I am going to continue to look at the bill. I have heard the concerns that people have and understand there is some efforts to have those concerns be addressed,” he explained. “I think that BDS and boycott tactics are ineffective and counterproductive.” Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) declined to elaborate about her view on the S.720 bill. Representative Joe Kennedy (D-MA) expressed caution about the legislation. “There are obviously free speech concerns and that is something that needs to be looked at. Any legislation that hasn’t begun committee process, there is always chances to try and improve that bill.” [JewishInsider]

TOP TALKER: “Trump Lawyers Clash Over How Much to Cooperate With Russia Inquiry” by Peter Baker and Ken Vogel: “[Ty] Cobb was overheard by a reporter for The New York Times discussing the dispute during a lunchtime conversation at a popular Washington steakhouse. Mr. Cobb was heard talking about a White House lawyer he deemed “a McGahn spy” and saying [Donald] McGahn had “a couple documents locked in a safe” that he seemed to suggest he wanted access to. He also mentioned a colleague whom he blamed for “some of these earlier leaks,” and who he said “tried to push Jared out,” meaning Jared Kushner.” [NYTimes]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Obama Goes From White House to Wall Street in Less Than One Year [Bloomberg] • Stewart Butterfield’s Slack valued at $5bn after SoftBank joins fundraising [FT] • China signs $300m deal to buy lab-grown meat from Israel in move welcomed by vegans [Independent] • Is This Hotel an Airbnb Killer? Ian Schrager and his Public Hotel take on Airbnb with a property that boasts five bars but few unnecessary amenities [WSJ]

MEDIA WATCH: “Rolling Stone, Once a Counterculture Bible, Will Be Put Up for Sale” by Sydney Ember: “[Jann] Wenner had long tried to remain an independent publisher in a business favoring size and breadth. But he acknowledged in an interview last week that the magazine he had nurtured would face a difficult, uncertain future on its own. “I love my job, I enjoy it, I’ve enjoyed it for a long time,” said Mr. Wenner, 71. But letting go, he added, was “just the smart thing to do.” … Both Jann and Gus Wenner, the president and chief operating officer of Wenner Media, said they intended to stay on at Rolling Stone. But they said they also recognized that the decision could ultimately be up to the new owner.” [NYTimes]

“Trump’s divisive presidency reshapes a key part of his private business” by David A. Fahrenthold, Amy Brittain and Matea Gold: “In Florida this year, the president’s politics attracted a new client for one of his businesses. Steven M. Alembik, a conservative activist, is planning an $600-per-seat gala at the Mar-a-Lago Club. His logic: Trump helped Israel. So Alembik will help Trump in return. “He’s got Israel’s back,” Alembik said. “We’ve got his back.’” … He expects 700 guests. That’s $420,000. In theory, Alembik said, any leftover proceeds will go to an Israeli charity called The Truth About Israel. But, Alembik said, Trump’s club will probably keep most of the money…. Alembik was fine with the idea that he was putting money into the president’s pocket: “Yeah, and the other ones are taking money out of his pocket,” he said, meaning the charities that canceled after Charlottesville.”[WashPost]

Mark Zuckerberg and daughter Max celebrate Shabbat: “Father-of-two Mark Zuckerberg shared a sweet snapshot with daughter Max, 21 months, via Facebook Friday. “For shabbat tonight, we gave Max a kiddush cup that has been in our family for almost 100 years. Her great-great-grandfather Max got it after our family immigrated here and it has been passed down through our family ever since,” he captioned the photos.” [Facebook

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks penned an essay in the WSJ on the Challenge of Jewish Repentance: “Meaning comes not from systems of thought but from stories, and the Jewish story is among the most unusual of all. It tells us that God sought to make us His partners in the work of creation, but we repeatedly disappointed Him. Yet He never gives up. He forgives us time and again. The real religious mystery for Judaism is not our faith in God but God’s faith in us. This is not, as atheists and skeptics sometimes claim, a comforting fiction but quite the opposite. Judaism is God’s call to human responsibility, to create a world that is a worthy home for His presence. That is why Jews are so often to be found as doctors fighting disease, economists fighting poverty, lawyers fighting injustice, teachers fighting ignorance and therapists fighting depression and despair.” [WSJ]

“Amid excitement and suspicion, Bahraini prince visits Museum of Tolerance” by Benjamin Oreskes: “Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, the son of Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa, and a large entourage, jostled their way through a rushed tour of the Museum of Tolerance. It was led by the museum’s founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier… Hier, who delivered a benediction at President Trump’s inauguration, said he visited the king’s palace in February. The two bonded over a shared appreciation of Frank Sinatra, and Hier said he was heartened by the king’s warming stance toward Israel. He said that while staying at the Four Seasons hotel, he wore his yarmulke and people did not bat an eye. “People didn’t give us a second look,” he said.” [LATimes]

“The Nazi Sites of Los Angeles” by Dana Goodyear: “The first Nazi rally in Los Angeles took place in the summer of 1933, a few months into Adolph Hitler’s chancellorship, at a downtown biergarten nicknamed the Brown House, after the Nazi Party’s offices in Munich. “Today people are marching and saying, ‘Jews will not replace us,’ ” Steve Ross, the author of a forthcoming book, “Hitler in Los Angeles,” which documents the rise of anti-Semitic hate groups and a covert Jewish-led resistance, said the other day. “In the thirties, they’re saying, ‘Kill the Jews.’ All it takes is one crazy person. People say, ‘It can’t happen here,’ but it is happening here. Once you have the Fascist takeover of the government, all the other things can happen.”” [NewYorker]

“The Holocaust Museum Sought Lessons on Syria. What It Got Was a Political Backlash” by Sopan Deb and Max Fisher: “Leon Wieseltier, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the former literary editor of The New Republic, is among the critics of both the study’s findings and its publication. He said the museum did the right thing by pulling it… Another member, Elliott Abrams, a leading conservative foreign policy expert and former museum board member, said he learned about it the day before it was posted. Mr. Abrams said he called Sara J. Bloomfield, the museum’s director, to criticize its framing and warn her about a potential backlash. “I don’t think I was the first person,” said Mr. Abrams… Mr. Abrams added that he had not asked the museum to pull the study and was unaware of who had… Menachem Z. Rosensaft, who was appointed as a museum trustee by President Bill Clinton and Mr. Obama, said that he learned of the report after it was published, and understood the decision to pull it.” [NYTimes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “These handicapped New Yorkers are behind hundreds of lawsuits” by Melkorka Licea: “Zoltan Hirsch, 37, a double amputee from Brooklyn, is hell on wheels for those who fail to make their establishments wheelchair accessible. Since 2010, he has filed suit against 195 businesses ranging from a Soho eyeglass shop to Brooklyn bodegas to a Hell’s Kitchen restaurant.” [NYPost]

“Saban clinic celebrating 50 years of free medical care in LA” by Denise Dador: “It’s been a place for anyone who needs medical care to get help for more than 50 years. As they celebrate this anniversary, the mission of the Saban Community Clinic in Los Angeles remains the same: to keep its doors open to all, regardless of ability to pay.” [ABC7]

BIRTHDAYS: Business executive who served as co-CEO of SAP (2008-2010) and CEO of Hewlett-Packard (2010-2011), Léo Apotheker turns 64… Harvard Professor of Psychology, specializing in visual cognition and psycholinguistics, Steven Pinker turns 63… Executive director of the Los Angeles Westside Jewish Community Center since 2004, Brian Greene turns 61… One of the earliest Israeli tech entrepreneurs, he is best known for starting Aladdin Knowledge Systems in 1985, he is on multiple tech and non-profit boards,Yanki Margalit turns 55… A leader in the South Carolina Democratic Party, a pro-Israel activist, he was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives (2006-2014), Bakari Sellers turns 33… Professional poker player whose total career live tournament winnings exceed $10 million, Nick Schulman turns 33… New Jersey native, Aaron Kaplowitz turns 33… Special Assistant to US Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), he was previously an assistant director in AIPAC’s Chicago office, Zak Sawyer… Field reporter for the Washington Nationals on MASN, Dan Kolko… International Media Spokesman for the Jewish Agency, Avi Mayer… Kathy Wolf

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]

Sep
15

Author:

Comment

Daily Kickoff: Meet Doug Jemal, Washington’s eccentric mogul | Interview with Sen. Ben Cardin | How Facebook enabled advertisers to reach anti-Semites

JI_logoCP2

Have our people email your people. Tell your friends to sign up for the Daily Kickoff here!

LONG-READ PROFILE: “Inside an eccentric mogul’s quest to save D.C.’s most distinctive buildings” by Jonathan O’Connell: “Douglas Jemal leans back in his chair, rubs his bald head front to back with his fingertips, and smiles. He is sitting in his office at Douglas Development, surrounded by antique glass medicine bottles, Depression-era D.C. license plates and a photo of his father, Norman. Nearby is Eagle, an African gray parrot old enough to rent a car. Eagle lives in a cage by Jemal’s desk, among assorted other birds. Long ago, Jemal taught the bird that when he yells, “F— you, Eagle!” the bird should return in kind.”

“Today, you can stand at the corner of Seventh and H streets NW, outside of Jemal’s office, look in any direction, and see his fingerprints on some of Washington’s most distinctive blocks. Douglas Development now owns about 240 properties, about 150 of them in the District, and has 5 million square feet of projects in the works. All of this has made Jemal a wealthy man, though he is cagey about just how wealthy. Published estimates of his net worth start at $150 million. The last time I asked him for a ballpark figure, he reminded me that he drives a 1994 Ford Taurus to work every day. “I’ll be written down in every history book of Washington, D.C., forever,” he says. “Fifty years from now they’ll say, ‘That’s a Douglas building, that’s a Jemal building.’ So how do you put a price on something like that?” [WashPost]

FLASHBACK — How Sixth & I was ‘born again’: “Doug Jemal and Abe Pollin were walking together along a downtown street when Jemal brought up his yearning to establish a place for Jews to pray in the District’s revitalized center city. That was five years ago [1999]. “I want to put a synagogue downtown,” said Jemal, a rough and rowdy developer who’s been a driving force in the redevelopment of DC’s East End. In the winter of 2002, a church on the edge of Chinatown was about to be sold to a nightclub owner. It had been the home of Turner Memorial AME Church since 1951. But the pale brick building at Sixth and I streets, Northwest, originally had been a synagogue… A little more than a year later, the historic Sixth & I Synagogue has started holding services and hosting community events.” [Washingtonian]

TODAY AT 11AM: President Trump’s High holidays conference call with Jewish community leaders. The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism announced last month they would not participate in the call.

“Trump invites Orthodox, but not Jewish groups who snubbed him, to High Holidays conference call” by Ron Kampeas: “In addition to the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel of America and the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, participants who confirmed to JTA that they would be joining the call include four general organizations: the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Zionist Organization of America.” [JTA]

“Why We Are Joining President Trump’s Rosh Hashanah Call” by Agudath Israel’s Avi Shafran: “The Jewish religious tradition is very clear on the matter of showing honor to governmental leaders – even those with overactive Twitter feeds.” [Forward]  

Will Pence continue the tradition of hosting Jewish leaders at the Naval Observatory? — by Jacob Kornbluh: Earlier this year in May, Vice President Mike Pence hosted the first-ever White House event celebrating Israel’s Independence Day. However, Pence does not appear to be continuing a tradition from the prior administration of inviting Jewish leaders to the Vice President’s residence in honor of the Jewish New Year. The event, often held in the backyard pool area of the U.S. Naval Observatory residence, was considered by attendees to be more exclusive than the much-hyped annual White House Hanukkah party.

Asked about Biden’s tradition last week, Pence advisor Tom Rose emailed that it was a “good idea. Should have thought of it.” As of Thursday, sources confirmed that no invites have been sent for a similar gathering at Pence’s home this year. Organizing the now highly-anticipated call with Jewish leaders — mostly from groups supporting the administration — at the last minute and the limited White House access many Jewish communal leaders face, points to the Trump administration’s lack of an official Jewish Liaison. Two months ago, several members of Congress wrote a bipartisan letter to President Trump urging him to continue a 40-year tradition by immediately appointing a White House liaison to the Jewish community.

Natalie Strom, a White spokeswoman, emails us… “The Trump Administration will be commemorating the upcoming High Holidays in several ways. President Donald J. Trump will hold a conference call with Jewish leaders and staff to send well wishes for the upcoming holidays and discuss his Administration’s progress on issues of interest to the Jewish community.” [JewishInsider]

DRIVING THE CONVO — “US set to extend Iran sanctions relief under nuclear deal” by Matthew Lee: “The Trump administration is poised to extend sanctions relief to Iran… “The Trump administration is continuing to review and develop its policy on Iran,” [Rex] Tillerson said at a news conference… in London… Tillerson said talks continue with the president and his senior advisers, but “no decision has been made.”” [AP• US, Iran set for first meeting on nuclear deal at UN [ToI

HEARD YESTERDAY — Trump in gaggle to reporters on AF1: “You’ll see what I’m going to be doing very shortly in October. The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen. Certainly, at a minimum, the spirit of the deal is atrociously kept. The Iran deal is not a fair deal to this country. It’s a deal that should not have ever been made…”

“Iran Nuclear Deal Critics Push Plan for ‘Global Economic Embargo’” by Jana Winter and Dan De Luce: “The document, which has been circulating on Capitol Hill and in the White House, says the president should declare to Congress next month that the deal is no longer in the national security interest of the United States. Then the president would make clear his readiness to hit Iran with a “de-facto global economic embargo” if it failed to meet certain conditions over a 90-day period, including opening military sites to international inspectors. “This would be a 21st century financial version of [John F.] Kennedy’s Cuba quarantine,” according to a copy of the proposal obtained by Foreign Policy… The unsigned memo was written by Richard Goldberg, a former Republican congressional aide who has long advocated tough action against Iran.” [FP]

“Netanyahu at Odds With Israeli Military and Intelligence Brass Over Whether to Push Trump to Scrap Iran Nuclear Deal” by Barak Ravid, Amos Harel, Chaim Levinson and Amir Tibon: “Israeli officials said Netanyahu and Israel’s ambassador in Washington Ron Dermer are encouraging Trump and his close circle of advisers not to recertify the agreement and announce that Iran is breaching it. Netanyahu and Lieberman’s position is at odds with most Israeli experts in Military Intelligence and in the IDF’s Planning Directorate, the Mossad, Foreign Ministry and the Atomic Energy Committee… “Like in the United States, we have disagreements on this issue,” said an Israeli official.” [Haaretz]

“U.N. braces for Trump” by Nahal Toosi: “Trump will meet next week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he will see Jordan’s King Abdullah, an influential Arab ally… Trump may use his U.N. meetings to gauge support for fiddling with or abandoning the internationally negotiated nuclear deal with Iran… There are some hints… that a few world leaders may be open to the idea of hammering out supplemental agreements with Iran that deal with sensitive issues such as its ballistic missile program.” [Politico]

SCENE YESTERDAY IN NYC: U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley along with Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon met with the national leadership of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations for a preview of the upcoming UN General Assembly. [Pic

JI INTERVIEW — Senator Ben Cardin  (D-MD) discussed the Anti-Boycott Act he introduced with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and the Iran deal in an interview with JI’s Aaron Magid yesterday. Cardin expressed concern regarding the Trump administration’s possible decertification of Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. “From everything we know, Iran is not in material breach. So therefore if the President doesn’t certify, he is setting up a situation where the U.S would be walking away and be the violator of an agreement, isolating the U.S. from Europe and giving Iran a much stronger platform in the international community,” he explained.

Cardin on the Anti-Boycott Act: “Those who have taken the effort to truly understand our amendment recognize that all of the complaints that have been raised deal with the underlying current law not with the amendment that followed. Having said that, we think there is ample support in Congress to pass this. We are open to clarifying this.” Read the full interview here[JewishInsider]

TAYLOR FORCE ACT: State Department declares its support for the Taylor Force Act — by Aaron Magid: The State Department told Jewish Insider yesterday that the “Trump administration strongly supports the Taylor Force Act,” noting that the legislation is a “consequence of Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization’s policy of paying terrorists and their families.” The administration “is closely following the progress of the legislation and looks forward to working with Congress as it takes its final form,” the State Department official added. [JewishInsider]

“White House, Israeli Embassy Strongly Deny Report McMaster Yelled at Israeli Officials” by Amir Tibon: “Michael Anton, the spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, told Haaretz that McMaster “never yelled” at any Israeli officials. Itai Bar Dov, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington separately confirmed that the allegation was indeed false… Bar Dov, the Israeli Embassy spokesman, stated that Israel “never asked” for [White House counter-terrorism expert Mustafa] Ali not to attend the meeting, and added that the allegations in the original report are “totally false.” He also told Haaretz that “Israel appreciates Gen. McMaster’s efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship.”” [Haaretz

“Palestinians Seek More Assertive Trump for Talks With Israel” by Jonathan Ferziger and Fadwa Hodali: “Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will try to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump when they meet next week to endorse a two-state solution… “We want to see him intervening, we want to see him successful and we want to see an ultimate deal,” Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to the U.S., said in a phone interview. “We just have to know where we’re going, what’s the final destination.” … Abbas will meet Trump in New York on Sept. 20, the same day he addresses the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly.” [Bloomberg

TOP TALKER: “Trump signs resolution condemning ‘racist violence’ in Charlottesville” by Gregory Korte: “President Trump signed a congressional resolution condemning a white nationalist march on Charlottesville, Va. last month, saying he opposes “hatred, bigotry, and racism in all forms.” But the signing came just hours after he once again compared white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK to the anti-fascist “antifa” movement, repeating some of the very remarks that led Congress to pass the resolution in the first place. “I think especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also,” Trump told reporters on board Air Force One Thursday. “A lot of people are saying — in fact a lot of people have actually written —  ‘Gee, Trump might have a point.’ I said, you got some very bad people on the other side also, which is true.”” [USAToday

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: “It is sad that the President seems not to have learned from his conversation with Senator [Tim] Scott or from the unanimous vote from Congress condemning the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville. If he is not going to provide the moral leadership the country needs on this issue, we are glad that leaders from both parties are stepping up and doing so.” [Twitter

“Rahm Emanuel to US Jews: ‘This is our moment’ to defend the values that aided us” by David Horovitz: “Trust me, I know” there’s anti-Semitism, he says. But the Jewish community is more capable and influential than others who are facing hatred, he argues. Anti-Semitism has “always been present, as has bigotry and racism before,” he says… “But that fact is,” he elaborates, “American Jews, in our history, as a people, we’re in a unique position in America. You’re looking at the mayor of Chicago. The mayor of Chicago is an American Jew. The mayor of Los Angeles is an American Jew.”[ToI]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Signature’s ideal buyer? A foreign bank that preserves its independence [AmericanBanker] • Sam Nazarian’s SBE Wants to Become the Ultimate Lifestyle Hospitality Group [Skift] • Joshua Harris scores UES mega mansion for $45M [NYPost] • The Political Awakening of Silicon Valley: What happens when tech leaders, like Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, believe our system is broken? They treat it like a startup [CaliforniaSunday]

SPOTLIGHT: “Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’” by Julia Angwin, Madeleine Varner and Ariana Tobin: “Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’” … After we contacted Facebook, it removed the anti-Semitic categories — which were created by an algorithm rather than by people — and said it would explore ways to fix the problem, such as limiting the number of categories available or scrutinizing them before they are displayed to buyers… Since we contacted Facebook, most of the anti-Semitic categories have disappeared. Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said that they didn’t appear to have been widely used.” [ProPublica]

KAFE KNESSET — Framers of the constitution? — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked dropped a bombshell last night, announcing a plan to institute a constitution for Israel. Their plan is inspired by repeated Supreme Court intervention in legislation, which they and much of the Israeli Right feel is not legitimate. Therefore, their proposed constitution would regulate the separation of government powers in Israel, or “restore the balance,” as they put it. Part of that would be a clause allowing the Knesset to re-enact laws that the court cancels. The Bennett-Shaked constitution would also include what is commonly known as the “nationality bill,” declaring Israel to be the Jewish State, which has been floating around the Knesset in various forms for years and is very controversial.

Many have tried adopting a constitution in the past, and just because they want something to happen does not mean that the rest of the coalition will go for it. The apparent futility of this effort did not stop the opposition from being up in arms over the proposal. Former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said “they don’t want a constitution; they want to destroy democracy and the Supreme Court.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Unwelcome in Israel, African refugees dream of home” by Stephen Weizman: “The migrants, who [Adi] Drori-Avraham says meet the UN definition of refugees, live in a strange half-world where the rules are often contradictory. Their visas do not grant the right to work but when the holders go to renew them every two months they are asked to produce payslips to prove they are employed… [Tsgahans] Goytiom has been in Israel for eight years, arriving after a gruelling trek across Ethiopia and what he says was kidnap and torture by Bedouin in Sudan and the Sinai. With his wife he runs a kindergarten for migrant youngsters. “If we had the option of change in Eritrea we would not stay here another month,” he told AFP. “Everybody is waiting for the present situation to change.”” [Yahoo]

DESSERT: “Oakland’s Oldest Kosher Bakery Bounces Back With a New Owner” by Clara Hogan: “[Sam Tobis] has set a lofty goal: to further the bakery’s engagement with the Jewish community, while at the same time, spreading the love for kosher baked goods to those who may think it’s off limits for them. “Jewish food is under-enjoyed and underappreciated in mass,” says Tobis. Grand Bakery will remain fully kosher, certified by Sunrise Kosher, one of the more strict supervising organizations. “I’m more of a live-and-let-live kind of Jew,” Tobis says. “If you want to keep kosher great; if not, great. I personally don’t keep kosher in my life, but Grand Bakery is kosher and we exist to serve both the kosher community and non-kosher alike.”” [SFEater]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYCEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein turns 63… Borscht Belt comedian known as “The Master of Malaprop,” Norm Crosby turns 90… 1969 Nobel Prize laureate in Physics and professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, Murray Gell-Mann turns 88… Professor of Education at Wheelock College in Boston, Diane Levin turns 70… NYC-based composer and multi-instrument musician, Ned Rothenberg turns 61… Kosher restauranteur and former quantitative research scientist at hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, David Magerman turns 49… NPR’s Media Correspondent who previously spent 10 years reporting at the Baltimore Sun, David Folkenflik turns 48… NYC-based fundraising and development consultant who has worked for JFNA and other Jewish organizations, Deborah Leipzig turns 41… Chicago public school teacher, event organizer and fundraiser, Shayla Rosen turns 39… Graduate of The Ohio State University, now a fellow there for the Israel on Campus Coalition, Tomer Elias turns 30… VP of business development at Rockville, Maryland based PW Communications, Amanda Bresler turns 29… Politico’s New York City education reporter, Eliza Shapiro turns 27…

SATURDAYArgentinian physician, author of controversial books on gender relations, Esther Vilar (born Esther Katzen) turns 82… Defense policy advisor to Presidents Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 and member of a number of DC based think tanks, Richard Perle turns 76… Montebello, California resident, Jon Olesen turns 73… Founder and CEO of OurCrowd, an equity-crowdfunding platform focused on investing in Israeli startups, Jonathan Medved turns 62… Senior account executive at The Forward, Fern Wallachturns 61… Award winning illusionist, who has sold over 33 million tickets to his shows worldwide, David Copperfield (born David Seth Kotkin) turns 61… Candidate for Congress from Wisconsin in 2018, he was the VP of political affairs and political director for J Street, he is a nephew of former US Senator Herb Kohl (who owned the Milwaukee Bucks), Dan Kohl turns 52… Yeshivat Chovevei Torah’s Rabbi Dov Linzer turns 51… Chapel Hill, NC resident, renowned magazine writer, Jason Zengerle turns 44… Israel’s only Olympic Gold medalist (to date),  Bronze in Atlanta 1996; Gold in Athens 2004, windsurfer Gal Fridman turns 42… Jerusalem-born founder and chairman of “Over The Rainbow – the Zionist Movement,” a World Zionist Congress faction, Tzvi (Tziki) Avisar turns 39… Associate Director at The Advisory Board Company, previously at both Hillel and AIPAC, Suzy Goldenkranz

SUNDAY: Founder and marketer of the Oreck Corporation, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, David Irving Oreck (family name was originally Oreckovsky) turns 94… Newberry award winning author of many young adult books, Gail Carson Levine turns 70… Rochester attorney, he served as the Executive Director of the philanthropic leadership group at UJA-Federation of NYC (2001-2003) and was a board member of the Rochester Jewish Federation, Frank Hagelberg turns 69… Professional tennis player who achieved a world ranking of No. 5 in 1980, Harold Solomon turns 65… Comedian, writer and actress, frequent guest of Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, Rita Rudner turns 64… Israeli businessman and former IAF pilot, with real estate holdings in Israel and NYC, he is the founder and chairman of NYC-based Alto Real Estate Funds and chair of the Israel Advertising Federation, Mody Kidon turns 63… Glasgow-born, senior rabbi of Masorati Judaism in the UK, rabbi of the New North London Synagogue with approximately 2,400 members, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg turns 60… Professor of Economics at Princeton, formerly Assistant Treasury Secretary and then chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger turns 57… Washington columnist for the British daily newspaper, The Guardian, he was an EVP and executive editor of MSNBC’s website, Richard Wolffe turns 49… Former regional communications director and spokesperson for President Obama, now at Blue Engine Message & Media, Adam Abrams turns 36…

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]

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for September 1

Friday, September 1, 2017

The BB-Sheldon Hotline: So just how close are Bibi and Sheldon and what is the extent of the PM’s involvement in Adelson’s freebie, Israel Hayom? That was the…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for August 31

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bibi against Meni Naftali: PM Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana toast was, as promised, quite a show. Two thousand Likud activists gathered at the Avenue Conference Center near the Ben…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for August 30

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bibi launches Rosh Hashana toast season: It is that time of the year again, as the Jewish New Year approaches. Politicians are starting to make the rounds with…

Greenblatt meeting with Netanyahu on Tuesday - photo by Haim Zach/GPO

Kafe Knesset for August 29

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Greenblatt’s tour: The President’s special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, stayed on after the senior White House delegation visited the region last week. According to senior Israeli sources, Greenblatt is…

Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Kafe Knesset for August 28

Monday, August 28, 2017

Guterres in Jerusalem: The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Israel yesterday for his first visit to the region. His first meeting was last night, as he…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for August 25

Friday, August 25, 2017

Trump-Netanyahu Instagram diplomacy: The Kushner-Greenblatt-Powell short visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah hardly made headlines this morning. The niceties of the Kushner-Netanyahu meeting, and the smiles in the Ramallah…