Jul
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Daily Kickoff: Bibi’s hot mic — “we’re not OK on Iran” | Wayne Berman for WH Chief of Staff? | Prince William and Kate pay respects at Stutthof camp

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KAFE KNESSET — BIBI’S HOT MIC — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Some journalists wait a lifetime for a “fly on the wall” moment, and reporters accompanying Bibi on his European trip got one today. Arriving at the V4 Visegrad conference venue — bringing together leaders from Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland — Israeli journalists were awaiting an official press conference. Coincidentally, we all opened the headphones that were given out for simultaneous translation only to hear Bibi and his counterparts in their closed door meeting. For about 15 minutes the reporters eavesdropped on the conversation, providing a glimpse into Bibi’s real thinking.

“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear. I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth. Both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy toward Israel,” Netanyahu said. Bibi urged the countries to change the trend. “The EU is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology and every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it. It’s crazy. It’s actually crazy. There is no logic here. The EU is undermining its security by undermining Israel. Europe is undermining its progress by undermining its connection with Israeli innovation by a crazy attempt to create political conditions,” he said.

Europe wasn’t the only hot topic. Netanyahu also said Israel “had a big problem,” with the Obama administration and its policies on Iran and Syria. “I think its different now. Vis-a-vis Iran, there is a stronger position. The US is more engaged in the region and conducting more bombing attacks [in Syria], which is a positive thing. I think we are OK on ISIS. We’re not OK on Iran,” he said.

After about 15 minutes, the PM’s press team realized what was happening and the broadcast was stopped, but not before the recording was distributed and all media outlets broke out with push notifications about the incident. When the official presser started, Netanyahu addressed the matter, and said in Hebrew that he “will be brief because I understand the Israeli press is already well briefed.” However, despite the obvious embarrassment, the incident is not necessarily bad for Bibi, as it proves he actually delivers the same messages both inside closed doors and outside as well.  His staunch defense of Israel will definitely earn him some points with his base, and prompted some speculation and theories that perhaps the hot mic wasn’t unintended. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset today [JewishInsider]  

HEARD YESTERDAY —  State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on reports of Netanyahu expressing skepticism about Trump’s peace efforts: “I know that we have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and this administration has talked a lot about the importance of promoting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

ON THE HILL — Jason Greenblatt: “An honor to meet with Sen. Bob Corker today to discuss Israeli/Palestinian peace. Our conversation covered many topics including Taylor Force.” [Twitter]

A WH official tells us… “Jason went to hear about the Taylor Force Act not to share the WH opinion about it.”

TOP TALKER: “Saudi King’s Son Plotted Effort to Oust His Rival” by Ben Hubbard, Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt: “Before midnight, Mohammed bin Nayef was told he was going to meet the king and was led into another room, where royal court officials took away his phones and pressured him to give up his posts as crown prince and interior minister… At first, he refused. But as the night wore on, the prince, a diabetic who suffers from the effects of a 2009 assassination attempt by a suicide bomber, grew tired… One American official and one adviser to a Saudi royal said Mohammed bin Nayef opposed the embargo on Qatar, a stand that probably accelerated his ouster. Sometime before dawn, Mohammed bin Nayef agreed to resign…” [NYTimes]

“Qatar’s Critics Scale Back Demands in Diplomatic Bid” by Farnaz Fassihi: “Diplomats from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt told reporters that they had altered their demands from 13 detailed requests to six generalized ones focused on “principles.” … Qatar’s ambassador to the U.N. dismissed the new demands as a move to save face amid international pressure on the group to end the standoff.” [WSJ]

IRAN DEAL: “Iran FM accuses Trump of trying to undermine nuclear deal” by Laura Rozen: “We still do not know what they want to do,” [Mohammad Javad] Zarif said today. “They have been talking about scrapping the deal… But they seem to have come to the realization that scrapping the deal is not something that would be globally welcome. [So] they now try to make it impossible for Iran to get the benefits from the deal.” Zarif spoke to a small group of American journalists at the Central Park residence of Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations… The “JCPOA is not a deal that anyone loves,” Zarif said. “It was the only deal possible… We could not get a better deal… I assure [you], the US could not get a better deal.” … The JCPOA “was negotiated and drafted based on mutual distrust,” Zarif said. “It is not an agreement based on trust… [You] will see mistrust in every sentence and paragraph of deal. And it is mutual.” [Al-Monitor]

Zarif on new sanctions: “It violates the spirit of the deal. We will look at it and see whether it violates the letter of the deal. And we will act accordingly.”[CBSNews]

Deputy Minister Michael Oren: Trump was “clearly not ripping up the deal any time soon.” [JPost]

“4 good reasons Trump shouldn’t scrap the Iran nuclear deal or goad Iran to pull out” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “Playing around with a nuclear agreement — however imperfect — that is keeping Iran’s finger off the nuclear trigger, is both irresponsible and dangerous. If this is the course the Trump administration follows, it’s likely to find itself with the worst of both worlds: an Iran with nuclear weapons expanding its influence in the region. Perhaps in some parallel universe this could be claimed as a beautiful victory that will make America great again, but on planet Earth that just isn’t going fly.” [USAToday

“Source: Some White House staff worry Kushner security clearance in jeopardy” by Sara Murray and Jeremy Diamond: “White House officials are concerned that Kushner may not be granted a final security clearance, an administration official told CNN on Monday… As a top White House official, Kushner was granted an interim security clearance. Kushner met with the FBI on June 23 to be interviewed for his permanent security clearance… A source close to Kushner said his legal team sees no basis under which Kushner’s security clearance would be denied… Sanders, the No. 2 White House spokeswoman, affirmed Tuesday that Trump has faith in Kushner. “The President has confidence in Jared,” she said.” [CNN] • Why Jared Kushner Will Be Able to Keep His Security Clearance [NewYorker]

“Democrats target Ivanka Trump security clearance amid Kushner scrutiny” by Heidi M Przybyla: “A group of 20 House Democrats is calling on the FBI to review Ivanka Trump’s security clearance… “We are concerned that Ivanka Trump may have engaged in similar deception,” the House Democrats wrote in a letter.” [USAToday]

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Trump aides move on after health care loss” by Annie Karni and Eliana Johnson: “Ivanka Trump made an appearance at a global robotics competition celebrating girls from Afghanistan pursuing careers in STEM. Meanwhile, her husband, White House adviser Jared Kushner — who has taken little interest in the health care bill since its early, troubled days in the House, when he went skiing in Aspen with his family — was busy leading a meeting with his Office of American Innovation. In the West Wing, chief strategist Steve Bannon took a meeting with Wayne Berman, a Republican operative and board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition whose name has surfaced as a potential future chief of staff.” [Politico

“Here are the ‘three easy things’ that Chuck Schumer thinks can shore up Obamacare” by Ed O’Keefe and Sean Sullivan: “On Tuesday, Schumer said he told his Democratic colleagues during their weekly luncheon, “Sit down with Republicans. I welcome it.” But he insisted that any bipartisan deal cannot include tax cuts for wealthier Americans or cuts to the Medicaid program… And then there’s this: Schumer said he hasn’t spoke directly to Trump in months and to Vice President Pence in several weeks… “He’s tweeted at me much more than he’s talked to me lately,” Schumer said of the president.” [WashPost]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — “Meet Donald Trump’s Lawyer: A Messianic Jew Who Loves Jesus and Hates BDS” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “[Jay Sekulow] is representing the Gush Etzion Foundation, one of over a dozen defendants, in al-Tamimi vs. Adelson – a 2016 lawsuit brought by Palestinian activist Bassem al-Tamimi and others. The latter contend that the defendants, a group of U.S. nonprofits, philanthropists and corporations led by American casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, are guilty of war crimes against Palestinians, among other accusations. Sekulow’s co-counsel in the case is Marc Zell, co-chair of Republicans Abroad Israel… He said he had been brought into the Tamimi case by Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon because “the folks in Gush Etzion” needed a “tough” lawyer. “I like being a tough lawyer,” he declared. “And when you know the story of Gush Etzion, it brings out the toughest part of who you are.”” [Haaretz]  

2018 WATCH: “Illinois’ 2018 gubernatorial race is already nearing the $100 million mark with 16 months to go” by Stephen Wolf: “Wealthy investor J.B. Pritzker dominated the money race by self-funding $14 million even as he accepted no donations… While the Democrats have to first get past a crowded primary, [Gov. Bruce] Rauner will have built up a fully operational Death Star by the time the general election arrives. He raked in $20.6 million during the second quarter and finished June with $67.6 million cash-on-hand…  A whopping $20 million of Rauner’s haul, or all but $600,000, came from just a single source: hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin… Pritzker already spent a staggering $9.3 million in the second quarter.” [DailyKos

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: David Zaslav’s Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks in Talks to Combine [WSJ] • Struggles at Procter & Gamble Draw Scrutiny of Nelson Peltz [DealBook] • How Paul Singer plans to transform the biggest American power producer without getting burned [CNBC] • Jacob M. Safra Buys Jackie Kennedy’s Childhood Home [MansionGlobal] • Uber-style app ‘Careem’ goes off beaten track in Palestinian West Bank [Reuters] • Jonathon Triest’s Ludlow Ventures has closed its second fund with $45 million [TechCrunch] • Israel-based Cyberbit makes another move in Maryland [Technical.ly]

STARTUP NATION: “Mangrove raises $170M for its new fund to invest in Europe and Israeli startups” by Mike Butcher: “Luxembourg-based Mangrove Capital Partners, one of Europe’s leading early stage venture capital firms, has raised $170 million for its latest fund. Mangrove V will be used to invest across Europe and Israel. Mangrove put $8 million into Wix.com, and that resulted in a $550 million exit when it became the largest tech IPO to come out of Israel. Mangrove now has over $1bn under management and a team of twelve, which includes partners in Berlin and Tel Aviv.” [TechCrunch] • Israel tech firms raise $1.26 billion in 2Q 2017 [ToI]

“Prince William and Kate ‘intensely moved’ by visit to Holocaust camp” by Aubrey Allegretti: “Prince William and Kate spent more than an hour at the Stutthoff camp, just outside of Gdansk, where 65,000 people were killed by the Nazis. They toured the site, which is now a museum, meeting senior staff and signing a visitors book before being taken to a barracks and shown shoes left by Holocaust victims… Afterwards, the Royal couple met survivors of the camp, including two Britons who were returning for the first time. They listened while Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, both 87, led a prayer.” [SkyNews]

BOOK REVIEW: “The Red Cross and the Holocaust” by Samuel Moyn: “What began as an organization meant to curb the barbarity of warfare has found it difficult to live down its most grievous mistake: cozying up to the Third Reich, remaining silent about the Holocaust and later helping Nazis escape justice. In his last book, “Nazis on the Run: How Hitler’s Henchmen Fled Justice” (2011), historian Gerald Steinacher chronicled one aspect of this shameful era. His newest effort, “Humanitarians at War: The Red Cross in the Shadow of the Holocaust,” synthesizes what he and other historians have learned about the ICRC’s conduct during this troublesome period before adding new material on what the organization did next. This more comprehensive account of the ICRC’s actions equips the reader to decide whether the organization truly recovered from its wartime and postwar errors.” [WSJ

“Terror at the Temple Mount Puts the Lie to Palestinian Rage” by Eli Lake: “As Martin Kramer, a historian at Shalem College in Jerusalem, told me this week, the attack at the Temple Mount broke a taboo. “The usual Islamist claim is the danger to the mosque and the shrine is from Jews,” he said. “Here there was an actual conspiracy to smuggle weapons into this holy place and Hamas does not condemn it, they praise it. Who poses the greater danger to Al Aqsa?” It’s an excellent question. The answer is that the greater danger to one of Islam’s holiest place these days comes from the Palestinian fanatics who claim to be fighting for its reclamation.” [BloombergView

“Radiohead in Israel: As Opposition Intensifies, Opening Acts Preach Understanding” by Lior Phillips: “Radiohead not only reaffirmed their plans, but in choosing opening acts Dudu Tassa and Shye Ben Tzur for the July 19 show at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, are emphasizing, through art, the cross-cultural understanding and dialog so desperately needed in the area…. Tassa, who had once focused solely on Hebrew rock, now showcases the deeply rooted, potent depth of music written decades ago by Iraqi Jews, and featuring traditional Arabic instruments…” [Variety]

“Don’t tell Radiohead it can’t tour in Israel” by Jeff Blehar: “It’s depressing that Radiohead’s desire to return to a country that has a large, longstanding and vociferously supportive fan base should even be a political issue at all. But it is indicative of the trend in the modern era to politicize everything, and of people’s desire to use culture as a blunt, bludgeoning weapon against their enemies. Ultimately, what is most admirable about Radiohead refusing to buckle to the BDS pressure and media hassle is the fact that it is seeking to float above the politics of the issue entirely.” [NYPost

MEDIA WATCH: Has Trump Turned CNN into a House of Existential Dread?” by Sarah Ellison: ““We may look back in five years and find that CNN was fundamentally changed because of Trump,” one CNN employee told me. “Maybe it will turn out that Trump changed the brand” through his battle with the network… [Jeff] Zucker has made efforts to reassure journalists and on-air talent that the mission of CNN, to conduct journalism and hold the administration accountable, has never been more clear. He took a recent trip to the D.C. bureau to reiterate to staffers that there should be no chilling effect on their reporting as a result of the attacks from the administration, according to one person who was present.” [VanityFair

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Brooklyn’s OY/YO Sculpture Gets a New Home at the Williamsburg Waterfront” by Stephanie Geier: “On July 13th, it was unveiled by NYC Parks and Douglaston Development LLC at the esplanade of the North 5th Street Pier and Park. Many were eager to celebrate its return, with [Deborah] Kass herself attending the ceremony. The sculpture will be open to the public in its new home until July 2018… When facing Brooklyn, it reads “YO,” reflecting urban, Brooklyn slang and the Spanish word for “I am.” When facing Manhattan, it shows just the opposite word, “OY,” the famous Yiddish expression.” [UntappedCities

DESSERT: “Why the Young Heir of Katz’s Deli Decided to Expand for the First Time in 129 Years” by Sierra Tishgart: “That changed last month, when the newish owner, 29-year-old Jake Dell… expanded the business by opening a takeout-only stand in Brooklyn’s DeKalb Market Hall… In a back table at Katz’s, in between greeting elderly regulars and spot-checking the pastrami, Dell explained what motivated this decision… “One of the most important things for me is maintaining tradition and preserving the classics. That’s what people expect from me and from Katz’s… It’s about me preserving this tradition. You can’t re-create everything. You can’t re-create nostalgia. You can’t re-create the smut on the walls or the smell of an old neon sign, but you can bring the food closer to people. I don’t think you can replicate this place.”[GrubStreet]

“Is It O.K. to Fire a Muslim Driver for Refusing to Carry Wine?” by Kwame Anthony Appiah: “The real question is whether em­ployees can be exempted from such disputed activities without causing a business hardship. A supermarket can’t be obliged to retain a butcher whose religion forbids him to handle pork. But neither should it require the vegetable guy with the kipa to fill in at the sausage station. Where to draw the line between accommodations that are reasonable and those that are too demanding? That isn’t a question to be resolved once and for all, ethically or legally.” [NYTimes

MAZEL TOV: Aaron Keyak, co-founder of Bluelight Strategies, emails yesterday… “Late this morning, we had a baby girl! Today’s expansion of the Keyak/Goldgraber clan weighed in at a formitable 8 pounds, 3 ounces and is quite adorable. Mom and the baby are doing great. We’re feeling very excited and blessed!” [Pic]

BIRTHDAYS: Violinist, composer, conductor, and co-founder of the Juilliard String Quartet, Robert Mann turns 97… Survivor of the Holocaust by hiding in a Catholic school, earned a Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii, founder of the Newport News-based Holocaust Education Foundation, Peter Fischl turns 87… Johannesburg resident Monty Lasovsky turns 82… Interactive designer, author and artist, in 1986 he married Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late JFK, Edwin Arthur “Ed” Schlossberg turns 72… Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University, he seved in the Dutch Senate (1999-2010) and then as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands (2010-2012), Uriel “Uri” Rosenthal turns 72… Entrepreneur, hotelier and real estate developer, often referred to as the creator of the boutique hotel concept, he gained fame in 1977 as co-founder of NYC’s Studio 54, Ian Schrager turns 71… Author of three books on baseball, long-time sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and ESPN writer and co-host, Jayson Starkturns 66… Born in a public housing project in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, now Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz turns 64… Ner Israel Rabbinical College’s Rabbi Ezra Neuberger turns 60… Billionaire chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings (owner of retailers Sears and Kmart), Edward Scott “Eddie” Lampert turns 55…

Pulitzer Prize winning NY Times reporter and author of “The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men,” Eric Lichtblau turns 52… Israeli actress, model and film producer, Yael Abecassis turns 50… Spokesperson to the Arab media in the Israel Prime Minister’s Office, Ofir Gendelman turns 46… Co-Chairman and CEO of of CheckAlt, an independent provider of treasury and lockbox solutions, previously CEO of Vintage Filings, a NYC-based EDGAR filing firm that he sold to PR Newswire, Shai Stern turns 43… Entrepreneur, two-time author and strategic marketing consultant, Alexis Blair Wolfer turns 33… Founder, CEO and Director at TradeRoom International, Ezra David Beren turns 32… ProPublica reporter covering the Trump administration since 2017, previously at Politico and Bloomberg, Isaac Arnsdorf turns 28… Warren Rapf Henry Emmanuel Hublet

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Jul
18

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Daily Kickoff: Trump almost killed the Iran deal yesterday | KKR’s successors | Brafman’s strange defense of Shkreli | Kosher coming to Wrigley Field

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump Recertifies Iran Nuclear Deal, but Only Reluctantly” by Peter Baker: “President Trump agreed on Monday to certify again that Iran is complying with an international nuclear agreement that he has strongly criticized, but only after hours of arguing with his top national security advisers, briefly upending a planned announcement as a legal deadline loomed… While Mr. Trump headed to Paris and then spent the weekend in New Jersey, his team developed a strategy that they hoped would satisfy him and planned to notify Congress and make the case publicly on Monday. But even as allies were quietly being informed, Mr. Trump balked when he heard the plan at his morning security briefing, the official said.”

“The argument continued during a separate meeting with Mr. Tillerson as Mr. Trump pressed for more action… He agreed only late in the day after a final meeting in the Oval Office, in effect telling his advisers that he was giving them another chance and this time they had to deliver.” [NYTimes]

“Trump Just Came Very Close to Killing the Iran Deal” by Eli Lake: “For a few hours on Monday afternoon, it looked like the White House was going to tell Congress it could not certify Iran was complying, without saying Iran was in breach of the pact. This would have triggered a 60-day period in which Congress could vote to re-impose the secondary sanctions lifted as a condition of the deal, or to strike it down altogether.” [Bloomberg

HEARD LAST NIGHT — A Trump administration official in a briefing with reporters: “What we are focused on right now is trying to see a change in the behavior of the Iranian regime and stopping the Iranian malign behavior… The Secretary of State and the President intend to emphasize that Iran remains one of the most dangerous threats to U.S. interests and regional stability and to highlight the range of malign activities by Iran that extend well beyond the nuclear realm… The President, Secretary of State, and the entire administration judge that Iran is unquestionably in default of the spirit of the JCPOA.” [JewishInsider]

Breaking this am — AP: “US slaps 18 Iranian individuals, groups with sanctions over ballistic missiles program, other non-nuclear behavior.” [TwitterTreasury]

AIPAC’s take: “Today’s sanctions issued by the Trump administration against entities supporting Iran’s military and missile program are an important step forward. Lawmakers must quickly complete work on the Iran sanctions legislation currently under consideration and forward it to the president to sign and implement.”

“These Are The Trump White House’s Talking Points For Why The Iran Deal Is Staying In Place” by Mark Siebel: “The Trump administration… issued tough talking points on Monday… to supporters promising that it will continue to search for ways to modify the agreement. The talking points said that the Treasury Department would impose sanctions on seven Iranian government entities and five individuals in an effort to show determination to punish Iran for what it called “malign activities” that make Iran “one of the most dangerous threats to US interests.” … The document also cites the arbitrary arrests of Americans and accuses the Obama administration of a “myopic focus” on Iran’s nuclear program that allowed the Islamic Republic to gain influence throughout the region.” [BuzzFeed] • Pence: Trump has put Iran ‘on notice’ [WashTimes

KEY TAKE —  Aaron David Miller: “Today it’s clear Trump unable to overturn Obama’s two main achievements at home/abroad. ACA and JCPOA — however flawed.” [Twitter

Dem donor Andrew Weinstein emails us… “Iran remains a disruptive force in the region and we must be vigilant in guarding against the threat that they pose. However, they are no longer a nuclear threat and that alone is an accomplishment of enormous consequence.”

VIEW FROM TEHRAN: “Iran says it has received ‘contradictory signals’ from Trump” by The Associated Press: “Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Council on Foreign Relations Monday he hasn’t communicated with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But he said “it doesn’t mean that there can’t be (communication), because the possibilities for engagement with regard to the nuclear deal have always been open.” Zarif stressed that “Iran is serious about the nuclear deal” which “can lay the foundation, not the ceiling.” … Zarif said this “creates the impression in Iran that the United States’ hostility toward Iran will never end. And I think that can be remedied.”” [AP

HEARD YESTERDAY — WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Israeli criticism of Syria ceasefire: “There’s a shared interest that we have with Israel, making sure that Iran does not gain a foothold, military base-wise, in southern Syria. So while we’re going to continue those talks, obviously we want to have the productive ceasefire, but we also want to make sure that we’re not — one of our other objectives obviously remains to make sure that Iran does not gain a foothold in southern Syria.  So we need to continue to have that discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu about his concerns, but I think there is a shared goal there.”

“Netanyahu Told Macron He’s Skeptical About Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts” by Barak Ravid: “The Palestinian issue is complicated,” Netanyahu told Macron, the sources say, adding that Macron agreed but replied, “The problem is that you’re making it more complicated by building more and more in the settlements.” … Macron told Netanyahu that during Trump’s visit to Paris last week, the U.S. president spoke about his attempt to advance the peace process. Macron told Netanyahu he supports Trump’s initiative… but Netanyahu was more skeptical… “It will be complicated to move quickly with the American plan,” the sources quoted Netanyahu as saying. “I don’t know if Abbas can supply the goods because of his internal politics. But we will cooperate with Trump’s move.” [Haaretz

TAYLOR FORCE ACT: “Foreign Relations Panel to Vote to Slash Palestinian Authority Funding” by Jenna Lifhits: “It’ll be a pretty strong vote,” said Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the panel. “Hopefully during this work period.” Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the committee, also said he expected a vote soon. “We have gotten the bill in a place where it’s going to receive overwhelming support,” he said.”[TWS

CUFI CONFERENCE — Ambassador Ron Dermer blasts ‘Fake News’ false reporting about Israel — by Jacob Kornbluh: Tonight I’d like to talk to you about Fake News,” Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer started his speech at the annual Christians United for Israel’s ‘Night to Honor Israel’ in Washington, D.C. But as the crowd roared, Dermer made a point that he was not joining President Donald Trump’s tirade against the U.S. media. “Now, some people associate fake news with the rise of President Donald Trump,” he asserted. “but Israel has been dealing with fake news day after day, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade.”

Dermer on the Taylor Force Act: “I can assure that Israel is not the slightest bit concerned that the Taylor Force will pass. Israel would be concerned if the Taylor Force Act didn’t pass. Israel believes that the United States should end economic assistance of any government that pays people to kill Jews. Period.” [JewishInsider

Conference of Presidents’ Malcolm Hoenlein rebuked UNESCO’s recent resolution on Hebron: “They have declared the Bible obsolete and irrelevant. You can take an oath on the Bible but you can’t believe those same words. They are rewriting and distorting history,” he emphasized. Assailing the BDS movement, Hoenlein asserted, “It’s time to take the ‘D’ out of ‘BDS’ because that is a much better description of this campaign.”

Former Congressman Allen West warned Trump of the consequences for failing to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem: “If you have made this a campaign promise and you have spoken about this and don’t follow through, then there is a loss of credibility.  Then, how are you seen in the eyes of someone like (Palestinian President) Mahmoud Abbas?” explained West. Moving the embassy demonstrates that “we will not be intimidated by the leader of a terrorist gang, which is what Fatah is.” [JewishInsider]

Pence reassures CUFI crowd that it’s only a matter of time until Trump moves the embassy to Jerusalem: “I promise you that the day will come when President Donald Trump will move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said to loud applause. “It is not a question of if, it is only when.” Pence also reassured the crowd that while certifying Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, the President “will not allow Iran develop a usable nuclear weapon. This is our solemn promise to the American people, to the people of Israel and to the world.” [JewishInsider]

ON THE HILL — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) praised French President Emmanuel Macron on the Senate floor yesterday for his comments over the weekend about anti-Semitism: “It is with anti-Zionism; the idea that all other peoples can seek and defend their right to self-determination but Jews cannot; that other nations have a right to exist, but the Jewish state of Israel does not. Anti-Zionism, unfortunately, continues to bubble up in many different forms… The BDS movement is a deeply biased campaign that I would say, in similar words to Mr. Macron, is a “reinvented form of anti-Semitism” because it seeks to impose boycotts on Israel and not on any other nation. I hope that states across the country continue to push back against the BDS movement, by boycotting the boycotters, as my home state of New York has done.” [YouTube]

“AIPAC Withholds Criticism of Trump’s Budget Stance on Israel Because ‘No Veto Threat’ vs. Congress” by Amir Tibon: “AIPAC denounced the Obama administration for opposing a funding increase for Israel’s missile-defense program last year but hasn’t criticized the administration of President Donald Trump for its similar stance because it did not threaten to veto Congress’ efforts on the matter, an AIPAC official told Haaretz. “The statement in 2016 was issued because of a clear veto threat by the Obama administration over this provision,” the official said. “There has been no veto threat issued by the administration over this provision this year.” [Haaretz

“Jared Kushner Isn’t Going Anywhere” by Emily Jane Fox: “Kushner is not leaving the White House for now, despite calls for him to do so. As the administration dives head-first into “Made in America Week,” its latest themed week, he will debrief with Jason Greenblatt, the president’s lead envoy in the Middle East, who recently returned from Israel, and focus on the U.S.-China diplomatic and security dialogue, which will take place mid-week.” [VanityFair]

“Embroiled in Russia crisis, Kushner presses on with Mideast peace” by Michael Wilner: “I don’t sense that there is any substantive effect of the Trump family’s involvement with Russia on the way that Israelis perceive Jared Kushner’s involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian context,” said Gilead Sher, chief of staff under former Prime Minister Ehud Barak… Several of his predecessors in the peace process wondered aloud whether he will have the bandwidth to remain engaged. “Mr. Kushner is one individual – in the end, it is the president and the credibility of his administration that matters,” said Aaron David Miller… Obviously, any time there’s an investigation, there’s a distraction. But smart people are used to having distractions,” [Alan] Dershowitz added. “Jared strikes me as a very intelligent and a very determined young man who is learning quickly on the job the complexities of the Middle East peace process.” [JPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY — CNN’s Sara Murray on The Lead with Jake Tapper: “Jared Kushner is regularly at the president’s side, whether it’s when he is considering national security decisions, meeting with foreign leaders, or in his capacity helping to figure out the Mideast peace process. And talking to experts, they say it would be basically impossible for Kushner to do his job in the White House if he did not have a full security clearance.”

Hungary’s Orban: Collaboration with Nazis was mistake, sin: “Hungary’s prime minister says his country’s collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II was a “mistake” and a “sin” as it failed to protect its Jewish community. Viktor Orban said Tuesday that he told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “this can never happen again,” as Hungary “will protect all its citizens.” Some 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust.” [AP

KAFE KNESSET — Dispatch from Budapest — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Netanyahu expressed his gratitude for Orban’s “strong words,” but is still facing a tense meeting tomorrow evening with the local Jewish community as the government billboard campaign against George Soros is still up in the air, and some senior Jewish leaders feel they were “stabbed in the back” by Netanyahus stance on the debacle last week. Orban greeted Netanyahu with a grand honor guard and with all the respect in the world and they appear to have quite a friendly relationship. Bibi also expressed Israel’s gratitude for Hungary’s support in international forums, and that will be the leading theme tomorrow in his meetings with the V4 leaders of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to Israeli officials, the main goal of Bibi’s participation in the summit is to promote bilateral economic relations and in exchange – ensure support in the hostile multilateral international arena, primarily the EU, as each of these four countries could come into hand and block a consensus on future critical and anti-Israel resolutions. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

** 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: KKR positions successors to Henry Kravis and George Roberts [FinancialTimes] • Game of Thrones, Private Equity Style [Bloomberg] • Nelson Peltz’s Activist Attack Puts Focus on Procter & Gamble Cost Cutting [WSJ] • WeWork will launch in Japan with the help of SoftBank[TC] • Thyssenkrupp finds no signs of corruption in Israel deal [Reuters] • China is increasingly becoming key for Israel’s high-tech industry [CNBC] • David A. Steinberg’s Zeta Global acquires Boomtrain to boost marketing with machine learning [VentureBeat]

SPOTLIGHT: “The Strange Defense of Martin Shkreli” by Sheelah Kolhatkar: “On Wednesday, June 28th, the criminal-defense attorney Benjamin Brafman stood in front of a Brooklyn jury and presented an unusual argument… In late 2015, Shkreli was arrested and charged with misappropriating assets from Retrophin, a publicly traded drug company that he was running, and using those assets to conceal investor losses in separate entities, his hedge funds, MSMB Capital L.P. and MSMB Healthcare L.P. Announcing the charges, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Robert Capers, said, “Shkreli essentially ran his companies like a Ponzi scheme.” Brafman’s defense seems to be that Shkreli’s investors ultimately ended up making money on their investments, and this should excuse whatever lines he crossed in the process.”

“According to the testimony of some of his investors, Shkreli finally told them that he was shutting MSMB down and offered them shares in Retrophin, the drug company he was running that had no relationship with MSMB, rather than cash to redeem their shares. Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald, one of those investors, testified that “my choice was the cash”; he never got the cash, though. Instead, Rosenwald said, he and Shkreli reached a settlement in which Rosenwald received eighty thousand shares of Retrophin. In a pattern mirrored by other investors, Rosenwald testified that he came out ahead, financially, in the end, and was able to sell the Retrophin shares for between four hundred thousand and six hundred thousand dollars, a huge increase over his initial hundred-thousand-dollar investment.” [NewYorker]

“Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury Secretary, is hurtling toward his first fiasco” by Damian Paletta: “The coming months promise to test Mnuchin… with no experience in government but plenty of experience by the president’s side, serving as campaign finance chairman. Trump attended Mnuchin’s wedding in June, and on the wall beside Mnuchin’s desk is a news clipping announcing his appointment, signed by Trump along with — in black Sharpie — “I’m very proud of you.” … People who have met with him at Treasury describe him as polite and curious, with an unabashed affection for Trump that can cloud his message… He meets weekly with Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet L. Yellen, often for breakfast or lunch, to discuss a variety of financial market issues…. Whereas Lew seemed to eschew all the security and publicity — he once stood alone at night in Union Station waiting for his wife to get off a train — Mnuchin travels differently. He was recently seen leaving a Washington custom tailor shop in the middle of a workday with a group of Secret Service agents.” [WashPost

MEDIA WATCH: “Sinclair executive defends company from ‘biased’ media in internal memo” by Hadas Gold: “While it is true that Sinclair offers commentary segments from Mark Hyman and Boris Epshtyen, this content is clearly identified as commentary and constitutes a tiny percentage of the station’s weekly broadcast content,” [Scott] Livingston wrote. “Mark and Boris’ commentaries provide a viewpoint that often gets lost in the typical national broadcast media dialogue. Boris Epshtyen worked in the Trump White House, a fact that Sinclair makes no effort to hide, and provides a unique insight that viewers can’t find anywhere else. The presence of former administrative personnel serving as news commentators is a well accepted practice in journalism.” [Politico]

SPORTS BLINK: “Kosher food coming to Wrigley Field” by Elan Kane: “Kosher Standz, a partner of the Danziger Kosher Midwest catering company, will open DanZtand on July 21, serving kosher Romanian Hot dogs, Romanian Polish Sausages, and pretzels. Kosher Standz, a partner of the Danziger Kosher Midwest catering company, will open DanZtand on July 21, serving kosher Romanian Hot dogs, Romanian Polish Sausages, and pretzels.” [ChicagoSunTimes]

DESSERT: “JJ’s Holy Cow—A New Burger Cart For The Downtown Lunch Crowd” by Paul Stremple: “A new food cart at the corner of Court and Schermerhorn Streets is serving up kosher, artisanal burgers to the downtown Brooklyn lunch crowd. JJ’s Holy Cow is a small cart making big—aka half pound—burgers while focusing on organic and, when possible, locally sourced ingredients.” [Bklyner]
 
BIRTHDAYS: Cognitive therapy psychiatrist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, Aaron T. Beck turns 96… Hidden with his mother in a school attic in Poland during WW2, theoretical chemist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, he has also published plays and poetry, Roald Hoffmann (born Roald Safran) turns 80… Mayor of Edmonton, Alberta (2004-2013) and Minister of Health in the Alberta provincial government (2014-2015), Stephen Mandel turns 72… Politician, legislator and former Prime Minister of Peru (2008-2009), Yehude Simon Munaro turns 70… Executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (1985-2009) including during the 1994-95 MLB strike, now executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association, Donald Fehr turns 69… Finance and nursing home executive, attorney, founder of two banks and chairman of the Israel Discount Bank of New York (2006-2007), Leonard Grunsteinturns 65… Retired IDF Brigadier General, former Israeli Police spokesman, senior national radio broadcaster and international talk-show host, Elihu Ben-Onn turns 63… Yitz Woolf

Assistant Professor in the Cyber Science Department at the US Naval Academy and formerly an attorney at Covington & Burling, Jeffrey Michael Kosseffturns 39… Kiev-born, Australian writer, advocate, commentator and lawyer, he is the director of public affairs at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry,Alexander Ryvchin turns 34… Digital Media Associate at NYC-based The Workmen’s Circle, Lauren Friedlander … VP of development and strategy at 70 Faces Media (parent company of JTA), Shuli Karkowsky… Chairperson of the Jerusalem-based World Union of Jewish Students, Yosef Tarshish… Izi Doenyas… Rhoda Rosen… Jan Allen… Regina Brenner… Ted Rosenberg

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Daily Kickoff: US, Russia ignore Israel’s concerns in Syria | Interview with Haass | Greenfield won’t seek re-election | The Atlantic on intermarriage

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TALK OF OUR NATION: ‘We’re Headed Toward One of the Greatest Divisions in the History of the Jewish People’ — by Emma Green: “In late June, 19 rabbis gathered in New York City for an urgent meeting. It wasn’t secret, exactly, but it certainly wasn’t public. The Jewish leaders—all members of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, except for two—were there to decide what to do about intermarriage. The question of whether Jews should be able to marry non-Jews has been a barely contained crisis for roughly as long as there have been Jews in America. The issue picks at the religion’s most sensitive scabs: Fears of assimilation mix with anxiety that Judaism is becoming irrelevant. The American traditions of self-determination and acceptance clash with Judaism’s ancient legal code. And calls for fidelity to Jewish tradition can seem hollow in the face of a young couple hoping to stand together under the chuppah.”

“To bless an intermarried union is … to in some way betray the very thing that I’ve given my life to, which is to try to maintain the Jewish tradition,” said David Wolpe, the senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. “It may be beautiful, it may be loving, it may be worth celebrating on a human level. But on a Jewish level, it’s not fine, and it can’t be made fine.” Although rabbis would have to “have a heart of granite” not to feel sympathy toward young people who are in love and want to get married, “I don’t necessarily feel that someone else’s need is my obligation,” he said. “Someone else may need a rabbi to bless that union, or may want a rabbi to bless that union. It doesn’t mean that I have to do it.”

“Ultimately, we’re headed toward one of the greatest divisions in the history of the Jewish people,” said Shmuly Yanklowitz, an Orthodox rabbi who leads a Jewish study center in Phoenix. He himself grew up in an interfaith household, and still has one non-Jewish parent. “We’ve weathered the storm of many different hits, but the divide between ultra-Orthodoxy and liberal, pluralistic American Judaism is maybe irreparable,” he said. “Not only irreparable—it may actually mean that we’re no longer one people.” … As Felicia Sol put it, “There is a midwifery happening in the American Jewish community.” It’s not clear that one, united Judaism will come out at the other end.” [TheAtlantic]

KAFE KNESSET — Dispatch from Paris — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Providing the perfect summer break from ongoing scandals and affairs surrounding him and his closest confidants, Netanyahu is spending the week far away in Europe. From Paris, Netanyahu will be continuing to Hungary. Netanyahu will be the first Israeli PM to officially visit the country. However, the historic visit will be overshadowed by the growing concerns in the local Jewish community over anti-Semitic trends encouraged by the government and the ruling party. In sharp contrast to Macron, who gave a strong speech yesterday taking full responsibility for his country’s misdeeds and collaboration with the Nazis during WWII, Hungarian PM Victor Orban has been embracing Miklos Horthy, the country’s leader during that war. Orban regularly praises Horthy, who worked with the Nazis, as an exceptional statesman. And the tensions rose last week following an ad campaign by Orban’s party against Geroge Soros, which exacerbated the Jewish fears of anti-Semitism even more. Netanyahu has been trying to minimize the anti-Semitism issue in order not to harm his visit, but he did tell reporters yesterday that he intends to raise it in his meeting with Orban. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

TOP TALKER: “Israel’s War Against George Soros” by Mairav Zonszein: “As in this case with Hungary, Mr. Netanyahu is increasingly aligning Israel with illiberal, autocratic states… The ultimate cynicism of such alliances is visible in Mr. Netanyahu’s willingness to tolerate the anti-Semitism of the global right-wing nationalist camp if it will bolster the Greater Israel movement. This explains why, for instance, the Israeli government stayed silent when the Trump administration made no mention of Jews or anti-Semitism in its International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement this year. For Mr. Netanyahu, ideally there would be no daylight between Jewish identity and Israeli identity. Mr. Soros represents an obstacle to this project because he is such a high-profile figure among the communities of the Jewish diaspora that do not necessarily have a strong identification with Israel — or worse, that are critical of it. In pursuing his strategy, Mr. Netanyahu has repeatedly alienated a majority of American Jews on both political and religious grounds.” [NYTimes]

LongRead: “Inside the Secret, Strange Origins of Steve Bannons’s Nationalist Fantasia” by Joshua Green: “By 1938, Julius Evola, an Italian intellectual and the black sheep of the Traditionalist family (Bannon cited Evola in a widely circulated video of a 2014 conference at the Vatican), had struck an alliance with Benito Mussolini, and his ideas became the basis of Fascist racial theory; later, after he soured on Mussolini, Evola’s ideas gained currency in Nazi Germany. Bannon is here siding with Evola—he is going for political change as directly as possible.” The last time a Traditionalist got as close to power as Bannon, says Mark Sedgwick, “it was Evola with Mussolini—and that did not last long, as Mussolini seems to have decided that Evola lacked practical sense, and Evola decided that Mussolini lacked principle.”

“His citation of Evola has caused Bannon no end of grief. While Evola, in the end, had little effect on Mussolini or Hitler, he became an avatar of right-wing Italian terrorists in the ’70s and ’80s, and enjoys broad popularity among white supremacists such as Richard B. Spencer. It’s important to note that only a subset of Traditionalists share Evola’s views on race. Bannon explicitly rejects them, and also rejects any association with Spencer, whom he calls a self-promoting “freak” and a “goober.” [VanityFair]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “Netanyahu: Israel Opposes Cease-fire Deal Reached by U.S. and Russia in Southern Syria” by Barak Ravid: “Prime Minister Netanyahu told reporters after his meeting with French President Macron on Sunday that Israel opposes the cease-fire agreement in southern Syria that the United States and Russia reached because it perpetuates the Iranian presence in the country… Netanyahu discussed the cease-fire deal with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by phone Sunday night… Netanyahu made public a major disagreement between Israel and the two great powers that had until now been kept under wraps and expressed only through quiet diplomatic channels.”

“Senior Israeli officials told Haaretz that when Jerusalem obtained the text of the deal, it discovered that in defiance of its expectations, the Americans and Russians had ignored Israel’s positions almost completely. “The agreement as it is now is very bad” one senior Israeli official said. “It doesn’t take almost any of Israel’s security interests and it creates a disturbing reality in southern Syria. The agreement doesn’t include a single explicit word about Iran, Hezbollah or the Shi’ite militias in Syria.”” [Haaretz]

“Why Trump’s Syrian Cease-fire Makes Israel Nervous” by David Makovsky: “One high-level Israeli Cabinet minister told me just before Netanyahu’s “red lines” statement that if the U.S. pulls out and enables Iran to fill the post-Raqqa vacuum, an Iranian-Israeli “collision is inevitable.””[Politico ‘Israel may need to take out Iranian bases in Syria’ [JPost

Dan Shapiro tweets: “It’s surprising that US officials, who claim they are taking Israel’s security concerns into account, would be caught so flat-footed… Senior State Dept. officials have visited Israel for such discussions, but there remain huge gaps in US personnel. Many senior Israelis have no counterpart to call. US & Israeli NSAs sat outside Trump-Bibi meeting. Rex-Bibi calls limited in handling details. Can the deal be restructured to Israel’s satisfaction? US-Russia dynamic makes that difficult & worrisome. But effort needs to be made.” [Twitter

CFR’s Richard Haass: Only ‘optimist on steroids’ believes Syrian ceasefire will hold — by Aaron Magid: In an interview with Jewish Insider, Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, noted, “You would have to be an optimist on steroids to think any ceasefire in Syria would hold given the number of parties involved and the stark differences in their agendas.” Haass noted the presence of Iranians, Turks, a multitude of Sunni militant organizations and the Assad regime. “There is nothing about the history in Syria to suggest that any ceasefire will hold,” he emphasized. [JewishInsider]

–Haass on Trump’s Mideast peace push: “The situation is far from being ripe for progress. Anytime that is the case there is a ceiling on what outside groups can accomplish no matter how many calories or hours they invest. I can’t think of anything that they could do that would make a meaningful difference given the state of Israeli-Palestinian politics. I would argue against any high profile mission designed to solve the conflict. I would emphasize economic development in the West Bank. I would work with the Israelis on placing some restraints on where they build settlements. I would focus a lot with Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians on crisis prevention in Jerusalem.”

“Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’” by Tim Arango: “Iran never lost sight of its mission: to dominate its neighbor so thoroughly that Iraq could never again endanger it militarily, and to use the country to effectively control a corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean…  Eventually, analysts say, Iran could use the corridor, established on the ground through militias under its control, to ship weapons and supplies to proxies in Syria… and to Lebanon and its ally Hezbollah… Partly in an effort to contain Iran, the United States has indicated that it will keep troops behind in Iraq after the battle against the Islamic State…” [NYTimes

HEARD YESTERDAY — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS: “The IAEA has verified, I believe, seven times now since the implementation date that Iran has implemented the deal faithfully, fully and completely. Unfortunately, we cannot make the same statement about the United States. The United States has failed to implement its part of the bargain… President Trump used his presence in Hamburg during the G-20 meeting, in order to dissuade leaders from other countries to engage in business with Iran. That is a violation of not the spirit but of the letter of the JCPOA, of the nuclear deal. I believe the United States needs to bring itself into compliance with its part of the obligation under the deal… Let me point out here, that the deal does not prevent Iran from continuing with its peaceful nuclear program.” [YouTube]

“Qatar Opens Its Doors to All, to the Dismay of Some” by Declan Walsh: “Officials from Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, work from a luxury villa near the British Embassy, and recently held a news conference in a ballroom at the pyramid-shape Sheraton hotel… Although former Secretary of State John F. Kerry publicly criticized the Hamas presence, American officials privately say they would prefer Hamas was based in Doha rather than in a hostile capital like Tehran. In keeping with its open-door approach, Doha was home to an Israeli trade office from 1996 to 2008. Although relations have soured, Qatar promises that Israel will be allowed to participate in the 2022 World Cup.” [NYTimes• UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials[WashPost]

HAPPENING TODAY — “Prayer is where CUFI summit really begins, organizer says” by Benjamin Glatt: “Opening the summit on Monday will be CUFI founder and national chairman John Hagee, who will honor an IDF paratrooper who helped liberate the Eternal City in 1967… Netanyahu is also scheduled to give his thanks to Hagee… via a live satellite feed later in the day. Following a Middle East briefing with influential voices in Israeli and American foreign policy, including former US representative Col. Allen West and former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, CUFI will hold the summit’s annual Night to Honor Israel with US Vice President Mike Pence and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer speaking.” [JPost]

SHAKEUPS — “Trump family shakes up legal team to confront growing Russia woes” by Mike Allen: “Jay Sekulow, the outside Trump lawyer who’s doing all five Sunday shows today, will stay. Marc Kasowitz, an outside Trump lawyer whose bad press empowered his internal critics, will likely be diminished or leave the team, according to people close to POTUS.”[Axios]

“One of Jared Kushner’s lawyers in the Russia probe is ‘dropping out’” by Allan Smith: “Jamie Gorelick, who served as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, will be “wrapping up” her representation of Kushner and turning over all responsibilities to Abbe Lowell, a high-profile Washington criminal defense lawyer whom Kushner brought on late last month.” [BI]

“Fate of Kushner’s security clearance could ultimately lie with Trump” by Austin Wright and Josh Dawsey: “The security clearance process is ultimately rooted in executive authority, not law, meaning the president himself is the ultimate arbiter… Trump does have the power, if he wanted to, to demand that Kushner keep his clearance. “If the president wants someone to have a clearance and access to classified information, there’s no one to tell him no,” said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists. And this is a president who is fiercely loyal to his family.” [Politico]

PRESIDENT-IN-LAW: “Startup That Got a Seat at White House Roundtable Is Part-Owned by Kushner Family” by Jean Eaglesham and Lisa Schwartz: “Seated at the rectangular table alongside the corporate luminaries, university presidents and senior White House officials was a less-prominent figure: Zachary Bookman, the 37-year-old CEO of a small startup called OpenGov… Mr. Kushner’s connection to OpenGov is through Thrive Capital, a venture-capital firm run by his brother Joshua Kushner. Thrive is one of four investors that OpenGov lists on its website… Mr. Kushner didn’t suggest the invitation to OpenGov, according to Matt Lira, who works in his innovation office. “It was my idea to invite OpenGov to our technology leadership listening session,” Mr. Lira said in a statement.”

“Mr. Kushner recently filed an amended disclosure form, which is expected to be released publicly soon, according to people close to him. It will disclose assets that Mr. Kushner didn’t report in his original filing in March, including up to $250,000 of Israeli government bonds he sold earlier this year and an art collection he jointly owns with his wife, Ivanka Trump,  the people said.” [WSJ]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — “Trump Campaign Paid Don Jr.’s Lawyer $50,000 Two Weeks Before Email Scandal” by Lachlan Markay: “A new filing with the Federal Election Commission shows that President Trump’s reelection campaign paid $50,000 to the law offices of Alan Futerfas on June 26. That was around the time, Yahoo News reports, that the president’s legal team learned of a June 2016 email exchange in which Trump Jr., through an associate, solicited damaging information about 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton.” [DailyBeast]

“Soviet Veteran Who Met With Trump Jr. Is a Master of the Dark Arts” by Andrew Higgins and Andrew Kramer: “In a defamation lawsuit later brought by [Ashot] Egiazaryan in a New York federal court, [Rinat] Akhmetshin(the Russian-American lobbyist who met with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016) testified that [Andrey] Vavilov invited him to his home in Moscow to discuss how to derail his enemy’s asylum application… He said Mr. Vavilov… handed him a total of $70,000 to $80,000 in cash. That was the start of a concerted campaign to portray Mr. Egiazaryan as an anti-Semite in the news media and to Jewish organizations that then opposed his asylum application.” [NYTimes

NYC 2017 WATCH: “Scott Stringer endorses de Blasio for reelection — despite being a frequent critic of the mayor” by Erin Durkin: “City Controller Scott Stringer — a frequent critic of Mayor de Blasio who considered running against him — endorsed the mayor for reelection Sunday. The rival pols buried the hatchet at a joint press conference at a Manhattan park, where de Blasio also endorsed Stringer for a second term… “I’m the first to say that I don’t always make his life easy,” Stringer said. “But as Democrats we play on the same team. We agree on so much more than we would ever disagree on.””[NYDailyNews]

2020 WATCH: “Dems’ rising star meets with Clinton inner circle in Hamptons” by Emily Smith: “The Democrats’ “Great Freshman Hope,” Sen. Kamala Harris… is being fêted in Bridgehampton on Saturday at the home of MWWPR guru Michael Kempner, a staunch Clinton supporter who was one of her national-finance co-chairs and a led fund-raiser for her 2008 bid for the presidency. He was also listed as one of the top “bundlers” for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, having raised $3 million.” [PageSix

** 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 **

SPOTLIGHT: “Two VIP Billionaires Teamed Up to Run Luxury Hotels. It’s Been a Slog” by Anupreeta Das and Craig Karmin: “Bill Gates and Prince al-Waleed bought Four Seasons for $3.8 billion near a market peak, feuded over matters large and small, then made up; inside a rare partnership of giants… The first Four Seasons was a motor lodge in a rundown part of Toronto, opened in 1961 by Isadore Sharp, a son of Polish immigrants to Canada. By the time he began looking to sell the publicly traded company in 2006, Four Seasons was a renowned name in lodging, known for personalized service and top-of-the-line amenities. Rather than owning its hotels, Four Seasons forms partnerships with investors and developers, then keeps tight control by managing the properties… The three men agreed to a deal in which Cascade and Kingdom would each own 47.5% of the company, while Mr. Sharp would have the other 5% and remain chief executive for five years.” [WSJ]

WHAT’S JAKE SULLIVAN UP TO: “Lessons in disaster: A top Clinton adviser searches for meaning in a shocking loss” by Greg Jaffe: “If all had gone as planned, and as most in Washington had expected, Jake Sullivan would be hard at work just steps from the Oval Office… The conventional wisdom held that Sullivan was a lock to be the national security adviser in a Clinton administration… He divides his time between an empty think-tank office in Washington and Yale, where he lectures one day a week on law and foreign policy… On a recent evening, he was pushing open a battered orange door, climbing stairs covered with fraying carpet and striding into a dimly lit apartment where two dozen Yale Law School students were waiting to hear from him… Clinton tapped him in 2012 to help start secret talks with Iran over its nuclear program… The students peppered Sullivan with questions about the Iran negotiations.. Almost everything about his professional life is transitory, uncertain, unsettled. “I feel a keen sense of responsibility for the outcome,” he told friends in the immediate aftermath of Clinton’s defeat. Months later, the feeling had not faded.” [WashPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield Won’t Seek Re-Election” by Mara Gay: “New York City Councilman David Greenfield of Brooklyn says he won’t seek re-election this year… “I love being a councilman, it’s wonderful to be in the thick of things,” Mr. Greenfield said in a phone interview. “But part of the purpose of serving the public is to try to figure out where you can make the greatest impact.” Mr. Greenfield, 38 years old, said he had accepted a job as CEO and executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a New York City-based nonprofit, whose board officially voted on the position Sunday. “This is what I’m passionate about,” Mr. Greenfield said of the group’s work.” [WSJ]

–Greenfield tweets: “Met Council is premier Jewish charity in NYC. Humbled that they want me to lead it after current CEO’s retirement” [Twitter]

“Pressure From Chicago Dyke March Organizers Led to Demotion of Journalist, Claims Friend” by Noga Tarnopolsky: “Some two-and-a-half weeks after her scoop, Gretchen Rachel Hammond was relieved of her journalistic duties at the paper and moved to a full-time job on its sales desk… Miriam Churchill – a friend who accompanied Hammond to the Chicago Dyke March – recounted to Haaretz that as they prepared to leave the Piotrowski Park event at 4:30 P.M. on June 24, Hammond received a call from her boss, Windy City Times publisher Tracy Baim. Three women waving Jewish Gay Pride flags – rainbow flags emblazoned with the Star of David – had apparently been kicked out of the march, Baim told Hammond. The reporter then located the women, interviewed them and published her article. It was Baim who later demoted Hammond to another position on the LGBT weekly newspaper.” [Haaretz

“For Jews and Muslims of Morocco, a Supportive Relationship Built on a Complex History” by Yardena Schwartz: “To an outsider, nothing seemed normal about this night, as Muslims were welcomed by the Jewish community to celebrate Ramadan at their synagogue… But to the Muslims and Jews gathered here, it was a reminder of the 2,000-year-old ties that bind their communities together… André Azoulay is a Jewish senior adviser to the king of Morocco, Mohammed VI. He also served his father, King Hassan II. Explaining how Morocco has remained protective of its Jewish community despite the anti-Jewish sentiments that overtook other Muslim countries in the wake of Israel’s establishment, Azoulay said, “We are fighting for that. But it’s not just top down,” he said, referring to the king’s protection of the community. “It’s also bottom up. Judaism in Morocco is in the roots, the identity, the mindset of the Moroccan people.”” [NBCNews]

BOOK REVIEW: “A Novel Brings Israel’s Conflicts to New York” by James Wood: “Moving Kings” is a strange, superbly unsuccessful novel. There’s not a page without some vital charge—a flash of metaphor, an idiomatic originality, a bastard neologism born of nothing. You could say that it is patchworked with successes: David King in the Hamptons, Yoav and Uri in the Israeli Army, the King’s Moving crew at work in New York, Avery Luter flailing in his mother’s house. Yet these stories are more convincing than the connections, thematic and formal, offered to bind them. [Joshua] Cohen never finds that deep novelistic form, that tensile coherence, which Woolf idealized. This is a book of brilliant sentences, brilliant paragraphs, brilliant chapters. Here things flare singly, a succession of lighted matches, and do not cast a more general illumination.” [NewYorker]

HOLLYWOOD: “Bill Maher and Fran Lebowitz: When Comedy Cuts Deep” by Philip Galanes:Bill Maher My first act was all about being half-Jewish and half-Catholic: “I brought my lawyer into confession with me.” Johnny Carson made me do that joke every time I went on. But that’s what you talk about when you’re a young comedian: your personal history. It hasn’t been covered yet.” Fran Lebowitz: Stiller and Meara did that. It was their whole act. He was Jewish, and she was Irish-Catholic. And the borscht belt comics did jokes about being Jewish… FL: My grandparents were immigrants, too. To me, the really American kids were the ones whose grandparents spoke perfect English. I always noticed that. I remember once in Sunday school, the teacher said to me, “If America had a war with Israel, what side would you be on?” I was shocked by this. I’m American. I’m always on our side. BM: My mother didn’t tell us she was Jewish, and it never came up, even though my sister, my father and I would go to church every week.” [NYTimes

“Martin Landau, Oscar Winner for ‘Ed Wood,’ Dies at 89” by Mike Barnes: “Landau was born in Brooklyn on June 20, 1928. At age 17, he landed a job as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News, but he turned down a promotion and quit five years later to pursue acting. “It was an impulsive move on my part to do that,” Landau told The Jewish Journal in 2013. “To become an actor was a dream I must’ve had so deeply and so strongly because I left a lucrative, well-paying job that I could do well to become an unemployed actor. It’s crazy if you think about it. To this day, I can still hear my mother’s voice saying, ‘You did what?!’”” [THR]

— “In 2000, Landau, who is of Jewish descent, played Abraham, father of the Israelites, in “In the Beginning,” which chronicled the biblical books of Genesis and Exodus. Jacqueline Bisset played his wife, Sarah.” [LATimes

DESSERT: “How a Jewish deli run by Muslims became the symbol of a changing neighborhood” by Sarah Jacobs: “These days, in the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant — or Bed-Stuy — in Brooklyn, you’ll find David’s Brisket House, a Jewish deli that has been owned by the same Muslim family for 50 years. The deli was originally kosher, owned by a Jewish family, but when its former owners put it on the market in the 1960s, it was bought by two business partners: one, a Yemenite Muslim, and the other a Yemenite Jew. The partners decided that instead of changing the menu, they would keep customers coming back for their beloved meats… The deli has stayed in the family and is now run by Riyadh Gazali, the nephew of one of the partners.” [BI]

“Why Are These 25,000 Bottles of Wine Different From All Other Wines” by Linda Gradstein: “Opening a new winery in Israel is not a simple proposition. The market is saturated, and it’s not easy to compete with Israel’s large producers like Carmel and the Golan Heights winery. It is especially difficult to sell relatively high-priced wine in the ultra-Orthodox world. Wine is used every Friday evening for the Kiddush, a blessing said at the Friday night Shabbat table, and for celebrations like weddings and circumcisions, but it is usually sweet Manischewitz-type wine, bought at the supermarket for a few dollars a bottle. The ultra-Orthodox in Israel tend to have large families and money is tight.” [VinePair]

BIRTHDAYS: CEO of her family business, Samson Resources, a Tulsa-based energy company (2000-2011) until its sale for $7.2 billion to KKR, co-chair of the Schusterman Family Foundation, Stacy Helen Schusterman turns 54… Member of the Texas House of Representatives (1955-1959) and Texas Senate (1960-1981), representing Galveston, A. R. “Babe” Schwartz turns 91… Travel writer, publisher, consumer advocate and the founder of the Frommer’s series of travel guides, he is a graduate of Yale Law School, Arthur Frommer turns 88… Israeli politician and historian, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv U., he served as a member of Knesset (1996-2002), Minister of Foreign Affairs (2000-2001) and as ambassador to Spain (1987-1991), Shlomo Ben-Ami turns 74… Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Charley Steiner turns 68… VP and Assistant General Counsel of The Hartford and chairman emeritus of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, Robert K. Yass turns 66…

Baltimore-born, HUC-JIR educated, rabbi at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA, author, historian and college professor, Lance Jonathan Sussman, Ph.D. turns 63… Minister for the Environment and Energy in Australia, Joshua Anthony “Josh” Frydenberg turns 46… Founder and CEO of Zeta Interactive, David A. Steinberg turns 47… Stand-up comedian, he was a finalist on the NBC reality-talent show “Last Comic Standing” in two seasons, Gary Gulman turns 47… Senior adviser for strategic communications at Hillel International, Matthew E. Berger turns 39… Relationship manager at Morningstar, she is a Young Leadership Division board member at the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and an MBA candidate at Northwestern’s Kellogg School, Melanie Beatus turns 27… Precocious daughter of Jared and Ivanka, Arabella Rose Kushner turns 6… Financial sector analyst at Institutional Shareholder Services since June 2017, previously at The Israel Project, Jared Sorhaindo… Steve Lebowitz

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