Jun
7

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Daily Kickoff: Nikki ‘Hurricane’ Haley lands in Israel | Congress on Qatar’s Hamas ties | ‘Israel’s astonishing ’67 concession’ | Lester Crown BDay

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TOP QUOTE — David Brooks writing in the NYTimes: “A ridiculously disproportionate percentage of the Giving Pledge philanthropists are Jewish.” [NYTimes]

–Rabbi David Wolpe adds: “Judaism teaches giving. No better system has ever been devised to produce generosity.” [Facebook]

HAPPENING TODAY ON THE HILL: At 2PM EDT, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein are co-hosting a bi-country simultaneous event to honor the 50th anniversary to the reunification of Jerusalem with live video between the U.S. Capitol and the Knesset. The event — organized by Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer — will also feature remarks from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [LiveStream]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), led by Rabbi Levi Shemtov, held their annual Lamplighter Awards dinner at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in DC. Honorees included House Speaker Paul Ryan, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and former DC Mayor Anthony Williams. One notable bipartisan highlight of the evening featured Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer introducing Speaker Ryan. Hoyer thanked Ryan for his service and leadership to the country and noted that both he and the Speaker are ‘institutionalists’ who respect the traditions and decorum of the Congress. Ryan returned the compliment explaining that “among both Republicans and Democrats, Steny Hoyer’s word is gold.”

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer also delivered remarks focusing on the change in US policy towards Iran and at the UN. “Those UN votes against us are a product of the past. Any remaining votes are like the Japanese soldier in WWII stranded on an island in the Philippines who wasn’t told the war was over… Although you don’t read about it everyday in the mainstream press, Israel is less isolated than it has ever been. The critical thing we needed was a tailwind from the US and now we have that in the form of Hurricane Haley, along with Hurricane Trump.”

SPOTTED: UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN), Rhoda Dermer, Howard Friedman, Dov Zakheim, Nancy Jacobson, Lisa Spies, Charlie Spies, Nick Muzin, Tevi Troy, Kami Troy, William Daroff, Steve Rabinowitz, Aaron Keyak, Ezra Friedlander, Daniel Mariaschin, Dan Glickman, Michael Landau, Jonny Fluger, Jeanie Milbauer, Bill Knapp, Robbie Greenblum, Michael Herson, Jeff Mendelsohn, Manette Mayberg, Tom Kahn, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador Elin Suleymanov, Bulgarian Ambassador Tihomir Stoytchev, Eddie Sugar, Jeremy Furchtgott, Harris Vederman, Ariana Kaufman, Jennie Shulkin, Asher Perez.

ALSO LAST NIGHT, “Vice President Mike Pence headlined a fundraising effort Tuesday to build a war chest to protect Republican House members as both parties gird for the midterm election next year. The event attended by Pence and House leaders honored Las Vegas residents Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson, GOP mega-donors to the National Republican Congressional Committee. The Tuesday NRCC fundraising dinner at the Willard InterContinental Washington hotel requested a contribution of $35,000 per couple.” [ReviewJournal]

PRESIDENT-IN-LAW: “Trump Jokes Jared Kushner Is ‘More Famous Than Me’” by Vivian Salama: “The last person President Donald Trump joked was becoming more famous than him was James Comey. Months later, he abruptly fired the FBI director… So when Trump threw out the same joke Tuesday about his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, the Twitter universe questioned whether it was an omen. Trump hosted the Senate and House Republican leadership at the White House… While thanking participants for their efforts to advance Trump’s political agenda, he stopped at Kushner, who this week, is featured on the cover of Time. “Jared has actually become more famous than me,” Trump said, prompting laughter from the group and a grin from Kushner. “I’m a little bit upset about that.”” [AP]

From WH pool report: “Rep. Steve Scalise turned to Kushner and said ‘that’s a badge of honor’ as Kushner smiled and kept his hands clasped in front of him.”

“Jared Kushner’s family is a legend in this Belarus town” by Cnaan Liphshiz: 
“Of course I am very proud that there is someone from Novogrudok in the White House,” said Boris Semyonov, a 57-year-old businessman, when asked about the subject last week… “I am waiting for him to visit us.” … “The Kushners were a well-off family that, before the war, owned several shops in the center, was known to many people here,” said Marina Yarashuk, director of the Museum of History and Regional Studies in Novogrudok… “Around here, the Kushners are a big deal, with or without Trump.” [JTA

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis” by Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz: “US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies… The Qatari government has said a May 23 news report on its Qatar News Agency attributed false remarks to the nation’s ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel and questioned whether President Donald Trump would last in office. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told CNN the FBI has confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news… On Tuesday, Trump tweeted criticism of Qatar that mirrors that of the Saudis and others in the region who have long objected to Qatar’s foreign policy… Hours after Trump’s tweets, the US State Department said Qatar had made progress on stemming the funding of terrorists but that there was more work to be done.” [CNN]

“Trump Joins the Campaign Against Qatar” by Blake Hounshell: “During the president’s recent meeting in Saudi Arabia with Sheikh Tamim [bin Hamad Al Thani], Trump was publicly effusive in his praise of Qatar. “We’ve been friends for a long time,” he said during a pool spray, “and our relationship is extremely good.” But privately, I’m told, he complained about Qatar’s support for Hamas. It’s not clear how Sheikh Tamim responded, but one person familiar with the conversation said it was not nearly as friendly as Trump’s other encounters with Gulf leaders. Another person briefed on the meeting said the Qataris were puzzled by the exchange, and asked if there were anything specific they could do to be more helpful.” [Politico]

REACTIONS ON THE HILL — by Aaron Magid: Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) told Jewish Insider, “Anybody that supports Hamas is supporting a terrorist organization and we need to take decisive steps to address that. It’s part of the discussion to let them know that this is unacceptable and that we want them to be a peaceful ally in the region and work with their neighbors and us.”

Striking a similar tone, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) called Qatar’s backing of the Palestinian terror group “outrageous.” The Tennessee lawmaker added, “We need to reevaluate our relationship with any nation that is engaging in state sponsoring of terrorism.”

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD): “Qatar is trying to play all sides of the game here and they may have been caught finally. But, we got to be careful because the US has some important assets there that assist us in the fight against terror.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) contended that the President’s public attack of Doha was unhelpful to America’s national interests. “To not recognize the fact that we have 10,000 American troops based in Doha and he didn’t actually factor that before he shuoted out his opinion from his Twitter account is fairly disturbing. We should do it through diplomatic channels and official channels instead of using Twitter.”

In contrast, Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) emphasized that President Trump, like all US citizens has a right to his opinion and found no problem with his Twitter criticism. Calling Qatar’s support of Hamas “super problematic,” the Texas lawmaker noted, “George Bush said it after 9/11: no matter whether you house terrorists or a hotbed for terrorists, we are coming after you.” Full report here [JewishInsider]

“Why the Saudi-Qatar rift could actually be about … Israel” by Jake Novak: “In the days leading up to the announcement of the Saudi-Qatari diplomatic freeze, reports began surfacing in the Israeli and Arab press that Riyadh was pushing Qatar to end its relationship with Hamas. And the Saudis are well aware that if Qatar cuts off Hamas, Hamas probably wouldn’t survive. Qatar’s refusal to do so immediately may have been the last straw for the Saudis who have been emboldened to at least appear to step up their anti-terror efforts after President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh last month.” [CNBC]

Ben Rhodes‏ surfaces to tweet: “Given how Trump is going, including full embrace of Saudi worldview, very real and dangerous risk of escalation with Iran.” [Twitter]

“In Geneva Speeches, Nikki Haley Casts U.S. as Rights Champion” by Nick Cumming-Bruce and Somini Sengupta: “The American ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, took a swipe on Tuesday at Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, criticized the United Nations for what she called its anti-Israel bias and insisted that the Trump administration would champion human rights… “America does not seek to leave the Human Rights Council,” Ms. Haley said [in a speech at the Graduate Institute of Geneva]. “We seek to re-establish the council’s legitimacy.” Pressed by the audience, she would not commit to staying or leaving.” [NYTimes; WashPost]

KAFE KNESSET — Queen Haley lands in Israel — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Early this morning, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley landed in Israel. Haley was greeted by her Israeli counterpart, Ambassador Danny Danon, who will be accompanying her during most of the visit. Haley’s first meeting was with the Israeli PM Netanyahu, who expressed his deep gratitude for her “standing by Israel and the truth.” The warm embrace of Ambassador Haley was apparent in every meeting she has had in Israel so far. “People appreciate the truth,” Bibi told Haley. “We have an ancient Hebrew saying that when people tell the truth, you can sense it and people feel it. They not only understand it, they feel it. And we feel it.”

Haley told Netanyahu she is thrilled by the reactions. “If there’s anything I have zero tolerance for, it is bullying, and the UN behaved so brutally toward Israel simply because it can. We are starting to see a change. I think they know that they cannot go on responding as they have until now, they feel that the tone has changed.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who also attended the meeting, gave Haley a necklace with a gold pendant of a Menorah symbol which was found in excavations in the City of David. President Rivlin, in Haley’s next meeting, echoed the same warm sentiments. “With your support, we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone in the United Nations, Israel is no longer the punching bag of the United Nations,” he told her. Haley then said that she feels “a bit embarrassed because all I do is tell the truth. The UN has been abusing Israel for a long time and we will not let it happen anymore.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in her first on-camera press briefing: “Middle East peace is something that’s very important to this administration. The President and the Secretary have both said they recognize that it will not be easy, that both sides will be forced to compromise. The President has made this one of his top priorities, and we are willing to work with both of those entities to try to get them to come together and make some – and to finally bring about Middle East peace.” [CSPAN]

“Obama’s Detailed Plans for Mideast Peace Revealed – and How Everything Fell Apart” by Amir Tibon: “This is perhaps the most dramatic part of the document, stating that “the new secure and recognized international borders between Israel and Palestine will be negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutually-agreed swaps whose size and location will be negotiated, so that Palestine will have viable territory corresponding in size to the territory controlled by Egypt and Jordan before June 4, 1967, with territorial contiguity in the West Bank…” Many U.S. and Israeli officials told Haaretz that Netanyahu was aware that this paragraph, which effectively means Israeli acceptance of the 1967 borders as a basis for negotiations, would appear in Kerry’s framework. According to these sources, Netanyahu was willing to enter final-status negotiations based on these words. But he had one reservation, which is indeed mentioned in the U.S. document: He wanted to avoid direct usage of the words “territorial contiguity.” [Haaretz]

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Trump, furious and frustrated, gears up to ‘punch back’ at Comey testimony” by Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker: “Alone in the White House in recent days, President Trump — frustrated and defiant — has been spoiling for a fight, according to his confidants and associates… Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor and criminal law expert whose television commentary on the Russia probe has caught the Trump team’s attention, said he understands why the president would be motivated to speak out to counter [James] Comey’s testimony. “Every lawyer would tell the president not to tweet, not to react,” Dershowitz said. “But he’s not listening. This is typical. I tell my clients all the time not to talk and they simply disregard it. It’d very hard to tell a very wealthy, very powerful man not to tweet. He thinks, ‘I tweeted my way to the presidency,’ and he’s determined to tweet.”” [WashPost]  

Famed Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz: There are people in the White House ‘trying everything to try and get him to stop tweeting’ [BusinessInsider]

PROFILE: “Marc Kasowitz, ‘Toughest of the Tough Guys,’ Stands Beside Trump” by Andrew Ross Sorkin: “Starting in 2006, [Marc E.] Kasowitz’s firm spent years going after the hedge fund managers Steven A. Cohen, Dan Loeb and James S. Chanos on behalf of Fairfax Financial Holdings, claiming they had engaged in a “bear raid” to drive down the company’s stock. The case, after 11 years of back and forth, which judges described as “grappling with a lion’s fearsome hide,” was dismissed… In a separate drama, Mr. Kasowitz has played on both sides of Wall Street’s biggest fighter: Carl C. Icahn. In the 1990s, Mr. Kasowitz worked for Bennett S. LeBow, who owned Liggett Group, one of the big-five tobacco companies. Mr. LeBow and Mr. Icahn, working with Mr. Kasowitz, tried, unsuccessfully, to take over RJR Nabisco… Years later, Mr. Kasowitz’s firm was on the other side of Mr. Icahn in a dispute over casinos. The client? Mr. Trump, along with his daughter Ivanka.” [NYTimes

SPECIAL ELECTION WATCH — “Handel, Ossoff clash in Georgia special election debate” by Elena Schneider:“[Republican Karen] Handel also attacked [Jon] Ossoff for his support of the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, calling Iran “one of the biggest threats.” When pressed on striking a nuclearized Iran, Ossoff said that with military force, “there are complexities involved that a hypothetical cannot fully encompass,” but if Iran poses an imminent threat, “then we should use force to prevent them from striking our allies.”” [Politico

** 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: The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools [NYTimes] • Steve Ballmer Says Tech Firms Should Be as Accountable as NBA Teams [Backchannel]Silverstein’s Tal Kerret on the future of Downtown’s retail and office markets [TRD] • ASRR Capital teams up with Israeli partners to buy Surfside site for $8.8M [TRD] • Developer Klein Enterprises pitches 400-seat restaurant, amphitheater for Broadway Market complex [BizJournals]

SPOTLIGHT: “Cadre collects $65 million in Series C funding” by Connie Loizos: “Cadre, a three-year-old, New York-based real estate startup, has raised $65 million in Series C funding led by Andreessen Horowitz… Ryan Williams, a Goldman Sachs and Blackstone alum, cofounded Cadre along with Joshua Kushner and Jared Kushner… The deal marks the latest in small but growing string of real-estate-related bets for Andreessen Horowitz, whose general partner (and former OpenTable CEO) Jeff Jordan led the deal.” [TC]

’67 ARTICLES: “The Astonishing Israeli Concession of 1967” by Yossi Klein Halevi: “The astonishing, untold story of the battle for Jerusalem was how ill-prepared Israel was for the most mythic battle of its history: The paratroopers’ conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City, including the two sites holiest to Judaism, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Even more astonishing was the Israeli decision, at the moment of victory, to concede sovereignty over the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. The Jewish people had just returned to its holiest site, from which it had been denied access for centuries, only to effectively yield sovereignty at its moment of triumph. Shortly after the war, Dayan met with officials of the Muslim Wakf, who governed the holy site, and formally returned the Mount to their control.” [TheAtlantic]

“The Arab World Has Never Recovered From the Loss of 1967” by Hisham Melhem: “It may be difficult for the Arabs of today to seriously reflect on the meaning of the defeat they suffered 50 years ago, given their current calamitous predicament. A half-century ago in the free sanctuary of Beirut, Arabs engaged in introspection and self-criticism, seeking to answer the central questions of their political life: What went wrong, and how did we reach this nadir? That unique moment of guarded hope and promise lasted but a few years. Fifty years later, there is no equivalent to Beirut in which to ask the hard questions about why and how the moment of enthusiasm that followed the 2011 Arab uprisings lasted for only a few months before the peaceful protest movements gave way to violence and civil wars. And in the last half-century, the Palestinian movement — along with its numerous Arab allies — has failed to become a transformational force.” [FP]

“The Six-Day War Was a Step Backward for Zionism” by Michael Koplow: “The Zionism that envisions complete Jewish sovereignty between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea does not account for the complication of approximately 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians living in a state of limbo while their own legitimate national aspirations go unfulfilled. It does not account for Israel’s isolation within its own region and its increasingly difficult relationships with democratic European allies. It does not account for the security, economic, and ethical strains that controlling the West Bank places upon the Israeli state and society.” [TheAtlantic] • Seth Mandel: The literary left’s anti-celebration of Jerusalem’s liberation [NYPost

Calls For #BoycottSears Return Over ‘Free Palestine’ Shirts: “Sears is now selling “Free Palestine” t-shirts – and some shoppers are calling for a boycott over the move. The department store’s website features more than a dozen search results for the word “Palestine”, including shirts that read “Free Gaza”, “End Israeli Occupation” and other similar phrases… Perhaps the most controversial item on the site is a shirt that reads “Free Palestine” over an image of the outline of the entire state of Israel. Jewish advocacy group B’nai B’rith issued a statement saying: “We are appalled at Sears jumping into a geo-political issue by selling glib t-shirts that proclaim ‘Free Palestine’ – seriously?” After reports began circulating on social media, the hashtag “#BoycottSears” reemerged Tuesday morning.” [CBSLA]

DESSERT: “A Guide to Israel’s Stunning Beaches” by Eva Fedderly: “Israel is perhaps best known—and deservedly so—for its holy sites, but its standing as a stellar beach destination often goes unsung. With coastline bordering the Mediterranean, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, and the Sea of Galilee, and everything from world-class scuba diving to ancient ruins to explore, the beaches of the Land of Milk and Honey have something for every type of sand lover. Here are the must-visit spots for a day (or a few) in the sun.” [VogueMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Chicago and Aspen-based billionaire, reported to own large stakes in General Dynamics, Maytag, Hilton Hotels, Aspen Skiing Co, the New York Yankees and the Chicago Bulls, among many other companies, Lester Crown turns 92… Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence turns 58… Developer of the cardiac defibrillator and other cardiovascular innovations, he also won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in nuclear disarmament, Bernard Lown MD turns 96… Former 5-term Democratic Congressman from California (1983-1993) Mel Levine turns 74… Attorney Advisor in the Office of Inspector General at the US State Department, earned a Ph.D. in political science in 1981 from Yale, Hillel N. Weinberg turns 65… Director of voice, creativity and culture at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Isaac Luria (born Isaac Goldstein) turns 34… Managing editor of The New Yorker, Emily S. Greenhouse turns 31… Actress and model, Emily Ratajkowski turns 26… Andrea Gonzales

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Jun
6

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Daily Kickoff: Sherman and Doran clash on Iran | How Scooter Braun pulled off the Manchester concert so quickly | How the ’67 War Transformed Religion

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HEARD YESTERDAY — Sherman and Doran Clash on Iran at AJC Debate — by Aaron Magid: Speaking before a packed audience at the Washington Hilton, the crowd repeatedly interrupted Wendy Sherman and Mike Doran with boos, mock laughter, and applause during the intense debate. “President Obama believed if you got the nuclear deal out of the way temporarily, he would come up with an accommodation with Iran over the region: Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. And Iran would moderate. It’s failed right before our eyes and the consequences have been catastrophic,” charged Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Sherman defended the agreement. “Iran does engage in malign activities in the region, but imagine how much worse it would be if Iran had a nuclear weapon?”

Modest critiques: Despite strongly supporting their respective political parties, both debaters offered critiques of Trump and Obama, albeit modest ones. “At the end of the Obama administration, I probably wouldn’t have done the UN Security Council resolution, but I was no longer in the administration,” Sherman noted. For his part, when addressing Trump’s attacks of European allies for not spending sufficient amount on military spending, Doran, a former Bush administration official, said, “Would I prefer if President Trump raise this issue in a slightly more diplomatic way? Absolutely.” Full debate recap here [JewishInsider]

“Israeli Ambassador to US: Trump will address problems of Iran deal in time” by Noa Amouyal: “Speaking at the American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum… [Ron] Dermer specifically singled out the administration’s acknowledgment of the “fatal” flaw of the [Iranian nuclear] deal’s sunset clause… “If those restrictions didn’t have an expiration date then we could have a debate,” he said. “The view of the new administration is that this deal is not in the interest of the US. I think you can expect a very real pushback [against Iran]. They have to be smart about it and get their ducks lined in a row. So I’m not surprised they didn’t rip up the deal. I think you’ll see this play out over the next couple of years.” [JPost]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Sen. Tom Cotton tells David Axelrod on the Axe Files: “I think our European allies are on guard to hear whatever possible slight they can because a lot of them, I think, just don’t like Donald Trump. That’s understandable. Leaders often don’t like each other. I am sure you can tell us some stories about Barack Obama not getting along well with foreign leaders.”

Axelrod replied: “It is true that presidents don’t get along with leaders. It’s not always true that presidents don’t get along with whole continents. This (Trump-Europe) seems a little more pervasive.” [CNNPodcast]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: The Elijah Cummings Youth Program (ECYP) in Israel held a fundraising event in Fells Point, Baltimore. The evening honored former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton who addressed the crowd. ECYP was started as a partnership between the Baltimore Jewish community and Congressman Elijah Cummings in 1998. Since then, this two-year-long fellowship program has served over 200 high school students from the Congressman’s Baltimore City district. The highlight of the fellowship is a month-long trip to Israel in the summer. A trip that for many of the teens is their first time on a plane, let alone with a passport. While in Israel, the students spend much of the month together with Israeli teens at Yemin Orde near Haifa. making new Israeli friends who they then tour the country with. Past participants, upon completing the program, have had a 100% high school graduation rate and a 98% four year college graduation rate.

From Hillary’s remarks: “This program is what the world should be doing. We’re only a few hours from another terrorist attack in London and, not long before that, in Manchester. And I know you join with me in extending our sympathy to the victims and their families… It also reminds us of the importance of the leadership opportunities that this program provides. Because this is a time for us to reach out to the world. It’s a time for steady determined leadership like we’re seeing from local authorities in London, including the Mayor of London (applause). And it is a time to remember how important our alliances are. Getting to know one another, learning about the experiences, the lives, the cultures, the religions, the food. Putting yourself in another shoes, walking in them. It’s even more important that we work together with our allies and our friends. This is not a time to lash out or use tragedy and fear for political gain. Normally this would go without saying but we are not living in normal times.”

“It’s no coincidence that he [Congressman Cummings] shares a name with an Old Testament prophet. Elijah the first was also interested in helping people solve problems and unafraid to speak out and that’s what Congressman Elijah Cummings does everyday. This program is truly a labor of love. I spoke with Elijah the other day, he told me he interviews every young person who applies. He’s personally invested in their success. It’s easy to see why this program has had such an impact. It’s one thing to learn about the world, it’s another thing to experience it. By the time these students come back to Baltimore they have celebrated Shabbat, studied Hebrew, hiked up Masada, and made lifelong friends. The lessons of this journey, as Senator Mikulski called it, lasts long after the fellows return home. You develop a lifelong appreciation for our closest partner in a troubled region… Being here tonight is very encouraging to me. This is the kind of commitment that really represents America at its best.”

SPOTTED: Former Sen. Barbara Mikulski, ECYP’s Founding Chairman Howard Friedman, Judge Karen Chaya Friedman, Ann Lewis, Barbara Goldman-Goldberg, CNN anchor and ECYP alum Victor Blackwell, Nick Merrill, WYPR’s Sheilah Kast, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, Terry Lierman, Daniel Klein, Anna Lauren Krieger Klein, Mia Klein, Sam Neuberger, Howard Libit, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Isaac Yitzy Schleifer, Sandy Rosenberg, and Kevin Loeb.

HOW IT PLAYED: Speaking in Baltimore, Hillary Clinton praises London mayor for leadership following attack [BaltimoreSun] • Clinton hits Trump for using ‘tragedy and terror for political gain’ [CNN] • Plus, Hillary’s Scooby van reappears [Pic; Pic]

SPOTLIGHT ON SCOOTER: “How Ariana Grande’s Manchester Benefit Came Together So Quickly” by Joe Coscarelli:“In the days after a terrorist bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killed 22 people and injured more than 100 last month, Ms. Grande struggled with how to respond. “Everyone was traumatized,” Scooter Braun, her manager, said. “The tour was canceled.” But after just a few days with her family in Florida, the singer, 23, sent a flurry of text messages to Mr. Braun about “how she needed to do something,” he recalled in an interview on Monday. “‘Are you ready to perform?’” Mr. Braun said he asked her. “And she said, ‘I want to go back out on that stage.’”

“Everyone put their head down and said, ‘We’re doing it for these families,’” said Mr. Braun, who booked the entire bill — Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher of Oasis also performed — in less than 24 hours. “There’s been so much negativity and such a lack of leadership when we’re looking to have hope,” he said. “I think last night the city of Manchester became that symbol of hope.” [NYTimes]

ON THE HILL — The Senate unanimously approved a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. Introduced by Senate Majority Leaders, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), the bipartisan resolution recognizes the 3 millennia Jewish presence in Jerusalem, reaffirms the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act and reatrates the longstanding U.S position that the permanent status of Jerusalem remains a matter to be decided between the parties through final status negotiations towards a two-state solution. [CSPAN]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Former UN Ambassador John Bolton in a speech at Ateret Cohanim’s Jerusalem Chai dinner in Queens, NY: “Even as we had a wonderful scene – the first sitting American President visiting the Western Wall – we also remember the controversy that took place before that happened when a lot of people had hoped that the President would be accompanied by Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu. But the ever-vigilant State Department rose and said, ‘That can’t happen because the final status of Jerusalem is yet to be determined.’ Really? Where have they been? The final status of Jerusalem has been determined. So the visit of the President together with the PM didn’t happen this year, but I think you have to look at it as merely being postponed. As I think has been postponed the moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That’s coming too. You can count on it.” [JewishInsider]

PALACE INTRIGUE — “A problem for Jared Kushner: The conservative media could scapegoat him” by Callum Borchers: “[Radio host Rush] Limbaugh has stood up for Kushner since The Washington Post reported that he is a person of interest in a federal law enforcement probe. So has Sean Hannity. But it is reasonable to wonder how strong their loyalty is. They only support him because they support Trump. For Alex Jones, support for Trump is not enough. The Infowars founder views Kushner as a “globalist” — a dirty word in Jones’s world — and has been open about his belief that Kushner is a bad influence on Trump… Kushner is not a natural object of admiration for conservative media types, especially those who want Trump to push a nationalist agenda. They would probably be willing to throw him under the bus.” [WashPost]

“Was Kushner Seeking a Russian Bailout for Manhattan Building? Congress Will Ask” by Ken Dilanian, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Corky Siemaszko: “One of the questions Kushner is expected to be asked is whether he tried to set up a secret back channel way of communicating with the Russians so he could find somebody in Moscow to take the 41-story tower at 666 Fifth Ave. off his family’s hands… So far no date has been set for Kushner to appear before the Senate and House Intelligence committees.” [NBCNews]

“Trump Grows Discontented With Attorney General Jeff Sessions” by Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman: “More than four months into his presidency, Mr. Trump has grown sour on [Jeff] Sessions, now his attorney general… The discontent was on display on Monday in a series of stark early-morning postings on Twitter in which the president faulted his own Justice Department for its defense of his travel ban… Alan M. Dershowitz… who has frequently defended Mr. Trump on cable news, said the president was clearly voicing frustration with Mr. Sessions. But he said it was not clear to him that it was a personal issue as opposed to an institutional one with the office. “What he’s saying is, ‘I’m the president, I’m the tough guy, I wanted a very tough travel ban and the damn lawyers are weakening it’ — and clients complain about lawyers all the time,” Mr. Dershowitz said… The lawyer in this case happens to be Jeff Sessions.” [NYTimes]

NEW CHIEF, SAME GAME: “UN chief denounces ’50 years of Israeli occupation’ on Six Day War anniversary” by Danielle Ziri: “UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the five-decades-long Israeli occupation has imposed a “heavy humanitarian and development burden on the Palestinian people” and “fueled recurring cycles of violence and retribution.” In response, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, “The attacks on Israel by our neighbors did not begin in 1967 and any attempt at a moral equivalency between killing innocent people and the building of homes is absurd.  Instead of spreading Palestinian misinformation, it would be best if the UN stuck with the facts.”” [JPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the AJC Global Forum: “At the UN, we can never let our guard down. Since the days of Zionism is racism, the UN has been an incubator for Israel bashing, a forum where Israel is almost always the villain and never the victim. We should all be wary of it. I hope one day it will happen: Israel will come to be treated fairly in the UN. We can’t be silent when the UN singles out Israel for condemnation. The U.S. should have vetoed resolution 2334 in December and it should never use the UN as a forum to put pressure on Israel of any kind.” • Separately, Schumer told over the story about how a Queens woman was watching him on C-SPAN and mistook his bald spot for a yarmulke [Video]

“Still Stuck Between May and June of 1967” by Yossi Klein Halevi: “On May 16, 1967, President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt evicted United Nations peacekeeping forces along the Israeli border and remilitarized the Sinai Peninsula… By June 7, Mr. Rabin was celebrating victory at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem… Over the past 50 years a pattern has emerged. When Israelis feel under siege, the traumas of the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War are reawakened and the mood turns hard-line. Yet when they sense a more sympathetic international climate, they take more risks for peace… Now, as the Trump administration tries to renew the moribund peace process, Israelis are deeply ambivalent. A majority of Israelis — 58 percent, according to a recent poll — support renewing peace talks with the Palestinians. But only 17 percent believe that Israel has a peace partner. In other words, a majority want to be June Israelis, but feel forced by circumstance to be May Israelis.” [NYTimes]

TOP TALKER: “Hacks, Money and Qatari Crisis: How Gulf States Entangled D.C. Think Tanks in Their Fight for Influence” by Amir Tibon: “One thing that rival neighbor states Qatar and the UAE share is a desire to increase their influence in Washington and a willingness to spend lavishly to achieve that goal… Qatar… has donated millions of dollars to the Brookings Institution. The UAE has also donated to Brookings over the years. The think tank at the center of the latest news story, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, does not receive any funding from foreign governments.” [Haaretz]

“The $1bn hostage deal that enraged Qatar’s Gulf rivals” by Erika Solomon: “Qatar paid up to $1bn to release members of the Gulf state’s royal family who were kidnapped in Iraq while on a hunting trip, according to people involved in the hostage deal — one of the triggers behind Gulf states’ dramatic decision to cut ties with Doha. Commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region told the Financial Times that Doha spent the money in a transaction that secured the release of 26 members of a Qatari falconry party in southern Iraq and about 50 militants captured by jihadis in Syria.” [FT]

“Will Qatar’s Diplomatic Exile Spark the Next Great War?” by Simon Henderson: “Washington can play an important role in defusing this potentially explosive situation. U.S. officials may believe that Qatar was being less than evenhanded in its balancing act between the United States and Iran — but a drawn-out conflict between Riyadh and Doha, or a struggle that pushes Qatar into Tehran’s arms, would benefit no one. In this respect, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is arguably well-placed. ExxonMobil, where he was CEO before joining the U.S. government, is the biggest foreign player in Qatar’s energy sector, so he presumably knows the main decision-makers well.” [FP]

TRUMP WEIGHS IN — “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!” [Twitter]

** 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: WeWork’s Adam Neumann is graduating from college — 15 years after he enrolled [TechCrunch] • “Not even Shavuot can stop Gary Barnett from making headlines” [TheRealDeal] • Kushner Companies Seeking $250 Million to Pay Off Chinese Backers [NYTimes] • Kushner Companies having trouble refinancing Jersey City apartment tower [TRD] • Trump’s travel ban gives the impression ‘people are not welcome,’ Loews Hotels CEO Jonathan Tisch says [CNBC] • How Blackstone’s CEO Steve Schwarzman Made It Through Wall Street’s Most Turbulent Decade [BloombergMarkets

STARTUP NATION: “An Israeli AI Company Is Giving Machines The Gift Of Sight: “What makes Cortica different is that unlike most machine learning algorithms that are essentially blackboxes, systems where even the programmers don’t know what the system is doing, Cortica’s program is transparent and verifiable… It also relies on a branch of AI research called unsupervised learning… Cortica was founded by Professor Josh Zeevi and two of his doctoral graduates, Igal Raichelgauz and Karina Odinaev from Technion.” [Futurism]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “How the Six-Day War Transformed Religion” by Sigal Samuel: “The war’s outcome impacted the way Islam is expressed in the West Bank and Gaza, and it created new openings for political Islamism in the Arab world. It strengthened a messianic strain in Israeli Judaism, and it changed the focal point of American Judaism. It forced an internal reckoning among evangelical Christians, and even among Mormons, in the United States… Dov Waxman, professor at Northeastern University… “For the American Jewish community itself, the mass adoption of pro-Israelism as a surrogate form of religion has been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it has enabled many American Jews who might otherwise have assimilated into oblivion to maintain a Jewish identity and remain part of the Jewish community, and it has provided them with a common cause… On the other hand, it has led to the relative neglect of American Judaism, as support for Israel has consumed much of the Jewish community’s attention and resources.”” [TheAtlantic

“Unsettled: On the 50th anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War, pondering the myth-making stories that define Judaism” by Yehuda Kurtzer: “As a Zionist, I am enchanted by second-chance history, by the possibility of the fulfillment of a story that the Jewish people never got right the first time around. But as a Jew, I find the idea that our canonical stories are there to be fixed rather than to challenge us with their intactness to be alienating and strange… And even though I wouldn’t trade the Zionism that comes with winning the war for the nostalgia of the older and better Jewish story, I worry that this new story that has replaced the old mythology of journey is deeply lacking. Rabbinic tradition dictates that the Temple Mount should constitute the center of one’s religious consciousness and thus become a literal and metaphorical compass: We pray in its direction from wherever far off places we are, in the belief that this orientation centers us. We prayed toward there throughout a long history in which we couldn’t be there.” [Tablet

The Weekly Standard spotlights one anecdote from Sen. Al Franken’s new book: “The book contains at least one feint at humility. Senate “hearings quickly emerged as one of my favorite parts of the job,” [Sen. Al] Franken writes. “The only problem was that there was a fine line between showing up a jerk and being one myself.” Franken goes on to tell the story of badgering a witness, “a guy named Tevi Troy from the Hudson Institute, a right-wing think tank in Washington, who was there to complain about the Affordable Care Act.” It seems Troy’s crime was citing a statistic that had appeared in the Wall Street Journal opinion pages. Was there a problem with the statistic? Well, no. Franken just doesn’t like the opinions found at the Journal: “You know,” I sneered, “it’s funny. The Wall Street Journal op-ed page sometimes—I don’t know if you know this—uses statistics in misleading ways.” There was laughter in the room as the witness squirmed, but my health care staffer, Hannah Katch, quickly pushed a note in front of me: “You’re being an a—hole.” After the hearing, Franken praises his health care staffer and tells the rest of his staff that they shouldn’t be afraid to tell him he’s being a jerk.” [TWS]

INBOX — “Slingshot has released Slingshot ‘17 – a collection of some of the most forward-thinking organizations found in Jewish life today.” See the list[eJPhil]

DESSERT — Kosher kitchen in New Orleans — by Helen Freund: “Daniel Esses is in the process of opening a Kosher restaurant inside Tulane University’s Hillel House at 912 Broadway St. It will be called Rimon, which is the Hebrew word for pomegranate. An all-kosher menu will feature healthy fare, including a curried chickpea burger, a turkey club made with beef bacon and a faux “Caesar” salad. Esses says Rimon will be open to students and the general public sometime in August.” [BestOfNewOrleans]

BIRTHDAYS: Former Majority Leader in the House of Representatives and now Vice Chair of investment bank Moelis & Company, Eric Cantor turns 54… Billionaire, art collector and philanthropist, the only person to create two Fortune 500 companies in two industries, Eli Broad turns 84… US District Court Judge since 1994, on senior status since 2005, serving in the Eastern District of New York, Frederic Block turns 83… Rabbi at Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa since 1967 (now emeritus), writer, broadcaster, activist and former co-president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Rabbi Reuven Bulka turns 73… Real estate entrepreneur, member of the Pritzker family and executive chairman of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Thomas Pritzker turns 67… Diplomat who has served as Israel’s ambassador to South Sudan (2012-2014) and Egypt (2014-2016), Haim Koren turns 64… Two-time Tony Award winner for acting, also a playwright and voice actor, Harvey Fierstein turns 63… Comedienne, political critic, musician and author, Sandra Bernhard turns 62… Radio news personality, currently is employed by iHeartRadio WOR-AM in NYC, Lisa Glasberg (better known as “Lisa G”) turns 61…

Israeli conductor and musician, Nir Brand turns 56… Managing Director and the Chief Interactive Strategist for The Glover Park Group, Jonathan Kopp turns 51… Best-selling author, journalist and television personality, she has focused on addiction and recovery as well as relationships, Anna Benjamin David turns 47… Founder and chairman of the Washington Free Beacon, Michael L. Goldfarb turns 37… ABC News reporter, Katherine B. Faulders turns 26… Senior Director at Black Rock Group, formerly press secretary for the Carly Fiorina campaign, Anna Epstein turns 26… Writer and digital editor in AIPAC’s DC headquarters, Allie Freedman (h/t Playbook)… Steve Patner

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

Jun
5

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Daily Kickoff: Qatar expels Hamas leaders amid rift with 5 Arab States over Iran | LEAKED: UAE Amb’s emails | Remembering Sara Ehrman | Bob Kraft BDay

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “5 Arab States Break Ties With Qatar, Complicating U.S. Coalition-Building” by Gardiner Harris and Michael R. Gordon: “Hours after five Arab countries broke diplomatic relations with Qatar, a crucial United States ally, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson offered on Monday to broker the impasse in hopes of preserving the Trump administration’s efforts to create broad coalitions against Iran and terrorist groups in the Middle East… The remarks by Mr. Tillerson, who is in Australia with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, came on the heels of dramatic announcements by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen that they were suspending diplomatic ties, as well as air and sea travel to and from Qatar, potentially choking off access to an important United States ally.” [NYTimesBloomberg

–Top Question: Does the diplomatic breakdown in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] affect the odds of Trump’s regional grand bargain on Israeli-Palestinian peace?

“Palestinians Confirm: Top Hamas Officials Have Left Qatar at Country’s Request” by Jack Khoury: “Palestinian sources have confirmed Monday that a number of top Hamas officials have left Qatar at the country’s request… Saleh al-Arouri, military commander overseeing West Bank terror cells, and Musa Dudin, who… established in Gaza a cell in charge of planning terror attacks in the West Bank, were among the officials who left Qatar. The confirmation comes as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism, opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.” [Haaretz]

WHAT CAUSED THE QATAR RIFT? — by Grant Clark: “It’s mostly, but not all, about Iran. The spark for this flare-up was a report by the state-run Qatar News Agency that carried comments by Qatar ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani criticizing mounting anti-Iran sentiment. Qatari officials quickly deleted the comments, blamed them on hackers and appealed for calm. Criticism by Saudi and U.A.E. media outlets escalated after Sheikh Tamim phoned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the weekend in apparent defiance of Saudi criticism.” [Bloomberg]

“Someone Is Using These Leaked Emails To Embarrass Washington’s Most Powerful Ambassador” by Akbar Shahid Ahmed: 
“In private correspondence, Otaiba ― an extremely powerful figure in Washington, D.C., who is reportedly in “in almost constant phone and email contact,” with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law ― is seen pushing for the U.S. to close down its military base in Qatar and otherwise poking at issues that could drive a wedge between the U.S. and that Arab nation… The Foundation for Defense of Democracies features heavily in the Otaiba emails. While many of those messages show the ambassador helping its analysts plan trips to the UAE, they also contain two of the most striking revelations about Otaiba: He explicitly advocated for moving the U.S. base out of Qatar ― something he hasn’t done publicly ― and he discussed the idea of pressuring companies in U.S.-friendly countries to avoid business opportunities in Iran.” [HuffPost; TheIntercept]

“Leakers Share New Email Dump Targeting Top Arab Diplomat And U.S. Foreign Policy Elites” by Akbar Shahid Ahmed: “On Feb. 10, 2015, Otaiba emailed [Elliott] Abrams a link to an Atlantic Council post suggesting that Qatar was intervening in Egypt to support the Muslim Brotherhood movement and undermine the country’s government, run by a former general close to the UAE. “Hadn’t seen this. VERY interesting,” Abrams, the former White House director for democracy, human rights and international operations, wrote. “Too bad the Qatari armed forces can’t … well, I shouldn’t say such things. That would be undemocratic.” Contacted by HuffPost, Abrams declined to explain what action he was hoping for from Qatar’s military… In a Sunday email, Abrams said he and Otaiba have been friends for years; they email frequently.” [HuffPost]

“Lebanese lawmakers lobbied U.S. officials to soften Hezbollah sanctions” by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: “Amid renewed congressional efforts to tighten sanctions on Hezbollah, delegations of Lebanese politicians and bankers descended on Washington in May in an attempt to minimize the effects of any new sanctions on the Lebanese banking sector… “An understanding was reached” with the U.S. officials with whom they spoke, said Ali Hamdan, who is aligned with the Amal Movement and visited Washington in May, told Reuters.” [ChicagoTribune] • Iran Dictates New Middle East Reality, Striving for Land Corridor From Tehran to Beirut [Haaretz]

IRAN DEAL: “Iran honoring nuclear deal but nearing heavy-water limit again: IAEA” by Francois Murphy: “Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium as of May 27 was 79.8 kg (175.5 pounds), well below a 202.8-kg (446-pound) limit, and the level of enrichment did not exceed a 3.67 percent cap, the International Atomic Energy said in a confidential report sent to IAEA member states and seen by Reuters… But Iran’s stock of heavy water, a chemical used as a moderator in a type of nuclear reactor that can produce plutonium, reached 128.2 tons, just below a 130-tonne limit, the IAEA report said… Tehran has already breached that limit twice since the deal took effect.” [Reuters

“American UN ambassador to visit Jerusalem’s Old City” by Raphael Ahren: “[Nikki] Haley… is scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning at Ben Gurion Airport for her first visit to the Jewish state since taking office in January. During her three-day stay, she is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin as well as with senior Palestinian dignitaries. She is also expected to go to Tel Aviv, visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, and take helicopter rides to Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip and the its northern border… Her expected visit to various sites in the Old City of Jerusalem is billed as private, which means that no Israeli officials will accompany her.” [ToI]

“U.S. poised to warn U.N. rights forum of possible withdrawal” by Stephanie Nebehay: “The United States is expected to signal on Tuesdaythat it might withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council unless reforms are ushered in including the removal of what it sees as an “anti-Israel bias,” diplomats and activists said. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley… writing in the Washington Post at the weekend, called for the Council to “end its practice of wrongly singling out Israel for criticism.” [Reuters

HEARD YESTERDAY — Haley on CNN’s State of the Union regarding Trump’s decision not to move the embassy to Jerusalem: “I think that he knows that it could be very much a part of the peace process. And so I think that what he did want to do is make sure that he wasn’t interrupting the negotiations that are happening with the peace process… He hasn’t changed his position on moving the embassy. It’s all about time.”

“McMaster: Despite global terrorism, opportunity for success in shifting Middle East alliances” by  Laura Kelly: “National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster… delivered the key-note speech at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum, stressing that opportunities for peace and resolution can be found in times of conflict seen as bleak and dire. “Today we are witnessing a reassessment of regional relationships, most notably between Israel and a number of our Arab partners, all friends of America but too often adversaries of each other. Today these interests are converging. This is an opportunity,” General McMaster told the group of nearly 2,000 conference attendees.” [WashTimes] • H.R. McMaster: Confronting Today’s Challenges Requires ‘Humility [DailyBeast]

Senior Palestinian Official: ‘Obviously’ Western Wall Should Remain Under Israeli Control: “We understand that the wall he [U.S. President Donald Trump] visited is sacred to the Jews and ultimately it has to remain under Jewish sovereignty,” [Jibril] Rajoub said on Channel 2’s “Meet the Press.” “There is no argument over this. Obviously, it’s a holy place for Jews.” [Haaretz] • Fatah official under fire after saying Western Wall should be under ‘Jewish sovereignty’ [MaanNews]

ON THE HILL — Congressional letter calls for release of Palestinian prisoner — by Aaron Magid: Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is also serving as Deputy Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair, is circulating a letter directed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pushing for the release of Palestinian activist Issa Amro from an Israeli jail. The measure — which has also been introduced by Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) — is expected to receive the modest backing of approximately 15-20 Members given its harsh criticism of Israeli policies towards Palestinian prisoners… The letter demonstrates that Ellison remains undeterred and will continue advocating for pro-Palestinian policies in his new role as Deputy DNC Chair. [JewishInsider]

“Some Palestinian ex-prisoners in Gaza say their salaries withheld” by Nidal al-Mughrabi: 
“A spokesman for Palestinian prisoners said that 277 freed prisoners in the Gaza Strip, most of whom are aligned with the Islamist Hamas group… were surprised to find their May stipends had not been paid. Zaid Al-Kilani, a former prisoner from Hamas… said: “Abu Mazen (Abbas) is punishing freed prisoners… We believe the Palestinian Authority has succumbed to American and Israeli pressure,” he said.” [Reuters]

The Senate will be voting today at 5:30 PM on a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed the measure on May 25. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) co-sponsored the measure. S. 176 “reaffirms the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104–45) as United States law, and calls upon the President and all United States officials to abide by its provisions” while also noting the bipartisan US policy that Jerusalem remains an issue within final status negotiations as part of the two state solution framework. The measure is expected to pass today by a wide margin. C-SPAN2 will carry the vote live.

“America’s half century of failure in the Middle East” by Aaron David Miller: 
“President Trump does have certain advantages because he’s new to the presidency. He’s unpredictable and is capitalizing on a new alignment between Israel and the Arabs, particularly the Saudis. This may well be enough to begin a process. But it still leaves open the question: Toward what end? The gaps on the core issues… are Grand Canyon-like; the mistrust and suspicion are deep; and America’s reluctance to use both honey and vinegar to move the parties, particularly the Israelis, is still pretty strong. Never say never. But you’d need a miracle in a region that hasn’t seen many for quite some time.” [CNN]

“Israel’s 1967 Victory Is Something to Celebrate” by Michael Oren: “Far beyond 1967, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is in fact about 1917, 1937 and 1947. Those anniversaries can teach us much about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and why peace has proved so elusive.” [NYTimes]

“How the Six-Day War Changed Israel’s Mind” by Bernard Avishai: “Fifty years ago, what began as a defensive war came to be embraced as an occasion for redemption in more senses than one.” [NewYorker]

KAFE KNESSET — Back in Africa — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked this week on his second-ever trip as PM to Africa. He was in Monrovia, Liberia, on Monday where he met with 10 African leaders at the ECOWAS summit. Netanyahu was the first non-African leader to speak at the summit…

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is back in DC for its regular meetings with its many parallel committees in Congress – eight total between the House and Senate (Senate Foreign Relations, House Foreign Affairs, Senate and House Intelligence, Appropriations and Armed Services). Another stop on the visit will be the Committee’s first-ever trip to the Pentagon, and the MKs will meet CIA representatives. Also on the itinerary: A meeting with special envoy Jason Greenblatt and a visit to the Lockheed Martin factory where the F-35 fighter jet is manufactured.

Labor infighting turns dirty: The Labor leadership vote is almost a month away, but the mudslinging has already gotten very intense. In a candidates’ debate on Walla! News Sunday, foul-mouthed tech billionaire and MK Erel Margalit caught former Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay in an apparent lie. Margalit asked Gabbay – who was in the Kulanu Party until about five minutes ago – if he had ever voted Likud, and Gabbay said no. Then Margalit whipped out his phone and played a video of an interview in which Gabbay said yes, he had voted for Likud. Later, Margalit said that maybe Gabbay had misunderstood something in English, and it was the ex-minister’s turn to pounce back. On Army Radio this morning Gabbay said Margalit was trying to turn him into David Levy – something any Israeli would understand to mean that Gabbay was calling Margalit a racist against Mizrachi / Sephardi Jews. Gabbay, it should be noted, speaks English quite well. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider

HAPPENING TODAY: “Clinton to address Baltimore group that builds ties between black, Jewish communities” by John Fritze: “The [Elijah Cummings Youth] Program created nearly two decades ago by Cummings, the longtime Democratic congressman from Baltimore, will receive national attention Monday when former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a fundraiser for the group in Fells Point… Clinton will address a group founded to build ties between the African-American and Jewish communities at a time when both have had a complicated relationship with Trump… The students in the Cummings program, most of whom are African-American, learn about Israel during their junior year in high school. They take part in leadership training and community service events. In the summer before their senior year, they travel to Israel for a month, and visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities.” [BaltimoreSun]

Flashback: A Congressman, Israeli Ambassador and Hall of Fame Running Back Celebrate Black History Month [JewishInsider

PALACE INTRIGUE: “Steve Bannon’s Security Council Rival Dies in Darkness” by Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng and Kimberly Dozier: 
“Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner’s newly-formed White House Strategic Initiatives Group is no more, senior administration officials tell The Daily Beast, thanks in part to infighting between the co-founders… The group’s mission, has been folded into the White House’s Office of Innovation, two administration officials tell The Daily Beast… The collapse of the SIG leaves the key foreign policy-focused member of staff, Seb Gorka, now working directly for Bannon.” [DailyBeast]

“How Climate Change Saved Steve Bannon’s Job” by Ryan Lizza: “Two important things changed since the “Bannon is dead” narrative took hold, in April. The first is the Russia investigation. So far, Bannon has not been connected to the investigation… The second change since Bannon’s low point was that a decision on whether to withdraw from the Paris climate accord finally needed to be made. It was the most important fight pitting Bannon against Jared and Ivanka yet… “I think Jared and Ivanka are concerned with being accepted in the right places, they care about what the beautiful people think,” [a Trump advisor] said. “They care about being well received in the Upper West Side cocktail parties. They view Steve as a man with dirty fingernails, with some weird, crazy, extremist philosophy they don’t think is in the best interest of the President… They would like the President to be more like George Bush: one-dimensional, predictable, neocon, mainstream.” [NewYorker]

“Trump supporters revel in Paris exit” by Josh Dawsey: “While the president often crows about Gary Cohn’s success at Goldman Sachs, and may talk to his daughter, Ivanka Trump, more than anyone, Trump often gravitates toward the Bannon modus. Bannon supporters note enthusiastically that the so-called moderates in the West Wing don’t have much luck getting their way.” [Politico]

Concerns in White House over Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz — by Jonathan Swan: A frequent informal adviser to the White House said: “There are some people who believe he’s the right choice, because he knows the President. And in something like this, it’s good to have somebody you know and trust and can tell you: ‘I’ve got your back.’ On the other hand, there are people in the building who say that Kasowitz brings out the worst in the President. Kasowitz is a bit of an enabler and spins him up.” [Axios]

“Some Hires by Betsy DeVos Are a Stark Departure From Her Reputation” by Erica Green: 
“Jason Botel, Ms. DeVos’s deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education… was named to the department after serving a short stint as the chief education adviser to President Trump, a position he owed to his ties to the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner… Mr. Botel came into the Trump orbit through Maggie Katz, a close friend of Ms. Trump’s, and Reed S. Cordish, Ms. Katz’s husband and a prominent Baltimore developer who joined the Trump White House as a top adviser. Ms. Katz and Mr. Cordish financially backed Mr. Botel’s charter school in Baltimore.” [NYTimes

NYC 2017 WATCH — Massey Charges Opponent Is Weak on Terror, Israel As He Skips Celebrate Israel Parade — by Jacob Kornbluh: “Businessman Paul Massey, a Republican candidate for mayor of New York City, seized an opportunity on Sunday to portray the incumbent Mayor, Bill de Blasio, and his main primary opponent Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis as being weak on terror… Massey also charged that his Republican opponent has ties with the controversial Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, whom he alleged is anti-Semitic and “advocates for violence in the Middle East.” The Republican mayoral hopeful didn’t march in the Celebrate Israel Parade on Fifth Avenue. A spokeswoman for Massey told Jewish Insider that Massey “is on a long-planned trip with his wife and regrets not being there today.” Malliotakis’ campaign spokesman Rob Ryan blasted Massey for skipping the Israel parade. “The fact that he… would skip the Celebrate Israel Parade and what it represents; a people and a nation united against terror, is sad and disturbing,” Ryan told Jewish Insider. [JewishInsider

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Israeli Voiceitt lets people with speech impairments use voice-controlled technology [TC] • Israel working hard to realize the dreams of its gas industry [CNBC] Casino Magnate Sheldon Adelson Gets $1.7 Billion Richer In Four Days [Forbes] • Aharon Shaked’s heirs sell half 888 stake [Globes] • Thor battles choppy waters: As Manhattan luxury retail takes a dive, some wonder if the firm’s chief Joe Sitt can keep his head above the tide [TRD] • Question in Battle Over ‘Diller Island’: Which Billionaire Blinks First? [NYTimes] • Brian S. Cohen says identify fears in order to grow your business [MSNBC] • Jon Steinberg’s Cheddar, The “Post-Cable Network,” Is Coming To Cable TV [BuzzFeed] Sinclair Broadcasting Said to Be in Talks With Ex-Sony TV Chief Steve Mosko [NYTimes]  

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Cornell Tech starts up” by Cara Eisenpress: “Nanit, a New York City startup founded in 2014, has 25 employees, $6.6 million from investors and a high-tech product that local media and nervous parents adore. Its baby monitor can classify babies’ nighttime behaviors, analyze their sleep patterns and report everything back to anxious moms and dads by the morning. Nanit’s founder and CEO, Assaf Glazer, is an Israeli with a Ph.D. in computer vision, the science of teaching computers to recognize their surroundings. When he enrolled at Cornell Tech, he knew he could use computerized cameras to understand babies’ sleep. But the school’s Runway Startup Postdoc program, in which he participated from 2014 to 2015, taught him how to turn his idea into a company.” [Crains]

LongRead: “How a ‘shadow’ universe of charities joined with political warriors to fuel Trump’s rise” by Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg: “As the presidential campaign heated up, [David] Horowitz’s group and the conservative network shifted into high gear… He also denounced the Republicans who branded themselves “Never Trump.” In May 2016, when it became clear Trump would be the Republican nominee, he called conservative columnist William Kristol a “Republican spoiler” and “renegade Jew” in Breitbart News because of his opposition to Trump… On Dec. 14, 2016, during a videotaped event, Horowitz expressed happiness about Trump’s victory and… pulled from his suit coat a piece of paper listing Freedom Center supporters already in the administration. “It’s quite an impressive list,” Horowitz said, rattling off the names: Sessions, Bannon, Vice President Pence, Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway… “My personal favorite is Steve Miller, because Steve, who was today appointed the senior policy adviser in the White House… is a kind of protege of mine,” he said. “So the center has a big stake in this administration.” [WashPost

Thom Yorke Breaks Silence on Israel Controversy: “It’s well over a month until Radiohead wrap up their 2017 A Moon Shaped Pool Tour at Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 19th, but it’s already shaping up to be the most controversial show of their career… On April 23rd, over 50 prominent figures, including Roger Waters… signed a petition urging Radiohead to cancel the show… The issue has flared up at recent Radiohead concerts, including their show at the Greek Theater Berkeley… When we spoke to Yorke for our new cover story about the making of OK Computer, we gave him the opportunity to respond. Here are his complete comments… “If you want me to be honest, yeah, it’s really upsetting that artists I respect think we are not capable of making a moral decision ourselves after all these years. They talk down to us and I just find it mind-boggling that they think they have the right to do that. It’s extraordinary.” [RollingStone

“‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display” by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger: “On the eve of the Arab-Israeli war, 50 years ago this week, Israeli officials raced to assemble an atomic device and developed a plan to detonate it atop a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula… The secret contingency plan, called a “doomsday operation” by Itzhak Yaakov, the retired brigadier general who described it in the interview, would have been invoked if Israel feared it was going to lose the 1967 conflict. The demonstration blast, Israeli officials believed, would intimidate Egypt and surrounding Arab states — Syria, Iraq and Jordan — into backing off… Mr. Yaakov, who oversaw weapons development for the Israeli military, detailed the plan to Dr. [Avner] Cohen in 1999 and 2000… In 2001, Mr. Yaakov was arrested, at age 75, on charges that he had imperiled the country’s security by talking about the nuclear program to an Israeli reporter, Ronen Bergman, whose work was censored… According to Mr. Yaakov, the Israeli plan was code-named Shimshon, or Samson, after the biblical hero of immense strength.” [NYTimes

“Sara Ehrman, Hill staffer, Mideast peace activist and Hillary Clinton mentor, dies at 98” by Bart Barnes: “Sara Ehrman, a Capitol Hill legislative staffer, lobbyist for Israeli causes, activist for Middle East peace, Democratic Party political operative, and, as a friend, mentor and D.C. hostess to Hillary Clinton more than 40 years ago, died June 3 at her home in Washington… Mrs. Ehrman, whom the publication Washington Jewish Week once called the “doyenne of Jewish Democrats,” held a variety of jobs at the nexus of politics and Jewish affairs. Among other things, she was political director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee… director of Jewish outreach for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992… She traveled extensively in the Middle East and had access to top Israeli leaders and Yasser Arafat… who once gave her a box inlaid with mother of pearl.” [WashPost

— “Ehrman described herself as “first a Jew, second a Democrat and above all a feminist” who, like a village elder, dispensed tough love to young women trying to navigate their own careers in Washington. Hillary Clinton was her most notable protégée. “There are people who come into your life at just the right moment,” Mrs. Clinton said in an email. “For me, Sara was one of those people. From the day our paths first crossed during the McGovern campaign in Texas, I knew I had found a mentor and a kindred spirit.”” [NYTimes

INBOX — AIPAC Mourns the Passing of Lonny Kaplan: “As a former AIPAC president and Board of Directors member, Lonny’s effective leadership helped grow and expand the influence of our movement… Lonny was well known by senators and congressmen from both parties as a persuasive and effective pro-Israel activist. He would always go the extra mile, make the additional phone call and take yet another meeting to further the alliance between America and the Jewish state.”

TRANSITION: Ken Vogel Joins The New York Times’s Washington Bureau: “Ken has been the chief investigative reporter for Politico, which he joined prior to its 2007 launch… In his May 2010 wedding announcement in The New York Times, he and [his wife] Danielle, then a summer law clerk on the Hill, were described as bonding over lunch in a House office building cafeteria when they discovered a shared love of Ethiopian food, kosher pastrami and federal campaign finance rules.” [NYTimes]

SCENE LAST NIGHT IN NYC — by Jacob Kornbluh: Israeli Consul General in New York Dani Dayan hosted the Consulate’s annual Independence Day reception at Chelsea Piers’ Pier Sixty. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Minister Gilad Erdan, and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke delivered remarks.

SPOTTED: 
Ambassador Danny Danon, Deputy Consul General Amir Sagie, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, JCRC’s Michael Miller, Malcolm Hoenlein, Michael Salberg, Eric Goldstein, Thane Rosenbaum, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Rabbi Joe Potasnik, Hindy Poupko, Jason Koppel, Shimon Mercer Wood, Andrew Gross, Ken Abramowitz, Leon Goldenberg, Yeruchem Silber, Herbert Block, Rabbi Daniel Kraus, Alicia Post, Mendy Carlebach, Rabbi Bob Kaplan, Ilana Dayan, Pinny Ringel, Danielle Ziri, Eli Slavin, and Joel Eisdorfer.

SPORTS BLINK: “For David Griffin, a Cavaliers Architect, the Future Is Uncertain” by Joe Drape: “Griffin fired Coach David Blatt in midseason last year despite the fact that the Cavaliers had a conference-best 30-11 record at the time. It was Gilbert, not Griffin, who wanted to hire Blatt, a coaching savant with championship rings from a host of international datelines like Israel and Russia. But it was Griffin who persuaded Blatt to hire Lue as his top assistant. Lue had been Griffin’s initial choice to be the head coach, and when he fired Blatt, he gave Lue the top job.” [NYTimes]

Theo Epstein at Yale Class Day: ‘Choose to Keep Your Heads Up’ [Video]

DESSERT: “Israel’s First Whisky Distillery Set To Debut Its First Single Malt” by Nino Marchetti: “Milk & Honey Distillery, said to be that nation’s first whisky distillery, is set to shortly debut Israel’s first ever single malt expression, a very limited bottling that’s just over three years of age. The 391 bottles making of the Milk & Honey Israel Single Malt Whisky, according to those behind it, are from the first cask of the distillery’s so called Experimental Series. As it has been aged just three years, which is the minimum aging requirement to be called whisky n Scotland, this release is seen as harbinger of what is to come – a more fully mature expression which has spent time aging in the warm Israeli climate.” [TheWhiskeyWash

The Country’s First Kosher Certified Tavern Opens at Historic Railroad Stop: “Citron & Rose (C&R) Tavern & Market opens for lunch, dinner, and happy hour under new owner, Philadelphia philanthropist, David Magerman… The new C&R Tavern offers an extensive American bar menu with pub-style food and steaks, as well as craft cocktails, wines, local whiskeys, and six beers on tap. As the first kosher certified (Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia, Keystone-K) tavern in America, the bar and restaurant operates Saturday evening through Friday afternoon.” [RestaurentNews]  

BIRTHDAYS: Owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, Robert Kraft turns 76… First Lady of Israel since 2014, Nechama Rivlin turns 72… Lithuanian-born Holocaust survivor, co-founder of the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Virginia, known for his ever-present cowboy hat, Jay M. Ipson turns 82… Dan Yurman turns 69… Author of ten personal finance books, financial advisor, motivational speaker and television host, Susan Lynn “Suze” Orman turns 66… Portrait photographer and visual anthropologist whose work is on display in many museums, Penny Diane Wolin turns 64… Commissioner on the US International Trade Commission (2007-2017), now a trade attorney at Hughes Hubbard, Dean A. Pinkert turns 61… Best-selling instrumental musician, the saxophonist “Kenny G,” Kenneth Bruce Gorelick turns 61… Optometrist, in 2014 she was elected as a member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament belonging to the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, Gila Deborah Martow turns 56… Partner in the government law and policy practice of Greenberg Traurig, previously Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs for New York State and member of the New York City Council, Mark Weprin turns 56…

Member since 2010 of the Virginia House of Delegates from the Fairfax County suburbs of Washington DC, Eileen R. Filler-Corn turns 53… Member of the British Parliament since 2005 from the Conservative Party, he served as Minister of Culture (2010-2016) under PM David Cameron, Ed Vaizey turns 49… CEO of Bottlenose, a Los Angeles-based company, a leading pioneer in semantic web technology, Nova Spivack turns 48… Co-founder of BlueLabs and director of analytics for the campaigns of both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012, his father and grandfather were both rabbis, Elan Alter Kriegel turns 36… Policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, previously a member of the New Hampshire state legislature, Jason Bedrick turns 34… Austin-based young leadership development director at the Jewish National Fund, Arielle Levy turns 28… Clara Moskowitz… Sam KraemerSusan Stein… Barbara Pergament… Beth Freeman… Dov Waxman… Audrey Freedman-Habush

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PHOTO: REUTERS

Congress Raises Questions About Saudi Arms Deal

Thursday, May 25, 2017

WASHINGTON – As President Donald Trump visited Riyadh on Saturday, the White House signed a $350 billion arms sale deal with Saudi Arabia over the next 10 years,…

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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