Daily Kickoff: Cliff Sims exclusive | How Israel could factor in the 2020 Dem primary | Meet the Orthodox Marathon Mother

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JI EXCLUSIVE — The following is an excerpt from the twelfth chapter of former White House comms aide Cliff Sims’s forthcoming memoir, Team of Vipers (Jan 29.) In it, he gives a behind-the-scenes view of Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem:

“The day after the announcement was made, the president walked out of the Oval Office to record a video. His attention immediately went to the muted television hanging on the wall. Images of Palestinians protesting the Jerusalem decision were flashing across the screen. ‘How widespread is it?’ Trump asked. ‘It’s hard to tell,’ I replied. ‘They always just show footage from the hot spots.'”

“Some protestors screamed ‘Down with America!’ and ‘Down with Israel!’ while others chanted in Rhythm, ‘Trump, Trump, you will see— Palestine will be free.’ They torched American flags and burned posters of the President’s face. Angry mobs stomped on his picture and others hanged him in effigy. As we continued to watch, I felt an urge to look away. It reminded me of the feeling I get when I see someone trip and stumble in public. Their instinct is to immediately look around to see if anyone noticed; my instinct is to look away so they won’t feel embarrassed.”

“The President had done nothing wrong. He had taken a stand and made good on a promise that Clinton, Bush, and Obama had all bailed on. I was proud of what he had done — we all were. But I could not help but feel uncomfortable as he calmly watched a mob carry a stuffed Trump through the streets on a cross. I find it difficult to explain what it feels like to watch that level of hatred being displayed on TV screens all over the world while standing right next to the person at whom the hatred is being directed.”

“And yet the President was the calm in the eye of the storm. He watched the segment casually but intently, without his usual running commentary. And when it concluded, he turned to me without seeming to have been affected negatively in any way and asked — à la President Jed Bartlet in The West Wing — “What’s next?” [JewishInsider]

Amb. Dan Shapiro writes… “Democratic members of Congress and presidential candidates should commit to the following: While a Democratic administration would keep the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, the United States would also speak openly about its expectation that any two-state solution include two capitals in a unified city, with a U.S. embassy to the State of Palestine in Arab East Jerusalem. In order to harmonize the U.S. diplomatic posture with the goal of two states, a Democratic administration will re-establish a U.S. consulate general, which conducts diplomacy with the Palestinians, as a separate mission from the U.S. Embassy to Israel, reversing Trump’s merger of the two missions.” [ForeignPolicy]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired from CNN following comments he made about Israel, joined Lara Friedman, President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, on the Intercept’s Deconstructed podcast, hosted by Mehdi Hasan, where they discussed how Israel will feature in the 2020 Democratic primary:

Hill: “It will not be an issue. I think saying that you support Israel unequivocally is like kissing a baby in politics. I think everyone will say it, they’ll have their quick purity test, and then we’ll move on. I don’t think there’s going to be space for nuances.”

Hasan: In the media, yes. But don’t you think the Democratic base is shifting a bit on this?

Hill: “Not enough to make a demand in the primary, I don’t imagine… Now, the one thing that could complicate that is Bernie Sanders because he obviously, in the last election cycle, was a little more nuanced on this issue.”

Friedman: “I think it will be… I think [that] you are going to see the people who want to see Democrats tearing each other apart, folks from the right, who are going to insist on raising this. We saw this issue weaponized to effectively destroy the Women’s March. And it’s not because anyone really saw this as the number one issue. This was manufactured as an issue to take what was one of the most significant grassroots movements in my lifetime and shred it, and it was progressives doing it to themselves at the behest of outside parties.”

Hasan: So there could be a pincer movement on some of these centrist candidates, where the right is demanding loyalty tests, and the left is saying, ‘We’re demanding you speak for justice and equality for the Palestinians.’

Friedman: “I think you are going to get either one or both of those, and if either one of those is present, this becomes an issue. Not because it’s important, not because people actually care about it, not because voters are voting on it, but because this is political.”

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) discussed recent comments made by Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) on the AJC Passport podcast with Seffi Kogen: “In general, the freshman class has some young people. They have strong views that may differ from ours, but there’s not a movement there. I don’t see the movement… Don’t make a generalization over a couple of representatives who have deep roots in other communities.”

“I think it’s important to know that there are lots of people like me, who are not Jewish. In fact, one of the reasons I love Project Interchange is because it takes lots of people that aren’t Jewish. We’ve got to get more people that aren’t Jewish to go to Israel. You know, I love the programs that send young Jews to Israel, but they ought to take their roommates with them. Israel’s going to survive, in my judgment, only if we have non-Jews that understand Israel, its history, and its importance to our future.”

Freshman Rep. David Trone (D-MD) writes… “Optimism for bipartisan solutions in Congress: The source of my optimism is from the possibilities I saw on a recent trip to Israel with other incoming members. The visit emphasized the importance of bipartisanship in our support for this strategic alliance. Just as important, it provided an opportunity for future colleagues to begin building personal relationships on both sides of the aisle, relationships that will be crucial in finding common ground on the many important issues facing our country.” [TheHill]

HEARD ON THE SENATE FLOOR — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), responding to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), who accused him of shedding “crocodile tears” over Coast Guard members not being paid during the government shutdown: “The senator from Colorado spent a great deal of time yelling, spent a great deal of time attacking me personally… It takes some degree of chutzpah to stand up after filibustering funding for the government, as the Democrats did, and to blame the shutdown on the opposing party.”[CSPAN]

STATE-SIDE — Airbnb faces civil rights suit in U.S. over West Bank settlement boycott — by Tovah Lazaroff: “Five US citizens filed a civil rights lawsuit in California this week against Airbnb, claiming its decision to delist rental properties in settlements was discriminatory to Jews and akin to Nazi boycotts. Two of the plaintiffs also hold Israeli citizenship and live in the Efrat settlement in West Bank, and three live in the US.” [JPost

ACROSS THE SEA — Irish parliament passes bill to penalize firms trading with Israeli companies in the West Bank — by Peter Flanagan: “The proposal, which aims to prohibit the purchase of goods or services produced in settlements, passed the so-called second stage in the Irish parliament by 78 votes to 45. Ireland’s minority government opposed the bill, which passed with support from opposition parties and independent lawmakers… The bill is “not legally sound,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in parliament Wednesday. “These are issues we need to discuss at an EU level.”

“Israel’s Foreign Ministry called the bill “an expression of pure hostility on the part of its initiators that deserves every condemnation.” … The proposals raises questions as to whether it could hit U.S. tech firms with Irish and Israeli operations. Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are among firms with offices in both countries.” [Bloomberg]

INTERVIEW — Deborah E. Lipstadt compares anti-Semitism on the Left and the Right in an interview with Isaac Chotiner: “We’re not talking about completely different phenomena. They’re the same because they rely on the same stereotypical elements. I know it when I see it. Now, that’s not a sufficient definition, but it’s that way with anti-Semitism. I know it when I see it because these are the elements that are there—something to do with money, something to do with finance, that Jews will do anything and everything, irrespective of whom it harms or displaces or burdens. Both the right and the left share those kinds of stereotypes.” [NewYorker]

INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — Officials rejected Jared Kushner for top secret security clearance, but were overruled — by Laura Strickler, Ken Dilanian and Peter Alexander: “Jared Kushner’s application for a top secret clearance was rejected by two career White House security specialists after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him — but their supervisor overruled the recommendation and approved the clearance… Kushner’s FBI background check identified questions about his family’s business, his foreign contacts, his foreign travel and meetings he had during the campaign.” [NBCNews]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — Benjamin Netanyahu’s obsession with the press — by Anshel Pffefer: “In October 2015 a journalist called Amir Tibon was asked by his editors at Walla!, a popular Israeli news website, to analyze Netanyahu’s handling of a wave of shooting and stabbing attacks by Palestinians. The resulting piece was balanced, but included some mild criticism of the prime minister. According to Mr. Tibon, the next morning he received a phone call from his editor-in-chief, who said, “We can’t publish this. You know what the circumstances are right now.” Other reporters at Walla! now tell similar stories of being censored when their reports were critical of Mr. Netanyahu… But claims that Israel is going the way of Hungary, where Viktor Orban, the prime minister, has throttled the press, are overstated.” [Economist]

ROAD TO THE NEW KNESSET — Ehud Barak Says Israel’s Opposition Must Unite to Beat Netanyahu — by Eric Martin and Michael Arnold: “I hope after the attorney general announces his decision people will go to the ballots and, with all due respect, send Netanyahu back home, ” former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Netanyahu “is fragile, he’s weaker and he could be removed. But if the opposition ends up being split between a half-dozen small parties, it won’t work — Bibi will lead the next government as well.” [Bloomberg]

When the IDF’s chief of staff had a snowball fight with a Palestinian family ― by Judah Ari Gross: “Five years ago, after a massive snowstorm, the IDF chief of staff got into a snowball fight with a Palestinian family on the side of a West Bank highway. I was then the chief of staff’s photographer and, as was my duty, I caught on film the improbable encounter. But the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit refused to allow the picture to be printed, saying it would only be released to the public “when there’s a peace agreement.” Now, however, the chief of staff in question, Benny Gantz, has entered politics and is campaigning for the premiership, and — peace be damned — the Israel Defense Forces has decided the photograph can be published.” [ToI]

2020 WATCH — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will propose a wealth tax on those with more than $50 million… Beto O’Rourke has a campaign-in-waiting awaiting his decision whether or not to run for president… The conservative Koch political network has told donors that it plans to once again stay out of the presidential race and will not work to help reelect President Trump in 2020… Joe Biden defended his decision to praise an embattled Republican lawmaker during a paid speech in Michigan last fall, telling a group of mayors that it reflected his philosophy of how to “get things done.”

** 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: GFI Capital Resources Group and Elliott Management Corp. close on purchase of the Parker New York hotel for about $420 million[WSJ] • Stewart Butterfield’s Slack faces growing challenge from Microsoft [FinancialTimes] • Goldman CEO David Solomon sees a small chance of a recession this year, 50-50 next year [CNBC] • The New Hedge Fund Manager, Brant Rubin, Flies Economy and Stays in Hostels [Bloomberg

** A message from The Maimonides Scholars Program: Do you know a student interested in Jewish Thought, Zionism, and Philosophy? The Maimonides Scholars Program is a two-week summer institute for high school students hosted at Yale University. Our faculty members include Rabbi David Wolpe, novelist Dara Horn, historian Daniel Gordis, and former MK Einat Wilf. Students with all levels of familiarity with Jewish text study are encouraged to apply—the only prerequisite is a hunger to learn. Application deadline is February 3rd. [Visit The Maimonides Scholars Program]  **

TALK OF DAVOS — Soros Warns China Uses AI to Find Threats to One-Party Rule — by Saijel Kishan, Katherine Burton and Melissa Karsh: “Billionaire George Soros warned of the “mortal danger” of China’s use of artificial intelligence to repress its citizens under the leadership of Xi Jinping, who he called the most dangerous opponent of democracies… In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros touched on subjects including his childhood, running a hedge fund and his efforts to protect human rights… He also called out Russian President Vladimir Putin as another enemy of democracy.” [Bloomberg]

— Soros: “My deep concern for this issue arises out of my personal history. I was born in Hungary in 1930 and I’m Jewish. I was 13 years old when the Nazis occupied Hungary and started deporting Jews to extermination camp.”[BuzzFeed]

Davos Elites Fear They’re on a Toboggan Ride to Hell — by John Harris: “In other years, Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg would be treated like royalty. This year, she was the one bowing, acknowledging in speeches and interviews that Facebook had made mistakes in not preventing data breaches and manipulation of audiences by Russian agents. But she said overall that Facebook is a force for good and current leadership is in the best position to fix the problems with social media.” [Politico]

HOLLYWOOD — Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman: Hollywood’s New Odd Couple — by Sheila Marikar: “If it seems audacious for two relative dinosaurs to think they’ve cracked the code for what people young enough to be their grandchildren want to watch—Katzenberg is 68, and Whitman is 62—it’s also an opportunity for each to rewrite their legacies… Quibi does not yet have a media player to test, and there’s no “sizzle reel” to entice would-be collaborators. Instead, it has Katzenberg and Whitman, who have been tooling around Hollywood with a spiral-bound, 32‑page presentation, selling roomfuls of producers, executives, and talent agents on why they and their clients should carve out time for Quibi. They have proved to be a curiosity. “Typically, when we have someone come up and tell us what’s happening at Warner Bros. or HBO, you get 20 people in a room,” says Ari Greenburg, a partner at the William Morris Endeavor talent agency. “This was a single email, and 150 people showed up.” [Fortune]

The Meaning Behind the Bracelet Donned by Well-Armed Stars — by Elycia Rubin: “The pencil bracelets are part of The Expression Collection by Tzuri that debuted in 2016 to convey a message of social consciousness. A portion of sales are donated to the nonprofit humanitarian group Pencils of Promise, started by Adam Braun (brother of Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun) that is dedicated to increasing educational opportunities for children around the world.” [HollywoodReporter]

PROFILE — Meet Beatie Deutsch, the Ultra-Orthodox Runner Setting Records and Shattering Expectations — by Hailey Middlebrook: “Though she’s now within striking distance to the best marathoners in the world, Deutsch is still, shockingly, new to running. Before moving to Jerusalem in 2008 and becoming an Israeli citizen, she grew up in New Jersey, where she did gymnastics, but didn’t participate in track or cross country, she said. She met her husband, Michael, an avid cyclist, shortly after immigrating and becoming an Israeli citizen… Over the next six years, she had four children—and between raising them and working full-time as a communication officer for an Olami international Jewish organization, she didn’t have much time for exercise… For now, Deutsch is taking a few weeks off from running, but the “Marathon Mother” (as she’s known on Instagram) is looking forward to shaving more minutes off her marathon time this fall.”[RunnersWorld]

TALK OF THE NATION — Staying At The Intersectional Table? Women’s March Movement Plans Next Steps — by Shira Hanau: “As the Women’s March movement plans its next steps in the wake of last weekend’s marches, Jewish women and the Jewish community as a whole are having to navigate choppy waters in a debate that touches on fraught issues like anti-Semitism… “The issue really came down to, do you engage with people who have associated with people that we consider anti-Semitic, with movements like BDS that we consider problematic for Israel? Do you engage or do you ignore? That is the big question,” said Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women.” [JewishWeek]

The Black Hebrew Israelites and their connection to the Covington controversy, explained —by  P.R. Lockhart: “The differing offshoots or “camps” affiliated with One West have some common beliefs, including a strong sense of black nationalism and an ardent belief in the end of the world being imminent. When compared to other facets of Black Jewish groups and Black Israelites, this group is largely seen as a fringe sect, and has fractured further since 2000, spawning groups like the House of Israel. But the internet has helped these groups spread their message. If you live in a city like Washington, DC, Philadelphia, or New York, there’s a good chance you’ve seen members of the House of Israel or other offshoots of One West engaged in a highly confrontational form of street ministry.” [Vox]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Michigan family kicked off American Airlines flight in Miami because of ‘body odor’ — by Ella Torres: “Coming home from vacation really stinks. That’s what one Michigan family learned when they were kicked off their flight back to Detroit Wednesday because of body odor. Yossi Adler and Jennie Adler were headed home from their trip in Miami with their 19-month-old daughter when the incident occurred, the two told Local 10 News, a Miami TV station. They had boarded their American Airlines flight at Miami International Airport, but were soon escorted off.” [NYDailyNews

DESSERT — Sara Polon and her mom, Marilyn, the founders of locally sourced soup company Soupergirl share how they overcame the setback of not getting funded on “Shark Tank” to creating a successful business. [Today]

The Secret Sushi Bar on the 10th Floor — by Helene Stapinski: “Sushi by Bou Suite 1001 — David Bouhadana’s latest project and part of his growing line of dining experiences — opened in December [in Midtown Manhattan]… Mr. Bouhadana, with the help of investors Michael Sinensky and Erika London, has partnered with the 32nd Street hotel to install a four-person sushi counter in one of its rooms. He is there every night, making his creations, from 5 p.m. to midnight… As a Jewish sushi chef, he is the odd man out, but at the same time, stands out from the crowd.” [NYTimes]

WINE OF THE WEEK — Covenant Israel Blue C Viognier 2017 — by Yitz Applbaum: “This year I attended a Tu BiShevat meal which was reminiscent of a Passover Seder. It was a great experience with poignant Kabbalistic overtones, and to my delight, four cups of wine. One of the wines served was the Covenant Israel Blue C Viognier 2017. This, perhaps, is not a wine with sufficient gravitas to serve at a Passover Seder, but on a Monday in January it fit in perfectly.”

“The Viognier grape is neither Chardonnay (although it has lovely full-bodied floral characteristics), nor is it Sauvignon Blanc (with its dry and crisp finish). It contains characteristics of both, and flutters between them. In this one bottle I was able to tease out honey in the mid-palate, peach on the front palate and strong earthiness on the finish. Drink this wine with figs and dates while studying the deep mysticism of Kabbalah.” [CovenantWines]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Israeli peace activist and author, whose fiction and non-fiction books have been translated into more than 30 languages, David Grossman turns 65… Journalist and political commentator, author of five books, he is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo and editor-at-large of The Investigative Fund, Joe Conason (family name was Cohen) turns 65… Dean of the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion since July 2009, Naamah Kelman-Ezrachi turns 64… Robert N. Newman turns 64… Stage, film, and television actress and television director, Dinah Beth Manoff turns 63… Los Angeles resident, Helene S. Ross turns 62… Partner at NYC-based ICM Partners Broadcasting where he represents anchors, reporters, hosts and producers in news, lifestyle, and sports broadcasting, Michael Glantz turns 60… Member of the Canadian Parliament from Montreal since 2015, he won 12 medals in swimming at the 2013 and 2017 Maccabiah Games, Anthony Housefather turns 48…

Born in Rishon LeZion in Israel, author of multiple novels, she earned a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of London and is a lecturer in Jewish Studies at Stanford University, Maya Arad turns 48… Toronto-born movie and television actress, writer and social activist, a regular on Showtime’s “The L Word” (2004-2009), she had a recurring guest role on the Fox TV series “24,” Mia Kirshner turns 44… National political reporter at The Washington Post since 2017, he was previously the Washington bureau chief for Time magazine, Michael Scherer turns 43… Consultant for the Central Queens YMHA and YWHA, he was previously the Northeast Regional Manager for AIPAC’s Fellows Program, David Newman turns 42… Benjamin Newton turns 34… Director of executive communications for the National Association of Manufacturers since 2015, he was previously a speechwriter at the Republican National Committee, Mark Isaacson turns 30 (h/t Politico)… Policy analyst at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), Ari Cicurel turns 26…

SATURDAY: Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter, adult and children’s book author, illustrator and art instructor Jules Feiffer turns 90… Actor, film director and playwright, Henry Jaglomturns 81… Singer-songwriter, socialite and political fundraiser, Denise Eisenberg Rich turns 75… Connecticut attorney, Herbert Ira Mendelsohnturns 70… Founding rabbi of the Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, NY, Rabbi Marc Schneier turns 60… Argentinian real-estate developer, President of Chabad Argentina, President of Hillel Argentina and President of Taglit Birthright Argentina, Eduardo Elsztain turns 59… Long-time judge in New York, appointed in 2017 to the New York Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court, Judge Paul George Feinman turns 59… Santa Monica, CA resident, tech executive focused on blockchain, digital capital markets and crypto finance, Brent Cohen turns 56… Former CNN anchor and correspondent (1994-2006), she runs a website and newsletter focused on uplifting and positive news, Daryn Kagan turns 56…

Better half of Congressman Ted Deutch and development director at Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach since 2008, Jill Weinstock Deutch… Elected to multiple governmental positions in Michigan, she serves on the board of the Jewish Association for Residential Care, Lisa Brown turns 52… Retired tennis player who was the top ranked player in his age group at the ages of 12, 14, 16, and 18, then as an adult he won 15 doubles championships, Justin Gimelstobturns 42… Actress, she hosted The CW reality series Shedding for the Wedding and is known for her performances as Carmen Ferrara on Popular and as Claude Casey on Less than Perfect, Sara Rue (born Sara Schlackman) turns 40… Executive at Bloomberg LP focused upon disaster response and recovery, he was previously an Obama White House Jewish Liaison (2011-2013), Jarrod Neal Bernstein turns 39… Director of Partnerships at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Tamar Remz turns 34… Barbara Simons

SUNDAY: Senior counsel focused on mergers and acquisitions in the NYC office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Arthur Fleischerturns 86… Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, Barry Clark Barishturns 83… Priscilla Alexander turns 80… Casino operator, Steve Wynn(born Stephen Alan Weinberg) turns 77… Corporate venture capitalist and scientist, he served as VP at Intel Corporation (1984-1999) where he co-founded Intel Capital, Avram Miller turns 74… Topanga, California resident, Joseph Helfer turns 72… Accountant at North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction, Gene Bruton turns 70… Professor in Medieval Judaism and Islam at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Reuven Firestone turns 67… Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts turns 64…

Television writer and producer best known as the creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005), he is now starring in a Netflix world cuisine program, Philip Rosenthal turns 59… CEO of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, a global hedge fund, Daniel Och turns 58… Communications director at C-SPAN since 2009, Howard Mortman turns 52… Founder and general partner of Multiplier Capital, Ezra M. Friedberg… English fashion model, Daisy Rebecca Lowe turns 30… Research assistant at the Washington Institute, she is also a researcher helping with the sequel book to “Start-Up Nation,” Lia Michal Weiner… M.A. candidate at Johns Hopkins SAIS, he was previously an associate at the federal government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation and an associate at Baron Public Affairs, LLC, Joshua Henderson… Columbia, SC resident, Charles Geffen… Josh Weinstein




Daily Kickoff: Trump targets Michael Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Shusterman | Steny Hoyer: Israel should control Golan | Mark Zuckerberg, GOAT slayer

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DRIVING THE CONVO — The U.S. recognized Venezuelan Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó as its legitimate head of state after Guaidó declared himself interim president yesterday. Nicolás Maduro responded furiously by cutting diplomatic ties with the United States. Fearing for the safety of the Jewish community in Venezuela, Israel has remained silent on Guaidó, while the Palestinian Authority condemned the “direct intervention of some countries in the internal affairs of Venezuela by supporting an attempted coup against President Nicolás Maduro.”

SCENE LAST NIGHT — In the middle of a speech from the president of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City, Israel’s Consul General in New York, Dani Dayan, rose from his front row seat and, along with his entourage, noticeably stormed out of the gala.

The incident — described by several in attendance— occurred when Adi Stern, president of the Bezalel Academy, warned that freedom of expression in the U.S., as in Israel, is under attack. “That’s not true,” shouted Dayan, interrupting Stern’s speech. When Stern resumed his prepared remarks noting that Bezalel will be at the forefront of the battle for democracy, the Consul General got up and “stormed out” of the hall with his security detail, according to those accounts, and also later confirmed by Dayan. Dayan told JI that he found it upsetting that Stern was “slandering” Israeli society in order to raise money in New York.

Guests related that attendees and the leadership of Bezalel were puzzled by Dayan’s reaction. One attendee labeled it “uncharacteristic and completely not warranted,” while another called it “just weird.” Asked to respond to those who felt it was an overreaction and not diplomatic to stage a walk out at the event, Dayan replied, “My presence there could have been interpreted as corroborating his outrageous claims.” [JewishInsider]

Greatest (Slaughterer) Of All Time? — Mark Zuckerberg once killed and served his own goat to Jack Dorsey — by Emily Smith and Sara Nathan: “Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg killed one of his own goats and served it up cold to Jack Dorsey for dinner… The Twitter CEO revealed to Rolling Stone that mild-mannered Zuckerberg massacred the goat with a laser gun and a knife, then cooked it… Asked if Zuckerberg slaughtered the goat in front of him, Dorsey responded, “No. He killed it before.” [PageSix]

Jack Dorsey: Twitter Nazis Are Here to Stay — by Bess Levin: “In an interview with Rolling Stone published Wednesday, Dorsey was asked about the frequent calls to “get the Nazis off Twitter,” to which he initially offered the near-incomprehensible response, “[The topics of] abuse and our policies have been much more pronounced recently. And it comes in the form of categorizing people as Nazis and wanting them removed. People are definitely not satisfied with our progress there. It’s not as simple as what the reply would indicate, but it is work that needs to be done.” Then, after being informed that the site has not gotten rid of a number of “professed white nationalists,” Dorsey essentially blamed non-Nazi Twitter users for failing to do the company’s job.”[VanityFair] • Farhad Manjoo: Never Tweet [NYTimes]

Twitter is hosting the World Jewish Congress at its headquarters in New York City today as part of a new #WeRemember campaign. The event will feature the testimony of Holocaust survivor Toby Levy, followed by a panel discussion on ways to combat hate online and off.

SNEAK PEEK — Excerpts from former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s forthcoming book, Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics, set for release on Jan. 29:

In chapter 18, titled “Jared Meltdown,” Christie describes Jared’s emotional reaction to his appointment as chairman of the transition team on May 6, 2016, one of their first face-to-face interactions since the Charles Kushner case. “I don’t think we should rush on this,” Jared told his father-in-law and Corey Lewandowski, the then-campaign manager as they were finalizing the press release announcing Christie’s appointment.

Christie writes: “He sounded like a person who’d been holding poison inside himself for a very long time. ‘You really want to know why?’ Jared asked. ‘Because I don’t trust him to have this, and you know why I don’t trust him to have it… He tried to destroy my father. ’…‘This was a family matter,’ Jared said, ‘a matter to be handled by the family or by the rabbis’ — not by a hard-charging federal prosecutor. Jared glanced at me, then fixed his gaze on his father-in-law, Donald. ‘How can he be trusted to handle the transition.’”

After this, Trump suggested the following: Resolve the Christie-Kushner dispute over a dinner: “Donald laid it out. ‘Me and Chris, you and your dad. What if we all go out to dinner and just try to resolve this?’ I have to say I breathed a small sigh of relief when Jared refused to bite on Donald’s deal. I could hardly imagine a tenser gathering. ‘I don’t think there’s any way that my father is ready to have dinner with the governor,’ Jared said… The whole thing was just too surreal.”

The feud came to an end the next day when Jared called Christie into the office after the formal announcement and offered a truce: “You and I should put all this behind us, Governor…It’s all in the past as far as I am concerned. We have to do what is best for the campaign.” As he mentions several times in the book, Christie closes the chapter by saying, “Things didn’t quite turn out that way.”Read other key excerpts here [JewishInsider]

ON THE HILL — Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), along with by Reps. Ted Budd (R-NC) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY), introduced a House Resolution rejecting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred in the U.S. and around the world ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27th. “The House of Representatives rejects anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred in the United States and around the world,” the resolution reads, as it details recent anti-Semitic incidents and remarks.

A spokesperson for Rep. Zeldin told JI that the New York Republican reached out to Democrats for support, but would not provide any names. “It can come to the floor without being bipartisan, but the Congressman welcomes anyone of any party to cosponsor the resolution before it is introduced in the House as he reiterated in a Dear Colleague letter inviting them to sign on today,” said Katie Vincentz, Zeldin’s Communications Director.

The resolution also singles out Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) over her support of the BDS movement and association with pro-Hezbollah activist  Abbas Hamideh, and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for her 2012 tweet suggesting that “Israel has hypnotized the world.”

— Vincentz maintained that Omar’s apology earlier this week was “one step forward, seven steps backward.” Adding, “The fact that the tweet was published in the first place and was allowed to perpetuate the hate it incited for over 6 years is another reason why we need the resolution — to be clear this type of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hate will not be tolerated from the moment it happens. Rep. Steve King also apologized for his remarks, but that resolution was still voted on afterwards and passed, rightfully so.”

TOP TALKER — Israel asks U.S. to amend law that would cut aid to Palestinian security forces — by Barak Ravid: “Israeli officials tell me they have asked the Trump administration to amend the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) that would essentially end aid for the Palestinian Authority’s security forces… The law is slated to go into effect Feb. 1, and with the government shutdown continuing with no immediate end in sight, a legislative fix is not expected to be enacted in time… Prime Minister Netanyahu’s aides and the Israeli ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer have reached out to the White House, State Department and members of Congress asking to find some kind of arrangement to ensure U.S. aid to the Palestinian security forces continues.” [Axios]

Sander Gerber, known as the architect of the Taylor Force Act, emails us: “PA security forces do stop bad actors that both threaten Israel and the PA itself. Israel as a sovereign nation can choose to fund this security cooperation, but should not seek to place the burden on the U.S. taxpayer, particularly at the expense of American victims of Palestinian terror operations.”

AIPAC’s Marshall Wittmann: “We have a long standing position in support of security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

SCOOPLET — In response to an inquiry from JI about the status of the Golan Heights, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s spokesperson relayed that the Congressman believes that “Israel should maintain control of the Golan Heights.”

This comment comes in the context of growing support among Democrats for a U.S. move to formally recognize Israeli control over the Golan Heights, which Israel gained from Syria in the Six Day War in 1967, and effectively annexed in 1981. When asked if this meant the Maryland representative supported formal recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, Hoyer’s spokesperson didn’t have more to comment. Last week, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) sent a letter to President Trump urging him to recognize Israeli control of the Golan. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is also supporting the move.

REPORT — Netanyahu may visit King Mohammed VI in Morocco: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may visit King Mohammed VI of Morocco in the country’s capital Rabat, Moroccan media reported… According to the report, the visit will take place following Pope Francis’s visit to Morocco on March 30.” [JPost]

STATE-SIDE  — Judge lets Arkansas law against Israeli boycotts stand — by Andrew DeMillo: “A federal judge on Wednesday let stand an Arkansas law requiring state contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel… U.S. District Judge Brian Miller dismissed the lawsuit the Arkansas Times had filed challenging the 2017 law. The newspaper had asked the judge to block the law, which requires contractors with the state to reduce their fees by 20 percent if they don’t sign the pledge… Miller wrote that refusing to purchase items isn’t protected speech.” [AP]

Bill Would Label Criticism of Israel in Florida Schools Anti-Semitic — by Jerry Iannelli: “If enacted, the measure from Palm Beach County Rep. Mike Caruso, a Republican, would ban both obvious and abhorrent cases of anti-Semitism (denying the Holocaust, calling for attacks on Jewish people, etc.) and criticism of the Israeli state. The bill would force all public institutions in Florida, from kindergarten through public university, to “take into consideration anti-Semitism when determining if a practice or act was discrimination on the basis of religion.” [MiamiNews

ON THE GROUND — The New Iron Curtain: Russian Missile Defense Challenges U.S. Air Power — by Thomas Grove: “Russia’s S-400 antiaircraft missile system, a nettlesome and potentially deadly aerial shield, is changing the calculus of the U.S. and its allies in potential hot spots, beginning with its deployment in Syria. Radar employed by the S-400… casts a net around western Syria that stretches from Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea to Israel.”[WSJ] • Russia says ‘arbitrary’ Israeli air strikes on Syria must stop [Reuters]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — Michael Cohen Indefinitely Postpones Testimony to Congress — by Maggie Haberman: “Michael Cohen… indefinitely postponed his congressional testimony set for next month… Mr. Cohen’s lawyer Lanny J. Davis cited verbal attacks from Mr. Trump, who had begun suggesting after Mr. Cohen agreed to testify that one of his relatives be investigated for unspecified crimes… Mr. Trump has referenced the Eastern European background of Mr. Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, to imply that Mr. Shusterman has ties to organized crime. No evidence has emerged to back up that suggestion. Mr. Shusterman was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty in 1993, a year before Mr. Cohen married his daughter, to cashing $5.5 million in checks to evade federal reporting requirements. It is not clear that Mr. Trump is aware of that case. A retiree, Mr. Shusterman emigrated to the United States in the early 1970s after facing anti-Jewish persecution in Soviet-controlled Ukraine, Mr. Cohen has told friends.” [NYTimesPolitico]

PALACE INTRIGUE — Giuliani’s Fate Is Uncertain After Botched Interviews — by Gabriel Sherman: “According to sources, a debate is playing out inside the West Wing over Giuliani’s future. Trump is being encouraged by several people, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, to dump Giuliani before it’s too late, while outside advisers Corey Lewandowski and Dave Bossie are lobbying Trump to keep Giuliani.”[VanityFair]

Kushner thrusts himself into middle of shutdown talks — by Josh Dawsey and Robert Costa: “Jared Kushner spoke up at a recent Oval Office meeting about cutting a deal to end the government shutdown… After listening to Kushner… Trump glanced at the others in the room. “Apparently, Jared has become an expert on immigration in the last 48 hours,” Trump said… The remark, described by one White House official as playful, underscored the latest power shift inside the White House: Kushner has emerged as an omnipresent and assertive player in the now-33-day impasse.” [WashPost]

ROAD TO THE NEW KNESSET — Nir Hefetz, who was the Netanyahu family’s most trusted spokesman until he became a state witness, recorded the Netanyahus’ behavior in almost daily entries in diaries… Netanyahu’s attorneys published a letter Wednesday that they sent to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, complaining about daily leaks to Israeli media by investigators involved in the corruption cases against him… Orit Galili-Zucker, a political branding consultant who once worked for Netanyahu, believes said Benny Gantz could appeal to voters fed up with politics and Netanyahu “but always glad on the other hand to see Gaza destroyed.”

2020 WATCH — Jason Zengerle spent a few months with Bernie Sanders to figure out what he wants to do next… As he considers throwing his hat into the ring, Joe Biden is facing scrutiny for a paid speech he gave last fall that helped Rep. Fred Upton, a vulnerable Republican, win re-election in Michigan… Veteran campaign finance lawyer Marc Elias, who signed on with the Kamala Harris campaign as general counsel, has a non-exclusive agreement that will allow him to provide services to other 2020 candidates, according to NYTimes’ Shane Goldmacher

TALK OF DAVOS — Why Davos is the capital of the Resistance — by Matthew Walther: “Davos is the Iowa State Fair, except instead of farmers and regionally famous bakers and carnies it’s the amorphous class of people who do non-jobs: not only investment banking and “asset” management, but consulting, “start-ups,” marketing, PR, “events.” [TheWeek]

— HAPPENING TODAY: George Soros may go after China in remarks at his annual dinner at the Seehof. At Canada Cannabis House, Anthony Scaramucci interviews former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who is now chairman of a medical marijuana company called InterCure.

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Sumner Redstone probate case — after three-year court slog — finally ends in victory for family [LATimesHollywoodReporter] • Can Sheryl Sandberg’s Apology Tour Restore Facebook’s Image (and Stock Price)? [VanityFair] • Why Billionaire Sam Zell Just Bought Gold For The First Time In His Life [Forbes] • Israel cabinet expected to approve medical cannabis exports [Reuters]

STARTUP NATION — Lumigo scores $8M seed to help manage serverless operations — by Ron Miller: “Lumigo, an Israeli startup, announced a healthy $8 million seed round today, as it emerged from stealth to help companies monitor serverless architecture. Investors include Pitango Venture Capital, Grove Ventures and Meron Capital. The company was started by a couple of ex-Checkpoint execs, Erez Berkner and Aviad Mor.”[TechCrunch] • Tech, tourism, and anti-Semitism drive up luxury real estate in Israel [BusinessInsider]

SPOTLIGHT — David Einhorn’s Greenlight Hit by Investor Redemptions — by Rachael Levy: “Mr. Einhorn’s hedge-fund firm now manages about $2.5 billion, Greenlight told clients Tuesday evening at the firm’s annual meeting at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. That is down from about $5.5 billion as of the middle of last year. The drop marks a new low for one of Wall Street’s most well-known hedge funds. Just five years ago, Greenlight would have counted as one of the industry’s largest hedge funds, managing $12 billion. Mr. Einhorn is one of a handful of managers, including John Paulson and William Ackman, who rose to prominence during the financial crisis, making large bets that paid off as the market crumbled… To stem the redemptions, Greenlight told clients Tuesday it would allow new investments for the first time in years.” [WSJ]

Carolyn Maloney is working on a bill to target LLCs in real estate: “Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said she’s hoping to introduce a bipartisan bill that would force every LLC to reveal its owners, the New York Post reported… A poster child for the problem has been 650 Fifth Avenue, the report said. The 35-story high-rise was built by the last Shah of Iran before he was overthrown, and later transferred to entities that are tied to the terror-supporting country. Iran has allegedly taken in millions of dollars from rental fees from tenants like Marc Rich, a commodities trader and tax fugitive who sold Iranian oil to Israel despite sanctions. Federal authorities, however, weren’t able to tie the country’s government to the property after years of investigation.” [TheRealDealNYPost]

PROFILE — Meet J.B. Pritzker, a Duke Trustee, governor and richest current U.S. elected official: “In the two classes Pritzker took with C. Eric Lincoln—professor of religion and culture at Duke from 1976 to 1993 and author of books on black Muslims in America—Pritzker learned a lot about civil rights advocacy and leadership, such as the relationships between African-American activists and civil rights activists outside and inside government. However, his parents had already played a large role by instilling their values in Pritzker. ‘I’ve spent my whole life as an advocate expanding civil rights and individual rights because my parents were progressive Democrats and were involved in issues like fighting for women’s rights,’ Pritzker said.”

“Pritzker helped lead the creation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center that teaches more than 60,000 students and teachers every year to fight bigotry, hatred, and intolerance. ‘I am a Jew who comes from a family that is only alive in this country because they were going to be killed in their home country of Ukraine when Jews were being chased and oppressed and killed,’ Pritzker said.” [DukeChronicle]

SPORTS BLINK — Robert Kraft teams with Jay-Z, Meek Mill in starting criminal justice reform organization — by Lorenzo Reyes: “Sports and entertainment figures including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Philadelphia 76ers owner Michael Rubin, recording artist and entrepreneur Jay-Z, and recording artist Meek Mill announced the foundation of a criminal justice reform organization called REFORM Alliance.” [USAToday] • Kraft discussed NFL officiating, laser pointers, and Tom Brady in ‘Good Morning America’ interview [Boston

Subterranean 1,500-year-old cistern complex hidden under Jerusalem playground — by Amanda Borschel-Dan: “Back in 2005, the Israel Antiquities Authority received word that at a Jerusalem neighborhood playground, the sand was being swallowed up into the earth. After initial testing by IAA archaeologist Dr. Yuval Baruch, it was discovered that the sand box was constructed directly above an ancient water cistern. Today, as the Jerusalem Municipality begins a renovation of the Katamon neighborhood playground, the IAA and the municipality are in talks to decide whether the 1,500-year-old water cistern can be turned into a national site along the lines of Ramla’s subterranean Pool of Arches.” [ToI]

LONG READ — A Guided Tour of Hebron, from Two Sides of the Occupation — by Masha Gessen: “The stories of Hebron are the stories of the absent and the unseen… Hebron is divided in such a way that some will only ever see the empty streets, while others see a crowded and bustling town—one bound by fences, walls, and barbed wire, beyond which the emptiness begins… For several years, two activist groups, one Israeli and one Palestinian, have been leading tours of the occupation of Hebron. I recently went on both, crossing from the living city of Hebron to its hollow shadow and back several times.” [NewYorker]

TALK OF THE TOWN — The Horrors of Auschwitz at a Museum in New York — by Ralph Blumenthal and Joseph Berger: “The exhibition, titled “Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away.,” is aimed at refocusing the Museum of Jewish Heritage into one that will delve more deeply into the Holocaust… “This exhibit reminds them, and it reminds all of us, where anti-Semitism ultimately leads,” said Ronald Lauder, the philanthropist who helped raise $110 million to preserve Auschwitz. “And the world should never go there again.” Heritage Museum officials said they anticipate spending $8.5 million on the project, split between the cost of installing the exhibition and the cost of other building improvements that are timed to coincide with it.“ [NYTimes]

TALK OF THE NATION — ADL Report: ‘Right-Wing Extremism’ Responsible for Almost All 2018 Hate-Related Murders — by Aaron Bandler: “The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) latest report on murder and extremism found that “right-wing extremism” was responsible for almost all hate-related murders in 2018. According to the report, at least 50 people were killed in 2018 as a result of violent extremism, putting 2018 behind only 1995 (184), 2016 (72) and 2015 (70) in terms of extremist killings.”[JewishJournal]

TRANSITION — Kristen Silverberg will be the new EVP for policy at Business Roundtable. She most recently was managing director at the Institute of International Finance and is a Bush 43 alum and served as U.S. ambassador to the European Union. (h/t Playbook)

DESSERT — Hannah Bronfman on traveling — by Alex Postman: What are some (healthfully indulgent) restaurants you would fly for? I would go back to Israel to go to some of the places we ate. We went to Machneyuda in Jerusalem and had this delicious fish pot, almost like a seafood boil.” [CNTraveler]

How these Jewish women launched challah baking businesses and got thousands of Instagram followers  — by Josefin Dolsten: “Since starting Mandylicious Challah in 2013, Mandy Silverman has seen her enterprise grow both locally — delivering some 50 loaves every week in Sharon, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb — and internationally, dispensing challah-baking advice… Silverman, 40, is among a growing number of home bakers making a business out of their love of all things challah. Most post their interpretations of the traditional braided Shabbat and holiday loaves on social media, and reach local customers through word of mouth.” [JTA]

BIRTHDAYS: Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, previously Deputy National Security Advisor in the Bush 43 administration and Assistant Secretary of State in the Reagan administration, Elliott Abrams turns 71… Chicago-based Talmudic scholar, he served as the chief judge of both the Beth Din of America and the National Beth Din of the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz turns 94… Executive producer of the CBS series Blue Bloods, he was head of programming for ABC and president of 20th Century Fox, Leonard J. Goldberg turns 85… Singer-songwriter, musician and actor, one of the world’s best-selling recording artists of all time, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Neil Diamond turns 78… Born in Tel Aviv, 2011 Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry, Professor at Technion and Iowa State University, Dan Shechtman turns 78… Soviet-born comedian, actor and writer, emigrated to the US in 1977, noted for the catch phrase “What a country,” Yakov Smirnoff (born Yakov Naumovich Pokhis) turns 68… Conductor, violinist, and violist, who has performed with leading symphony orchestras worldwide, Yuri Bashmet turns 66… Principal at Opera Solutions, a global data analytics consulting firm, Daniel Flamberg turns 65…

Founder of an online software training website which was acquired by LinkedIn in April 2015 for $1.5 billion, Lynda Weinman turns 64… West Hempstead, NY resident, he is a board member of the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, Beryl Eckstein turns 61… NYC-based senior correspondent for Fox News since 1997, Rick Leventhal turns 59… Former CEO of Ford Motor Company (2014-2017), now a senior advisor at private equity firm TPG Capital, Mark Fields (his family’s original name was Finkelman) turns 58… B’nei mitzvah coordinator at Temple Beth Am of Los Angeles, Judith Alban turns 57… Founder and executive director of Protect Democracy, he served as associate White House counsel (2009-2011), Ian Bassin turns 43 (h/t Playbook)… Editor-in-chief of the Baltimore Jewish Times, formerly editor-in-chief of Chabad News and news editor at Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent, Joshua Runyan turns 38… TACKMA’s Jeffrey Schottenstein turns 33…




Daily Kickoff: Iran the only victor of Iraq war says U.S. Army | Tom Friedman: Israeli-PA peace not the key to Mideast stability | Trending: Schmaltz

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DEALING AT DAVOS — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that the Trump administration would roll out their anticipated peace plan after the Israeli Knesset elections on April 9th. “We’ve begun to share elements of this across the region,” Pompeo said in remarks via satellite to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday. “It won’t be a U.S.-driven process. Ultimately, the Israelis and the Palestinians will have to come to an agreement. But we think that the foundations that we have laid and the work that we’ll do immediately following the Israeli elections will set conditions where we can have a constructive conversation.” [Video]

— Three senior White House aides tell the Jerusalem Post’s Michael Wilnerthat Trump’s peace team is gaming out a timetable for the release of their plan possibly even before a governing coalition is formed in Israel. According to Israeli law, the candidate nominated by the president for prime minister has 42 days to form a coalition.

Dov Zakheim tells us: “It depends very much on what the Israeli elections are going to look like. And the question is even if the next prime minister is not Netanyahu, will it be a right-wing government, which all the opinion polls seem to indicate it will be? So the Palestinians have to really wait and see how that government settles out. And then they can see whether they’ve got a kind of de Gaulle, or even a Sharon, who’s prepared to make a deal from the right, or whether it’s just more of the same. So the combination of a right-wing Israeli government and Trump in the White House doesn’t exactly reassure them.”

But Zakheim cautioned, “While there’s basically a year and a half to make a deal if the administration can pull it off, there are a few other things that right now are bothering the White House, I suspect, a lot more than an Israel-Palestinian peace deal. There’s the Mueller report. Trump wants to talk to the North Koreans again. And, right now, you’ve even got the government shutdown. Nobody knows how long that’ll go on. The president said he could tolerate it for months. So there are quite a bit of things that are a higher priority. The incentives just don’t seem to be there for a major push until some of these other issues get resolves. ”

Addressing Jason Greenblatt’s recent Twitter exchange with Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi, Zakheim recalled: “Ashrawi is a professional pessimist. I haven’t spoken to her in years. But years ago, I saw her reasonably often, and when Yitzhak Rabin was elected (in 1992), I bet her a case of wine that he would make peace. And she said, ‘Absolutely not.’ And course, they then had Oslo, and I never heard back from her. She still owes me the case. I’d want it to be kosher, but she never paid up.”

Dan Arbell, a 25 year veteran of the Israeli Foreign Service and a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, told JI in a recent interview: “Summer of 2019 is the last moment that the plan could be introduced because it’s just a little over a year before the 2020 presidential elections. Obviously, if the administration wants it to succeed, the timing should be earlier than summer 2019.”

Tom Friedman writes… “More Schools and Fewer Tanks for the Mideast: I’d keep our special forces in Syria, though, but not because we’ve yet to defeat ISIS. ISIS is a direct byproduct of the wider regional struggle between Sunnis and Shiites, led by Saudi Arabia and Iran. ISIS arose as an extreme Sunni response to the extreme efforts by Iran and pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria to ethnically cleanse and strip power from Sunnis in Iraq and Syria. As long as Iran pursues that strategy, there will be an ISIS in some form or other. That’s why the only peace process that could have a stabilizing effect across the Middle East today is not between Israelis and Palestinians — but between Iran and Saudi Arabia.” [NYTimes]

TOP TALKER — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) apologized for tweeting that “Israel has hypnotized the world” during the Gaza war in 2012 in a Twitter interaction with NYTimes opinion writer Bari Weiss on Tuesday, following her op-ed about the matter. “In all sincerity, it was after my CNN interview that I heard from Jewish orgs. that my use of the word “hypnotize” and the ugly sentiment it holds was offensive,” Omar wrote. “It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy is disavowing the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive.”

Weiss replied“Thank you, Rep. Ilhan Omar, for reading and for addressing. Please consider this an open invitation to the NYT opinion, where I would be happy to talk more about anti-Semitism and Israel with you.”

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt tweets: “Hats off to Rep. Omar for her honest apology and commitment to a more just world. Open and respectful conversations will help us achieve this goal.”

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Near the end of the New York Times “The Daily” podcast yesterday, featuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), host Michael Barbaro concludes: “In the weeks since their swearing in, Representative Tlaib and a group of like-minded freshman have continued to make headlines, especially on Fox News. Tlaib has announced that when the pro-Israel organization AIPAC organizes its bi-annual trip to Israel for newly elected Members of Congress, she will organize her own, with a trip to the West Bank [with] a focus on issues like ‘Israel’s detention of Palestinian children.”’

Israel lambasts The Guardian for accusing it of ‘killing with impunity’ — by Raphael Ahren: “Jerusalem on Wednesday accused The Guardian of “cheap moralizing” and of willfully distorting the facts, after the British newspaper accused Israel of lightheartedly killing Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border… “The Guardian has decided to engage in an exercise of cheap moralizing, deliberately ignoring Palestinian terror and violence,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told The Times of Israel.” [ToI]

AT THE UN — Upcoming Poland Conference Not a Stage to ‘Demonize’ Iran, U.S. Says — by Farnaz Fassihi: “The acting U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Jonathan Cohen, told the Security Council the U.S.-led conference on Middle East stability in Poland [next month] wasn’t a “venue to demonize or attack Iran” or to reopen arguments about the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Rather, he said, it would be a “global brainstorming session” with an agenda on cybersecurity, humanitarian aid in Syria and Yemen and extremism… Mr. Cohen said that the meeting also would acknowledge Iran’s missile activity and other destabilizing actions.” [WSJ]

— “Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the conference would fail to bolster Middle East security because of its “one-country aspect” and failure to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” [France24]

UNESCO’s Director General Audrey Azoulay talks to Roger Cohen about the U.S. and Israel’s decision to quit the organization despite recent reforms: “The debate about over-politicization was legitimate given how the organization was being used, especially in the last decade. There was a loss of credibility. I have tried hard to reduce the politicization and work for consensus. In the light of the progress made over the past 12 months, I deeply regret the withdrawal of the United States, a founding member, and Israel.”[NYTimes]

Eli Lake writes… “How Much Is Ireland Willing to Pay to Boycott Israel? Legislation scheduled for debate this week in Ireland’s lower house would criminalize any transactions with businesses or individuals living in Israel’s West Bank. The “Control of Economic Activity Bill” would impose jail for up to five years and heavy fines on Irish citizens that import or sell products from the territory Israel won in the Six Day War… Because of Ireland’s low corporate tax rates, many of the world’s largest companies keep their wealth there… The Irish legislation, if it becomes law, would force Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook to choose between their Irish tax haven and their business in the Jewish state.” [Bloomberg]

— A Congressional source tells JI: “The Irish opposition is taking the country off a cliff. We’ll take action but that’s nothing compared to what the Trump admin is going to do. There’s a law.”

Israel halts transfer of Qatari funds to Gaza as border tensions spiral — by Judah Ari Gross: “Israel refused to allow a previously approved $15 million transfer to the Gaza-ruling Hamas terrorist group from Qatar on Tuesday… The move came after an IDF officer was injured by sniper fire on the border of the restive enclave, and a Hamas fighter was killed in a reprisal shelling by Israel.” [ToI]

Tensions Rise Over U.S. Arrest of Iranian News Agency’s American Journalist — by Rick Gladstone: “Iran said Tuesday it had formally protested the F.B.I.’s arrest of an American newscaster who works for the Iranian government’s Press TV… The arrested American, Marzieh Hashemi, has been held for more than a week as a material witness in an unspecified criminal case and has appeared before a grand jury in Washington twice.” [NYTimes]

The U.S. Army says Iran is the only victor of the Iraq War — by Tim Fernholz: “The US Army has concluded that Iran was the only victor of the eight-year U.S. campaign to remove Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and replace him with a democratic regime. That’s one of the findings of a massive historical study released Jan. 17, the first major military review of the Iraq war’s lessons.” [Quartz]

FOGGY BOTTOM — Top diplomat for European affairs resigns from State Department — by Carol Morello: “A. Wess Mitchell, the top diplomat in charge of European affairs, will resign from the State Department next month… Mitchell said his resignation is not a protest of the administration’s policies or the direction of foreign policy.” [WashPost]

TRANSITION — Former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. (Ret.) H.R. McMaster has joined the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) to serve as Chairman of its new Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP).

ROAD TO THE NEW KNESSET — A new poll indicates that Likud would lose four seats, but maintain its overall lead over rival parties if Netanyahu is indicted next month… Benny Gantz will break his months of near-silence at a campaign launch of his Israel Resilience party next week… Naftali Bennett took aim at Gantz’s military credentials on Wednesday, accusing the former IDF chief of failing to tackle Hamas in the 2014 Gaza war…  ‘The Ambassador’ contestant Mehereta Baruch-Ron announced on Tuesday that she is running for a Knesset seat with the Meretz Party…  Tehila Friedman, a research fellow at the Hartman Institute and a candidate on the Yesh Atid list, pledgedto represent Diaspora Jews if elected as MK…

2020 WATCH — Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours after announcing her candidacy… Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) says he’s nearing a 2020 decision as he swings through key southern states… Booker was spotted yesterday visiting a law firm in Midtown Manhattan where he hinted about his plans to run for president… Top Democrat donors on Wall Street told Fox Business they are waiting on Joe Biden to announce his 2020 intentions before writing any big checks to other presidential hopefuls… South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced on Wednesday that he’s forming an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid… Tom Steyer is launching an effort to make every Democrat campaigning to run against Trump first come out in support of impeachment…

** 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: John Paulson mulls shutting his hedge fund [FinancialTimes]  Elliott Management letter puts eBay on notice to improve stock performance, sell StubHub [TechCrunchWSJ] • Arconic buyout scuppered by dispute over pension liabilities [WSJ] • Eli Tabak selling HBO’s ‘The Deuce’ warehouse studio [NYPost] • Bobbi Brown 2.0: Reinventing Her Life And Career At 61 [Forbes] • Watch CNBC’s full interview with the Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein at Davos [Video] • What we know about Jeff Bezos’ religious beliefs in wake of divorce [ThisInsider] • OurCrowd, 7thirty launch $30 mln fund to invest in cannabis tech [Reuters] • Bingo Wholesale store, a partnership with Israeli grocery chain Osher Ad, opens in Lakewood New Jersey [APP]

TALK OF THE REGION — Natural gas fields give Israel a regional political boost — by Aron Heller: “Last week’s inclusion of Israel into the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo — a consortium aiming to cut infrastructure costs and lower prices — marked the first time Arab countries accepted Israel into such a regional alliance… The forum, which also includes Cyprus, Greece, Italy and the Palestinian Authority, aims to emerge as a mini-OPEC of sorts and highlights how Israel has been leveraging its newfound gas reserves into a powerful tool to expand its immersion into a region that has increasingly come to see Iran and Turkey, rather than Israel, as their greatest rivals.” [AP]

TALK OF DAVOS —  On the first day, one of the most sought-after panelists, Ruth Porat, the chief financial officer of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), discussed the health benefits of her company’s artificial intelligence at a panel called “Shaping a new market architecture.”… Stephen Schwarzman, the billionaire CEO of private equity giant Blackstone, said sarcastically that he is “wildly enthusiastic” about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed tax hike… Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon spent 24 hours in Davos, meeting with the Swiss President, New Zealand Finance Minister and senior officials of Amazon, Google and Paypal… Inside the hidden lounge for VIPs at the heart of Davos…

Bill Browder‏ tweets“Just about to start the #WEF19 in Davos. This year the US, U.K. and French governments have dropped out. As a result, the ratio of dictatorships to democracies in Davos is now seriously skewed towards the bad guys.”

DRIVING THE CONVO — The Investor Seth Klarman, in a Rare Interview, Offers a Warning. Davos Should Listen — by Evan Osnos: “Klarman doesn’t give many interviews, but, when I contacted him recently, he agreed to speak because, he said, shortsighted business practices are imperilling public confidence in capitalism itself. Among business leaders, he told me, “I think people realize that we’re not where we should be.” He added, “It’s maybe not an inappropriate ask to say, ‘Let’s all look at just where we were taking things for granted, and where maybe we were shortchanging. We took the game we were playing for granted—whether that’s investing, or business, or politics.” … Klarman believes that he and his peers need to prevent their field from being defined by some of its worst actors. “People will say the words ‘Wall Street’ with a derogatory tone. They’re talking about an immoral place, where there’s just disgusting amounts of greed and nothing good happens—which isn’t fair and isn’t true.” [NewYorker

VIEW FROM BEIJING — Israel has enough sense and self interest to avoid efforts to drag it into US-China trade war, analysts say — by Shi Jiangtao: “Sadly, the new atmosphere in U.S.-China relations is putting many countries – Israel included – in an extremely uncomfortable situation in which they are forced to pick sides,” Gal Luft, co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a Washington-based think tank, said. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying hit out at Washington this week, describing its warnings as “ridiculous”. “The U.S. has been abusing the idea of ‘national security,’ slandering and striking down the normal commercial activities of Chinese enterprises,” she said on Monday.” [SCMorningPost] • China Blasts U.S. Over Warnings on Israeli Infrastructure Projects [Calcalist]

HOLLYWOOD — Israeli director Guy Nattiv’s short film ‘Skin’ gets Oscar nod: “Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv’s short film “Skin” was nominated Tuesday for the Oscar for best live action short film. The film, which was directed by Nattiv, is about a gang war in a small town that breaks out after a black man smiles at a white child at a supermarket. Nattiv wrote “Skin” with Sharon Maymon, who is also from Israel.” [ToI] • “RBG,” a film about the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was nominated for best documentary feature [CNN]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Shirt reading ‘At Least I’m Not Jewish’ pulled from popular online retailer’s website — by Brian Niemietz: “Zazzle has pulled a T-shirt off its website that has the words “At least I’m not Jewish” emblazoned across the chest. According to the Jerusalem Post… the shirt was designed by a vendor named “The Slesk Bazaar” and only sold on Zazzle’s site. The retailer took the shirt down from its online offerings and apologized on Twitter.” [NYDailyNews

A new generation takes up the hunt for Dead Sea Scrolls — by Rinat Harash and Ari Rabinovitch: “In the cliffs high above the Dead Sea archaeologists chip away with pick axes, hoping to repeat one of the most sensational discoveries of the last hundred years – the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls, a collection of manuscripts, some more than 2,000 years old, were first found in 1947 by local Bedouin in the area of Qumran, about 20 km east of Jerusalem… Archaeologists are probing higher and deeper than before. Hundreds of caves remain unexcavated and the experts are racing against antiquities robbers.” [Reuters]

DESSERT — Will 2019 be the year of the schmaltz? Two new cookbooks by Jews praise the lard —by Rich Tenorio: “A longtime staple, animal fats — both the kosher and non-kosher ones — have fallen into disfavor. But public opinion might be thawing. There are… two recent cookbooks with animal fats in the title — “The Fat Kitchen: How to Render, Cure & Cook with Lard, Tallow & Poultry Fat,” by veteran Vermont author Andrea Chesman, and “The Last Schmaltz: A Very Serious Cookbook,” by Toronto chef and restaurateur Anthony Rose. “I raised my own animals, and was so impressed by the good results you get from cooking with animal fats that I started looking into them,” Chesman told The Times of Israel… I think it’s healthier for you.” [ToI]

BIRTHDAYS: Real estate developer and former minority owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, Bruce Ratner turns 74… Educational consultant, trade association and non-profit executive, previously an aide to Congresswoman Bella S. Abzug (D-NY), Peter D. Rosenstein turns 72… Manager of Innovative Strategies LLLP and JHJ Investment LLLP, board member of the Baltimore-based Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, Howard K. Cohen turns 72… Israeli archaeologist, educator, on the faculty of Oxford Brookes University, Estee Dvorjetski turns 68… 41st Mayor of Los Angeles (2005-2013), in 2018 he ran unsuccessfully to be Governor of California, Antonio Villaraigosa turns 66… Broadway theater owner, operator, producer and presenter and president of the Nederlander Organization, James L. Nederlander turns 59… Former president and CEO of Staples Inc. (2016-2018), Shira Goodman turns 58… CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp since 2010, after a 20+ year career in the food business including stints at Campbell Soup, General Mills and as CEO of Manischewitz, Jeremy J. Fingermanturns 58…

National-affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, co-author of “Game Change” and “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” John Heilemann turns 53… In the news recently as the seller, together with her husband, of a $17.5 million home in Greenwich, CT, Hilary Bangash Cohen turns 48… Journalist, screenwriter and film producer, in 2009 he wrote and produced The Hurt Locker for which he won two Academy Awards including for Best Picture, Mark Boal turns 46… Creator and host of Jew in the City, Allison F. Josephs turns 39… Manhasset, New York native who competed for Israel in figure skating, she was the 2014 Israeli national champion, Danielle Montalbano turns 30… Professional soccer player who plays as a defender for DC United and the United States men’s national soccer team, Steven Mitchell Birnbaum turns 28… New York City native who competed for Israel in pairs figure skating, she and her partner won silver medals in the 2008 and 2009 Israeli championships, Hayley Anne Sacks turns 28…

Kafe Knesset for October 3

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Palestinian party pooper: As the Palestinian government convened in Gaza for the first time since 2014, the Israeli PM poured cold water over the latest reconciliation attempts in…

Kafe Knesset for September 29

Friday, September 29, 2017

Rawabi – the background story: Israel rejected an American request to transfer planning authorities to the Palestinians in order to complete the construction of the main access road…

Kafe Knesset for September 28

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Settlements staying put: Netanyahu relayed a very clear message in his speech at the national ceremony honoring the 50tth anniversary of the return to Judea, Samaria, Jordan Valley…

Kafe Knesset for September 27

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Israel versus Palestinians 0-1: The Israeli diplomatic efforts against the PA’s attempts to gain international recognition suffered a severe blow this morning in Beijing. Interpol’s General Assembly, meeting…

Kafe Knesset for September 26

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The tragic news of the Har Adar terror attack took over the agenda of the weekly cabinet meeting, which was postponed from Sunday and convened this morning. The…

Kafe Knesset for September 25

Monday, September 25, 2017

Trump’s mystery peace plan: Jason Greenblatt is on his way back to Israel for another round of peace talks followed by a family Sukkot holiday, and the Israeli…