Daily Kickoff: Why many Dems stayed seated for Trump’s Jerusalem SOTU line | The African deportations controversy in Israel explained | Noga on LES

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STATE OF THE UNION TAKEAWAYS — President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address last night before Congress. While seeking to strike a unifying tone, Trump touted his accomplishments and reiterated some of his tough rhetoric on immigration and foreign policy. Here were a few key moments.

1. Doubling down on threat to cut foreign aid: Reminding the nation of his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Trump lamented that “dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this decision. In 2016, American taxpayers generously sent those same countries more than $20 billion dollars in aid. That is why, tonight, I’m asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests — and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America.” Trump did not explicitly declare that the legislation should block foreign aid to all 128 nations who voted to condemn the Trump administration’s move on Jerusalem.

Dan Shapiro points out: “TRUMP: We’ll cut aid to countries who don’t support us at the UN. STAFF: OK, let’s start with Egypt and Jordan. ISRAEL: Um, about that….” [Twitter]

2. Divided on Jerusalem: The vast majority of Democrats — with the notable exception of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — remained seated while the rest of the chamber gave a standing ovation following Trump’s remark: “Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

HOW IT PLAYED — Dan Senor‏: “Was actually surprised so many Dems remained seated. That’s a problem.” [Twitter

JI READERS REACT — IPF’s Michael Koplow: “I think that was both substantively disappointing and politically unwise. It may have been a reaction to the Pew study and an attempt to reflect what Democrats believe their base is thinking, or it may be as simple as Democrats not wanting to be for anything that Trump has done. But the fact remains that Democrats overwhelmingly voted for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital and moving the embassy when they had the chance, and that while the move has destroyed whatever forward movement there had been on the peace process, it has not led to the violence and upheaval that many  – including me – predicted and expected. It is one thing to decry Trump for making the situation between Israelis and Palestinians far worse, as he has, and another to oppose a policy initiative that supported a staunch American ally, even if it was not done in an ideal manner. My hunch is that many Democrats are going to be left struggling to explain their reaction to that part of the speech.”

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro: “On its own merits, I think most Democrats support recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as I do. They might also be concerned that Trump’s clumsy management of that issue, and his silence in the speech on working for Israeli-Palestinian peace, mean that he is prepared to squander the goodwill Jason Greenblatt built up as he traveled the region to advance that goal, and whether such a decision is consistent with our obligations to our ally, Israel.”

RJC’s Matt Brooks: “Sadly it demonstrates once again how the Democratic Party is moving away from its traditional support for Israel. With the formation of a new Jewish Democratic group, the JDCA, we ask, ‘What is their plan to reverse this troubling slide?’”

Aaron David Miller emails us… “Schumer feels this passionately. Why most didn’t stand is probably opposition to Trump — and that fact that there was no effort to set the Jerusalem decision in context or to promote peacemaking. He just pocketed it as a political gain.”

3. Trump back to fix, not nix, Iran deal: Trump did not repeat his recent threat to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal. Instead, he urged Congress “to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.”

FDD’s Mark Dubowitz tells us: “I don’t read much into this. He made it abundantly clear a couple of weeks ago that he will withdraw from the Iran deal unless the Europeans and Congress fix the deal’s fundamental flaws. He reiterated at the State of the Union how he sees the deal as “terrible” with “fundamental flaws” that need to be fixed.”

4. Trump commemorates Otto Warmbier, the Jewish American student who died after his captivity in North Korea: “The Warmbier family received two standing ovations. Otto Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, of Wyoming, Ohio, stood next to First Lady Melania Trump and wept as they acknowledged the cheers. “You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all,” Trump said. “Thank you very much.” At that, the chamber stood and applauded for the second time. “Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with total American resolve.”” [CincinnatiVideo]

5. Which Trump will emerge tomorrow? “Trump acts presidentially in State of the Union, at least for a night” by Ashley Parker and Michael Scherer: “After a year as president, Trump has proved himself capable of reading words from a teleprompter. When he chooses, the former reality-TV star can summon a performance to rival that of Martin Sheen as the aspirational President Jed Bartlet on “The West Wing.” What is less clear, however, is whether he has the ability — or even the interest — to turn his well-delivered words into tangible results without self-sabotaging or undermining his and his team’s best intentions.” [WashPost

MAGGIE ON MONDAY NIGHT — New York Times’ reporter Maggie Haberman at Skirball Talks in advance of the State of the Union: “I think you will hear from TelePrompter Donald Trump… Then I think it will get lots of praise as a potential new tone, and then I think he will tweet 8 to 12 hours later and undo all of that.”

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON SPEECH — RJC National Chairman and former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman emails us: “Disappointing and shameful that Democrats couldn’t applaud paid family leave, vocational training and $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment. They ignored the message because they want to politically kill the messenger. Americans deserve better than that. Trump made a strong case for America First.”

Andrew Weinstein, a leading Democratic donor from Coral Springs: “The tone might have been different, but make no mistake this was the same old Donald Trump. A president who claims credit for things he didn’t accomplish and assigns blame for the things he did. A president who is steadfast in his refusal to address Russia’s continuing efforts to interfere in our elections and who won’t even acknowledge the immediate threat that climate change presents or the significance of the #MeToo movement. And where is his strategy to address the opioid crisis? Trump may have spoken about bipartisanship, but he did so while appealing to his base, not to the majority of Americans who oppose his policies.”

RJC’s Brooks texts us… “The speech by the President was a substantive and rhetorical tour de force. Truly one of the best speeches of his presidency. He echoed themes of healing the divide and bringing people together. As the president argued for bipartisanship the Democrats in sharp contrast showed their unwillingness to even work with the President. It’s a strong kickoff to Super Bowl weekend and a win by the Philadelphia Eagles.”

The Wilson Center’s Miller: “Smart and emotionally charged use of his invited guests by an emotionally detached and low energy President. Much of the vindictive and combustible Trumpian rhetoric was missing as it was in last year’s February address before Congress, but it’s unlikely that the new and more sober Trump will endure.”

Amb. Shapiro: “It’s hard for many Americans — not only Democrats, by the way — to applaud a President who refuses to sanction Russia for interfering in our elections, who holds Dreamers hostage to an anti-immigrant agenda, who has been callous about hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, who has tried to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, who fails to condemn Nazis and racists marching in American cities, whose family is personally profiting from his presidency — even when he cites an issue on which they agree.”

PIC OF THE DAY — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman watched the State of the Union in Miami with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, who recently disparaged American Jews as “naive and sheltered.” [Pic

Expect additional dignitaries — involved in the U.S.-Israel relationship — to visit Miami in the coming days… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

BEHIND THE SCENES — “Before Trump’s Speech, a Chaotic White House Follows Tradition” by Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman: “In drafting his speech, Mr. Trump relied on Stephen Miller… and a team of speechwriters and aides… Their process, which a White House official said began last fall and in earnest in mid-December for this speech, usually involves Mr. Trump telling Mr. Miller what direction he wants to take with the speech. He will then talk out some lines. Then Mr. Miller, who drafts the material with a keen ear for applause lines he has heard during the president’s previous speeches, usually revamps the speech and hands it back to Mr. Trump. On at least one occasion, the president has noticed that Mr. Miller struck a line he had said he wanted in. It is usually restored.” [NYTimes

REPORT — US may reject UN’s granting of Palestinian refugee status to descendants: “The Trump administration is considering halting all of its financial aid to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, and declaring that it rejects the UN criteria under which refugee status is extended to millions of descendants of the original Palestinian refugees… Hadashot TV news said this “new ultimatum” under consideration by the Trump administration is one of the avenues being considered as the US seeks to press the Palestinian Authority into returning to peace talks with Israel.” [ToI

IRAN DEAL — “Here’s How the U.S. and EU Can Thwart Iranian Missile Programs” by Behnam Ben Taleblu and Richard Goldberg: “In a last-ditch attempt to prevent President Donald Trump from exiting the Iran nuclear deal, European leaders have finally promised to work with the United States to address Iran’s ballistic missile program. If Trump is serious about fixing the deal, the transatlantic working group now tasked with forming a common U.S.-EU position must produce nothing less than a commitment to reimpose tough sanctions on Iran should the regime’s missile development and testing continue.” [ForeignPolicy

“Ex-CIA Director Petraeus in Israel: Everything can be hijacked, weaponized” by Yonah Jeremy Bob: “The world has entered the age of “the weaponization of everything,” former CIA director and US General David Petraeus said on Tuesday at the INSS Conference in Tel Aviv… The former CIA director said that most countries are, “struggling to keep up with technological developments with…robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles, ships, subs…and some of which are truly autonomous… Hezbollah is quite sophisticated with both its manned and unmanned forces,” he said.” [JPost

“U.S. defends role of Lebanon army as Israel threatens to attack it” by Dan Williams: “We will sustain our efforts to support legitimate state security institutions in Lebanon, such as the Lebanese Armed Forces, which is the only legitimate force in Lebanon,” David Satterfield, acting assistant U.S. secretary of state, told the conference organized by Tel Aviv University’s INSS think-tank. Satterfield… added that the Lebanese army “could well serve as a counter-weight to Hezbollah’s desire to expand its own influence there, as well as Iran’s reach in Lebanon.” But speaking three hours later on the same stage, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his view that the Lebanese army was subordinate to the better-equipped Hezbollah. “As far as I‘m concerned, all of Lebanon – the Lebanese army, Lebanon and the Lebanese army – are no different from Hezbollah,” said Lieberman.” [Reuters]

DRIVING THE CONVO: “Israeli Embassy to U.S.: We Oppose Qatar’s ‘Outreach’ to pro-Israel U.S. Jews” by Amir Tibon: “Israel’s Embassy to the United States does not support Qatar’s campaign to improve its image in the American Jewish and pro-Israel community, an embassy spokesman told Haaretz on Tuesday. “We oppose this outreach effort in the Jewish and pro-Israel community,” said embassy spokesman Itai Bar Dov… A senior Israeli official… told Haaretz that “we have our own channels for this issue. These visits are not related to us. They are about Washington.”” [Haaretz

HEARD YESTERDAY — Prof. Alan Dershowitz declines Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s invitation to publicly debate his visit to Qatar in an interview with i24News: “I’m not going to engage with Rabbi Boteach. He’s not an expert about Qatar. He just likes to get attention by attacking people like me. He has basically suggested that I’ve done this for the money. I mean, I spend 50% of my professional time doing pro bono work on behalf of Israel. He gets paid for every minute he spends. Is he really suggesting that my views would be different if I hadn’t been sent on a “junket,” so I’m not going to engage him… I did not defend Qatar. I am not the mouthpiece for Qatar. I’m not representing Qatar. I have simply asked for an objective investigation of the conflicting claims. I want to learn the truth… Believe me, before I went to Qatar, I spoke to people, both in the United States government, the Israeli government; I did not need permission of a Rabbi from New Jersey to go there… I came back with more questions than answers.” [Video

TOP TALKER: “Mike Pence Never Said That Thing About The Holocaust That Everyone On The Internet Got Outraged About” by Yair Rosenberg: “Pence never said that the victims of the Holocaust were resurrected in Israel. He said that the Jewish people resurrected themselves after their own near genocide. But thanks to an incompetent transcription from a social media staffer, Pence’s quote from the clip was mangled it into an utterly absurd assertion that he never made… But even as liberal Jews may have overreacted to Pence’s largely banal remarks, conservative Jews would be wise to check their schadenfreude. That’s because the entire brouhaha on the Jewish left over Pence’s comments uncannily echoes similar episodes of upset surrounding Barack Obama on the Jewish right…” [Tablet]

“A Republican who appears on white supremacist podcasts published a list of “Jews” in the media” by Michael Edison Hayden: “Paul Nehlen, a Republican who is attempting to unseat GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin, on Tuesday posted to his Twitter account what he claimed is a list of “Jews” in the media who have attacked him within the last month… A cursory glance at Nehlen’s list shows that statement to be inaccurate. For example, Newsweek has twice reported on Nehlen… and the reporter was misidentified on the list as being Jewish. He is Catholic and of Egyptian descent… Thor Benson, a freelance writer, also reported that he was misidentified as being Jewish…“So odd that Jews would criticize an anti-Semite,” CNN’s Jake Tapper wrote of the list on Twitter.” [Newsweek

Yashar Ali replies to Nehlen: “I see you have me on this list. I’m not Jewish… I’m a practicing Roman Catholic. But I’m in some pretty good company on this list… so feel free to say I’m Jewish. Also my name in Hebrew means “straight” but I’m not, so if you’re going to do a gay list please add me.. I’m single.” [Twitter]

STATESIDE — “US court temporarily suspends Kansas anti-BDS law” by Roxana Hegeman‏: “US District Judge Daniel Crabtree wrote in his decision that the US Supreme Court has held that the “First Amendment protects the right to participate in a boycott like the one punished by the Kansas law.” … The judge granted the request from the American Civil Liberties Union to block enforcement of the Kansas law while the case proceeds. Crabtree found it is “highly likely” that the Kansas law is invalid… “A desire to prevent discrimination against Israeli businesses is an insufficient public interest to overcome the public’s interest in protecting a constitutional right,” Crabtree wrote.” [AP

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Leonard Stern’s Hartz Mountain opens first phase of The Harper at Harmon Meadow [NJBiz] • Wix is skipping the Super Bowl thanks to past Super Bowl success, says chief marketing officer Omer Shai[FastCompany] • China’s Wanda puts $1.2B Beverly Hills development project, after overcoming objections and lawsuits filed by Beny Alagem, up for sale [HollywoodReporter] • Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, on How I Built This with Guy Raz [NPR

STARTUP NATION: “Next Up In Israeli Foodtech: Pesticides, Healthier Fruit Juice” by Jennifer Marston: “Inspecto has developed a portable kit that can be used for early detection of pesticides and other contaminants in food. The company claims its product will, once it hits the market, provide a much more affordable way to detect such things. Users operate a portable scanner to detect pesticides or contaminants, then analyze the results, which they get in real time…” [TheSpoon

SPOTLIGHT: “Dog-walking service Wag — with the heavy imprint of SoftBank — is replacing its CEO and accepting $300 million in cash” by Theodore Schleifer: “Wag said on Tuesday that Hilary Schneider, an experienced executive who most recently led LifeLock, would replace the company’s co-founder, Josh Viner, as its CEO. Viner’s departure as CEO comes as Wag accepts $300 million in an unusual deal that is expected to give the SoftBank Vision Fund a 45 percent stake in the company…” [Recode

DAVOS DISPATCH: “Facebook Isn’t Dancing To Silicon Valley’s Humble New Tune” by Ben Smith: “COO Sheryl Sandberg — the company’s chief diplomat — made conciliatory visits in Paris and Brussels before arriving in Davos. And she gave assembled reporters a speech about the power of Facebook’s advertising product to do good even as it makes the company billions, focusing on the stories of small businesses and even desperate patients, telling the story of a man who placed an ad looking for a kidney donor for his father and found one — for just $12. But the company’s effort to maintain its self-confident, disruptive momentum has made it a singular punching bag. At one point on a Davos stage, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff suggested the social network be regulated like cigarettes. George Soros described the social platform as “harmful” and deceptive… So it’s no surprise that a large part of Google’s and others’ strategy right now is hiding behind Facebook.” [BuzzFeed

TALK OF OUR NATION: “African Deportations Are Creating a Religious Controversy in Israel” by Emma Green: “The situation lays bare a central tension for Israel, which has both a particular obligation to protect Jews and, some Jews believe, a general responsibility to represent Jewish values to the world… Advocates argue, Jewish identity should be built on values and ethics, not just membership in a tribe… For the most part, the arguments made by Netanyahu and other government officials are embraced by native Israelis. One potential reason is that native Israelis may be conditioned to see non-Jews in the state as a threat—whether to their safety or to Israel’s Jewish majority… Especially for the Jewish activists who believe that Israel should be built on what they see as Jewish values, the next few weeks will be a crucial test of its identity as a nation—and how it is perceived by the world.” [TheAtlantic

“The road to an Israeli-Palestinian deal is vanishing” by David Ignatius: “Vered Ben-Saadon says she and her husband felt a sense of biblical mission to cultivate “part of the land of Israel” when they founded their winery here at a settlement about 30 miles north of Jerusalem. And she appears to have no intention of leaving… Here in these rocky hills, you sense the collision between competing narratives about the Israeli-Palestinian problem: The Ben-Saadons believe this is Israel; the Arabs in the village just to the east surely think it’s Palestine. You come away with a conviction that the “ultimate deal,” as Trump calls his still-fuzzy vision of a peace agreement, isn’t going to happen…” [WashPost

“Israelis sue New Zealanders over Lorde boycott” by Tia Goldenberg: “The two New Zealanders, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, penned an open letter to Lorde last year in which they urged her to “take a stand” and “join the artistic boycott of Israel.” … The group, Shurat HaDin, claims the New Zealanders, one Jewish and one Palestinian, knew that their letter could trigger a boycott, making them open to a suit under the law. The group, which filed the lawsuit in a Jerusalem court on Tuesday, is suing on behalf of three Israeli would-be concertgoers for about $13,000 in damages.” [ABCNews

RABBINICAL APPOINTMENT: “Five Towns Rabbi Named To Committee To Protect Monuments Abroad” by Alex Costello: “Senator Chuck Schumer announced he plans to appoint Rabbi Hershel Billet of the Young Israel of Woodmere to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. The commission aims to protect U.S. cemeteries, monuments and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe.” [Patch

MEDIA WATCH — Max Boot named columnist for Washington Post Opinions: “The Washington Post has named foreign policy analyst and historian Max Boot a columnist for the Opinions section. A former advisor to military commanders and top-ranking Republican politicians, Boot will write a column focused on national security, American government and foreign affairs…” [WashPost

SUPER BOWL PREVIEW — Kraft sees disdain for Patriots, says ‘hatred’ too strong: “The Patriots owner said Monday night the booing of his team at the Grammy’s the previous night in New York is “sort of a compliment, the Boston-New York thing. I’d rather be on the winning end. Remember for 34 years I used to sit in the stands and feel it from the other way.” Kraft has been to nine Super Bowls as owner… He believes the disdain for his team is actually rooted in respect for the Patriots. “Once we went to the Super Bowl (the first time), a lot of people who had been kind and gracious changed,” he said. “I think everyone loves a doormat in this league.”” [AP

“Super Bowl team owners call Palm Beach home” by Darrell Hofheinz: “As anyone who follows news about the nation’s billionaires knows, there’s almost always a Palm Beach connection. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, and Jeffrey Lurie, majority owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, are both seasonal residents.” [PalmBeachDailyNews]

DESSERT: “Miznon, Now Open in Chelsea, Dreams of Capturing New York in a Pita” by Serena Dai: “Owner Eyal Shani, who runs a dozen restaurants and is a regular presence on Israeli television, insists that it’s not a carbon copy of all the other locations. In fact, Miznon, he says, is about a sense of place. Half of the pita-packed menu will be unique to the 120-seat NYC restaurant… “It’s a completely new creation, a new dream,” says Shani… “And it’s always coming from the fact that I’m dreaming of a place, and I want to translate, to convert it into food. This Miznon is giving me a chance to do that.” … Miznon is not the first pita-focused restaurant in Chelsea Market; Michael Solomonov’s wildly popular hummus counter Dizengoff is close… A Dizengoff spokeswoman says Solomonov is very excited about Shani’s new restaurant.”[NYEater]

— Dani Dayan‏: “Israeli celebrity super-chef Eyal Shani opened today “Hamiznon” in Chelsea Market. It was fun, super tasty and finally stood on the other side of the bar.” [Twitter

NEW ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE: Noga Restaurant, a new upscale kosher dairy restaurant specializing in fresh fish and handmade pasta, has now opened in the Sago Hotel at 120 Allen Street. They will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with plans to open on Shabbat with catered hot food. [InstagramMenu]

BIRTHDAYS: Scion of a leading rabbinic family in pre-WW2 Poland, former Assistant US Solicitor General, now a private attorney with an active Supreme Court practice focused on religious liberty issues, Nathan Lewin turns 82… Baltimore-born, classical music composer as well as acclaimed movie score composer, Philip Glass turns 81… Associate professor emeritus of Talmud and rabbinics at The Jewish Theological Seminary, Mayer Elya Rabinowitz turns 79… Former Chief Rabbi of Norway while also serving as a member of Knesset (1999-2009), Michael Melchior turns 64… Founder and CEO of MWW, a PR firm headquartered in East Rutherford, NJ, he is a top “bundler” for the Democratic party, Michael W. Kempner turns 60… Co-founder, chairman and CEO of Meridian Capital Group, Manhattan-based commercial mortgage brokerage, Ralph Herzka turns 56… Classical cellist, born in Hadera, Israel, moved to Toronto at 6 years old, debut in Carnegie Hall in 1982, Ofra Harnoyturns 53…

Host of NPR’s news quiz “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” playwright, screenwriter, actor and marathon runner, Peter Sagal turns 53… Canadian-born businessman, best known for founding American Apparel, where he served as the CEO from 1989 until 2014, Dov Charney turns 49… CEO of Atlas Obscura, previously editor of Slate, David Plotz turns 48… Security technology executive at NYC’s DGA Security Systems, Daniel Oppenheim turns 42… Film producer and founder of Annapurna Pictures, three of her movies have been nominated for Academy Awards as Best Picture, daughter of Oracle’s Larry Ellison, Megan Ellison turns 32… Director of analytics and insights at Whistle Sports, Matthew Gottlieb… Managing director of BerlinRosen’s New York office, Michael Rabinowitz-Gold (h/ts Playbook)… MassChallenge’s Israel Program Manager based in Boston, formerly Social Secretary for Israeli Ambassadors Oren and Dermer, Clara Scheinmann… Grant Silow

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]




Daily Kickoff: State of the Union preview | Why Mort Klein went to Qatar | Noble Energy sells Tamar stake for $800M | BDays: David Cordish; Lee Zeldin

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DRIVING THE DAY — President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at 9 PM ESTAccording to a senior administration official, who previewed the speech in a background call to reporters, after outlining the administration’s domestic priorities, the president will emphasize rebuilding the military, promoting peace through strength, and discuss a return to clarity in who America’s friends and adversaries are. [CSPAN]

Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL), has invited Christine Levinson, the wife of Bob Levinson from Coral Springs who has been missing in Iran for nearly 11 years, as his guest to the State of the Union.

Breaking with tradition: “Rep. Eliot Engel… has repeatedly scored aisle seats to steal a handshake with the president. This year, Engel told Business Insider he would not be doing so. “I’m gonna be there for the speech, but I’m going to sit with my colleagues in the middle of the row rather than the aisle,” Engel said.” [BusinessInsider

“Schakowsky will boycott Trump’s State of the Union speech” by Lynn Sweet: “[Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)] cited specific reasons for skipping the speech – usually the biggest audience of the year for a president: Trump’s Muslim ban; reaction of the violence in Charlottesville and his failure to denounce Nazi’s and more recently using vulgar language to refer to African nations during a discussion about immigration.” [ChicagoSunTimes

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) explains why she’ll boycott Trump’s address: “We have to stand up for Africa just as people who are Jewish here stand up for Israel.” [Cosmopolitan]

SPOTLIGHT — “Ahead of State of the Union, Democrats are united against Trump — but not on impeachment” by David Weigel and Sean Sullivan: In one year, if Democrats win control of the House of Representatives, [Rep. Jerry] Nadler will become Judiciary chairman. At a recent town hall in his Upper West Side district, Nadler’s constituents made clear what they want him to do… Nadler’s record and philosophy suggest that he will not necessarily push relentlessly for impeachment. “An impeachment cannot be partisan,” he said at the Capitol earlier this month… More importantly, Nadler said, some portion of those who voted for the target of impeachment must support the effort, or at least believe “you had no choice.” “If you don’t achieve that, then the country’s going to be torn apart. You’re going to have 20 years of recriminations.’ We won the election, you stole it.’” [WashPost]

IMMIGRATION POLICY — “How ‘chain migration’ brought us the Trump White House” by Philip Bump: “A number of prominent members of the Trump administration have ancestors who are only in the country because they came to join members of their families who would be excluded from sponsoring them under the new proposal… [Stephen] Miller is the great-grandson of a man named Sam Glosser… son of a man named Wolf Lieb Glotzer… Glotzer’s arrival wouldn’t have met Trump’s standard for entry. But once here, he could have petitioned for Sam Glosser — under 21 and unmarried — to join him…”

“Perhaps the most interesting immigrant story is Jared Kushner’s. His paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States in 1949, after surviving the Holocaust. His grandmother, Rae Kushner, was instrumental in helping orchestrate a mass escape from a Nazi-controlled ghetto… In an interview with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington given in 1982, Kushner laments that the policies of the United States during the war made it hard for refugees from Nazi-controlled areas to immigrate.” [WashPost

HEARD YESTERDAY — Ron Lauder in an interview with Udi Segal on Reshet TV: “I feel like President Trump is probably going to be the first president to make a two state solution [happen]. He is committed to it. How he is going about it is a question we have to look at, but I believe the final outcome will be a positive one for both Israelis and Palestinians.” [Video

REPORT — In first since US Jerusalem move, Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah and Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to meet: “The meeting set for next Sunday at Kahlon’s Jerusalem office will focus on joint economic initiatives that were put on ice after US President Donald Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem last month… Ahead of his sit-down with Hamdallah, Kahlon met with US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, who implored him to stress to the Palestinians that there is no alternative to US-brokered peace talks… The report said the Palestinians had initiated the meeting.” [ToI]

Palestinian protesters disrupt US-organized seminar in Bethlehem: “Protesters threw tomatoes at the sports utility vehicle, which had US consular licence plates, kicked one of its doors and ripped the plastic casing off a side mirror as it drove off under Palestinian police escort from the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce…” [Ynet]

“Slovenia’s Parliament Expected to Recognize State of Palestine” by Noa Landau: On Wednesday, the foreign affairs committee of Slovenia’s legislature will vote on a draft resolution, with the backing of Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, before it passes to parliament for a full vote… Slovenian President Borut Pahor told AFP that he opposed recognizing Palestine for the time being. However, the president, like in Israel, does not control what the parliament does.” [Haaretz

IRAN DEAL — “Trump, Haley Press U.N. Security Council on Iran” by Felicia Schwartz: “Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley… said she pressed fellow Security Council members: “‘If you don’t do anything about all of these violations, I can’t promise you that we’re staying in the deal,’” she said…  The nuclear accord came up during a lunch with Mr. Trump… Mr. Trump told the U.N. ambassadors he believed the nuclear agreement is “a really bad deal.” He also told them that other actions by Iran are “clear violations” that require action…” [WSJ

“Netanyahu threatens to ‘stop’ Iran if it tries to entrench itself in Syria” by Raphael Ahren: “The question is: Does Iran entrench itself in Syria, or will this process be stopped. If it doesn’t stop by itself, we will stop it,” Netanyahu told Israeli reporters during a telephone briefing, moments before taking off from Moscow en route to Tel Aviv…” [ToI]

DEEP DIVE: “Hezbollah Goes on the Cyber Offensive with Iran’s Help” by Levi Maxey: “Hezbollah has proactively sought to develop its cyber capabilities, expanding its potential disruptive and influential reach into the digital sphere. While the group has long used the internet to disseminate recruitment messaging, propaganda, and operational know-how, it also has begun leveraging it as an attack vector to gain valuable intelligence, undermine the reputation of opponents and hold its adversaries, especially Israel, at risk.”[TheCipherBrief]

“Why Did ZOA’s Mort Klein Go to Qatar? ‘I Talked With the Emir About Hamas and Al Jazeera’” by Amir Tibon: “Earlier this month… Klein had visited Qatar at the invitation of the Emir, and had a private meeting with him in Doha, the Emirate’s capital city. The visit… took place at the same time that other prominent public figures who are known as supporters of the Israeli government, such as Alan Dershowitz and Mike Huckabee, visited Doha… “They invited me to go a number of times – in September, October, November and December,” he said. “At first I refused, because of their support for Hamas and the anti-Semitism being broadcast on Al Jazeera. But over time, I saw that more and more Jewish leaders were going there, and I realized that at this point, they won’t be able to use me for propaganda, because everyone is already going, but I might use the visit to push them on these issues.”

Klein told Haaretz that the Qatari choice to engage with “right-of-center Zionists” was noticeable. “They didn’t invite people from J Street, Americans for Peace Now or the Reform Movement,” he said. “I think it’s interesting.” Like most of the other Jewish leaders invited to Qatar, Klein’s trip was paid for by the Emirate (“I didn’t take anything else from them,” he emphasized).” [Haaretz]

Of note: “Just this past June, ZOA called on the Trump administration to cancel the license of Qatar Airways to fly into the United States because of Qatar’s support for terrorism.” Ibid

DOUBLING DOWN — “Poland Opposes Calls to Scrap Bill on Nazi Camp Talk” by Konrad Krasuski and Adrian Krajewski: “There is declaration by the Polish government to form a working group to discuss the issue with the Israeli side, but I would like to say very clearly that this does not mean we are ready to negotiate the provisions of this law,” Jacek Sasin, an aide to the prime minister, told state broadcaster TVP Info. “There is no stepping back.” … The bill still requires approval of the upper house of Poland’s parliament and must be signed by President Andrzej Duda to become law. “There was no participation by Poland or the Polish people as a nation in the Holocaust,” Duda said during a visit to Zory in the south of the country.” [Bloomberg]

New York Times editorial… “Poland’s Holocaust Blame Bill: Regardless how it is parsed, the Polish bill is a blatant and chilling effort by a nationalist government waging an offensive against the rule of law and freedom of expression to discourage that search… In a striking coincidence, the Polish bill was passed just as the leader of a major Muslim institution in Saudi Arabia, a sternly Islamic kingdom better known for its virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli positions, publicly proclaimed the Holocaust “among the worst human atrocities ever.”” [NYTimes]

“Former ADL chief Abe Foxman: Poland’s nationalist gov’t is trying to rewrite history” by Tamara Zieve: “This is a political move to do two things: first, to rewrite history, but more importantly to prevent new history,” Foxman told The Jerusalem Post… “We understand they don’t want to hear ‘Polish concentration camp’ – nobody is arguing that. Nobody says that is not a legitimate sensitivity and concern… What we are seeing is a political move to rewrite history, deny history and to make sure that honest history is not written.” [JPost]

2018 WATCH: “Ron DeSantis launches gubernatorial bid, vows he’s the outsider’s choice” by David Smiley: “DeSantis said after his speech that he chose Boca Raton… in part because of his support in the Jewish community… “You heard about my leadership on moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” he told the Miami Herald. “I got a lot of support from people in Boca who said, you were the guy who was out there on it, and I think that’s part of the reason why we had a good crowd today.” Ron Krongold, a Coral Gables businessman and a director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said after a private breakfast between DeSantis and some supporters that the Jacksonville native has become the state’s champion in Congress on diplomacy with Israel. Boca is also home to some of DeSantis’ biggest supporters, including Home Depot Co-founder Bernie Marcus.” [TampaBay

** 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: Houston’s Noble Energy said it will sell a 7.5 percent stake in its large Tamar gas field offshore of Israel in the Mediterranean for $800 million [Chron] • Games developer Playtika to invest up to $400 million in Israeli tech [Reuters] • Activist hedge fund Elliott in talks to buy Waterstones [FinancialTimes] • Jared Kushner Played a Role in Guy Fieri’s Restaurant Closure [NYEater] • Extell’s Diamond District plans just got even more mysterious: Developer  Gary Barnett has filed paperwork to demolish 12 buildings [RealDeal] • Disney CEO Bob Iger sells classic Fifth Avenue pad for $18.75M [CurbedNY] • Isaac Kassirer and Harbor Group are selling 15 Bronx buildings for $65M [RealDeal]

STARTUP NATION: “SAP, Comcast Back Israeli Data Protection Startup BigID” by Meir Orbach: “Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Tel Aviv with additional offices in New York, BigID develops and markets a data protection product that uses machine learning and identity intelligence technologies to track and guard enterprise customer and employee data… In a statement, BigID said it will use the funding to recruit additional engineers in Israel and to expand its global sales and marketing operations.” [Calcalist]

HOLLYWOOD: “Warner Bros’ Shed Media Takes U.S. Rights To Israeli Format ‘Back To Life’” by Peter White: “Shed Media, a division of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Media, run by General Manager Pam Healey has optioned the U.S. rights to the format, which launches on Israel’s Channel 10 in February. Back To Life, which has already been sold into Germany, Italy and Poland, is a docu-reality series that follows the stories of patients and families in a race against time as they wait for a lifesaving organ donation. Each episode will tell the story as well as their donor and follow the pair on the emotional journey to good health.” [Deadline]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Big Changes Are Reshaping Jerusalem” by Gwen Ackerman and Fadwa Hodali: “The number of employed east Jerusalem Arabs is rising, salary gaps with the city’s Jewish population are narrowing, more are learning Hebrew—6,000 currently study the language in classes—and registration at higher education institutions in the western sector is up. City Hall has established an employment center in east Jerusalem and plans a second one. There are even growing applications for citizenship, said Ben Avrahami, the mayor’s adviser for east Jerusalem affairs…” [Bloomberg

“Western Wall rabbi apologizes for gender segregation during Pence visit but says rules won’t change” by Ruth Eglash: “Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Western Wall Heritage Foundation that runs the sacred site, indicated in a statement to The Washington Post that the situation would not change. “The plaza is a place of prayer and a synagogue, separation between men and women will remain for every type of event,” the rabbi said… Rabinovitch did say, however, that efforts would be made to improve press coverage for future events but “without compromising the sanctity of the site and its customs.” [WashPost]

TOP-OP: “The Slut-Shaming of Nikki Haley” by Bari Weiss: “In the Trump era, the left has smartly and justifiably seized a moral high ground that the right has abandoned by its embrace of the president. That’s a high ground the left cannot hold if it embraces subtle double standards that it would never accept for a moment if the woman in question was a Kirsten Gillibrand or a Kamala Harris. When Matt Lauer subjected Hillary Clinton to a harsh interview, within 24 hours it was common knowledge that it was evidence of misogyny. But when Nikki Haley is smeared with the most base, sexist lie, it’s met with little more than a collective shrug.” [NYTimes

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg interviewed Noah Feldman, author of “The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President.” Sandberg notes Madison was also “partner to Dolley Madison, one of America’s most fascinating first ladies – and truly a woman ahead of her time.” [Video]

“Cohen, cantor, choir win Grammy for best rock performance” by Bill Brownstein: “Of course, the late Leonard Cohen, Montreal cantor Gideon Zelermyer and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue choir would win the Grammy Award Sunday for Best Rock Performance for their collaboration on You Want It Darker, the first track on Cohen’s 14th and final album… Zelermyer… was left nearly speechless after hearing the announcement in a ceremony prior to the main 60th annual Grammy Awards presentation at New York’s Madison Square Garden. “This is just so surreal,” Zelermyer said. “A Grammy Award — that is beyond my wildest dreams. I just let out a scream when I heard it announced. I hadn’t been this nervous since my Bar Mitzvah.” [MontrealGazette]

REMEMBERING: “Arno Motulsky, a Founder of Medical Genetics, Dies at 94” by Denise Grady: “Dr. Motulsky’s path to prominence began in harrowing fashion. He had been one of more than 900 Jewish refugees aboard the German liner St. Louis, which reached the Miami coast in 1939 but was turned away by the United States and sent back to Europe. He then spent a year in internment camps in France, where many prisoners died from starvation or typhoid, before finally reaching the United States in 1941.” [NYTimes

PIC OF THE DAY — Tevi Troy was back at the White House yesterday: “Awaiting the swearing in of new HHS Secretary Alex Azar [Pic

Troy emails us… “It was old home week at the White House as Team Alex — the group of health experts, most of whom worked for George W Bush, who helped Alex Azar prepare for his confirmation — gathered in the Roosevelt Room, along with Azar‘s family, for his swearing in to be the 24th Secretary of Health and Human Services. President Trump came in and gave remarks and Vice President Pence – who knows Alex well from Indiana — did the swearing in, followed by brief remarks from now Secretary Azar. Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, who knows Sec Azar from their time at Dartmouth, was there as well, and elated by his success. When the ceremony was finished, Sec Azar came and thanked the team, posed for a picture, and said, “Let’s get to work.””

INBOX — “Joey Allaham Spearheads Allaham Consultancy to Offer a One-Stop Solution with Unique Real Estate Spaces and Long-Term Profitability” [DigitalJournal

DESSERT — The Dish: Israeli chef Michael Solomonov: “Israeli chef Michael Solomonov is a master of Middle Eastern cuisine. His Philadelphia restaurant Zahav has become a must-visit venue for food lovers and last year earned Solomonov a James Beard award for outstanding chef. He also won the 2016 awards for both cookbook of the year and best international cookbook. Here are some of Solomonov’s signature recipes…” [CBSNews]

SPORTS BLINK: “Owner Zygi Wilf vows Vikings will ‘get to the Lombardi’ soon” by Courtney Cronin: “Eight days removed from Minnesota’s 38-7 loss in the NFC Championship Game, the Wilfs are beginning to move past what could have been after the Vikings came up short of their goal of being the first team to both host and play in the Super Bowl in the same season. Minnesota is early in the reflection period, according to co-owner Mark Wilf, who did little to dwell on the “amazing experience” it would have been to have his family’s team take center stage in Minneapolis and the surrounding area this week. “We’ve been in the business for 13 years and we have our ups and downs,” Zygi Wilf said.” [ESPN]

BIRTHDAYS: Chairman of The Cordish Companies, a Baltimore-based international development firm specializing in casinos, urban revitalization projects and entertainment districts, David S. Cordish turns 78… Republican member of the US House of Representatives from eastern Long Island, NY since 2015, Lee Zeldin turns 38… Theatrical producer and director, winner of 21 Tony Awards, more than other person, Harold Prince turns 90… Teacher and national community leader, holder of a Ph.D. in modern Jewish history from New York University, Judith Friedman Rosen turns 66… Heather Grafturns 64… Philadelphia area psychologist, Dr. Rachel Ginzberg turns 60 (h/t Daniel Lippman)… Assistant Professor in the electrical engineering department at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Guy Gilboa turns 47… Senior director for Middle East affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Joshua M. Kram turns 39… White House correspondent for CBS Radio News, Steven Portnoy turns 37… Max Delahanty turns 29… Jared Isenstein turns 26… Eli Langer… Alexa Smith… Gisele Rogers

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]




Daily Kickoff: Why the Pew poll on Israel is faulty | ADL calls for Obama to denounce Farrakhan again | Trump’s Chilean Ambassador’s Kushner ties

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‘NO DAYLIGHT’ A TWO WAY STREET? “Israel supports Rwandan resolution, breaks with U.S.” by Barak Ravid: “Israel supported and co-sponsored a UN general assembly resolution, initiated by Rwanda, that rewrites the historical narrative regarding the 1994 genocide. Why it matters: This is against the U.S. government’s position… “One of the reasons for co-sponsoring the resolution was the deportation deal with Rwanda,” a senior Israeli official told me… U.S. diplomats in New York even asked their Israeli counterparts to press their Rwandan allies to back off from the resolution. The U.S. was amazed to find out that Israel refused to do so… Not only that — Israeli diplomats told their American counterparts that Israel has decided to co-sponsor the resolution.”

BACKSTORY: “Rwanda tabled the draft UNGA resolution two months ago in order to amend a previous resolution from 2003 which set April 7 of every year as the international remembrance day for the 1994 Rwanda genocide. The amended resolution changed the name of the remembrance day to the “International Remembrance Day for the Tutsi Genocide” — disregarding thousands of Hutu victims who were murdered… In the end the U.S. and the EU decided to drop their objections in order to avoid a vote and a public crisis with Rwanda. The resolution passed last Friday in consensus without a vote but the U.S. deputy permanent representative to the UN spoke highly critically against the resolution, warning of historical revisionism. Her Israeli colleague who spoke after her welcomed the resolution and praised it.” [Axios]

WHAT ABOUT IN POLAND? — “Israel Slams ‘Baseless’ Holocaust Legislation in Poland” by Isabel Kershner: “Legislation in Poland… would make it illegal to suggest Poland bore responsibility for atrocities committed on its soil by Nazi Germany during the occupation in World War II… The bill, which would need approval from Poland’s Senate and the president to become law, sets prison penalties for using phrases such as “Polish death camps” to refer to concentration camps set up by the Nazis in Poland… Many pointed out that the effort to outlaw mention of Polish complicity in the Holocaust coincided with International Holocaust Remembrance Day.” [NYTimes]

“Netanyahu said Sunday that his country could not tolerate a proposed law in Poland that distances Warsaw from responsibility for the Holocaust. Israel also summoned Poland’s deputy ambassador to express its outrage. At a cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Israel has “no tolerance for the distortion of the truth, the rewriting of history and the denial of the Holocaust.” [USAToday]

“Netanyahu and Polish Counterpart Agree to Open ‘Immediate Dialogue’ on Holocaust Bill” by Noa Landau: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Sunday on the phone with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The two leaders agreed to open “immediate dialogue” in an attempt to solve [the] crisis… and try to reach understandings on the pending legislation.” [Haaretz]

FAKE NEWS? — “Israel will pay civilians $9,000 to capture African migrants” by Abdi Latif Dahir: “In an advertisement this month, the Population and Immigration Authority said it would pay up to 30,000 Israeli shekels ($8,845) for civilians to carry out an “enterprise of national importance.” That included undertaking “enforcement tasks” against migrants that involved detecting, investigating, and arresting them… The move comes a few weeks after Israel said it would help purchase tickets, obtain travel documents, and give $3,500 to African illegal migrants to leave—threatening them with arrest if they are caught after the end of March.” [Quartz]

— Yair Rosenberg: “This is completely false. The Hebrew advertisement used as the source for this report is for hiring immigration and customs enforcement officers. Nothing to do with bounties for civilians. I guess the author of this can’t read Hebrew, or is relying on readers not being able to… You may not like that Israel is hiring more ICE officers to help investigate and deport asylum seekers. I certainly don’t. But that’s no excuse for completely making stuff like this up about paying ransoms to random civilians to go after them.” [Twitter]

HAPPENING AT NOON — President Trump will have a lunch meeting with members of the United Nations Security Council at the State Dining Room. Later, the UN delegation will inspect debris from a ballistic missile fired from Yemen into Saudi Arabia and tour the Holocaust Museum in DC.

DRIVING THE CONVO — “Long, uneasy love affair of Israel and U.S. evangelicals may have peaked” by “Loveday Morris, Michelle Boorstein and Ruth Eglash: “Education Minister Naftali Bennett… said the Israeli right is “very happy” with the relationship with U.S. evangelicals, explaining that evangelical influence on the White House has created an “era of opportunity” for Israel… But the high-water mark, ironically, comes just as younger American evangelicals are growing less attached to Israel. Recent polls have sparked anxiety among Israeli officials and Christian Zionist groups, which are trying to reverse the decline.” [WashPost]

“How Not to Measure Americans’ Support for Israel” by Tamara Cofman Wittes and Daniel Shapiro: “This poll question, asked annually by Pew since 2001, is a very poor indicator of American attitudes toward Israel. The question reads, “In the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, which side do you sympathize with more, Israel or the Palestinians?” The wording, quite obviously, asks the respondent to make a binary choice between two seemingly exclusive options. (The poll also records the number of those who volunteer an answer of “both” or “neither,” but those options are not offered by the interviewer.) The poll question is faulty because sympathy for Palestinians should not imply hostility to Israel, nor should sympathy for Israel require disregard for the fate of Palestinians.” [TheAtlantic]

TALK OF THE MIDDLE EAST — “PA President Abbas says US is punishing the Palestinians” by Shlomo Cesana and Gideon Allon: “The U.S. can no longer mediate between Israel and the Palestinians,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remarked Friday… In a condolence call with Israeli lawmaker Zehava Galon… Abbas went on to say that “we are ready for negotiations and we never wanted to leave the talks, but unfortunately, no one is offering us to engage in talks, especially not the Americans,” whom he said “now seek to punish us.” [IsraelHayom]

White House advisor Jason Greenblatt tweets: “Had a very productive meeting with Netanyahu and his senior staff today to discuss peace efforts. Broke (challah) bread this past Shabbat with young & dynamic Palestinians. We enjoyed respectful, open and honest dialogue, and shared our cultures and traditions, finding common ground. This is the path to peace …. singing Shalom Aleichem that night was especially meaningful!” [Twitter

— Greenblatt will address the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) 11th Annual International Conference tomorrow morning.

Roger Cohen writes… “It’s Time for Mahmoud Abbas to Go: By dismantling Palestinian freedoms, by disempowering his people, Abbas has been undoing the foundations of statehood and sapping the energy that comes with personal agency. It is time to organize elections that might usher in younger leadership — and reveal the balance of forces in the West Bank and Gaza. The alternative is a drift to despotism under a bunch of old men long on outrage but short on everything else.” [NYTimes]

STATE OF THE UNION PREVIEW — “Will Trump Stick to the Script?” by Michael Shear and Mark Landler: “Mr. Trump can point to seminal policy shifts, like his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as evidence of his global impact. But it is less clear how the president will address challenges like the nuclear threat from North Korea and the Iran nuclear agreement… “The president should highlight success,” said Elliott Abrams… Mr. Trump, he said, also needed to “analyze frankly the greatest threats to the United States from opponents,” which the administration has done in the National Security Strategy it issued last month.” [NYTimes]

WHY RBG WILL NOT BE ATTENDING — “Justice Ginsburg signals her intent to work for years more” by Mark Sherman and Jessica Gresko: “Soaking in her late-in-life emergence as a liberal icon, [Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg] is using the court’s monthlong break to embark on a speaking tour that is taking her from the Sundance Film Festival in Utah to law schools and synagogues on the East Coast. One talk will have her in Rhode Island on Tuesday, meaning she won’t attend the president’s State of the Union speech that night in Washington. She has a standard response for interviewers who ask how long she intends to serve. She will stay as long as she can go “full steam,” she says, and she sees as her model John Paul Stevens, who stepped down as a justice in 2010 at age 90.” [AP]

TALK OF THE NATION: “The Surprising Resilience of American Democracy” by Eliot Cohen: “My grandparents—who came to this country from lands that the president would undoubtedly term “shitholes,” left behind pogroms, and survived all that, plus World War I and the great influenza pandemic. Set against those experiences, it is an unworthy whinge to complain about what Americans are living through today. The United States has survived much worse than one contemptible president and a craven political party; its resilience is built into the bones of its political system. What it is going through now is simply a good, hard shake.” [TheAtlantic]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “RNC finance chair Steve Wynn resigns after sexual harassment allegations” by Alex Isenstadt: “Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn on Saturday stepped down as Republican National Committee finance chairman… The decision followed a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal alleging that Wynn engaged in sexual harassment… Wynn acknowledged the “distraction” caused by the controversy in a statement released Saturday.” [Politico]

— “Why Trump Can’t Quit Steve Wynn” by Eliana Plott: “While sources close to the president predict Trump may publicly attempt to distance himself from Wynn in the coming days, they’re less sure about how he’ll navigate their increasingly close relationship in the long run… Trump was always quick to “tease” Wynn that he “came on late” to the campaign… Yet far from keeping Wynn at a distance, Trump seemed insistent on tightening their relationship. “They became pretty close,” said former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich… Others with the president’s ear have proven reluctant to level judgment: “It’s very important to make all of these allegations subject to proof. There has to be proof and a process,” said Alan Dershowitz, who recently appeared on Fox News alongside Wynn, calling him “smart and funny and fair.”” [TheAtlantic]

“The Politics of Race and the Photo That Might Have Derailed Obama” by Vinson Cunningham: “When I saw a recently released photo, by Askia Muhammad, of Obama and a beaming Louis Farrakhan, I immediately thought of the Clinton campaign. What fun they could’ve had with this one! Muhammad took the picture, in 2005, at a gathering hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, after Obama’s star-making turn at the 2004 Democratic National Convention but before it was clear that the Senator would offer himself as a candidate for President… After some pressure from one of the caucus’s staffers, Muhammad agreed to bury it. Now he plans to include the picture in an upcoming self-published book; Talking Points Memo asked to run the photo after learning of it from a newsletter written by the journalist Richard Prince.” [NewYorker• Dershowitz: I Wouldn’t Have Campaigned for Obama If I Knew About Farrakhan Pic [FoxNews]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt tweets: “In Israel catching up on news about 2005 photo of Obama & Farrakhan. Over his career, Barack Obama has denounced the bigotry of Farrakhan. Time to do so again. Leaders always should make sure that there’s no doubt: America is no place for those who advocate #antisemitism or hate.” [Twitter]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — “Sara Netanyahu’s Aides Sued Over Her Tirades. Now, There’s a Recording” by David Halbfinger: “The recording, published on the Walla News site… was made in 2009. Mrs. Netanyahu had become angry after [a] 44-word item mentioned her obligation, as the prime minister’s wife, to perform public service — but did not cite her education credentials to her satisfaction. “I’m an educated woman!” she can be heard shouting at the publicist. “Psychologist! B.-A! M.-A! That’s it!” … Mr. Netanyahu spoke up for his wife in a pair of Facebook posts on Sunday, saying that everyone sometimes “gets angry and says a few words that he didn’t mean.”” [NYTimes• Netanyahu lashes out at media after release of wife’s recordings [JPost]

** 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: Buyout firm Leonard Green nears deal to acquire Pro Mach [Reuters] • Paul Singer’s Elliott Management takes stake in Sky [TheTimes] • Dan Loeb is ‘closely watching’ these 4 key risks — including inflation — that can stop the market rally [CNBC] • WeWork boss looks to build a highly valued community [FinancialTimes] • Former top FBI officer warns: Israeli law enforcement lax, reforms needed [ToI]

THE DAILY KUSHNER — “Trump’s Chilean Ambassador Pick Entwined in Kushner Family Deals “by Caleb Melby, David Kocieniewski and Brendan Coffey: “When the White House nominated a new ambassador to Chile this month, it touted his role running his father’s food-importing business. Not mentioned: his deep financial ties to the family of Jared Kushner. Andrew Gellert is president of Gellert Global Group and the son of George Gellert, a close friend of Jared’s father, Charles Kushner… Most prominent of their shared interests is 666 Fifth Avenue… When Jared Kushner purchased the Observer newspaper, some of the funds were from the Gellerts. At a New Jersey bank in which both families own stakes, Andrew Gellert sits on the board with Jared Kushner’s brother-in-law, David Orbach.” [Bloomberg]

THIS TOWN: “No, Ivanka Trump didn’t stop José Andrés from getting into a party. Here’s what really happened” by Helena Andrews-Dyer: “On Saturday night, Nuschese’s fellow restaurateur José Andrés claimed via Twitter that he was denied entry to an exclusive event at Cafe Milano. Andrés, who spent nearly two years in a legal battle with President Trump and has staunchly criticized the administration’s stance on immigration, took his beef a step further by suggesting that Ivanka Trump had something to do with the slight…”

“So what happened? … On Saturday, the uber-rich folk descended on Washington for the 105th Alfalfa Club dinner… This year’s feast featured punchlines delivered by former president George W. Bush, former secretary of state John F. Kerry, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg… Afterward, the herd, which this year also included Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, typically thins as the VIPs head to a private after-party at Cafe Milano in Georgetown… Andrés, who attended the dinner at the Hilton where he said he even chatted briefly with Ivanka, assumed he would get in because of an “unwritten rule” on the Washington party circuit: All after-parties are fair game.” [WashPostCNN]

HOLLYWOOD: “HBO Picks Up Controversial Israel-Palestinian Doc ‘Oslo Diaries'” by Tatiana Siegel: “Directed by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan, the film features never-before-seen footage of meetings involving an unlikely group of negotiators — two Israeli professors and three PLO members — who met secretly in Norway… The deal plays out against the backdrop of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians as high as ever. HBO will debut the film later this year to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords.”[HollywoodReporter]

“Why HBO made a Holocaust documentary for kids” by Gina Salamone: “The story of 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Jack Feldman, who made it out of Auschwitz, is told through conversations with his great-grandson, Elliott Saiontz. Elliott, who was 10 at the time the film was shot and lives in Westchester, sits beside his great-grandfather on the couch… The documentary weaves archival footage and photos with animation, in between the pair’s conversations and Elliott’s narration… That lesson, Elliott says, is why he wants other kids to know his great-grandpa’s story, to stop it from happening again.”[NYDailyNews]

“The Nazi Hunter of Crete” by By Sam Rosenthal: “Crete, and Greece in general, was also in those days the site of a concerning political shift: a rise in extremist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, ethno-nationalist politics. A far-right party known as the Golden Dawn had been gaining strength, and by 2012 it had garnered a frightening amount of influence and power. Hans had a different name for the Golden Dawn’s constituents, though: neo-Nazis. And he had traveled to Crete to fight them… Toward the end of my stay on Crete, a week or two after Hans and the rest of our ragtag group and I had all parted ways, I caught glimpses of what it was that had drawn Hans there in the first place. A night after visiting one of the synagogues that had been set ablaze by arsonists, I passed a plaza filled with dim light and angry voices. I asked someone on the street what was happening, and he said the Nazis were meeting.” [Ozy]

“Nazi past followed Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad to his death” by Derek Hawkins: “In 1943, Ingvar Kamprad… founded a mail-order company called Ikea… His first employee was his close friend Otto Ullmann, an Austrian Jew about his age whose parents had sent him to Sweden to escape the Nazi takeover in their home country… Around the same time he started Ikea, Kamprad joined Sweden’s fascist movement. He regularly attended meetings with pro-Nazi extremist groups, maintained a long-running friendship with a leading Swedish fascist and, according to some accounts, was an active member of the Swedish version of the Hitler Youth… It’s not clear how… Kamprad kept his Nazi connections hidden from Ullmann, whose parents were murdered in the Holocaust. But, as Rabbi Dow Marmur wrote in 2013 for the Toronto Star, when the revelations were first made public in the 1990s, Ullmann was one of the first people Kamprad called to apologize.” [WashPost]

PIC OF THE DAY — Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp‏ with Judith Varnai Shorer, Israeli Consul General to the Southeastern United States, at AIPAC’s annual Atlanta event held at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium [Pic

REMEMBERING — Julia Reyes Taubman passes away after long battle of Cancer: “Julia, active in the national arts community, was a founder and board chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MoCAD)… Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Julia, known best to her friends as “Julie,” was a member of the Reyes family, owners of Chicago-based food and beverage distributors Reyes Holdings LLC, one of the nation’s largest privately held companies. She married Robert Taubman in 1999.” [Fox2Detroit]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Deaths of Billionaire Toronto Couple, Barry and Honey Sherman, Were Homicides, Police Say” by Catherine Porter: “Six weeks after the bodies of Barry and Honey Sherman were found hanging in the basement of their mansion, the Toronto Police confirmed what the couple’s friends and family have maintained all along — that they died in a murder… It was another bizarre turn in a dizzying case that has captured the country’s attention. The couple’s four children, furious at the police for leaking the murder-suicide theory, hired their own team to conduct a private investigation into their parents’ deaths.” [NYTimes]

DESSERT — Made In Chicago: Milt’s Extra Innings: “Located in the storefront next door, it’s a kosher deli that employees people with developmental disabilities. “We have created this environment there. We have 13 special needs employees there now…” [Jeff] Aeder says he hopes Milt’s will lead by example… The space also showcases Aeder’s love for baseball with displays of his own Jewish baseball memorabilia. “I named the restaurant in honor of my uncle Miltie. We are located near Wrigley Field… There have been 170 Jews who have played in the Major Leagues, and the whole history is told on the walls of Milt’s Extra Innings.” [CBSChicago]

BIRTHDAYS: Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Paul Ryan turns 48… Former partner at Venable’s DC office, previously President of the JCRC of Greater Washington, Ronald Glancz turns 75… Public speaker, Rabbi Paysach Krohn turns 73… President and founding principal of Libitzky Property Companies, a developer of over seven million square feet of large industrial, mixed-use and office projects, Moses S. Libitzky turns 71… Director of the Houston chapter of the American Jewish Committee, Randy Czarlinsky turns 64… Jerry Keller turns 59… Fellow at the Claremont Institute, he was the executive director of Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (2012-2013), Larry Greenfield turns 56… Physician and an author of a New York Times bestselling book, Dr. David Agus turns 53… Founder and managing director of the NYC-based Tembo Group, Denielle Sachs turns 41 (h/t Playbook)… Israeli actress and television host, Yael Bar Zohar turns 38… Director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the US, she was the top foreign policy advisor for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Laura Rosenberger turns 38… Director of Global Relations at Hillel International in DC, previously the Director of Hillel in Ekaterinburg in Russia, Yasha Moz turns 33… Senior writer and editor at the Union for Reform Judaism,  a.k.a. Jane the Writer, Jane E. Herman… Avid skier Martha Baumgarten


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