Jun
2

Author:

Comment

Daily Kickoff: Putin compares claims of Russia hacking to anti-Semitism | Israeli Minister: Trump broke the wrong campaign promise | Javanka’s Shavuot

JI_logoCP2

Have our people email your people. Share this sign up link with your friends

WHILE WE WERE AWAY — President Donald Trump renewed a presidential waiver yesterday suspending the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem for another six months. [Doc]

But in a statement, the White House said — for the first time since January — that the President intends to keep his campaign promise and move the embassy. “No one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance,” the statement said. “President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Though Israel is disappointed that the embassy will not move at this time, we appreciate today’s expression of President Trump’s friendship to Israel and his commitment to moving the embassy in the future.”

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz tells the Kafe Knesset team: “We thought Trump would be different and this time the promise would be fulfilled. I think it’s a shame. It’s abnormal that everybody knows Jerusalem is capital of Israel [but doesn’t officially recognize it]… It’s a kind of BDS… and it’s high time to end this and put the embassies in Jerusalem… If Trump were to keep one of two campaign promises, I think it’d be more reasonable and justified to keep the promise about moving the Embassy to Jerusalem and not leave the Paris Accords, rather than vice-versa.” [JewishInsider]

Experts explain Trump’s move — by Rosie Gray: “The Trump White House statement’s repetition of that promise is significant, said former State Department Middle East negotiator Aaron David Miller. “It is significant even though he waived that he made clear in a formal statement that as president he now has committed himself to move the embassy,” Miller said… “It becomes problematic because these negotiations are likely to drag on interminably, assuming they even get started,” Miller said… “By signing the waiver he avoids creating a problem,” [Hussein] Ibish said. “But by saying he still intends to move the embassy, he protects himself, protects Netanyahu, and is still holding out the threat to the Arabs and the Palestinians that look, there’s still something on the other side, so cooperate with me.”

“Trump is not the first friend of Israel in the White House to sign the waiver,” said Shalom Lipner, a Brookings scholar who served from 1990-2016 in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office… “Israelis are disappointed, but largely unsurprised. But there is a constituency, comprised mostly of Trump supporters, who genuinely believed that he would make good on his promise to move the embassy in his first few months; for them, this is a rude awakening.”” [TheAtlantic]

VIEW FROM JERUSALEM — Israeli cabinet ministers react to Trump’s move — by Peter Baker: “We’ve waited 69 years, we will wait 70 years,” said Yoav Galant, the Israeli minister of housing. Tzachi Hanegbi, another minister, called it a “marginal” issue that had to do with “real estate,” and that Mr. Trump had made a “resonant statement” with his visit to the Western Wall. But Naftali Bennett, a leader of a pro-settlement party within Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition, said delaying the embassy move would actually damage the prospects for peace by fostering Palestinians’ false hope that they would gain control of East Jerusalem.” [NYTimes] • Minister Ze’ev Elkin: “[Trump] is still talking ‘Obamanese,’ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” [ToI]

“This Israeli Minister Could Block Trump’s Regional Peace Push by David Wainer and Michael Arnold: “Naftali Bennett, a minister crucial to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, is threatening to use his party’s seats to topple the government if Palestinians are granted land concessions in negotiations.” [Bloomberg

“Trump Left the Door Open for a Jerusalem Embassy” by Eli Lake: “White House officials tell me that Trump, for now, believes he can use the embassy issue as leverage. Normally this would mean holding out the prospect of moving the embassy as a carrot to the Israelis in exchange for concessions on settlements. In this case, however, it’s a little different: Trump is using the prospect of an embassy move as a stick with Israel’s Arab neighbors.” [BloombergView]

ON THE HILL — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement, “As someone who believes that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel, I am deeply disappointed in President Trump’s decision. Will those who criticized President Obama for not moving the Embassy make their voices just as loud and just as strong when it comes to President Trump’s failure to move the Embassy?”

— 
On Tuesday, Schumer signed on as a cosponsor of a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. The symbolic vote is expected to take place on Monday, which marks 50 years to the start of the Six Day War.

FIRST LOOK: “Trump Officials Studying Obama’s Security Plan in Case Israeli-Palestinian Peace Push Works” by Amir Tibon and Amos Harel: “In recent weeks, there are some signs that the current administration is indeed looking into the security plan prepared by the previous administration. Trump’s National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, decided to appoint Kris Bauman, a United States Air Force colonel who was deeply involved in the work over the 2014 security plan, as the National Security Council’s new expert on Israel-Palestine. In addition, the administration has been briefed about two security plans that were created over the last year by former Israeli and American security officials, which both drew on ideas and concepts from the [John] Allen plan. The first is a plan that was written by the Washington-based Center for New American Security, together with former IDF General Gadi Shamni… the second is a plan written by “Commanders for Israel’s Security,” an organization consisting of hundreds of former senior IDF officers.” [Haaretz

Last December, Gen. John Allen expanded on his security plan, calling it the proper formula for future peace: “I have seen what I believe can be a workable security solution to support the forward movement of peace. It will be hard, and it might even take decades to implement all of the pieces, but for the sake of Israel, there is no other viable option.” [JewishInsider

“Palestinian leader Abbas admits meeting with Trump in Bethlehem was ‘uncomfortable'” by Jack Moore: “In a meeting this week of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, Abbas told members that the meeting a week before was “uncomfortable,” Palestinian sources told the Qatari-owned, London-based news outlet Al-Araby… A PLO source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Newsweek that… Trump showed video clips to Abbas of him “inciting against Israel,” footage that the Palestinian leader said were taken out of context. “You have the CIA, ask them to examine the videos and to find out how they were taken or fabricated for the purpose of incriminating Palestinians,” Abbas reportedly told Trump.” [Newsweek]

Aaron David Miller:“The Myths About 1967 That Just Won’t Die. Fifty years after the Arab-Israeli war, popular assumptions about its impact are begging to be reexamined.” [TheAtlantic]

ON THE HILL: “Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan Identified as Lawmaker Behind Anti-Israel Capitol Hill Forum” by Adam Kredo: “Rep. Mark Pocan (D., Wis.) has been identified as the anonymous member of Congress who reserved official Capitol Hill space for an anti-Israel forum that is being organized by several organizations that support boycotts of the Jewish state, according to congressional sources.” [FreeBeacon]

“C.I.A. Names New Iran Chief in a Sign of Trump’s Hard Line” by Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Goldman: “He is known as the Dark Prince or Ayatollah Mike, nicknames he earned as the Central Intelligence Agency officer who oversaw the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the American drone strike campaign that killed thousands of Islamist militants and hundreds of civilians. Now the official, Michael D’Andrea, has a new job. He is running the C.I.A.’s Iran operations… Mr. D’Andrea’s new role is one of a number of moves inside the spy agency that signal a more muscular approach to espionage and covert operations under the leadership of Mike Pompeo… Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the [national security] council’s senior director for intelligence — the main White House liaison to intelligence agencies — has told other administration officials that he wants to use American spies to help oust the Iranian government, according to multiple defense and intelligence officials.” [NYTimes

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord” by Hiroko Tabuchi and Henry Fountain: “We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed,” Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who is coordinating the effort, said in an interview… Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mr. Bloomberg’s charitable organization, is offering to donate $14 million over the next two years to help fund the budget should it be needed, a spokeswoman said. That figure represents the United States’ share, she said.” [NYTimes]

REACTIONS: “Disney CEO Bob Iger quits Trump advisory team as ‘matter of principle'” by Julia Horowitz: “Disney CEO Bob Iger said he will step down from Trump’s business advisory council, protesting the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal… He also posted his decision on Twitter, saying he’d resigned from Trump’s business council “as a matter of principle.” [CNNMoney]  

Mark Zuckerberg says Donald Trump’s decision on the Paris agreement ‘puts our children’s future at risk [Recode]

Marc Benioff‏: “Deeply disappointed by President’s decision to withdraw from ParisAgreement. We will double our efforts to fight climate change.” [Twitter]

PALACE INTRIGUE: “Inside Trump’s climate decision: After fiery debate, he ‘stayed where he’s always been’” by Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker and Michael Birnbaum: “Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, reached out to chief executives and urged them to call her father to make their pro-business case for staying in the [Paris] accord. She even personally appealed to Andrew Liveris, the head of Dow Chemical, asking him to spearhead a letter with other CEOs — which ultimately ran as a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal in May — directly appealing to Trump to stay in the agreement… But in the end, it was not enough… The fight pit Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and White House Counsel Don McGahn — who all pushed for a total withdrawal — against Ivanka Trump, economic chief Gary Cohn and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson… The Paris pact was a particular passion for Bannon, who spent the past two weeks consumed by the climate deal, including working feverishly from the West Wing after returning early from Trump’s foreign trip.” [WashPost]

“After climate loss, Ivanka moves on” by Annie Karni: “Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, have taken the defeat in stride, according to two people familiar with their thinking on the issue. Their view of their roles in the White House is that they’re playing the long game, helping the president to be successful. And they don’t tally their own influence day-by-day or bill-by-bill. But they were notably absent from the row of top aides gathered in front of the podium for the announcement… Ivanka Trump was out of the office observing the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, a White House official said. Kushner walked to the White House after attending synagogue in the morning for a long-standing meeting that was on his schedule before Trump’s remarks were put together, and he also did not attend the Rose Garden event.” [Politico] • Kushner tries to pretend everything’s normal [Politico]

Where Jared and Ivanka spent Shavuot — by Chris Spargo:“A source close to Jared told the Daily Mail that the couple had gone back to shul on Thursday morning, for the second day in a row, as they observed Shavuot, bringing along their two oldest children Arabella and Joseph. The young children, perhaps worn out from having to walk the mile to and from the Friends of Lubavitch of Wednesday, decided to make the trek a bit easier the second time around by travelling on their scooters… Also joining the group was Jared’s brother Josh, dressed down in a pair of form-fitting skinny jeans and a cardigan… After shul, Ivanka and the children headed back home while Jared set off for the White House, walking the mile-and-a-half to work.” [DailyMail]

KAFE KNESSET — Interview with Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: KK: What do you think of Trump taking the US out of the Paris Climate Accord? Steinitz: “I think that it is a sad moment. In my opinion, even if there is no certainty but only 50% probability that we are destroying the climate and the future of this planet, we have to take counter-steps to be on the safe side and do everything in order to reduce pollution and take care of the next generation. In addition to this, I think the Paris Accords were a rare moment that almost all countries in the world, almost all humanity – with only a few exceptions, Syria and Nicaragua. All other 195 countries overcame all their differences and different perspectives to save our planet and the future of our planet. I think it’s important in of itself. That doesn’t happen every day… Therefore I’m very sorry, and I can assure you that as the Israeli Minister of Energy I am fully committed to the Paris Accords and my plan to reduce the use of coal and replace coal with natural gas and renewable energies in our power stations.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

HEARD AT CODE CONFERENCE — Hillary Clinton: “Somebody – probably more than one somebody – will really have the market for clean energy exports. China is moving full speed ahead to be that country. Some of the European countries, particularly when it comes to wind, are already there. Israel, I know, has some great research being done, particularly on solar. There’s a huge market that somebody is going to own and we are giving it up.” [Video]

“Scarborough: Steve Bannon is the real president” by Alayna Treene: “Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough repeatedly called Steve Bannon “President Bannon” on his show Friday… Scarborough also suggested that “President Bannon” was the source behind the negative leaks on Jared Kushner and his ties to Russia, noting that Bannon boasted about having damaging information on Trump’s son-in-law in the days leading up to the reports that Kushner was being looked at by the FBI.” [Axios]

RUSSIA PROBE — “Explanations for Kushner’s meeting with head of Kremlin-linked bank don’t match up” by David Filipov, Amy Brittain, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger: “Before the United States imposed sanctions, VEB sought to extend its international reach to draw more investment to Russia. Among those named by the bank to an advisory board for a new global fund was Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of the Blackstone Group and now an outside adviser to the Trump White House… [Sergey] Gorkov was named to head VEB in February 2016… Some Russia watchers described Gorkov, who was not seen as being especially close to the Kremlin before his appointment, as an unlikely diplomatic link between the Kremlin and the Trump administration. “I can think of many back channels that one might cultivate to have close, discreet, indirect communications with Putin. VEB’s Gorkov would not make my list,” said Michael McFaul, who was the U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama.” [WashPost] • LongRead — Family First: The Trials of Jared Kushner [Time]

Putin tells Megyn Kelly: ‪U.S. officials blaming Russia “reminds me of anti-Semitism and blaming the Jews. This is disinformation.” [NBCNews]

“Former White House press officer Boris Epshteyn to be questioned in Russia probe” by Brian Ross, Matthew Mosk and Pete Madden: “[Boris] Epshteyn, a Trump campaign adviser who briefly served in the White House communications office, confirmed to ABC News that he has received a request for information and testimony from the House Intelligence Committee.” [ABCNews

TRUMP TEAM: “Kushner’s Rose Garden Hug Ends Lewandowski’s Year-Long Rift With Kushner” by Kevin Cirilli, Shannon Pettypiece and Jennifer Jacobs: “After Corey Lewandowski met with Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Monday… Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and trusted adviser — who had pressed for Lewandowski’s ouster as campaign manager almost a year ago — joined him for a stroll through the White House Rose Garden. Their conversation ended with a hug, according to people familiar with their exchange. It also resulted in a restored relationship and an understanding that Kushner is no longer a barrier between Lewandowski and the White House.” [Bloomberg]

“White House ‘Muslim Ban’ Man Pushes for Even More Power” by Spencer Ackerman: “[Stephen] Miller is trying to take on a second role—a power move known only to a handful people in the White House and across the administration. The nationalist firebrand has elbowed his way into national security and foreign affairs, trying to push the U.S. government to adopt hardline stances on refugees and other international issues… Formally, Miller has no position on the NSC. But the Domestic Policy Council is typically invited to participate in NSC meetings in which its agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, have equity.” [DailyBeast]

“Donald Trump Poisons the World” by David Brooks:“By treating the world simply as an arena for competitive advantage, Trump, [H. R. ] McMaster and [Gary] Cohn sever relationships, destroy reciprocity, erode trust and eviscerate the sense of sympathy, friendship and loyalty that all nations need when times get tough. By looking at nothing but immediate material interest, Trump, McMaster and Cohn turn America into a nation that affronts everybody else’s moral emotions. They make our country seem disgusting in the eyes of the world.” [NYTimes]

MAMILLA HOTEL, WHERE SPICER HANGS WITH THE PRESS — by Matthew Nussbaum, Tara Palmeri and Josh Dawsey: “On the recent trip abroad, he repeatedly showed the strain of the job. At one point, he got drinks with a group of other staffers and reporters in Jerusalem, where he was adamant that the conversation steer clear of work. “The most we’ve seen of Sean [Spicer] was at a rooftop bar in Jerusalem,” said one U.S. journalist on the trip. “But he refused to take work-related questions and said if you asked him a work-related question, then you had to take a shot.” The comment was made in jest, according to people present, and no shots were taken.” [Politico

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Why CBS and Viacom didn’t merge, according to Shari Redstone [Recode] • Billionaire Steinmetz recovers from setback in Simandou battle [MiningWeekly] • Houston-based Camber Energy Inc. has appointed a new chairman, Fred Zeidman [BizJournals] • Touting Ties to Trump Is the Only Thing That Unites the Feuding Kushners [Bloomberg] • Jared Kushner’s Observer Lays Off Staffers [WWD] • Porsche to invest ‘tens of millions’ in Israeli auto technology [JNS

“Trump’s Hebrew translator says she was happier working for Obama” by Rob Gloster: “Merav Rozenblum, a Hebrew teacher at Jewish Community High School of the Bay, is a contract translator for the State Department and has worked with three presidents… “Of course, when it comes to my principles, I would feel better translating for a president that did not offend about half of the American people. But when I work, this should not be reflected in anything that I do.” Rozenblum and a colleague in Washington, DC, were hired to translate Trump’s May 21 speech in Saudi Arabia at the Arab Islamic American Summit… “This president speaks in very short sentences, so it wasn’t a very difficult speech to translate,” Rozenblum said.” [ToI]

“How the World’s Most Interesting Man Befriended the World’s Most Powerful Man” by Jonathan Goldsmith: “[President Barack Obama] and I had met earlier that year at a fundraiser in Vermont when he was just preparing for his reelection campaign. He had impressed me with his encyclopedic recall of the outrageous escapades of my TV character (“The Most Interesting Man in the World”). Still, I was more than surprised when I later got a call from one of his deputies. Would I like to be part of a special surprise for the president’s 50th birthday celebration at Camp David? … The Secret Service picked me up at Reagan National Airport, and a few hours later I was at Camp David, the president’s private retreat…”

“As I waited for the festivities to begin, I was given a private tour of the grounds… I saw the very chairs on which Stalin and Roosevelt sat and the table where the Camp David Peace Accords were negotiated between Israel and Egypt. The sense of history was overwhelming… At one point, I asked if it would be OK to quiz him on some serious issues. “Everybody else does,” he responded gamely, “so go ahead.” I asked what he thought would happen in Syria, where war had just broken out… I asked him why relations seemed to be so strained with Israel. He was honest and direct with his answers, even brutally so. But while I might kiss and tell, what he confided in me I will never reveal.” [PoliticoMag]

PROFILE: “Long Island’s 98-Year-Old Former Congressman Eats Dumplings, Hates Trump, Makes Tweets” by Ross Barkan: “On the walls of [Lester] Wolff’s airy, feng shui–tuned home in Muttontown, a tony Long Island village, are photographs of the presidents and historical figures he has met in his half-century of public life… There, near the bottom of his office wall, is Hillary Clinton. Nowhere is Donald Trump. “He is a fascist. No question in my mind,” Wolff said. “There was Hitler, there was Mussolini. Many of the dictators — he’s following the same route, all over again.” … An observant Jew, he wakes at 6:30 every morning and prays for about an hour. Musing more on his longevity, he said he never drank much and smoked a pipe instead of cigarettes. A trip to Denmark years ago convinced him to eat lox for breakfast… Wolff said he has wondered why God has “allowed me to be here for so long and in good health with good mental ability. Why?” “I feel there’s something, that there’s a mission I’ve yet to perform before I go,” he said. “What is it? I don’t know.”” [VillageVoice]

MEDIA WATCH — Guardian’s Ben Jacobs gets new glasses after assault by Montana congressman: “Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs replaced his glasses on Tuesday, after they were broken when he was assaulted by Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte… Jacobs was fitted for a new pair of glasses by optician Russell Byron, settling on a pair of black frames from Banana Republic. The glasses will be ready for pickup next week. Jacobs has said he will pay for them himself with help from insurance. At the request of the Washington DC media museum the Newseum, Jacobs has agreed to donate his broken glasses to the museum for display in their collection.” [Guardian

HOLLYWOOD: “‘Wonder Woman’ Headed for Big Israel Opening as Country Rallies Behind Gal Gadot” by David Caspi: 
“Every single print, online and TV outlet has been positively covering the Wonder Woman press tour, with many portraying Gadot as an ambassador for the country… “There is no one Israeli that is non-supportive,” wrote Israel Hayom newspaper columnist Adi Rubinstein this week. “Gadot is the leading Israeli product on TV all over the world right now — no format, idea or Israeli persona can successfully do what Gadot has been doing this past month.” Israeli advertising tech startup Taykey, which tracks internet chatter, says that Gadot mentions online have been 95 percent positive… She also currently outranks Oscar winner and Jerusalem born Natalie Portman on top of IMDB’s ranking of most popular industry people born in Israel.” [THR]

“Why So Many People Care That Wonder Woman Is Israeli” by Ruth Graham: “Gadot’s origins landed in headlines this week when Lebanon banned the film from theaters just days before it was scheduled to premiere… Pressure from the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel–Lebanon prompted the government to pull its approval at the last minute… Jewish and Israeli media outlets, meanwhile, have covered the movie with a sense of hometown swagger… The Forward asked if Gadot is on her way to becoming “the biggest Israeli superstar ever” and a “global feminist torch-holder for decades to come.” “It isn’t just a triumph for women that the new savior of the world is female,” a writer for the Jewish Journal wrote. “It is a triumph for the Jews.”” [Slate]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris turns 68… National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman turns 65… Founder of Newark-based IDT Corp and numerous affiliates and spinoffs including shale energy exploration company, Genie Energy, Howard S. Jonas turns 61… Writer-at-large for New York magazine since 2011, following a 31 year career at the New York Times (1980-2011), he is also an executive producer for HBO’s “Veep,” Frank Rich turns 68… Former member of the British Parliament from Manchester (1983-1997) and then a member of European Parliament from Northwest England (1999-2009), David Anthony Gerald Sumberg turns 76… Political activist, social entrepreneur and city planner; a co-founder of ReelAbilities, a film festival by, or about, people with disabilities, Anita Altman turns 72… Israeli entrepreneur and inventor, founder of Indigo Digital Press (1977) and The Landa Group (2003), known as the father of commercial digital printing, Benny Landa turns 71… Aerospace engineer and a former NASA astronaut, he flew on three shuttle missions, Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour and took along a memento from the US Holocaust Museum into space, Mark L. Polansky turns 61… Brooklyn-based Hasidic Rebbe of Skulen, Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal turns 92… Dinorah Cecilia Baroody turns 59… Special counsel focused on land use and zoning at NYC-based law firm Goldstein Hall, Jessica Ashenberg Loeser turns 40… Chief Development Officer for the Obama Foundation, Jordan David Kaplan turns 39… Director of technology at Santa Monica-based Action Network, a tech platform for progressive causes, Jason S. Rosenbaum turns 33… Co-founder and CEO of The Wing, a chain of women’s work space and social clubs, communications strategist Audrey H. Gelman turns 30 (h/ts Playbook)… Business development officer at Neura, Inc. and board member of non-profit Tamid Group, Jared R. Fleitman turns 25… Benjamin Sheridan turns 25… Carla Sanchez

SATURDAY: Canadian economist who has held both high-level government and academic posts, Sylvia Knelman Ostry turns 90… Italian physician, writer and essayist on a wide range of Biblical and Jewish topics, he served as President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (1998-2006), Amos Luzzatto turns 89… Attorney, author, political candidate, law professor, businesswoman and international civil servant, she was awarded both a Ph.D. in political science and a J.D. from Yale, Jan Schneider turns 70… Algerian-born, French citizen, Tel Aviv-based attorney, elected in 2012 to serve as an overseas representative to the French parliament representing the southern Mediterranean region, Daphna Poznanski-Benhamou turns 67… President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Eric S. Rosengren turns 60… Chief cantor of Vienna, Austria’s Israelitische Kultusgemeinde since 1992, lyrical tenor, Shmuel Barzilai turns 60… Member of the British Parliament since 2001, Jonathan Djanogly turns 52… Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, Jason Moss turns 43… Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations at the San Francisco Day School, Lauren Becker turns 31… Israel on Campus Coalition’s Brandon Beigler… Alice Heyman… Rick Munitz

SUNDAY: Survivor of the Holocaust via the Kindertransport, sniper for the Haganah and renowned sex therapist, Ruth Westheimer (“Dr. Ruth”) turns 89… Billionaire philanthropist, co-founder of Boston Properties, and owner of the NY Daily News and of U.S. News & World Report, Mort Zuckerman turns 8-0… Emeritus Professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology, David Kristol turns 79… Attorney who served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1969-1973) and the Massachusetts Senate (1973-1983), Alan Sisitsky turns 75… Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science and winner of the 2012 Israel Prize, David Milstein turns 70… Beverly Hills attorney, Marlene Diane Greenly turns 69… Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court since 1999 and Chief Justice starting in 2017, Stephen J. Markman turns 68… Longest tenured member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (42 years from 1974 to 2016), Mark B. Cohen turns 68… Offensive lineman for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins (1973-1984), which included 3 Super Bowl appearances and 4 Pro Bowls, Ed Newman turns 66… British journalist, author of 9 books and socially conservative columnist for The Times (London), The Jerusalem Post and The Jewish Chronicle, Melanie Phillips turns 66… First-ever Jewish governor of Hawaii (2002-2010) and then Chief Operating Officer of Illinois (2015-2016), Linda Lingle turns 64… French-Israeli entrepreneur, angel investor in hundreds of start-ups, Jeremie Berrebi turns 39… Lead anchor of the Washington Post’s “Inspired Life” blog, Colby Itkowitz turns 34… Israeli supermodel, Bar Refaeli turns 32… Legislative assistant and press secretary for Congressman Ted Deutch, Jason Hillel Attermann turns 29… Ken Moss… Judah Gross

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]

May
30

Author:

Comment

Daily Kickoff: Israeli right thinks Bibi will go left | Netanyahu: ‘No blank check’ from Trump | Steven Cohen’s comeback fund | Franken’s Senate jokes

JI_logoCP2

Have our people email your people. Share this sign up link with your friends

Ed note: In honor of Shavuot, there will be no Daily Kickoff on Wednesday or Thursday. Chag Sameach!

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “White House faces deadline for clarity on Israel embassy move” by Michael Wilner: “Once every December and June since 1998, the White House has exercised its authority to waive an appropriations requirement that would suspend 50% of the State Department’s buildings maintenance budget until the Secretary of State verifies he has opened a Jerusalem embassy. Given that the law requires confirmation of an embassy opening – not simply of a president’s general intent – it seems likely that US President Donald Trump will issue his first of these waivers later this week. But conservative American Jewish groups and Israel advocacy organizations in favor of the move hope that he will attach an addendum to the waiver notice, outlining his plans to relocate the embassy in due time… White House officials told The Jerusalem Post they have nothing yet to announce on the matter.” [JPost]

“What Trump not signing a Jerusalem embassy waiver would really mean” by Eugene Kontorovich: “The law says nothing about “moving” the embassy. Rather, the requirement is to “officially open” an embassy, which can be done with a mere declaration upgrading the status of one of the existing consular facilities in the city… Non-waiver would be a wise tactical move for Trump. If he signs a waiver, he is certain to face deep pushback from his base at a time he needs its support the most… But if Trump simply does nothing, he gets a clear and easy win on a campaign plank at a time when his agenda seems to have gotten bogged down.” [WashPost]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner taking ‘heads down’ approach” by Betsy Klein: “The official said the two share a “healthy understanding that there’s attention on you when you’re at this level,” adding that they are “unfazed” by the scrutiny of the past week… The couple spent the weekend at Trump’s Bedminister Golf Club, where they married in 2009, for a planned trip with their three small children. Back in Washington on Sunday afternoon, Ivanka Trump was spotted outside the White House, chatting with lawyer Marc Kasowitz before boarding an SUV together.” [CNN]

“Investigation Turns to Kushner’s Motives in Meeting With a Putin Ally” by Matthew Rosenberg, Mark Mazzetti and Maggie Haberman: “[Hope] Hicks said the meetings were part of an effort by [Jared] Kushner to improve relations between the United States and Russia, and to identify areas of possible cooperation. After the first meeting with Mr. Kislyak, she said at the time, the Russian ambassador asked for a follow-up discussion to “deliver a message.” Mr. Kushner sent Avrahm Berkowitz, a longtime associate and now a White House aide. At that session, Mr. Kislyak told Mr. Berkowitz that he wanted Mr. Kushner to meet Mr. Gorkov, Ms. Hicks said…. She said then that during Mr. Kushner’s meeting with Mr. Gorkov, there was no discussion about the Kushner company’s business or about American sanctions against Russian entities.” [NYTimes]

REPUBLICANS TURNING ON KUSHNER? “John McCain fires at Jared Kushner” by Jonathan Swan: “I don’t like it, I just don’t,” McCain told ABC’s Leigh Sales… Why this matters: This is a break from the GOP line. McCain’s hawkish ally in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, said he didn’t believe the news reports about Kushner, and national security figures in the administration are unified in saying they’re not concerned about Kushner’s conduct. What’s next: The risk for the White House is that McCain could be paving the way for others to condemn Kushner… [McCain:] “I don’t think it’s standard procedure prior to the inauguration of the President of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position.” [Axios] • Republican Senator Chuck Grassley calls for probe into promotion of Kushner Cos deal [Reuters]

“The Politics of Clan: The Adventures of Jared Kushner” by David Brooks: “We tell young people to serve something beyond self, and Kushner seems to have been fiercely, almost selflessly, loyal to family. But the clannish mentality has often ill served him during his stay in government. Working in government is about teamwork, majority-building and addition — adding more and more people to your coalition. It is about working within legal frameworks and bureaucratic institutions. It’s about having a short memory and not taking things personally… We don’t know everything about his meetings with the Russians, but we know that they, like so much other clan-like behavior, went against the formal system.” [NYTimes]

ON THE HILL — Bipartisan bill introduced to bolster sanctions against Hamas — by Aaron Magid: Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced new bipartisan legislation to increase sanctions on foreign governments who assist Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Democratic Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and chairperson of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) all support the legislation. The “Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act” does not mention Fatah or the Palestinian Authority (PA) unlike the Taylor Force Act pushed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which would cut off all US assistance to the PA if they don’t quit paying terrorists and their families, that has stalled in committee. [JewishInsider• Report: After years of stagnation, Iran to resume funding Hamas [IsraelHayom

ULTIMATE DEAL UPDATE: “Israeli right convinced Netanyahu will soon swerve left” by Ben Caspit: “A popular conspiracy theory making the rounds on the right has it that the deal between Netanyahu and Trump has been finalized… Zero hour is supposed to occur after the Labor Party primaries in July. Netanyahu is supposed to push through his Cabinet controversial measures, such as handing over some West Bank territory that is now wholly under Israeli control (known as Area C) to Area B, administered by the Palestinian Authority under Israeli security control. This move, along with a declaration by Netanyahu of the resumption of talks with the Palestinians on a two-state solution, is expected to result in Bennett pulling out of the coalition. When he does, the Zionist Union will immediately take his party’s place… Knesset member Tzipi Livni, [Isaac] Herzog’s partner… will be named justice minister and tasked with responsibility for the negotiations with the Palestinians. Herzog will be appointed foreign minister.” [Al-Monitor

BEHIND THE SCENES: “American plan is to deal with northern Samaria first” by Alex Fishman: “A secret and very politically sensitive tour was scheduled to take place last Thursday, under the media’s radar. Jason Greenblatt… requested to tour an area in northern Samaria which Israel had evacuated during the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. The Trump administration has already marked northern Samaria as a possible area for an Israeli move, which would convey to the Arab world that Israel is committed to recognizing the two states… The news that the American administration had raised the idea of handing lands over to civil Palestinian responsibility was leaked to Channel 10 on Wednesday evening, and Greenblatt’s tour of Samaria was called off.” [Ynet]

KAFE KNESSET — Blank Check — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Hearing the Right wing’s loud and vocal celebrations of Trump’s pro-Israel stance during the visit, Netanyahu used the Likud weekly faction meeting yesterday to bring his colleagues back to reality and clarify that some tough decisions may be underway. “We do not have a blank check with the Administration,” he told the MKs and ministers. “It is true that there is a warm relationship and a great understanding of our fundamental positions but we are not in a blank check reality.”

Moving on to the White House peace plans, Netanyahu stressed that “we do not have a blank check on the political level… You heard President Trump, he came here and did very important things here and touched the core of our soul, but he also said that he believes that Abbas wants peace. He said that I wanted peace and he said that he believed that an agreement could be reached and that we should reach it. We are in this situation and I am dealing with this right now. Over the years I have proven that I take care of our vital interests in a responsible and clever manner and I will continue to do so, but if anyone thinks we have a blank check – he is mistaken.”

Netanyahu’s comments come after Jason Greenblatt’s follow-up tour in the region last week, in which he continued discussions on the Israeli Palestinian issue. While many of Greenblatt’s talks on the Israeli side focused on economic initiatives and confidence building measures, a senior Israeli source told Kafe Knesset that Greenblatt stressed that the President wants to deal with the core issues of a final status agreement such as borders and security. “We are serious and we mean business,” Greenblatt said, according to that source. Another well informed source said that the Administration has already given Israel its position papers on some of the issues, but the PMO declined to confirm. Greenblatt did not reveal what the next US step is and senior Israeli officials said that, in contrast to reports about a Netanyahu-Abbas summit in the coming weeks, Jerusalem is under the impression the Administration needs more time to work out a formula that will bring the sides back to the negotiation table. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Ex-UN envoy Bolton to JPost: Trump has no chance at ultimate peace deal – Arab-Israeli Conflict” by Yonah Jeremy Bob: “Speaking just before he received the Guardian of Zion Award from Bar-Ilan University’s Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Bolton said Trump “is an optimistic man and can take a good shot at it, but I don’t think the conditions exist. I don’t think the two-state solution is viable anymore. It is not a question of personality or effort, it is just undoable. There has been a 70-plus year effort for the two-state solution,” which has failed, he said, adding, “You can’t put it back together again.”” [JPost

Michael Oren: ‘If we give the Palestinians a state tomorrow, it will fail in days or even hours’ — “While Oren, a member of the centrist Kulanu party, hopes and believes that Trump’s efforts could succeed in bringing Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table, he warned against expectations for an immediate positive outcome. “If we give them a state tomorrow, it will fail in days or even hours,” he said. In fact, while espousing negotiations, Oren questioned whether the Palestinians could ever be ready for a state. “I know this may be controversial,” he said, “but not every society organizes itself according to nation-states. We are seeing today the failure of European efforts to impose a nation-state on people who don’t organize themselves like that.” [ToI]

2018 WATCH: “Democrats are pushing an unlikely source — Jerry Springer — to run for governor in Ohio” by Allan Smith and Maxwell Tani: “Influential Ohio Democrats are pushing former Cincinnati mayor and daytime TV host Jerry Springer to run for Ohio governor in 2018, more than half-a-dozen Democrats familiar with the race told Business Insider… Springer’s proponents have highlighted his ability in the era of President Donald Trump to provide his own funding for a campaign, and to connect with working-class voters familiar with his television show and history in Ohio politics.” [BusinessInsider]

** 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: Steven Cohen’s Hedge-Fund Comeback Shoots for a Record Target: $20 Billion [WSJ] • Alec Litowitz’s Old School Hedge Fund Is Going Quant [WSJ] • A Kazakh dirty-money suit threatens to reach Trump’s business world [McClatchy] • Andy Rubin, the Father of Android Is Back, and He’s Built the Anti-iPhone [Wired; TechCrunch] • Germany’s Merck KGaA chooses Israeli deception technology [CNBC]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli ‘Solar-Power’ Tree Is Charging up a Small French Town” by Jack Moore: “An Israeli company is charging up a small French town with a solar-powered eTree that allows residents to power their phones, sit in the shade or enjoy free Wifi. On Sunday, the Sologic eTree, created by Israeli entrepreneur Michael Lasry and designed by Israeli artist Yoav Ben Dov, was “planted” in the central French town of Nevers for its population of 37,000 to enjoy. The project, made of solar panels shaped like leaves, is the first to be installed in Europe, with other prototypes operating in 10 Israeli and American cities.” [Newsweek]

“Rich People Don’t Want Ivanka Trump’s Fashion” by Kim Bhasin and Lindsey Rupp: “At its heart, Ivanka Trump is a celebrity brand, not a designer fashion house, industry analysts say. It’s the messy discount rack, not the gleaming glass jewelry case. Her company’s moves over the past few years reflect that. And as it turns out, targeting the masses has worked… Ivanka Trump, the fashion label, polarizes shoppers because of the same political divisions that polarize America… Nevertheless, Trump’s goods seem to be selling well since her father’s campaign began. Sales were up 21 percent in 2016, the company said in February.” [Bloomberg]

“Al Franken Has Been Sitting on Jokes for a Decade. Now He’s Ready to Tell Them” by Molly Ball: “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” is, in part, the story of how Franken became a giant phony — how he pretended to be a serious person in public even as his inner comic monologue never stopped running… Franken’s staff, as he tells it, has been his best ally in stifling his funny side, sternly responding “O.K., that’s for inside the car” to his quips, and nixing his hilariously offensive responses to constituent letters… Franken’s press secretary once threatened to write her own campaign memoir, entitled “‘Oh, C’mon!’ Said Franken.” … Being in the Senate, Franken admits, has softened his own partisanship, though not everyone is treated gently. “I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz,” Franken writes. “And I hate Ted Cruz.” [NYTimes] • Al Franken Tells You What He Really Thinks About Donald Trump’s Lying [VanityFair]

“How Stephen Miller Rode White Rage from Duke’s Campus to Trump’s West Wing” by William D. Cohan: “Despite Miller’s penchant for outrageous provocation, his family was very much like others in Santa Monica. His mother, Miriam, from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, came from a well-known Jewish family that had made a fortune in retailing. His father, Michael, a Stanford graduate, was a lawyer and real-estate mini-mogul. These days, the Millers together own Cordary Inc., a real-estate investment company, of which Michael is the president and Miriam is executive vice president… Ironically, the family would not have made it to the United States had someone like Stephen Miller been in the White House a century ago. Facing religious persecution, Miriam’s family—the Glossers—fled Belarus, arriving in New York in 1903… As a youngster, Stephen was obsessed with Star Trek. He watched the show for hours. And he and his younger brother, Jacob, used to dress up in Captain Kirk uniforms. “He really liked this kind of macho alpha-male thing that was going on with Kirk,” remembers Jason Islas, a friend of Miller’s in middle school.” [VanityFair]

“U.S. Synagogues Experience ‘Trump Bump’ as Congregants Turn to Prayer, Activism” by Debra Nussbaum Cohen: “Since the presidential election, 45 new households have joined Shir Tikvah Congregation in Minneapolis, said Rabbi Michael Adam Latz. “Trump may be bad for the world, but he’s great for shul membership,” quipped Latz… The wait list to join New York City’s Central Synagogue has more than doubled since the election, from 250 families to over 540. Friday night service attendance is also up, said Rabbi Angela Buchdahl… “We also seem to be consuming more Scotch at kiddush. That may reflect the real Trump bump.”” [Haaretz]

MAZEL TOV: Josh Kraushaar, political editor at National Journal, and Hannah Kraushaar, program manager at National Defense University, have welcomed Avi Ethan Kraushaar, who was born on Wednesday. [Pic] h/t Playbook

WEEKEND WEDDING: Joel Mowbray, founder of Fourth Factor Consulting, on Sunday married Valeria Bystritskaia, who was Miss Germany 2011. The wedding was held at the Aspen Historical Society. According to Joel, Valeria speaks five languages and shares the same immigration attorney as Melania Trump, Michael Wildes. Festivities kicked off Friday night with a Shabbat dinner at the Chabad JCC in Aspen. The couple met at a NYC synagogue over Kiddush last May. [Pic]

Spotted: Senator Ted & Heidi Cruz, David Panton, Congressman Ed & Marie Royce, Larry Mizel, Martin & Rivka Rapaport, their children Ezi & Penina, Sander & Tracy Gerber, Eric & Yvette Edidin, Arie Lipnick, RNC Deputy Finance Chair Elliott Broidy, NRA Board Member & Past President Dave Keene & wife Donna, NYT Bestselling author Rich Miniter, CA Assemblyman Travis Allen, Rabbi Mendel Mintz, Ami Horowitz, Strategy Group CEO & Founder Rex Elsass, and David & Hila Brog.
 
BIRTHDAYS: Long-time former member of the New York State Assembly from Queens, (1983-2011), Nettie Mayersohn turns 91… Santa Monica-based historian of Sephardic and Crypto-Jewish studies, Dolores Sloan turns 87… Philanthropist and real estate developer, landlord of the World Trade Center until 9-11, former chair of UJA-NY, Larry Silverstein turns 86… NYC attorney who represented Bernard Madoff, he is also a leader in American Friends of the Hebrew University, Ira Lee Sorkin turns 74… Agent at Creative Artists Agency, an entertainment and sports agency based in Los Angeles, he is a visiting professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Alan Louis Berger turns 67… Chief Rabbi of France (2009-2013), Gilles Uriel Bernheim turns 65… Encino, California-based business attorney, Andrew W. Hyman turns 64… Author of a novel, a memoir and collection of essays, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, contributing editor to Tablet magazine, resident of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Daphne Miriam Merkin turns 63… Former member of the US House of Representatives (2001-2017) and former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (2010-2014), Steve Israel turns 59… Science editor for BBC News and author of six books, David Shukman turns 59…

Contributing editor at The Atlantic since 2015, previously at The New Republic, The Daily Beast and Newsweek, Michelle Cottle turns 47… Member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party since late 2015, Oded Forer turns 40… Director of Marketing and Communications at NYC’s Jewish Community Project Downtown, Scott Hertz turns 37… Communication and marketing coordiator for the San Francisco office of AIPAC, Alina T. Katz… Press secretary for Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va), Miryam Esther Lipper turns 26… Digital news writer at CNN, Eric Levenson turns 26… Healthcare and pharmaceutical associate at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Ashley Bender (h/ts Playbook)…

WEDNESDAY: Professor emeritus at Princeton, Bernard Lewis turns 101… United States Postmaster General (1988-1992) under Presidents Reagan and Bush 41, Anthony M. Frank turns 86… Morgan Stanley’s Alfred Phillip Stern turns 84… Billionaire Ira Rennert turns 83… Food critic at Vogue magazine Jeffrey Steingarten turns 75… Founder of the Democratic Leadership Council (1985-2009), Alvin “Al” From turns 74… Bernard Richard “Bernie” Goldberg turns 72… Comedienne, actress, and TV producer, Susie Essman turns 62… Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz turns 56… Reality television personality Patti Stanger turns 56… CEO of CyberArk Software, one of Israel’s leading software companies, Alon Nisim Cohen turns 49… Toronto-born investor and entrepreneur, Andrew Rivkin turns 48… Democratic mayor of Annapolis, Maryland, Joshua Jackson “Josh” Cohen turns 44… Assistant Director of Community Outreach at the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, Melissa York turns 41… Attorney and NYT-bestselling author of the Mara Dyer Trilogy, Michelle Hodkin turns 35… Technical project manager at Twilio, Zoe Goldfarb turns 34… Senior Director of Audience Solutions at Politico, Brad E. Bosserman turns 32… Rabbi in residence at GatherDC, ordained in 2013 at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Aaron Potek turns 31… Assignment manager, coordinating producer and correspondent for i24News, Amital Isaac turns 28… Brad Goldstein… Stephanie Oreck Weiss

THURSDAY: Actress Joan Maxine Miller Copeland turns 95… Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, pianist and conductor, Yehudi Wyner turns 88… Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and Chairman of Yad Vashem, he is a Holocaust survivor who served as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel (1993-2003), Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau turns 80… NYC-based attorney, author of two books regarding the history and operations of El Al, owner of 40,000 plus pieces of memorabilia related to El Al, Marvin G. Goldman turns 78… Pediatrician in the San Francisco Bay area, long-time AIPAC activist, Elliot Charles Lepler, MD turns 69… Gail Stone turns 67… Founding editor of The American Interest, Adam M. Garfinkle turns 66… Former editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, Matthew Winkler turns 62… Former IDF officer and now a London based political scientist and journalist, Ahron Bregman turns 59… Billionaire, majority owner of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, his parents were the co-founders of Gap, Inc., chair of  Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Foundation, John J. Fisher turns 56… Founding editor and publisher of the Dayton Jewish Observer, Marshall J. Weiss turns 50… US national security editor at The Guardian, Spencer J. Ackerman turns 37… Comedienne, writer, actress and producer Amy Schumer turns 36… Executive Director of MoveOn[dot]org Political Action since 2013, Ilya Sheyman turns 31… Naomi Kadish turns 22… Indianapolis native, now a student at George Washington University, Isabel Keller… Sarah Shallmen

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]

May
30

Author:

Comment

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Bolster Sanctions Against Hamas

PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON – Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced new bipartisan legislation to increase sanctions on foreign governments who assist Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In contrast to many partisan bills introduced that never make it out of committee, this bill appears likely to advance given its influential bipartisan backers. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Democratic Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and chairperson of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) all support the legislation.

The bill requires the President to submit a report on each government that provides material support to the Palestinian terror organizations. At this point, the Federal government must end any foreign assistance to such country for a year along with preventing any munitions export. Iran and longtime US ally Qatar provides Hamas with significant financial assistance. After the outbreak of the 2011 Syrian civil war, Hamas’ key sponsor — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — cut its support for the Palestinian terror organization after a break due to a dispute over the Assad regime’s killing of Syrian civilians.

“Our bipartisan bill will ensure that anyone who provides assistance to this enemy of the United States and our vital ally Israel will face the strength and determination of our country,” Gottheimer said. Since entering Congress in January, both Gottheimer and Mast have been extremely active promoting pro-Israel legislation. A US Army vet who lost his legs from an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan, Mast volunteered with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) in January 2015 packing medical kits at a military base near Tel Aviv.

The  “Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act” does not mention Fatah or the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by President Mahmoud Abbas unlike the Taylor Force Act pushed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which would cut off all US assistance to the PA if they don’t quit paying terrorists and their families, that has stalled in committee. Hamas has murdered over 400 Israelis and at least 25 Americans since its establishment during the First Intifada. “This bipartisan bill is proof that confronting hate – and supporting our ally Israel – is not an issue of left versus right; it always will be an issue of right versus wrong” Mast explained.

Photo by Dov and Shmuel Lenchevsky

Republicans Struggle to Address Trump at Jerusalem Celebration

Thursday, May 18, 2017

WASHINGTON – In an overflowing room on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, a bipartisan group of Senators and House Members — including Ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for May 18

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Lowering expectations for Trump’s visit: Just four days before the President’s arrival,…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for May 17

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Between the Kotel, the possible relocation of the US Embassy, and Masada…

David Boim HY"D - courtesy

Family of Terror Victim Files Lawsuit Against Pro-Palestinian Groups

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Over two decades after their son was killed in a terrorist attack in Israel, a U.S. couple is returning to court to fight against Palestinians organizations that they…

Photo by Jacob Kornbluh

Kafe Knesset for April 16

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Jerusalem syndrome: At Jewish weddings, we always recite the Psalm that we…

Photo via Twitter / @hzomlot

Top Palestinian Blames Washington Institute for Failed Peace Process

Monday, May 15, 2017

WASHINGTON – Speaking before a packed crowd on Monday afternoon at the National Press Club, Husam Zomlot, the PLO’s Chief Representative to the U.S., called out the Washington…