Nov
26

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Daily Kickoff: USAID to shut down West Bank, Gaza operations | Guy Raz’s podcast empire | Dennis Ross turns 7-0

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SCENE SATURDAY NIGHT — Lynn Schusterman schmoozing with Hillary and Bill Clinton before the start of Richie Jackson, Eric Kuhn and Justin Mikita’s Broadway revival of Harvey Fierstein’s Tony Award-winning drama Torch Song. Stacy Schusterman and Randi Zuckerberg were also seen in attendance. h/t Adam Finkel

Michal Hartman, Israel Fellow to Chabad on Campus at WashU, posted: “When the Clintons sit four rows behind you in a Broadway show… you talk to them about the late Shimon Peres!” [Pic

SPOTLIGHT — Campbell Soup and Third Point Near Deal to Settle Proxy Fight — by Cara Lombardo and Annie Gasparro: “Campbell Soup Co. is nearing a settlement with investor Daniel Loeb that would skirt the board coup he sought but give him some representation in the boardroom as the packaged-foods giant tries to revive its business. Campbell is expected to agree to add two new board members nominated by Mr. Loeb’s Third Point LLC as part of the deal… The two Third Point nominees expected to join the board are Comscore Inc. President Sarah Hofstetter and former Blue Buffalo Chief Executive Kurt Schmidt.”  [WSJ]

Flashback — Sarah Hofstetter wrote in 2016… “Why Being an Orthodox Jewish Mom Makes Me a Better CEO: When 360i, the ad agency I run, won Oscar Mayer’s business in 2010, I politely declined their invitation to sample products from their new portfolio. It’s not that I wasn’t interested—I had spent countless hours trying to win the hot dog maker’s business—but my faith simply prohibited it.” [Forbes

TALK OF THE REGION — In diplomatic first, Chad’s leader visits Israel — by Ilan Ben Zion: “The president of Chad on Sunday became the first leader of his country to pay an official visit to Israel, deepening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outreach efforts to African states in what he says is a joint struggle against Islamic militants. Both Idriss Deby and Netanyahu stressed the centrality of security cooperation, even though the countries do not have formal diplomatic relations. Chad, a Muslim-majority country in central Africa, broke off relations with Israel in 1972.”[ABCNewsVideo]

— “Deby also met with President Reuven Rivlin Sunday evening, telling him that renewed ties “won’t eliminate the Palestinian problem. You’ve lived through difficult history and it’s important that people speak to one another. It’s very easy to pull the trigger and very difficult to stop the war.” [Haaretz]

Israel’s Netanyahu Says He Plans More Visits to Arab World — by Alisa Odenheimer: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he would build on his recent surprise trip to Oman with further visits to the Arab world “very soon.” Israeli media reported that efforts were being made to normalize diplomatic relations with the Gulf Arab state of Bahrain… Israel’s Channel 10 TV, citing an unidentified senior government official, reported late Sunday that Israel is making efforts to normalize ties with Bahrain.” [Bloomberg Israeli minister says he’s invited to 2019 conference in Bahrain [Reuters]

Dore Gold, former Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shared with Jewish Insider his experience of visiting Chadin 2016: “Not long after Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 2016 visit to Uganda, commemorating 40 years since the Entebbe raid, we in the Foreign Ministry decided to follow up with new initiatives directed to Africa. There was a belt of countries beginning with Guinea on the Atlantic coast and extending eastward across the Sahara to the Sudanese border that was our initial focus. Chad was one of those countries. We flew to the Chadian capital near Nigeria and surprisingly President Deby asked us to fly northward 1300 km to an oasis in the Sahara where he had a small palace.

“I asked his aides to explain what was affecting their considerations. When they broke relations in 1972, they did that under Libyan pressure. Qaddafi was now gone. We knew that Deby has made Chad into an African power. Its army was assuming peacekeeping duties in neighboring Darfur, where they brought down the scale of the violence. It was also in the Central African Republic. The terror threat was also on the rise. Boko Haram was operating near Lake Chad in the south. Israel could help Chad, which was mostly desert, and contribute to its economic well being.” [Pic]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in a statement on last week’s meeting between Trump and his Mideast peace team: “Reports of our meeting have been wildly inaccurate. I would like to reaffirm that the United States remains committed to sharing its vision for peace with Israel, the Palestinians and other regional and international stakeholders at the appropriate time. Our timing, our strategy and our messaging is and will be entirely our own. We intend to release the President’s vision when the Administration concludes that we have maximized its potential for acceptance, execution and implementation. Moreover, Mr. Kushner, Mr. Greenblatt and I are of one mind in terms of how best to proceed.”

USAID to Lay Off Half Its Employees, Close Doors of West Bank and Gaza Operation by 2019 — by Yaniv Kubovich: “The U.S. State Department informed USAID last week that by next month the agency would have to present a list of 60 percent of its employees to be dismissed as the first step in the shutdown that will be finalized by 2019… Some 180 employees working for the U.S. Embassy in Israel have yet to receive the budgeting for activities for either 2018 or 2019. The leftover money has been diverted to paying salaries and maintaining the organization. According to officials involved in the matter over the past few months, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman has shown no interest in USAID’s needs and has not held meetings with USAID officials on projects.”

“USAID officials said that the policy of the ambassador and the Trump administration to stop funding aid is meant to put pressure on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to renew talks with the United States and Israel.” [Haaretz]

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein says Trump’s peace plan is unfeasible: “I do believe that the approach should be different. I am not sure we can find some magic plan to solve all the problems in immediate negotiations. We have to start building peace brick by brick,” [Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel] Edelstein said on the sidelines of the Mediterranean Dialogues (MED) forum… when asked to comment on Trump’s peace plan.” [SputnikHaaretz]

— Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov offers to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians: “We confirm again our offer from several years ago to host a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Russia without any preconditions.”

REPORT — Qatar said to reconsider Gaza cash transfers amid backlash: “According to a report on the Walla news site, a document circulated internally among Qatari officials argues that the transfer of money to Hamas was a “problematic” move that led to criticism from both Israel and the Palestinians. The document says the cash transfer “only reinforces the negative view of Qatar as a financier of terror acting against the Sunni states.” [ToIWallaNews]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Divisive bill on hold as Israel grapples with new coalition: “A parliamentary vote on a contentious Israeli bill meant to rein in cultural content deemed disloyal to the state is being postponed… because the coalition was unable to whip up enough votes to pass the bill… The bill’s potential demise reflects the reality facing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recently downsized coalition.” [AP]

TV: State prosecutor reviewing Netanyahu cases urges indictment in Case 1000: “A state prosecutor appointed to oversee and review the corruption allegations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly recommended the premier be charged in at least one of three cases against him.” [ToI]

JPost’s Yaakov Katz tweets“That is Israel: In a single day, Netanyahu makes diplomatic history with visit by president of Chad to reestablish ties and visit by Czech president to initiate embassy move to Jerusalem and now a leak that prosecution is recommending indicting him.”

ON THE GROUND — Is the Trump Administration Pivoting the Fight in Syria Toward a War with Iran? — by Seth Harp: “The belligerent talk from Washington might be a ploy to intimidate Tehran, a calculated move to turn Trump’s unpredictable nature into strategic leverage. But the Iranians appear willing to respond in kind. On October 1st, Iran fired a volley of ballistic missiles across Iraq and struck an ISIS position in Deir Ezzor, not far from American troops… A similar incident could give Bolton and the others a pretext to convince Trump to launch a bombing campaign on Iranian military infrastructure. If Trump strikes Iran, the American forces would be engaged in a Middle East war zone that would span four contiguous countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.” [NewYorker• The Master Terrorist Behind America’s Blood Feud With Iran [DailyBeast]

Iranian oil web sparks tensions between Washington and Moscow — by Henry Foy, Nastassia Astrasheuskaya and David Sheppard: “U.S. officials have approached international insurance groups to warn them against insuring tankers carrying oil from Iran to Syria, people with knowledge of the conversations told the FT. A list of oil tankers that the US Treasury says have visited Syria since 2016 includes at least two Russian-flagged vessels.”[FinancialTimes]

AP CORRECTIONS DEPARTMENT — “In a story Nov. 24, The Associated Press reported that Iran frequently condemns Israel and predicts its demise. The story should have made clear that Israeli officials view any such comments from Iran as existential threats.” [AP]

— Background: AP “Clarification” Casts Iranian Threats As Israeli Perception[Camera]

DEEP DIVE — Israeli Cyber Firm Negotiated Advanced Attack Capabilities Sale With Saudis — by Amos Harel, Chaim Levinson and Yaniv Kubovich: “The Israeli company NSO Group Technologies offered Saudi Arabia a system that hacks cellphones, a few months before Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began his purge of regime opponents… A Haaretz investigation based on testimony and photos, as well as travel and legal documents, reveals the Saudis’ behind-the-scenes attempts to buy Israeli technology.” [Haaretz]

ON THE HILL — Defying Trump, key GOP senator to sharpen focus on Saudi prince — by Jonathan Swan: “In a phone interview, [Sen. Lindsey] Graham told me he and some of his colleagues have requested an intelligence briefing this coming week to find out whether the reporting is correct that the CIA has “high confidence” MBS ordered the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi… “We cannot have a normal strategic relationship with somebody this crazy,” Graham told me. Graham said “everything would be on the table” to punish Saudi Arabia, including blocking arms sales.” [Axios]

Obama Alumni Return to Washington, This Time as House Freshmen — by Catie Edmondson and Sheryl Gay Stolberg: “Nearly a dozen members of the House’s incoming class are far from being gawky freshmen, stumbling wide-eyed through the strange corridors of Capitol Hill, but are instead experienced policymakers who have worked in previous presidential administrations — seven of them for former President Barack Obama… The group brings not only experience, “but a philosophy of government,” said David Axelrod… “This is a group that has really seen it all,” said Eric Lesser, a former Obama White House aide who is now a state senator in Massachusetts. “They’re just not going to be intimidated.”

“A pair of them, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, have previously tussled with Congress. Ms. Slotkin, a former C.I.A. officer who served three tours of duty in Iraq and informed the nation’s strategy against the Islamic State, appeared before the Senate for her confirmation hearing as a nominee for assistant secretary of defense to Mr. Obama. (She also served under George W. Bush.) Mr. Malinowski, who helped levy sanctions against North Korean officials for human rights abuses, was confirmed as assistant secretary of state after receiving lavish praise from Senator John McCain.” [NYTimes]

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Compares Migrant Caravan To Jews Fleeing Holocaust: “New York Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday compared members of the migrant caravan attempting to enter the United States to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany during the Holocaust… “Asking to be considered a refugee & applying for status isn’t a crime,” she wrote on Twitter. “It wasn’t for Jewish families fleeing Germany. It wasn’t for targeted families fleeing Rwanda. It wasn’t for communities fleeing war-torn Syria. And it isn’t for those fleeing violence in Central America,” she added.”[DailyCaller

MUELLER WATCH — Alan Dershowitz says Mueller report will be ‘devastating’ to Trump —by Paul LeBlanc: “I think the report is going to be devastating to the President,” Dershowitz, a fomer Harvard law professor, said on “ABC This Week.” “And I know that the President’s team is already working on a response to the report… When I say devastating, I mean it’s going to paint a picture that’s going to be politically very devastating,” he said. “I still don’t think it’s going to make a criminal case, because collusion is not criminal.” [CNNABCNews]

2020 WATCH —A Lot of People Want Bernie Sanders to Run in 2020 — by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “On Tuesday, [Sanders] will release his new book, Where We Go From Here, a rundown of the ways he’s been able to keep a hold on American politics, from the demands he gave Hillary Clinton at their post-primary meeting to his political and legislative wins since. He’ll kick off the release with a speech at George Washington University on Tuesday night, and later in the week he’ll convene a summit of allies at his Sanders Institute, back home in Burlington, Vermont… Among many Sanders supporters who love him and cheer for him at rallies but still wonder whether he could really go all the way, that’s the debate circulating: Would he be able to have a bigger influence on the 2020 race by getting in himself or by sitting it out and looming over everyone who ran?” [TheAtlantic]

Al Franken scandal haunts Kirsten Gillibrand’s 2020 chances — by Natasha Korecki and Laura Nahmias: “Today, nearly a year after Gillibrand led the charge in calling for [Al] Franken’s resignation, the anger is fresh on the minds of major donors across the country. More than a dozen prominent West Coast, New York and national donors and bundlers — many of them women — said they would never again donate to or fundraise for Gillibrand or would only do so if she ended up as the Democratic presidential nominee.” [Politico]

** 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: Howard Lorber sells Sherry-Netherland pad for $11M[TheRealDeal• Elbit completes purchase of Israel’s IMI after government approval [Reuters• Avi Dorfman, who calls himself a Compass co-founder, seeks stake worth nearly $200M [TheRealDeal

PROFILE — How Guy Raz Built ‘How I Built This’ Podcast —By Nellie Bowles: “Guy Raz is wrapping up an episode of How I Built This… when his guest, the Israeli investor Haim Saban, gets to the good part… In the story Mr. Saban is telling, he is about to make a lot of money, and then quadruple it into even more money. Mr. Raz cuts in, astonished. “But half a billion dollars — that’s a lot of money,” he says. “I mean, wow.” “Two billion is more,” Mr. Saban says. “Was money — becoming really rich — did that motivate you?” Mr. Raz asks a moment later. “You know, it wasn’t only money, but it was also money,” Mr. Saban says. “Money is a marker to success.”

“There’s a moment like this in every episode of How I Built This… By creating a safe space for entrepreneurs to share their stories of ascent, Mr. Raz has become one of the most popular podcasters in history… According to NPR, where he works on contract, he is the only person to ever have three shows simultaneously in Apple’s top 20 podcasts. In addition to How I Built This, Mr. Raz hosts the TED Radio Hour and the children’s series Wow in the World. Another show, The Rewind With Guy Raz, just started on Spotify… In each installment, Mr. Raz takes listeners on a journey through the free market toward some of capitalism’s most glorious finales: Howard Schultz builds Starbucks, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger build Instagram, Eileen Fisher builds Eileen Fisher… Mr. Raz gets founders to open up and tell wrenching stories about sacrifices, late nights, self-doubt and the mistakes that led to success.” [NYTimes]

Jeff Goldblum Is Going Back to His Roots — interview with Molly Lambert: You grew up in a Jewish family in Pittsburgh, and you posted a message of sympathy about the recent massacre in the Tree of Life synagogue on social media. How have you been processing the tragedy? I’m about to do “Finding Your Roots,” so I’ve been thinking about my family, and how this, anti-Semitism, is our fight. Thinking about the people in that synagogue — 80, 90 years old — and the moment before they die, they hear this guy yell out, “All Jews must die!” That’s how you die. It’s just too outrageous. It’s sad. It’s stupid. It’s ugly.”

“And as another Jewish person, trying to make meaning of something like that is sort of impossible. It’s hard to find ways to feel as if you can help in a productive way and not just consume it and feel bad. Read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning,” about his experience in a concentration camp. It’s not what the universe serves you accidentally, but it’s about your proactive way to experience the cards and to navigate them that creates meaning and purpose and satisfaction in life. That’s applicable to all of us, even in our little tragedies. And now, to have this be old news, because there’s been another shooting — you can get addicted to watching. You have to be discriminating about what you receive and how you use your short time here.” [NYTimes]

After the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting, a Russian-Jewish Immigrant Remembers Squirrel Hill — by Ellen Litman: “In Russia, the very word “Jew” was embarrassing, unseemly. You didn’t say it in polite company. Didn’t say it at all if you could help it. If you were a Jew in Russia you tried to conceal it… In Squirrel Hill, Jews didn’t worry about being visible. They knew, of course, that anti-Semitism existed, but Orthodox women in long dresses and Orthodox men in black hats roamed its streets unafraid. The kids from the yeshiva schools loitered on Murray after classes. I’d look at their faces and be reminded of my own face, as if maybe we had the same ancestors, as if they were a version of myself.” [NewYorker]

TALK OF THE TOWN — New York City museums are fighting to keep art stolen by the Nazis — by Isabel Vincent: “There are “tens of thousands” of artworks in US museums with Nazi-era provenance… Of those, thousands are in New York City museums, experts say. And no one really knows how many have been returned to their rightful heirs… On Monday, hundreds of museum directors, art experts and politicians will assemble in Berlin at a three-day global conference to assess just how effectively museums and art galleries have returned Nazi-looted art over the past 20 years.” [NYPost]

CAMPUS BEAT — Students Who Made Apparent Nazi Salute in Photo Won’t Be Punished — by Christina Caron: “The Wisconsin students who appeared to make a Nazi salute in a widely criticized photo will not be punished… The superintendent, Lori Mueller of the Baraboo School District, said in the letter [to parents] that the district was “not in a position to punish the students for their actions” because of their First Amendment rights… In the photo, many of the students stand with one arm raised, palms down and elbows locked straight, in a gesture that looks identical to a Nazi salute.” [NYTimes]

Eugene Kontorovich writes… “Airbnb’s Anti-Israel Hypocrisy: Under Airbnb’s policy, an American Jew with a rental property in the West Bank is barred from listing it for rent on the website. But an American Arab is welcome to list his home a few hundred meters away, even though the Palestinian law forbidding real-estate deals with Jews carries a maximum penalty of death… Airbnb’s capitulation underscores the need for Congress to pass the Israel Anti-Boycott Act… Airbnb’s exclusion of Jewish communities in the West Bank cannot be ignored.” [WSJ]

DESSERT — 3D-printed vegan steak and fries? Israeli startup says it has replicated meat: “An Israeli startup hopes to disrupt the vegan food market by developing 3D printing technology that will be able to produce meat substitutes using plant-based formulations, saying the final product very closely resembles the experience of consuming natural meat. Its founder says it has “replicated… the complex matrix that is meat.” Jet Eat, which was established in early 2018 by Eshchar Ben Shitrit, aims for its products to hit the markets by 2020.” [ToI]

REMEMBERING — Bernard Glassman, Zen Master and Social Activist, Dies at 79 ― by Katharine Q. Seelye: “Bernard Glassman, an acclaimed American Buddhist teacher known for his social activism, died on Nov. 4 at a hospital in Greenfield, Mass… Mr. Glassman was deeply active in the world and in trying to address its ills. His activism was as much a product of his Buddhist spiritualism as it was of the liberal Jewish tradition into which he was born; the two remained inseparable throughout his life. Mr. Glassman “was one of the most important figures in ‘Engaged Buddhism,’ which applies Buddhist teachings to what many Jews call tikkun olam, the project of ‘repairing’ the brokenness in the world,” Jay Michaelson wrote in a tribute in The Forward… Mr. Michaelson called Mr. Glassman “a Zen mensch.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Holocaust refugee from Budapest, he founded a generic drug company in 1965 that he sold to Teva Pharmaceuticals 35 years later, University of Toronto’s pharmacy school bears his name, Leslie Dan turns 89… San Francisco-based venture capitalist, he is a founding partner of CMEA Capital, Formation 8 and Baruch Future Ventures, Thomas R. Baruch turns 80… Diplomat and author, he worked under Presidents Bush (41), Clinton and Obama on Middle East and Persian Gulf matters, in 2002 he co-founded a synagogue in Rockville, MD, Dennis B. Ross turns 70… Former national executive director of the Zionist Organization of America, Gary P. Ratnerturns 70… Member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 1987, Louis I. Lang turns 69…

Senior editor at Bloomberg News following 17 years at The New York Times, most recently as deputy national editor, Ethan Samuel Bronner turns 64… Editor, journalist and publisher of Hebrew media for US-based Israeli readers, he is the author of several books and award-winning screenplays, Meir Doronturns 64… Author of a 2013 New York Times best-seller about Israel, Ari Shavit turns 61… First Jewish governor of Delaware (2009-2017), following 10 years as the Treasurer of Delaware, Jack Alan Markell turns 58… Ohio director for Agudath Israel, Rabbi Eric “Yitz” Frank turns 32… Associate at Covington & Burling’s litigation department focusing on white collar and national security-related issues, Jordan Chandler Hirsch turns 31…

BIRTHDAYS OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND — FRIDAY: Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer turns 68… Board member of the Yitzhak Rabin Center, Andrea Lavin Solow… Former United States Senator (1997-2015), Mary Landrieu turns 63… Israeli-born entrepreneur, he is the CEO of NASDAQ-traded Caesarstone, Raanan Zilberman turns 58… Majority owner of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder turns 54… VP of wealth management and financial advisor at UBS Financial Services in Baltimore, P. Justin “P.J.” Pearlstone turns 44… Erin Ross turns 43… President of Eastern Savings Bank in Hunt Valley, Maryland and partner at Baltimore’s Abramoff Neuberger LLP, Yaakov S. Neuberger… Development and grant writer for Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans (Beit Halochem), Elise Fischer… Associate at WeissLaw LLP, he was previously a government affairs and market development manager at The Copia, Shmuel Winiarz… NYC and Toronto based lyricist, author and playwright, Naomi Matlow

SATURDAY: VP of the Aspen Institute, he is a former member of Congress (1977-1994) (D-Kansas-4), Secretary of Agriculture (1995-2001) and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (2004-2010), Dan Glickman turns 74… Chairman of Lyons Global Insurance Services, he is a senior advisor to the Ashcroft Group, Simcha G. Lyons turns 72… Professor of chemistry at Bar Ilan University (1975-2015, now emeritus), he is also an ordained rabbi, Aryeh Abraham Frimer turns 72… Actress, best known for her role as Gaby in the film “Gaby: A True Story,” Rachel Chagall turns 66… Born to a Jewish family in Havana, Cuba, he was Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security (2013-2016) and is now a partner in the law firm of WilmerHale, Alejandro N. Mayorkasturns 59… Philanthropist and former co-CEO of global shopping center company, Westfield Corporation, Steven Lowy turns 56… Chairman of the Iron Dome Alliance, Jeff Ballabon turns 56… Author and founder of Nashuva, a Los Angeles area Jewish outreach community, Rabbi Naomi Levy turns 56… Member of Knesset for the Labor / Zionist Union party, she is a former journalist, TV anchor and radio broadcaster and a granddaughter of Rudolf Kastner, Merav Michaeli turns 52… President of Jigsaw (previously called Google Ideas) and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Jared Cohen turns 37… Campus Rabbi at the Austin campus of the University of Texas, Moshe Trepp turns 37…

SUNDAY: Award winning playwright and screenwriter, Murray Schisgalturns 92… Professor of Economics at Harvard, previously chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Reagan, Martin Feldstein turns 79… Writer, lawyer, actor, and economic commentator, including an Emmy Award-winning stint as a game show host, Ben Stein turns 74… Obstetrician and gynecologist, he serves as President of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, Norman Ravski, MD turns 65… Editor-in-Chief at the Israel Hayom newspaper, previously Israel’s ambassador to Mauritania (2004-2008), Boaz Bismuth turns 54… Criminal gang prosecutor at the Los Angeles County DA’s office, he has run for Congress (2014) and the LA County Board of Supervisors (2016), Elan Carr turns 50… Founder and former managing director at Beacon Global Strategies LLC, he was the deputy assistant Secretary of State for strategic communications under Hillary Clinton, Philippe Reinesturns 49… Attorney and former State Representative in the Florida House of Representatives (2003-2011), Adam Hasner turns 49… Public relations and communications manager for the Union for Reform Judaism, Lauren Sueskind Theodore turns 48… Senior policy advisor at the US Department of Labor, he was a participant in the Emerging Leadership Project of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, Keith Sonderling turns 36… National campus outreach director at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Melissa Weissturns 32… Political reporter for ThinkProgress at the Center for American Progress, Kira Lerner turns 30… Bitcoin advocate, Charles “Charlie” Shrem IV turns 29…

Nov
21

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Daily Kickoff: Why Trump mentioned Israel in his Saudi statement | Zuckerberg defends himself | Florida’s first Jewish Governor

Tell your friends to sign up for the Daily Kickoff here or for early 7AM access via Debut Inbox

Ed. note: Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving! We’ll be back after the holiday.

HEARD LAST NIGHT — As problems pile up, Mark Zuckerberg stands his ground in exclusive CNN Business interview — by Seth Fiegerman: “A lot of the criticism around the biggest issues has been fair, but I do think that if we are going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well, which is that we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering us,” Zuckerberg told CNN Business’ Laurie Segall at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.”

“When asked if he would consider stepping down as Facebook’s chairman, Zuckerberg said, “That’s not the plan.” He also threw his support behind his No. 2, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg… “Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts for a lot of the biggest issues that we have,” Zuckerberg told CNN Business. “She’s been an important partner to me for ten years. I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done together and I hope that we work together for decades more to come.” [CNN]

Zuckerberg on Definers going after George Soros — Segall: The PR firm was founded by Republican political strategists and it launched a campaign linking Facebook critics to George Soros. This is a common tactic used by anti-Semitic and alt-right groups. That’s why people were so shocked when they found out about this… Does that strike you as stooping low? 

Zuckerberg: “I wasn’t particularly happy about that piece of it, and that is certainly a big part of what — when I read about it — made me want to look into this deeply. The intention was never to attack an individual, but there are these lobbying groups and folks out there whose primary focus is to attack the company. And I do think it’s fine to push back on that.”

Segall: Do you approve of the way they went after George Soros? Do you approve of that methodology? 

Zuckerberg: “I don’t think that this is the type of thing that our company should be engaging with.” 

Segall: What would be your message to George Soros?

Zuckerberg: “Well, I know that George Soros has been the target of a lot of really horrendous attacks, and I think that is terrible. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone who’s associated with our company to be part of that.”[Video• Internal Facebook memo sees outgoing VP of comms Schrage take blame for hiring Definers [TechCrunch]

MISSISSIPI SENATE RUNOFF  — Ex-Facebook President Sean Parker Funded Race-Baiting Senator’s Super PAC — by Lachlan Markay: “Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook and the founder of the pioneering music sharing service Napster, provided a huge cash infusion this year for the Mississippi Victory Fund… He made the donation in an effort to defeat Mississippi state senator Chris McDaniel, [Sen. Cindy] Hyde-Smith’s controversial Republican opponent, during their primary race. And it worked—McDaniel, a man who had ties to the neo-Confederate movement, took money from figures connected to the KKK, and made numerous inflammatory comments about women and minorities, lost badly. But the leftover funds are now being used to help Hyde-Smith in her runoff against her Democratic opponent, former congressman and Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy.” [DailyBeast]

DRIVING THE CONVO — President Donald Trump affirmed yesterday that the U.S. would continue to stand with Saudi Arabia despite Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s suspected involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month.

“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” Trump said in a lengthy statement, which made mention of the kingdom’s agreement to invest $450 billion in the U.S. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) likened Trump’s embrace of Saudi Arabia to former President Barack Obama’s charm offensive with Iran. “One thing I learned during the Obama years is that when you look the other way regarding problems in the Middle East, it seldom works out,” Graham said in a statement. “Time and time again President Obama chose to look the other way as Iran took increasingly provocative actions. Each time it led to even worse Iranian behavior and created even larger problems for the future. Likewise, it is not in our national security interests to look the other way when it comes to the brutal murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi.”

WHY IT MATTERS — “Jared Kushner saw Prince Mohammed as critical to advancing a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians that has been a major focus of his time in the White House. Mr. Trump’s hawkish aides, encouraged by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, saw the prince as critical in marshaling a coalition to isolate Iran.” [NYTimes]

Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tells us… “Trump is far more invested in the campaign against Iran than he is the campaign for Middle East peace and his decision to prioritize strategic interests in not further penalizing Saudi Arabia for the Khashoggi murder appears to reflect this focus on pressuring Iran.”

“While I believe the Administration is fundamentally making the correct strategic decision, its tactics may backfire, given that Congress may react to the White House’s apparent indifference to the Khashoggi murder with an overreaction that does real and lasting damage to U.S. interests in the Gulf. I would have preferred the White House extract a pound of flesh from Riyadh so Congress doesn’t decide to extract ten pounds of flesh.”

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro emails us… “Trump associating Israel with his bizarre statement formally letting MBS off the hook for Khashoggi’s murder does Israel no favors. The fact is we do need a reliable Saudi partner to help confront an aggressive Iran. So does Israel. But the problem is, with MBS in charge, we don’t have one. What we have is a Saudi Arabia that shares certain strategic interests and is pursuing a limited set of reforms, but which is led by a reckless, vindictive, violent ruler whose personal vendettas actually weaken the strategic coordination against Iran. That’s not good for the United States or Israel.”

Dore Gold, former Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “It would be a mistake to read too much into President Trump’s mention of Israel as a factor in U.S. considerations regarding Saudi Arabia. Trump actually based his arguments for preserving U.S.-Saudi ties on traditional American interests including the Kingdom’s role as the world’s largest oil producer and as the decisive player in determining its price. It is true that Israeli and Gulf state interests have come to overlap in recent years, which is why it is so important to explore ways they can work together under these changed circumstances.”

Tom Friedman writes: “Last May, Hanukkah came early for Israel when Trump moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a dream of every Israeli prime minister — for free! … Well, I shouldn’t say that. He got millions of dollars in donations for the G.O.P. from right-wing Jewish megadonor Sheldon Adelson — who lobbied for the move — and warm applause from evangelicals. So Trump got something, but America got nothing. Now Christmas has come early for the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Trump gave M.B.S. a pass on Khashoggi’s murder for the promise of future arms purchases… That may be the most crass giveaway of U.S. principles by any president in American history.” [NYTimes]

Mohammed bin Salman expected to attend G20 summit — by Julian Borger: “Prince Mohammed’s presence in Buenos Aires will put Trump’s position under even more scrutiny… Jon Alterman, the director of the Middle East programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said Prince Mohammed’s decision to attend was a deliberate challenge to the international community.” [TheGuardian]

Inside the Saudis’ Fancy, Boozy, Upper East Side PR Push — by Erin Banco: “The party took place in a classic—and classically posh—uptown, East Side apartment. Plated finger foods, assorted cheeses, and charcuterie were picked at by guests. Attendees got wine and cocktails from the open bar and gathered to listen to [Turki al-]Faisal… The former intelligence chief told people in the crowd that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia couldn’t possibly move away from their strategic partnership. Too much was at stake, he said, including thwarting Iran’s aggression in the Middle East. For that, the country would lean on Israel, too, he said.” [DailyBeast]

TALK OF THE REGION — Trump administration slaps new sanctions to punish Iran and Syria — by Caitlin Oprysko: “The Trump administration on Tuesday announced new sanctions designed to punish both Iran and Syria and choke off illicit oil sales. The new actions target Syrian national Mohammad Amer Alchwiki and his Russia-based company, Global Vision Group… Administration officials said Tuesday that the scheme involved funneling money from Iran’s central bank through an Iranian company posing as a medical and pharmaceuticals business to a state-owned Russian bank account… Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime then facilitated the movement of “hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars” to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “for onward transfer to Hamas and Hezbollah.” [Politico]

REPORT — Russian proposal linked Iran sanctions relief with Syria withdrawal — by Barak Ravid: “Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a closed hearing on Monday that Russia recently proposed to Israel and the U.S. that Iran be granted relief from some U.S. sanctions in return for the removal of Iranian forces and proxies from Syria… This is the first we’re hearing that the Russians have floated an idea for Iran’s withdrawal, and that they’re linking it to U.S. sanctions.” [Axios]

David Ibsen, President of United Against Nuclear Iran, emails us…”The Iranian threat cannot be bargained away and U.S. national security interests are not for sale. Iran needs to leave Syria, Iran needs to end its support for terror, and Iran needs to abandon its nuclear program. Period.”

FDD’s Mark Dubowitz: “Russia and Iran are looking for ways to undermine the administration’s maximum pressure campaign before it really gets going. Washington should build up much greater pressure and much greater leverage before starting to deal.”

Iran turns to pragmatism as Israel woos Oman — by Saeid Jafari: “Iranian officials may not have been happy with Netanyahu visiting the capital of a friendly country in the Persian Gulf. However, they have tried to address the matter in a pragmatic way in order to prevent tensions with Oman, with which they have enjoyed close ties for decades.” [Al-Monitor]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Top Israeli minister: Trump wasting his time with peace plan: “Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked says Wednesday that reaching peace is currently impossible and Trump should focus his energy elsewhere until the Palestinians are ready to compromise. Speaking at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, Shaked says “I think personally it is a waste of time.” [APHaaretz]

— Israeli minister urges Airbnb boycott, talks up rival service — by Dan Williams: “I call today on all those who support Israel and oppose discriminatory boycotts: they should cease using Airbnb and turn to other services,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan told a diplomatic conference hosted by the Jerusalem Post newspaper. “By the way, BookingDOTcom is a great service,” added Erdan, the point-man in Israeli government efforts to combat pro-Palestinian boycotts.” [Reuters]

SIGHTING — U.S. Ambassador David Friedman attended the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House yesterday. He entered the event with Jared Kushner, according to a White House pool report.

ON THE HILL — Congress to probe Ivanka Trump’s private email use in WH — by Chad Day: “New revelations about the extent of Ivanka Trump’s personal email use in the White House will be getting a hard look from House Democrats when they take power in January… The report prompted Sen. Ron Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, the outgoing chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, to send letters to the White House requesting a written response and briefing… The action came the same day Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the likely incoming chairman of the House Oversight panel, said he would pressure Trump’s administration to turn over records about the use of private email for public business by Ivanka Trump, [Jared] Kushner and other senior officials.” [AP]

HEADLINE — Meet Carlos Lopez-Cantera: Florida’s first Jewish governor (for five days): “[Florida] will have its first Jewish governor on an interim basis for five days when [Rick] Scott is sworn into the Senate on Jan. 3, 2019. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera… will become the Sunshine State’s [governor]… until former Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis… is sworn in as governor on Jan. 8, 2019.” [JNS

** 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: Oren Katzeff to Succeed Dawn Ostroff as Conde Nast Entertainment President [HollywoodReporter• Roman Abramovich’s Tel Aviv Mansion Celebrates Old Tel Aviv Elegance [Calcalist]

STARTUP NATION — Computer vision: how Israel’s secret soldiers drive its tech success — by Mehul Srivastava: “When Ofir Schlam, the co-founder of Taranis, an Israeli agriculture tech start-up, was growing up on a farm in Israel, he would regularly wake at 5am to search through the crop for the tiniest caterpillars, pests and rot. Years later, when he joined the military and was attached to the prime minister’s office, he adapted that skillset to analyze thousands of surveillance images, looking for the smallest anomaly. One of his key senior executives at Taranis, Amihay Gornik, developed his expertise working at large aerospace companies, designing imaging parts for military drones.” [FinancialTimes]

SPOTLIGHT — How an obscure legal document turned New York’s court system into a debt-collection machine — by Zachary Mider and Zeke Faux: “Some U.S. states outlawed confessions in the middle of the 20th century, and federal regulators banned them for consumer loans in 1985. But New York still allows them for business loans. For David Glass, they were the solution to a problem: People were stealing his money. Among the hustlers and con men who work the bottom rungs of Wall Street, Glass is a legend. Before he was 30, he’d inspired the stock-scam movie Boiler Room. Later busted by the FBI for insider trading, he avoided prison by recording incriminating tapes of his old colleagues. Even his enemies say Glass… is one of the sharpest operators they’ve ever dealt with.”

“In 2009, while still on probation, Glass and a friend named Isaac Stern started a company called Yellowstone Capital LLC… In the aftermath of the financial crisis, banks were cutting back on lending just when small businesses most needed cash. Companies such as Yellowstone stepped in. They got around lending regulations by calling what they did “merchant cash advances,” not loans—a distinction judges recognize though there’s little practical difference… Yellowstone would hire anyone who could sell. A nightclub bouncer sat next to ultra-Orthodox Jews fresh out of religious school. The best brokers earned tens of thousands of dollars a month, former employees say; others slept at the office, fought, sold loose cigarettes, and stole from each other… To keep the troops focused, management would stack a pile of cash on a table and hold a drawing for closers.” [Bloomberg]

FILM — Rosamund Pike Dramatizes Marie Colvin’s Life Story — by Paige Williams: “The reporter Marie Colvin… was deployed to conflict after conflict… In 2012, Colvin ventured into Syria. After she reported that Bashar al-Assad’s forces were slaughtering civilians in the ravaged city of Homs, the media center where she was working was bombed, allegedly by the regime, which had discovered her location… The filmmaker Matthew Heineman recently turned Colvin’s life story into a film, “A Private War,” based on Marie Brenner’s posthumous Vanity Fair profile of the reporter and starring Rosamund Pike.” [NewYorker]

Holocaust Survivor, Now Living in Queens, Details Remarkable Triumph Over Tragedy — by Amanda Farinacci: “[Sam] Solasz rarely talked about his wartime experiences, how he repeatedly, improbably escaped death. But now Solasz is telling his story, in a memoir, “Angel of the Ghetto,” which details his harrowing life in Nazi-occupied Poland, including the infamous burning of the Great Synagogue of Bialystok with Jews locked inside… When the war ended, Solasz made his way to New York, working as a butcher for a large meat supplier. Today, Master Purveyors is an $85 million-dollar-a-year business with 80 employees… Solasz says he’s sharing his story so history doesn’t repeat itself. Citing the deadly shooting rampage at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, he says it’s an idea that’s not so farfetched.” [NY1]

Suit Accuses Dutch Museums of Holding On to Nazi-Tainted Art — by Nina Siegal: “Throughout World War II, the Dutch art dealers Benjamin and Nathan Katz sold art they owned, including works by Rembrandt and Jan Steen, to Nazi officials, in one case in exchange for exit visas… Three generations of the Katz family… say more than 140 of the works are held by the Dutch government to whom the Allies returned them after seizing them back from the Nazis… On Monday, an American heir of Benjamin Katz brought the dispute to the U.S. court system with a lawsuit that demands the Dutch government and the museums return 143 works.” [NYTimes]

ACROSS THE POND — Labour PM Clement Attlee took in Jewish child refugee who fled Nazis — by Rajeev Syal: “Clement Attlee, the Labour prime minister whose government founded the welfare state, looked after a child refugee who escaped from the Nazis in the months leading up to the second world war, it can be revealed. The then-leader of the opposition sponsored a Jewish mother and her two children… During [Paul] Willer’s stay [with his family], Attlee was formulating Labour’s policy to oppose Hitler’s advances towards the Sudetenland, a policy that led him to cast doubt upon Chamberlain’s Munich agreement and claims of “peace in our time”. … Willer will renew his bond with the Attlee family on Wednesday at the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport organized by the Association of Jewish Refugees.” [TheGuardian]

TALK OF THE NATION — Linda Sarsour apologizes to Jewish members of the Women’s March — by Ben Sales: “Linda Sarsour released a statement apologizing on behalf of the Women’s March for causing harm to the movement’s Jewish members and for being too slow to show its commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. “We should have been faster and clearer in helping people understand our values and our commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. We regret that,” said the statement, issued Tuesday afternoon.”[JTA]

John Podhoretz writes… “Words Spoken to My Daughter, One Week After the Horrors at the Tree of Life Synagogue: The theologian Emil Fackenheim said Auschwitz had required this of us—that we were not allowed to grant Hitler any posthumous victories. He called it the Commandment of Auschwitz. It is also the Commandment of the Tree of Life. The monster who slaughtered and wounded all those people wanted to kill Jews for being Jews. “All Jews must die,” he shouted as he murdered them… If you want to make Robert Bowers’s words turn to ash, follow in the footsteps of Abraham and Sarah. Live as a Jew. Have Jewish children.” [CommentaryMagazine

TALK OF THE TOWN — Ultra-Orthodox schools could face pressure under new NY regs: “Private and religious schools that don’t provide instruction “substantially equivalent” to New York state’s public schools will be threatened with loss of funding for textbooks, transportation and other services under new state Education Department rules. The guidelines… could have an immediate impact on ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools that critics have accused of providing little or no instruction in secular subjects like English and math.”[AP]

PIC OF THE DAY — A rabbi, identified as Rav Zeff Leff from Moshav Matisyahu, Israel, spotted studying during the Israel vs. Scotland Nations League soccer game. [Pic

Rabbi David Wolpe‏ with Frank Luntz on the field before the Rams-Chiefs game in LA. [Pic]

SPOTTED — Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) attended the wedding of the grandson of the Grand Rabbi of Bobov, Rebbi Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam, held at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. [Pic]

NOMINATION — President Trump announced yesterday the nomination of Safra Catz as a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, among others.

MAZEL TOV — Keith Sonderling, senior policy adviser at the wage and hour division at the Labor Department, got engaged to Fara Klein, manager of government affairs at the American Forest and Paper Association. The couple met at a Jewish outreach event for Jeb Bush in Miami and were introduced by Lisa Spies. [Pic] h/t Playbook

TODAY IN HISTORY — FBI arrests Jonathan Pollard, Nov. 21, 1985. [Politico]

BIRTHDAYS — WEDNESDAY: British entrepreneur and philanthropist, Baron Harold Stanley Kalms turns 87… Academy Award-winning actress, Goldie Hawn turns 73… Founder, Chairman and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse (1973-2013), currently holding these same positions at Generation Tux, an online tuxedo rental platform, George Zimmer turns 70… Beverly Hills resident, Julie Shuer turns 66… US District Judge for the Northern District of California since 2014, she was the president of Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo, CA (1998-2000), Judge Beth Labson Freeman turns 65… Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group, Thomas Rothmanturns 64… VP of wealth management at the San Francisco office of Taylor Frigon Capital Management, he serves on AIPAC’s National Council, Jonathan Wornick turns 55… CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Jonathan A. Greenblatt turns 48…

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and political commentator, editor of the Jerusalem Post (2002-2004), he moved from the WSJ to the New York Times in 2017, Bret Stephens (family name was Ehrlich) turns 45… Born in Teheran, his family emigrated after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, he is the founder and publisher of the business magazine The Real Deal, Amir Korangy turns 45… Political Director of ABC News, Rick Klein turns 42… Director of government relations at the Hershey Company, she was previously a deputy assistant secretary at the US Department of Transportation, Joanna Liberman Turner turns 42… US foreign service officer, Danielle Hana Monosson turns 42… Reporter at Bloomberg News and Businessweek, Max Abelson turns 34… Judy Brilliant… Ruth Shapiro

THURSDAY: Majority owner of MLB’s New York Mets, he was a high school teammate of Sandy Koufax and went on to a successful career as a real estate developer, Fred Wilpon turns 82… Professor at NYU Law School, she served in the Carter and Clinton administrations and on the Obama transition team, she once taught Hebrew School in Pittsburgh, Sally Katzen turns 76… Novelist and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, he was formerly CEO of PJ Media, Roger Lichtenberg Simon turns 75… Born to a Jewish family in Tunisia, he served as a member of the Canadian House of Commons (1997-2006), Jacques Saada turns 71… Former president (1996-2010) of the 2.2 million member Service Employees International Union, now a senior fellow at the Economic Security Project, Andy Stern turns 68… Television personality with past shows on MSNBC, CNN and Bloomberg TV, formerly an advertising executive, Donny Deutsch turns 61… Marty Robinson turns 61…

Billionaire Ukrainian businessman best known for being the chairman of Dynamo Kyiv (Kiev’s soccer team) since 2002, Ihor Surkis turns 60… Senior editor and writer for The Daily Beast and columnist and editorial writer for the New York Daily News, Harry Siegel turns 41… Actress, model, singer and brand ambassador for Israel’s Sodastream home-carbonation company, Scarlett Johansson turns 34… Manager of public relations, communications and media relations for theSkimm, Jessica Sara Turtletaub turns 33… Actor, who has appeared in films directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, the Coen brothers and Warren Beatty, Alden Ehrenreich turns 29… SVP of Development for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Tim R. Cohen… Chief of Staff of Israel’s Embassy in Washington, Yarden Golan

Nov
20

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Daily Kickoff: 2020 race is on; will other top Dems join Booker on anti-BDS? | Airbnb delists settlements | Kushner bros buy LES hotel

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2020 WATCH — 2020 Democratic contenders already eyeing top staff in Iowa — by Thomas Beaumont: “Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has been especially aggressive in reaching out to potential staffers, according to multiple [people] who have spoken to him. That is in keeping with other early moves that suggest he would make a strong play in Iowa should he launch a campaign… Sen. Kamala Harris of California and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also have been in touch with top potential staffers and party organizers… Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett, a relatively new name to the 2020 discussion, has been in contact with some influential Iowa Democrats, while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo… has contacted Des Moines-area Democrats.” [AP]

Neighbors wage shadow campaigns in New Hampshire for 2020 — by Steve Peoples: “[Bernie] Sanders, 77, is considering a 2020 bid, a senior aide said. He is expected to make a final decision before Christmas, though an announcement is not expected until after New Year’s. Sanders’ team has been in regular contact with former staff and its broad base of supporters in New Hampshire and elsewhere, in addition to reaching out to some former Clinton backers.” [AP• Bernie Sanders to huddle with progressive leaders in Burlington [Politico]

Steyer takes step toward 2020 presidential bid — by Alex Thompson: “Former billionaire investor, climate activist and impeachment agitator Tom Steyer will take several steps toward a 2020 presidential bid Tuesday. That will include a six-figure web ad buy on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, along with a full-page ad in USA Today and other Gannett newspapers outlining a political platform, a revamped TomSteyer.com and the announcement of five town halls across the country.” [Politico]

Do wealthy CEOs have what it takes to be president? — by Brian Sozzi: “You can count leadership sensei and highly-regarded tech CEO Dan Schulman out of the 2020 race for the White House despite his impressive resume. PayPal’s 60-year-old CEO told me on a fintech panel discussion at the Museum of Finance that he has no plans to run for office. Schulman said he is very happy at PayPal and will continue to focus on using his perch atop the mobile payments giant to do good… “As I have gotten older, I have thought deeply about the state of our world and I think it’s incumbent upon business leaders to take stands for the values their companies stand for,” Schulman explained.” [YahooFinance]

2020 Democratic hopefuls keep distance from Israel anti-boycott bill — by Michael Wilner: “Most senators who have expressed an interest in running for president this cycle – Senators Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York – have declined to join 57 of their colleagues to cosponsor the Israel Anti-Boycott Act… So far, only one senator widely expected to run– Cory Booker of New Jersey– has said he will change course and throw his support behind the legislation with co-sponsorship. “Initial concerns that this bill unintentionally infringed on individuals’ First Amendment rights have now been addressed by changes agreed upon earlier this year, and I feel confident that those modifications safeguard Americans’ constitutional right to free speech,” Booker told Jewish Insider, a Washington-based newsletter, earlier this month.” [JPost]

— NY Post editorial“Here’s another test of the Democratic Party’s rush to new extremes: Will any other 2020 candidates join Sen. Cory Booker in support of the bipartisan Israel Anti-Boycott Act?”

TOP TALKER — Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business last year — by Carol Leonnig and Josh Dawsey: “White House ethics officials learned of Trump’s repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner. The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter’s practices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton.”

“Trump said she was not familiar with some details of the rules, according to people with knowledge of her reaction… In a statement, Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for [Abbe] Lowell, acknowledged that the president’s daughter occasionally used her private email before she was briefed on the rules, but he said none of her messages contained classified information.” [WashPost]

JI INTERVIEW —  Congressman-elect Max Rose (D-NY) discussed his surprising victory over Republican incumbent Dan Donovan in a phone interview with Jewish Insider‘s Jacob Kornbluh while at orientation on Capitol Hill last week.

“We not only knew that we could win, but we always had a plan to win,” Rose said about his 6 percent margin victory over Donovan, who represented the more Republican-leaning district of Staten Island in New York City. “We did not run this race out of any allegiance to the Democratic Party. We ran this race with a goal of beginning the rewarding process of changing politics in this country and that’s what we are all about.”

Rose said that despite being a member of the Democratic majority, he intends to join the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, co-chaired by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY). “It’s important that we put the country first and that’s what I’m always going to be about, no matter how tough the decision is.” And when it comes to foreign policy, Rose says he would support President Donald Trump’s moves when necessary. “I am not in this to make sure Donald Trump does not get any wind. I am in this so I can make sure that America as a country and the world is safer, more prosperous, and a more just place, and I’ll work with anybody, this president included.”

Asked about his new colleagues in Congress who have shifted away from the traditional longstanding support of Israel, Rose — who pledged during the campaign to be both a proud Democrat and a proud supporter of Israel — said he believes in “quiet coalition building and relationship building” when it comes to Israel and the Middle East. “I believe that is central around supporting Israel, and I am committed to fostering our very strong and bipartisan relationship with Israel,” he added.

Rose attended AIPAC’s annual real estate luncheon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan yesterday. [Pic]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Netanyahu’s Coalition in Israel Survives, for Now — by Isabel Kershner: “The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel appeared to have averted collapse on Monday — at least for now — after a hawkish coalition partner backed down from a threat to defect… With elections due in November 2019, the remaining coalition partners are already in campaign mode and experts said the brittle government was unlikely to last more than a few months.” [NYTimesLATimes]

In Israel, a Coalition of the Barely Willing — by Neri Zilber: “The victory served as a reminder that Netanyahu, despite his legal trouble and his occasionally rebellious coalition partners, remains firmly in control of the Israeli political realm almost 10 years into his premiership with not a single rival on the left or right who can challenge his leadership.” [ForeignPolicy]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Israeli Government Crisis Raises Fresh Doubts for U.S. Peace Plan — by Felicia Schwartz and Dov Lieber: “The government crisis, while resolved for the moment, injected fresh uncertainty into a peace plan that Mr. Trump said he anticipated would be introduced by February… The Trump administration is carefully watching the lead up to Israeli elections, U.S. officials said. Polls must take place by November 2019. The team charged with the peace negotiations doesn’t want to add a possible trip wire for Mr. Netanyahu into the run-up to elections and could hold off on putting the proposals forward.”

“He’s not completely out of the woods,” said Emmanuel Navon, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum… “Any schmuck in the coalition can blackmail him with whatever reason, it’s really hard to handle,” Mr. Navon added.” [WSJ]

Imminent release of US peace plan seen as highly unlikely — by Joyce Karam: “Talk of an imminent release of the US plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians is “premature”, a senior Arab diplomatic source in Washington told The National… The diplomatic source, who has met with the peace team in Washington, said the release of the document… had not been decided… The administration has been holding meetings on the issue since last week. Under Secretary of State David Hale held a closed meeting with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer on Monday. Last week King Abdullah of Jordan visited Washington and held talks with the administration.”

“Robert Danin, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations… said it would be a mistake to publish the plan under current conditions. “It is a mistake to roll out a plan when conditions are so inauspicious, and without the buy-in of one of the two key negotiating partners, which is clearly the case right now,” he told The National… Ghaith Al Omari, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, expected key Arab partners such as Jordan to urge caution and delay the release of the plan.” [TheNational]

U.S. Evangelicals Put Their Faith in Netanyahu as Trump Readies Mideast Peace Plan — by Amir Tibon: “Robert Stearns, an evangelical pastor who has led hundreds of groups on visits to Israel over the years, notes that evangelicals will have some clear “red lines” in any peace plan… The pastor notes that most evangelicals have the utmost respect for Netanyahu. If he were to come out against the Trump peace plan, that would have a strong impact.” [Haaretz]

Karen Deyoung on the future of the U.S.-Saudi relationship: “On the peace process, the administration wants the Saudis to deliver the Palestinians, through moral suasion or paying them off, or some combination,” said Anne Patterson, former President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state for the Middle East… Jared Kushner… has cultivated a personal relationship with Mohammed [bin Salman] in hopes that he will lead the Arab world toward a new rapprochement with Israel.”

“While Mohammed’s father, King Salman, may be content to allow his son to lead on most issues, he has repeatedly made his views on the peace process clear. “The Palestinian cause is our main concern and will remain so until our brothers, the Palestinian people, gain all their legitimate rights, especially the establishment of their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Salman said Monday in his annual address to Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council.”[WashPost]

AT THE UN — Israel to quit global migration pact after requests from U.S. and Hungary — by Barak Ravid: “Israel is expected to withdraw from the UN Global Compact on Migration after requests from the U.S. and Hungary… The message from the Trump administration was that the U.S. would be pleased if Israel were to pull out… Netanyahu was asked today about the issue and said Israel is coordinated with the Trump administration and will act accordingly.” [Axios]

BUT… Israel votes against U.S. attempt to weaken UN measure on sexual harassment: “Trump’s administration sought to scrap language in the non-binding resolution on access to reproductive health care services, safe abortions and recognizing the right of women to decide on matters related to their sexuality… Two amendments to the text presented by the United States were rejected in votes at a General Assembly committee. Israel, which usually backs the U.S. position at the United Nations, voted against the U.S. proposals, as did European countries.” [ToI]

SPOTTED LAST NIGHT — U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon at the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center annual gala held at the Plaza Hotel in New York. [Pic]

Airbnb Ends West Bank Settlement Listings, Causing Uproar in Israel — by Isabel Kershner: “On Monday, Airbnb, long under pressure from Palestinian officials, anti-settlement advocates and human rights groups to end its West Bank settlement listings, announced it would do just that. “We are most certainly not the experts when it comes to the historical disputes in this region,” the company said in a news release… In the end, the company said it would remove about 200 listings in West Bank settlements that “are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.” … Israel’s tourism minister, Yariv Levin, called on Airbnb to rescind its “discriminatory decision,” which he called “a disgraceful surrender.” [NYTimesGlobes]

Israel to turn to U.S. government over Airbnb removal of settlement listings — by Jeffrey Heller: “We will approach the U.S. government because 25 U.S. states have sanctions against American companies that boycott Israel,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said on Israeli Army Radio… Erdan said Airbnb “will have to explain why it is taking this discriminatory and racist line here in particular and not in other conflict zones in the world.” [Reuters]

Michael Oren tweeted Monday: “Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria — not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea. Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism. No one should use its services.”

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Jared and Josh Kushner buying luxe Lower East Side hotel [PageSix• Jonah Peretti’s Big Idea to Revive BuzzFeed’s Fortunes? A Merger With Rivals [NYTimes Bob Iger gets Fox approval in China[Variety Inside the Shady PR Firm That Attacked George Soros to Help Facebook [DailyBeast• Canadian mogul Sylvan Adams gives $5 million to Israel moon bid project [ToI• The story of Li Ka-shing, the billionaire who made early bets on Facebook, Spotify [TechInAsia• Arison selling 4.26 pct of Israel’s Bank Hapoalim for $385 million [Reuters]

SPOTLIGHT — Meet The Voice Designer Helping Amazon’s Alexa Be Part Of Your Family — by Amir Mizroch: “Adva Levin is a content producer and designer, and the founder of Pretzel Labs, an Israel-based game design studio that creates voice-first experiences for kids and families. She has been busy building application skills for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, focusing on playful voice interactions for families and children.” [Forbes]

Palantir, the Peter Thiel-backed company that sold big data services to ICE and NYPD, has a CEO who is a ‘self-described socialist’ — by Benjamin Goggin: “Palantir CEO Alex Karp is a self-proclaimed socialist, according to a Wall Street Journal report… Karp admitted to The Wall Street Journal that his family has expressed their displeasure with Palantir’s work and acknowledged that Trump-era politics has muddied Palantir’s saleability. Palantir has been reported to have contracts managing, sorting, and aggregating big data to the likes of the NSA, FBI, CIA, ICE, and numerous military agencies… So far, Palantir’s whole business model has been based on empowering federal and state bureaucracy, and certain corporations, with exclusive big data tools.” [BusinessInsider]

TALK OF THE NATION — Women’s March founder calls for group’s leadership to step down — by Megan Keller: “Teresa Shook, the woman who first suggested a women’s march following the inauguration of President Trump, is calling on four of the group’s leaders to step down, arguing they have steered the movement from its correct course. Shook specifically called out Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland and Carmen Perez of Women’s March, Inc., for allowing “anti-Semitism… and hateful, racist rhetoric” to become a part of the platform.” [TheHill]

Batya Ungar-Sargon writes… “The Women’s March Is Abusing Their Power — By Pretending It Doesn’t Exist: On Sunday night, Linda Sarsour, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, broke her silence about Louis Farrakhan… While Sarsour acknowledges the “real pain, hurt and trauma” that Jews are currently experiencing, it is hard to read the statement and not see the Jewish community as its main antagonist. It casts the leaders of the Women’s March as the victims of a smear campaign organized first by two Jews and then by others who have called for Farrakhan to be denounced…The statement reinforces a tragic reality: The Women’s March has positioned itself in an oppositional relationship with the Jewish community.” [Forward]

LONG READ — The Truth About George Soros — by James Kirchick: “With Soros being one of several prominent Trump critics targeted by an attempted mail bomber last month, and in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, Americans—Jews and gentile alike—have become more alert to the poison of anti-Semitic rhetoric and where it can lead. Like any discussion about a billionaire liberal Jew heavily involved in politics and public policy, debates over Soros will be freighted with sensitivities over history, stereotypes, and innuendo. Yet there is a deep problem at play in the left’s umbrageous response to criticism of Soros, one which illuminates tensions at work within his extensive philanthropic efforts. The American conservative critique of George Soros carries a different valence than the European right-wing nationalist one… Many American conservatives oppose Soros not because he’s Jewish. They oppose him because he’s liberal.” [Tablet]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Swastika painted on Duke mural honoring synagogue victims: “University president Vincent Price said in a letter to the school community that a red swastika was painted Sunday night on the tribute to those who died in the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Price condemned the swastika as cowardly vandalism.” [AP]

Three Swastikas in 9 Days: Spate of Anti-Semitic Incidents on North Campus Stokes Fear — by Yuichiro Kakutani and Paris Ghazi: “In just nine days, three swastikas were reported on North Campus [at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York] — two in dorms and one near a dining hall. The anti-semitic signs were found across the residential area and provoked a mixture of surprise, concern and disgust amongst the Jewish community, freshmen and other Cornellians aware of the incidents.” [CornellSun]

Israeli television series Nebsu wins Emmy award — by Amy Spiro: “Israeli television comedy series Nebsu, which depicts the life of an Israeli couple with the man being an Ethiopian-Israeli and the woman an Ashkenazi-Israeli, won the Emmy award for best foreign comedy show on Monday night. The award was received by Yossi Wassa who created the show.”[JPostDeadline]

Netflix sparks outrage in Jordan after turning Amman street into ‘Israel’ — by Elizabeth MacLeod: “Netflix has committed a major faux pax in Jordan, transforming a street in the capital Amman into an Israeli street and sparking an outpouring of anger from Jordanians hostile to Israel. The set featured Hebrew-language street signs, cars with Israeli number plates and actors dressed as Israel Defense Force soldiers. According to The Times of Israel, the scenes were constructed over the weekend to portray Tel Aviv.”[Telegraph]

Inside Isaac Mizrahi’s cheeky one-man show — by Ian Mohr: “Isaac Mizrahi has launched his new one-man show, “I&ME” — which draws on material from his memoir, “I.M.,” to be published in February by Flatiron Books — at the Django jazz club at the Roxy Hotel through Dec. 4… Along with a trademark segment, in which he re-gifts items from swag bags he’s collected through the years to members of the audience, he also shares anecdotes about growing up gay in a small Jewish community in Brooklyn and scaling the heights of fashion.” [PageSix]

HORA ALERT — A reader sent us this photo of Sen. Chuck Schumer dancing with his daughter Alison at her wedding on Sunday [Pic]

TRANSITION — Trump nominates handbag designer Lana Marks as envoy to South Africa: President Donald Trump has nominated Lana Marks, CEO of the Lana Marks Collections design firm, to be the new U.S. ambassador to South Africa. Marks, who was born Lana Banks, grew up in the city of Port Elizabeth, where her family were prominent members of the city’s Jewish community. [ToI]

REMEMBERING — Romanian diplomat who fought anti-Semitism dies: “Romania’s government said Tuesday that diplomat Mihnea Constanescu, praised internationally for his efforts to combat anti-Semitism, has died. He was 57… US-based Jewish rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center called Constantinescu one of the “great figures of our generation in the fight against anti-Semitism.” Constantinescu chaired the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016, contributing to the adoption of a working definition of anti-Semitism that year.” [AP]

BIRTHDAYS: Art dealer and former owner of MLB’s Miami Marlins (2002-2017) (a team known as the Florida Marlins until 2011), Jeffrey Loria turns 78… Former Vice President of the United States (2009-2017), Joe Biden turns 76… Actor, comedy writer and producer, best known for creating and performing the satirical stuntman character Super Dave Osborne, Stewart Robert “Bob” Einstein turns 76… Singer and songwriter best known for writing and performing the song “Spirit in the Sky,” Norman Greenbaum turns 76… National Security Advisor of the United States since April 2018, John R. Bolton turns 70… Major-General (reserves) in the IDF, he is a former combat pilot, military attaché to Washington and head of Aman (the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate), Amos Yadlin turns 67… Kings County, NY (Brooklyn) Supreme Court judge since 2015, previously a civil court judge (2008-2015) and a NYC Councilman (1983-2001), Noach Dear turns 65…

Pulitzer Prize-winning national affairs writer for The Wall Street Journal (1993-2000), he is the author of six well regarded books, Ronald Steven “Ron” Suskind turns 59… White House official in both the Bush 41 and Bush 43 administrations, now a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, Jay Lefkowitz turns 56… Board and Executive Committee member of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and a trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Heidi Monkarsh turns 54… American-born member of Knesset since 2016 for the Likud party, he campaigns for expanding Jewish access to the Temple Mount, Yehuda Glick turns 53… Hedge fund manager, founder and president of Greenlight Capital, David Einhorn turns 50… Attorney in Goulston & Storrs Boston-based real estate practice, Zev D. Gewurz turns 47… Anchor for Yahoo Finance, she was previously Bloomberg TV’s senior markets correspondent, Julie Hyman turns 42…

Political consultant and opposition research specialist for the DNC and for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, founder of Beehive Research, Devorah Adler turns 44… Chief relationship officer for NCSY’s Southern Region, Rabbi Benjamin Gonsher turns 39… Outfielder for four MLB teams, Cubs, Rays, Athletics and Twins (2007-2015), he played center field for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Sam Fuld turns 37… Senior manager at Saban Capital Group, the Saban Family Foundation and the Cheryl Saban Self-Worth Foundation for Women & Girls, Jesse Bronner turns 37… Actress and playwright, Halley Feiffer turns 34… Senior health care reporter for Politico Pro covering health care politics and policy in the states, Dan Goldberg… Michael Jankelowitz… James Goldman… Alexis Weiss

Kafe Knesset for October 19

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mr. Liberman Goes to Washington: Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman departed last night on a four-day visit to Washington, DC and New York City. This is the second time…

Kafe Knesset for October 18

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hamas not welcome: Last night the Security Cabinet concluded a two-day session debating the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. A joint statement was issued describing Israel’s new “red…

Kafe Knesset for October 17

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

To evacuate or not to evacuate? New Labor chair Avi Gabbay has been making headlines for a few days now with a series of statements signaling an apparent…

Kafe Knesset for October 16

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bibi versus the Police: With the continued corruption investigations against Netanyahu, the Prime Minister has taken his responses up a notch. Now he is not only blaming the…

Kafe Knesset for October 9

Monday, October 9, 2017

Family man: Israelis are very familiar with Bibi’s family story. They are especially familiar with his legendary brother, Yoni Netanyahu, who was killed leading the Entebbe raid in…

Kafe Knesset for October 4

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Liberman “believes” Trump: Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman gave a lengthy pre-Sukkot interview to Walla. After declaring Syrian President Assad’s victory, he also had some interesting answers to share…