Oct
18

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Daily Kickoff: Jerusalem Consulate to no longer report directly to Washington | Story behind ‘Netflix for books’ | Tribute to Israel’s old train

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CHANGE AT 18 AGRON — After Jerusalem embassy move, US changes status of consulate: “The United States says it is placing its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians under the authority of its embassy to Israel. The State Department said Thursday that merging the Jerusalem Consulate with the newly opened Jerusalem Embassy will achieve “significant efficiencies.”

Why it matters: “For years, the consulate has served as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians, reporting straight to the State Department in Washington. Placing it under the authority of the embassy could be seen as suggesting American recognition of Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank.” [AP]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement: “We will continue to conduct a full range of reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank and Gaza as well as with Palestinians in Jerusalem through a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the U.S. Embassy Jerusalem.”

MIDTERMS — Iowa 04: Rep. Steve King Endorses Neo-Nazi Sympathizer Faith Goldy — by Pilar Melendez: “Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who is currently running for re-election, tweeted an endorsement late Tuesday evening for Faith Goldy, a white supremacist, right-wing YouTube star running for the mayor of Toronto… King’s endorsement of Goldy is just the latest in a long series of public declarations from the congressman indicating a shift from simply being an “immigration hardliner” to being openly sympathetic to far-right, racist ideologies.” [DailyBeast]

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks told Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg“The RJC has been deeply troubled by a number of Rep. King’s statements and associations recently. As a result we have not endorsed him, contributed to him or hosted events with him.”

Hollywood Figures Raise for California House Democrats at Wasserman Event: “Six Democratic candidates hoping to flip House seats in California raised more than a half-million dollars at a fundraiser on Tuesday at the home of Laura and Casey Wasserman, drawing donors such as Haim Saban, Brian Grazer, Dana Walden, and Chris Silbermann. A source said that more than $600,000 was raised at the event, which featured candidates Josh Harder, T.J. Cox, Andrew Janz, Katie Hill, Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter, Harley Rouda, and Mike Levin. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) headlined the event, which drew about 200 people.” [Variety]

New Jersey 07: In a televised debate aired on C-SPAN last night, Republican Congressman Leonard Lance challenged his Democratic opponent, Tom Malinowski, over his support of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal: “I think the people of the Congressional District and the people of New Jersey have the right to recognize that I was a strong opponent of the Iranian nuclear agreement and you were a strong proponent of it. I do not think it was in the national security interest of the U.S. and I do not think it was in the national security interest of our closest allies… Can you guarantee that none of that funding [released] went for terrorism against the U.S. or against our closest allies?

Malinowski: “For years, under both Republican and Democratic administrations it was our highest objective, with respect to Iran, to end that country’s nuclear program… and we reached an agreement that the head of the Israeli defense forces said set back Iran’s nuclear program by over 10 years. And it was not a perfect deal. There were flaws in the deal. It did not do enough to counter Iran’s support for terrorism. It did not do enough to counter Iran’s other malign activities. Now here’s what happened in the last year: the Trump Administration managed to get agreement from the Europeans, from our allies in NATO, to get tougher on Iran on those issues. We turned our backs on that agreement, and instead of the Europeans working with us to counter Iran, Iran is working with the Europeans to counter us. We are alone. We are in no position to protect Israel, and you have no plan to resolve that problem.” [CSPAN]

Lance: “I am much more, strongly pro-Israel than Mr. Malinowski.” [Video]

STATE VISIT — New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy will visit Israel this weekend on his first overseas trip as governor, which included a 5-day trade mission to Germany. During his 4-day visit, Murphy will meet with business leaders, innovators, announce joint economic development projects, meet with college leaders and students, and visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall. The New Jersey governor is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a source familiar with the planning of the trip.

2020 WATCH — Michael Bloomberg Can Buy Popularity, but Can He Buy the Presidency? — by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “There’s the real possibility that a Bloomberg 2020 primary run would go down much like Meg Whitman’s 2010 campaign for California governor… Bloomberg’s team knows it. They know that if he runs, they’ll have to get him into the mind-set of his first mayoral campaign, which he knew he would likely lose, rather than his 2016 presidential exploration, when he refused to take a chance unless his team could tell him he’d win. Not a lot of people are expecting that [Kevin] Sheekey or anyone else will get Bloomberg to pull the trigger, once he finishes having fun toying with the idea and really looks at the data. “You don’t get to be where he is,” said one person who’s talked with him about running, “by being an idiot.” [TheAtlantic]

Nikki Haley dishes on her time in Trump administration in private talk with conservatives — by Oli Coleman and Ian Mohr: “Days before her resignation as US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley gave a private talk to the Council for National Policy… and she reportedly revealed behind-the-scenes details of her time in the Trump administration… Max Blumenthal, managed to infiltrate the session and reported that Haley told the gathering that she was initially offered the job of secretary of state but that, “I thought the job should go to someone who didn’t have the same learning curve.”

“When she was offered the UN role, Haley reportedly recalled, “I told [Trump], ‘Honestly, I don’t even know what the UN does,’ ” to which the crowd “erupted with sympathetic laughter and applause,” Blumenthal writes. She also told the highly secretive group that she met with Henry Kissinger every two months.”[PageSixDailyMail

LUNCH INTERVIEW — John Kerry talks the Iran Deal in an interview with Edward Luce: “Trump’s supporters allege that Kerry gave too much away to the Iranians because he was so keen to win a Nobel Peace Prize, I say… “They just don’t know what they’re talking about,” Kerry says, his voice rising. “They say that because it sounds good. The reality is that we got the toughest, most transparent arms-control agreement on the planet. We have the ability for life to inspect any facility in Iran when we want.” One or two people are looking over at our table. “I’m sorry,” Kerry says. “I feel passionate about this because it’s not true.” [FinancialTimes

ON THE GROUND — Netanyahu Rival Says Israel Too Soft as Gaza on Verge of War — by Jonathan Ferziger and Michael Arnold: “We haven’t shown enough of a steel fist there,” [Naftali] Bennett, a longtime political rival within Netanyahu’s governing coalition, said Tuesday… “We’ve been mighty soft on the fence, and that softness invites an increase in attacks.” Egyptian and United Nations diplomats were in Gaza on Wednesday to try to broker an agreement that would prevent the current round of violence from boiling over… Israel’s Security Cabinet met about Gaza late into the night Wednesday.” [Bloomberg]

‘Game change’ coming in Israeli response to Gaza terror, Gallant says — by Yvette Deane: “Housing Minister and former IDF Southern Commander Yoav Gallant hinted on Thursday that Israel will carry out a stronger response against Hamas in the Gaza strip. “I do not refer to the content of the cabinet discussions, but I can say one thing very explicitly — the game is about to change. We will no longer accept the fire terror,” Gallant said.”[JPost]

SCENE LAST NIGHT — Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) raised more than $32 million at their annual gala held at the New York Hilton Midtown. IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot was scheduled to speak at the event, but had to return to Israel due to recent security developments. [Pic]

INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE — Khashoggi disappearance prompts Kushner retreat from Saudi frontlines —by Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak and Jeremy Diamond: “Jared Kushner has remained intentionally in the background this week as West Wing officials feared a more public role would prompt backlash…  The sources said Kushner is wary of overstepping, mindful of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s purview as the nation’s top diplomat… Kushner remained in Washington, attending West Wing meetings as scheduled and exuding a calm demeanor amid mounting questions about whether he put too much trust in Prince Mohammed.” [CNN

“Kushner… has emphasized internally the importance of Saudi Arabia to prospects for Middle East peace, officials said.”

“At a recent fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel in Washington for the Protect the House committee, Trump… complained about how much the United States spends to support Saudi Arabia… “Ah, those schmucks,” [an] attendee recalled Trump saying, noting that he elicited laughter from the audience. [WashPost]

INSIDE THE ADMIN — by Shane Harris: “One of the president’s closest advisers, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said many senior members of the administration concluded more than a week ago that the Saudis had killed Khashoggi. “The only question is, was it directed from the crown prince or the king — or was it a group that was trying to please him?” Giuliani said in an interview… Even if the president doesn’t come round to that view, the White House’s relationship may be indelibly altered by Khashoggi’s death. “I know the bloom is off the rose with the crown prince,” Giuliani said.” [WashPost]

VIEW FROM JERUSALEM — Israel torn between Saudi Arabia, Turkey on Khashoggi affair — by Ben Caspit: “Behind the scenes, Israel continues to side with Saudi Arabia. As such, it has no choice but “overlook” the Khashoggi incident. “The fight against Iran stunts everything else,” one senior Israeli minister told Al-Monitor… “Israel’s national security and the Iranian threat top our agenda, whereas Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs are less important and less interesting [to Israel] right now…  [Trump] understands handling the Iran issue is more important now, and democracy will have to wait.” [Al-Monitor]

Rod Rosenstein Defends Mueller Probe as ‘Appropriate and Independent’ — by Sadie Gurman: “In an expansive interview with The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Mr. Rosenstein offered a forceful defense of the [Mueller] inquiry, saying the public would have faith in its findings. “People are entitled to be frustrated, I can accept that,” he said, in a nod to attacks on the probe from some conservatives and Republicans. “But at the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources.” [WSJ]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… Michael Cohen meets with prosecutors investigating Trump’s family business, charity — by Erica Orden: “Michael Cohen and his attorney met Wednesday with a group of state and federal law enforcement officials investigating various aspects of President Donald Trump’s family business and charitable organization.” [CNN]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties and Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities score $305M refinancing for 530 Broadway [TheRealDeal] • Anne Wojcicki, the CEO of Silicon Valley DNA testing startup 23andMe shares the health product she hopes to sell next [BusinessInsider] • Retired NSA Director Mike Rogers will join Israeli cybersecurity foundry Team8 as senior advisor [Calcalist]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT — This startup is the ‘Netflix for books,’ with unlimited access to a huge library for a monthly fee. Now, it’s getting the New York Times, too ― by Nick Bastone: “Scribd’s mission is “to change the way the world reads,” but its CEO Trip Adler says that mission came about by chance. “We kind of got into books a little bit accidentally,” Adler told us. Initially, Adler and his co-founder Jared Friedman set out to help Adler’s father publish an academic paper online — a process that took upwards of 18 months before the first iteration of Scribd was built. At the time, there were blogs for publishing a few paragraphs of text, Adler explains, but blogs didn’t work for publishing a 10-page academic thesis or scientific paper. And so, Scribd was born as a place to put longer documents on the web.”[BusinessInsider]

HOLLYWOOD — Megan Ellison’s Harsh New Reality: Fewer Films, “More Responsible” Finances — by Kim Masters: “Though some insiders say they remain upbeat about Annapurna’s prospects, the company’s operations now are being reviewed by an executive (with experience in business, but not in Hollywood) dispatched by Ellison’s father, Oracle founder Larry Ellison. Megan, 32, “wasn’t running a financially responsible organization,” says a person with knowledge of the situation. “Larry respects money and wants it to be run in a more responsible way.” The company is not going to greenlight any movies for more than a year, this person adds. An Annapurna insider disputes that but says Megan has recognized the need to make changes in the film operation and wanted her father’s input.”[HollywoodReporter

TOP TALKER — Twitter Won’t Suspend Louis Farrakhan For His Tweet Comparing Jews To Insects — by Joseph Bernstein: “[Louis] Farrakhan... yesterday tweeted a video clip of a speech in which he denied that he was anti-Semitic, with the caption, “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.” The tweet appears to violate Twitter’s proposed new policies around “dehumanizing” tweets… However, a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the rules have not yet taken effect, so Farrakhan’s language is not in violation of any extant policy.” [BuzzFeed]

Chelsea Clinton tweeted: “Comparing Jews to termites is anti-Semitic, wrong and dangerous. The responsive laughter makes my skin crawl. For everyone who rightly condemned President Trump’s rhetoric when he spoke about immigrants “infesting our country,” this rhetoric should be equally unacceptable to you.”

TALK OF THE TOWN — Medical student reflects on patient reactions to her hijab: “Yssra Soliman, who has worn a hijab since the eighth grade, was afraid patients would refuse her care because of her dress and religion. But just when she thought her fears would be realized, she was surprised. “A patient’s mom stopped me and she was Hasidic Jewish and said, I’m so proud of you as a Jewish girl working so hard to become a doctor,” she told News 12. “I had to tell her I’m not Jewish, I’m Muslim and my parents emigrated from Egypt. She just laughed and said… I’m still really proud of you.” [News12]

A Train Ride Back to the Old Israel — by Matti Friedman: “The old Israel is represented in this case by the main casualty of the new train: the historic Jerusalem-Tel Aviv line, which has been running on and off since 1892 and isn’t likely to run much longer… The old train has a modest cult following, of which I’m a proud member, and I’d hate to see it pass from the world without proper tribute… “I ride the old train because it lets me see landscapes that haven’t changed in thousands of years,” Deborah Harris, a Jerusalem literary agent and another of the train’s aficionados, told me. “It feels like traveling through space and time.” … The train’s birth, six years before Herzl boarded, was the doing of a Jewish businessman from the old Sephardic community of Jerusalem, Joseph Effendi Navon, with the help of Swiss and French investors and the blessing of the sultan in Istanbul. The company laid just one track to save money, according to a history of the line by Anthony Travis of Hebrew University.” [NYTimes

Correction — In Yesterday’s Daily Kickoff we mistakenly identified the newly appointed President of ZAKA Search and Rescue USA, Edward A. Mermelstein, as “Edward Perlmutter.” Our apologies to Mr. Mermelstein.

DESSERT — North Jersey Newlyweds Put Modern Twist On Old-School Deli — by Cecilia Levine: “Sal and Jacqueline Yehudiel of Fort Lee, who tied the knot in August, will be opening Humble Toast on Queen Anne Road Oct. 22. “We want to be a great restaurant that happens to be kosher,” Sal Yehudiel said…Yehudiel, born in Israel and raised in Fair Lawn, is a trained chef who has years of experience. He worked his way up to becoming an executive chef at Downtown Disneyland in Anaheim, California.” [Cresskill]

Looking Beyond Tel Aviv for Israel’s New Restaurant Scene — by Debra Kamin: “It’s been a decade or so since the Tel Aviv gastronomic scene came to global attention, catapulting local sons like Meir Adoni and Eyal Shani to success in Paris and New York. But amid the din and rising prices that comes with so much hype, Tel Aviv restaurateurs are now moving north in search of quieter pastures… A string of new chef-run restaurants is transforming this once-sleepy patch into Israel’s newest culinary destination.” [NYTimes

BIRTHDAYS: Co-founder and former chairman of Qualcomm, Irwin M. Jacobs turns 85… Grammy Award winning songwriter of over 150 hits including “Somewhere Out There” from the movie “An American Tail,” in partnership with her husband Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil turns 78… Former US ambassador to Morocco, the first Jewish ambassador to an Arab country (1994-1998), he was the CEO of the One Voice Movement Foundation and Peaceworks LLC, Marc Ginsberg turns 68… Principal analyst at Kiernan Group Holdings, he is a homeland security and counterterrorism expert, Joshua B. Sinai, Ph.D. turns 67… Bakersfield, California-based attorney focused on adoption and reproductive law, Marc D. Widelock turns 67… Film producer and founder and head of Dimension Films, former co-chairman of Miramax Films and the Weinstein Company, Robert “Bob” Weinstein turns 64…

Political strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and writer, he is the president of a consulting firm, the Economic Future Group, Jonathan Tasiniturns 62… Senior lecturer at MIT, he was Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (2009-2014) and held high level positions at the US Treasury during the Clinton administration (1997-2001), Gary Gensler turns 61… ESPN television host, sports reporter, and anchor, Rachel Nichols turns 45… Managing director of development and academic programs at American Enterprise Institute, Suzanne Gershowitz… Correspondent at GQ and The Atlantic, Julia Ioffe turns 36… Politico’s White House reporter, Annie Karniturns 35… VP of eCommerce at Israel365, Ayal Kellman turns 33… Executive chairman at Berman Capital Advisors, LLC, a former president at the Birthright Israel Foundation, David Fisher

Oct
17

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Daily Kickoff: “With exception of Israel, I trust every Middle East country about as much as I trust gas station sushi” — U.S. Senator John N. Kennedy

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FIRST LOOK — Bernie Sanders Is Quietly Remaking the Democrats’ Foreign Policy In His Own Image — by Derek Robertson: “Senator Sanders, who hasn’t ruled out launching another bid for the presidency in 2020, has begun to roll out a much more robust foreign policy platform… Sanders’ new focus on the global dimensions of crony capitalism, corruption, and human rights has earned him some unlikely fans—one of whom is none other than Jake Sullivan.”

“Robert Malley, the president of the International Crisis Group and a former Obama national security official… described how Sanders has grown into a role where he assuages the worst fears of the center-left while maintaining his progressive bona fides… “The gift the Trump’s presidency has inadvertently given to the progressive wing of the party is to… clarify that one could reject conventional foreign policy views which have led to the war in Iraq and 17 years of a failed war on terror without necessarily embracing an inward-looking, isolationist approach,” Malley said. “Trump’s very peculiar way of rejecting the policies of the past—by ignoring democracy and human rights; embracing autocrats; confusing business interests with national interests—has served as a foil for them.”

“And of course, Sanders isn’t alone in the field of progressives hoping to expand their vision beyond America’s borders (and maybe those of their current political office). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) earned herself a high-profile spot on the Senate’s Armed Services Committee after the 2016 election, and her first foreign trip as a senator in 2014 was to Israel, a politically critical U.S. ally.” [PoliticoMag]

— Worth noting: “Matt Duss, the former president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and left-leaning foreign policy wonk, now serves as Sanders’ official foreign policy advisor.”

HEARD THIS MORNING — Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) on CNN’s New Day: “There are no democracies in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel. With the exception of Israel, I trust every Middle Eastern country about as much as I trust gas station sushi.” [Video]

ROAD TO THE MIDTERMS — The battle for the Jewish vote in New Jersey’s 7th District — by Jacob Kornbluh: In a press release earlier this year, the campaign of incumbent Republican Congressman Leonard Lance accused Democratic candidate Tom Malinowski of being an “anti-Israel lobbyist” referencing Malinowski’s prior role as a lobbyist for Human Rights Watch. Last week, however, the Congressman himself appeared reluctant to repeat the charge when asked about the “anti-Israel lobbyist” label.

“I’ll just point out where he and I disagree fundamentally on issues related to Israel,” Lance explained sitting in his campaign headquarters in Westfield, New Jersey. Proceeding to read off a printed page, Lance listed disagreements ranging from support for the Iran nuclear deal to United Nations resolutions critical of Israel and even supplying American bulldozers to the Israel Defense Forces. During Malinowski’s time at Human Rights Watch, the group lobbied then-Senator Hillary Clinton to reconsider her support for Israel’s security barrier, describing it as illegal activity in the “occupied West Bank.”

Lance’s supporters have also sought to tie Malinowski to actions taken by President Obama at the United Nations Security Council. According to Ben Chouake, President of NORPAC, Malinowski’s tenure at the State Department in the Obama administration is a cause for concern. “I think the Obama State Department was a disaster,” Chouake told Jewish Insider. “I don’t consider that a badge of honor, especially in an area that has an awful lot of people that are concerned about the UN resolution (UNSC 2334 that was critical of Israeli settlements).”

In an emailed statement to Jewish Insider, Malinowski insisted that he “did not support abstaining” on the December 2016 vote at the UN Security Council. He further accused Lance of trying “to create divisions that will help his re-election,” which he called “profoundly irresponsible.” Malinowski added, “Our partnership with Israel is built on bipartisan support. Those who politicize it by suggesting that one party believes in it more are endangering its foundations.” [JewishInsider

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, who joined Malinowski on the campaign trail last week, tells us: “Tom Malinowski has a strong record, in and out of government, of support for Israel’s security, for its right of self-defense, and for its ability to do so, as guaranteed by the $38 billion MOU for military assistance signed in 2016 and now coming into force… Those who choose to make Israel a partisan political football do Israel no favors. Tom has the decency, the intellect, and the values that the Jewish community appreciates.”

HEARD LAST NIGHT ― Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed his Democratic opponent, Beto O’Rourke, for accepting campaign contributions from J Street during a TV debate: “Congressman O’Rourke is fond of saying he doesn’t take PAC money, but the truth is different. For example, the J Street PAC, which is a rabidly anti-Israel PAC has raised over $160,000 for Congressman O’Rourke because of his many votes against the nation of Israel.” [CSPAN]

Aaron Davis, J Street’s National Political Director, responded in a statement: “As the political home for the pro-Israel, pro-peace majority of American Jews, we take attacks from Ted Cruz as a badge of honor.”

New York 11: Democratic House candidate Max Rose is claiming growing momentum in his longshot bid against Republican Congressman Dan Donovan. Donovan, the only Republican House member in New York City, is favored to win his reelection bid. The Rose campaign said in a news release yesterday that they have raised over $1.6 million in the last quarter with $1.4 million cash-on-hand heading into the final month of the campaign, compared to Donovan’s reported $277,000 cash-on-hand.

— In a recent campaign adDonovan described his Democratic opponent as “not one of us” for raising millions from out-of-district donors. The ad features a cropped photo of Rose on a background of flowing green dollar bills.

Colorado Gov: Polis’ personal spending on governor race reaches $22.3 million, outside spending tops $43.6 million statewide — by Sandra Fish: “Democrat Jared Polis poured another $2.5 million into his run for Colorado governor, bringing his total personal investment in the campaign to $22.3 million, according to campaign-finance reports.” [ColoradoSun]

POLL OF JEWISH VOTERS — A newly released online poll conducted by pollster Mark Mellman for the Jewish Electoral Institute (JEI) shows that 74 percent of U.S. Jews plan on voting for Democratic candidates for Congress this fall. About the same amount, 75 percent, disapprove of President Donald Trump. Approval of Trump’s Israel policy is at 51%, and 44% approve of the Jerusalem Embassy move.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Jewish voters believe the Democratic Party is “pro-Israel,” including 84% of those who identify themselves as Democrats, and 52% say that a candidate’s support for Israel is “very important.”

2020: 74% say they will vote for the Democratic presidential nominee, while 26% will vote to reelect Trump for a second term. And only 6% say Trump’s Israel policy will cause them to consider voting for him despite disagreements on other important issues. Another 20% say they support Trump’s policy on Israel, but “disagree with him on too many other important issues.”

Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) Executive Director Halie Soifer: “This poll proves what we have known for a long time: Americans Jews have a natural home in the Democratic Party due to its progressive, pro-Israel values.”

Data mining gets religion as campaigns target voters of faith: “Data has increasingly become the currency of political campaigns… “Before you knew it, you had this incredible profile of people,” said Steve Rabinowitz, co-founder and president of Bluelight Strategies… As elections focus more on mobilizing voters of known views… those profiles have become increasingly valuable… But traditional data hasn’t reflected beliefs. Religious information isn’t available for purchase from the census, from banks or from anyone else. “Nobody gathers religion,” Rabinowitz said.”

“Facebook has been a game changer, said Rabinowitz… As an example, Facebook has made it easier to create a model for likely Jewish voters and drive ads toward them. “You could say, ‘I want to target every Rosenbaum and Rosenthal and Rosen, and so on and so forth,’” said Barney Keller, a partner at Jamestown Associates, which produced media for Donald Trump’s campaign. “You can just use that as a way to target potentially Jewish voters. That’s the way a lot of it is done.” Rabinowitz has tried in the past to build a Jewish voter file. “It’s exceptionally difficult,” he told RNS.” [ReligionNews

IN BRAZIL — Right-winger would follow Trump’s lead on foreign policy — by Anthony Boadle: “One of the clearest signals would be moving Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following Trump’s cue, as neighboring Paraguay has done. Brazil has long supported a two-state solution for the conflict over Palestine and in 2010 recognized the Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with Israel. However, Jair Bolsonaro has said Palestine is not a country and vowed to move Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem and close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia.” [Reuters] • In Australia, Jewish voters split over embassy switch to Jerusalem [TheGuardian]

US envoy looks to boost Israel-Palestinian business cooperation in West Bank — by Jacob Magid: “US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman met on Tuesday with a group of Israeli and Palestinian business leaders to discuss the joint economic ventures they are working to launch in the West Bank… The closed-door meeting took place in the city-settlement of Ariel and was organized by the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an NGO that promotes Israeli-Palestinian commercial partnerships beyond the Green Line. Critics said this was another instance of Friedman breaking with US policy and supporting Israeli settlements in the West Bank.”[ToI

DRIVING THE CONVO — Khashoggi Disappearance May Disrupt Trump Administration’s Plans to Squeeze Iran — by David Sanger: “Officials said the dilemma comes at a terrible moment for the Trump administration, which will reimpose harsh sanctions against Tehran on Nov. 4, with the intent of cutting off all Iranian oil exports. But to make the strategy work, the administration is counting on its relationship with the Saudis to keep oil flowing, and to work together on a new policy to contain Iran in the Gulf…  The strategy would present a common front with the Saudis, and cast Iran as the source of almost all instability in the Middle East. That argument, officials have now acknowledged, is now in jeopardy.” [NYTimes]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo writes… “We think a deal with the [Iranian] regime is possible. In the absence of one, Iran will face increasing costs for all its reckless and violent activity around the world. President Trump prefers not to conduct this campaign alone; he wants U.S. allies and partners on board.” [ForeignAffairs]

Former NSC official: “Anybody that says that we should blow up the peace plan or that we should basically blow up finally having some Middle Eastern unity over Iran, if they think we should do that over the death of one person, it’s a little ridiculous,” the former official said.” [YahooNews

Jared Kushner ‘deeply involved’ in White House response to Khashoggi’s disappearance — by Hunter Walker: “One source familiar with Kushner’s work said he is playing an important role in deciding how the White House will react to Khashoggi’s disappearance and communicating with the Saudi government. “He’s deeply, deeply involved in what’s going on,” the source said of Kushner…” [YahooNews

“The elite’s embrace of M.B.S. had been one of the chief foreign-policy goals of the Trump White House, particularly Jared Kushner. Saudi Arabia was crucial to Kushner’s yet-to-be-released Middle East peace plan that involved building a Sunni-Israeli alliance to broker peace with the Palestinians and counter an expansionist Iran. “Jared had a vision from the very beginning,” a former West Wing official said.” [VanityFair]

VIEW ON THE HILL — Lindsey Graham says “toxic” Mohammed bin Salman “has to go” — by Zachary Basu: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Fox & Friends Tuesday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) “can never be a leader on the world stage,” and that regardless of what President Trump does, Graham is going to move to “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.” [Axios

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) in a phone interview with Jewish Insider“I think we need to be smart, thoughtful and measured, but there needs to be a meaningful response to this incident. It needs to be diplomatic, it needs to potentially involve some economic power and we need to debate and discuss that and figure out what kind of response exactly we want. The administration will probably do some things on their own and then in Congress, we need to look at that response. Saudi Arabia is an ally in the fight against Iranian aggression. But that said, I think it’s important that we stand up for freedom of the press and human rights. You can’t just kill somebody you don’t like, even when you are a friend.”

ON THE GROUND — Trump administration has new plan to drive Iran out of Syria — by Courtney Kube and Carol Lee: “The new [U.S.] strategy would not involve the U.S. military directly targeting and killing Iranian soldiers or Iran’s proxies… [but] could strike the Iranian military if it felt threatened.” [NBCNews]

Colin Clarke and Ariane Tabatabai write… “Preventing a broader conflagration between [Israel and Iran] in Syria will be an essential part of the new Iran containment strategy. As such, it may be the only way to force Iran to commit to downsizing its military footprint in Syria in any meaningful way, making diplomacy a critical tool in the pursuit of this new policy.”[TheAtlantic]

Kimberly Guilfoyle: Trump’s support blocks Iran from wiping Israel ‘off the map’ — by Paul Bedard: “Kimberly Guilfoyle, vice chair of the Trump-aligned super PAC America First Action, told the Republican Jewish Coalition that the president’s arm-in-arm relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has worked to keep peace in the region. “Make no mistake, this president doesn’t gamble with Israel’s security the way the last president did. This president has a great relationship with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, unlike the last occupant of the White House,” said Guilfoyle… She added to applause, “Never forget Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and many other bad actors in the region would wipe Israel off the map tomorrow if they could, but with a strong partnership between Bibi and Trump that will not happen.”[WashExaminer]

Sen. Graham jokes his own DNA test would reveal Iranian roots, which would be ‘terrible’ — by William Cummings: “Sen. Lindsey Graham joked about the results of the DNA test shared by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, saying his own DNA test would probably determine he is Iranian, which would be “terrible.” As the South Carolina Republican’s segment on “Fox & Friends” came to a close, host Steve Doocy suggested Graham come back to the show with the results of his own genetic analysis… “I’ll probably be Iranian. That’d be, like, terrible,” Graham quipped… “They have great people, just bad leaders,” said Kilmeade… “Yeah, bad leaders,” Graham agreed. “I’m not in the Ayatollah branch.” [USAToday]

IDF attacks over 20 Gaza targets after rocket fire — by Itay Blumenthal and Elior Levy: “The IDF attacked over 20 targets, including a terror tunnel, in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning in retaliation for rocket fire that hit a home in Be’er Sheva… An IAF aircraft also attacked a terror cell… said to belong to an “errant” radical faction, which was formerly part of Fatah and now has close ties to Iran.” [Ynet]

HAPPENING TODAY — IDF Chief of  Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot will address the annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) gala at the New York Hilton Midtown. Other speakers include Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and Consul General Dani Dayan.

** 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: Starwood CEO Barry Sternlicht Eyes Expansion Into Private Equity, Venture, Credit [Bloomberg] • Barry Diller Calls on Google to Be Regulated [Skift] • Jared Kushner Still Not Involved in Startup Cadre, Co-Founder Says [Bloomberg] • Aventura Mall developer Don Soffer sells South Florida mansion for $6M [Bizjournals] • Carl Icahn has taken a stake in Dollar Tree [NYPost]

MEDIA WATCH: Craig Newmark, Newspaper Villain, Is Working to Save Journalism — by David Streitfeld: “Craig Newmark, so often accused of destroying journalism, is now doing his best to revive it. In the late 1990s, Mr. Newmark, a former IBM programmer, built Craigslist. On Wednesday, New York Public Radio announced a $2.5 million gift from Mr. Newmark to expand its newsroom. That brings his total philanthropic efforts involving media in the last year to $50 million, much of it centered on New York.” [NYTimes]

STARTUP NATION: Cognata raises $18.5M as race to deploy autonomous vehicles quickens — by Kirsten Korosec: “Cognata has raised $18.5 million in a funding round led by Scale Venture Partners, fresh capital that the Israeli autonomous simulation startup will use to meet demand for technology that will help companies speed up the deployment of self-driving vehicles.” [TechCrunchReuters] • Israeli startup Vayavision has raised $8m in seed funding led by Viola Ventures, Mizmaa Ventures and OurCrowd [Globes]

US, Israel issue joint Hanukkah postage stamp: “In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations, Israel Post and the US Postal Service have issued a joint stamp for Hanukkah at the American Center in Jerusalem, Tuesday. The event was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman… The Hanukkah stamp is available for purchase at IPC branches in Israel and sells for NIS 8.30.” [Arutz7USPS

A Jewish prayer book owned by Marilyn Monroe is going up for auction — by Spencer Parlier and Christina Zdanowicz: “The book belonged to screen icon Marilyn Monroe, and it’s going up for auction on November 12 by J. Greenstein & Co. auction house in Cedarhurst, New York. Monroe converted to Judaism in 1956 upon marrying playwright Arthur Miller. According to the Jewish Museum in New York, Monroe took her conversion seriously, citing her relationship with the Millers’ family rabbi, Robert E. Goldburg, as they used to study Judaic texts together. “It’s worn, there is no question about it. It has been clearly used,” Jonathan Greenstein told CNN.”[CNN]

SPOTTED YESTERDAY — at the installation of Edward Perlmutter as Board Chairman of ZAKA-US in NYC: Ambassador Danny Danon, Edward Mermelstein, ZAKA founder Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, Michael Miller, Malcolm Hoenlein, Ronn Torossian, Gennady Perepada, Boris Lantsman, Gaukhar Kapparova, Aiya Tulemaganbetova, Shai Franklin, David Ben-Hooren, Menachem Bar-Shalom, and David Rose. [Pic

BIRTHDAYS: Founder of Maniv Investments in 1997 and Maniv Mobility — Israel’s first venture capital fund dedicated exclusively to the new mobility future — Michael Granoff turns 5-0… Hedge fund manager, he is the co-founder of AQR Capital Management, Cliff Asness turns 52… Rheumatologist and founder of the San Diego Arthritis Medical Clinic in 1975, Dr. Michael Keller turns 73… Rochester, NY resident, Peggy Futerman turns 61… Rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Mayer E. Twersky turns 58… Professor of economics at Harvard who served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2012-2014), Jeremy Chaim Stein turns 58… CEO and founder of Crosscut Strategies, a DC-based public affairs firm, he was a senior advisor at OMB (2009-2012) and holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford University,  Kenneth Baer turns 46… Author and staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, Ariel Levy turns 44… Born in Haifa, raised in Sunnyvale, California, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Quixey, a search startup for apps (2009-2017), Tomer Kagan turns 35… Director and Co-Founder of OpenMind, Caroline Mehl… Ramsey, New Jersey-based licensed professional counselor with a Ph.D. in biological sciences, Dr. Shemsi Prinzivalli

Oct
16

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Daily Kickoff: Greenblatt reveals plan to unite Gaza and West Bank | Gary Vaynerchuk on upbringing in the Soviet Union | Mort Klein BDay

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FROM NAGOYA, JAPAN — Rabbi David Wolpe writes about the Japanese Man Who Saved 6,000 Jews With His Handwriting:“Even a hunter cannot kill a bird that flies to him for refuge.” This Samurai maxim inspired one gifted and courageous man to save thousands of people in defiance of his government and at the cost of his career. On Friday I came to Nagoya at the invitation of the Japanese government to speak in honor of his memory. The astonishing Chiune Sugihara raises again the questions: What shapes a moral hero? And how does someone choose to save people that others turn away?” [NYTimes]

PLAYBACK — Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, on his upbringing during a conversation with Hollywood manager Scooter Braun: “I was traded for wheat. I was born in the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, and nobody in my country had left that country for 40 years. You couldn’t leave. They didn’t let you leave. That’s what the Soviet Union was. And I got to leave as a three-year-old baby because 400,000 Jews got traded for wheat because Russia needed some wheat and America and Israel teamed up. To me, that is the most lucky thing.” [Video]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — Trump’s envoy reveals plan to unite Gaza and West Bank — by Attila Somfalvi: “The White House’s peace plan entails intentions to unify the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, told Ynet on Tuesday… “Once our plan is released, all parties should read it and judge it by its merits. The PLO should be a positive force to change people’s lives for the better, and not try to sway people before they have even seen our plan,” Greenblatt went on to say.” [Ynet

Australia May Follow Trump in Moving Israel Embassy to Jerusalem — by Jason Scott: “Australia should be open-minded to this,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday. “We’re committed to a two-state solution but, frankly, it hasn’t been going that well.” … Morrison said he would ask his Cabinet to consider recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the embassy switch… “I’m very thankful to him for this,” Netanyahu said in a tweet after speaking with Morrison.” [BloombergTheGuardian

— “According to the Australian press, this move by Morrison is about domestic politics as much as foreign policy. He’s attempting to win Jewish votes in an upcoming election for a seat in the lower house of Parliament. The Liberal party needs to win the seat in order to maintain its majority. The candidate for the seat from Morrison’s Liberal Party is Dave Sharma — the former Australian ambassador to Israel.” [Axios

ROAD TO THE MIDTERMS — Adelsons funneled $32 million into GOP coffers in September — by Lorraine Woellert and Maggie Severns: “Conservative mega-donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson funneled $32 million into Republican coffers in September… The Adelsons have spent at least $88 million on GOP causes so far this cycle, according to Federal Election Commission filings… They have also given smaller amounts to individual GOP candidates.”

“In September, the Adelsons also gave $2 million to ESAFund, which supports small-government candidates. Last quarter, the fund spent $1 million to oppose Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas.” [Politico]

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Kimberly Guilfoyle, Vice Chair of America First Action, at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s California bash in Beverly Hills: “The people in this room are making America great.” [Pic]

Texas Senate: Cruz hits O’Rourke for voting no on funds for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense – but he did, too — by Matthew Adams: “Sen. Ted Cruz asserts that Rep. Beto O’Rourke has “the most anti-Israel record of any Senate Democratic candidate.” To back up the claim, he points to one particular vote against funding for Iron Dome… The allegation may surface in Tuesday night’s debate in San Antonio, devoted in part to foreign policy. But Cruz’s allegation is oversimplified.”

“The Aug. 2014 vote was the first time O’Rourke did not support spending on Iron Dome. In May 2016, he voted against a budget bill that included Iron Dome funding… In June 2013, the House voted 315-108 for a defense spending bill that included over $235 million for Iron Dome. O’Rourke supported that bill. But when the Senate took up the measure, Cruz voted against it… In 2013, Cruz supported Sen. Rand Paul’s budget resolution, which would have slashed defense funding in 2013, including aid to Iron Dome. During the 2016 presidential campaigns, Sen. Marco Rubio attacked Cruz [for voting] against the National Defense Authorization Act three times. Each version included Iron Dome funding.” [DallasNews]

Nevada Senate: Former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden will be in Las Vegas this month to stump for Senate candidate Jacky Rosen and down-the-ballot candidates.

New York 01: Will Too Much Love From Trump Be a Bad Thing for a Long Island Congressman? — by Lisa Foderaro: “When [Rep. Lee] Zeldin kicked off his re-election campaign in June, two former Trump White House officials — Sebastian Gorka and Sean Spicer — were there. Mr. Trump was not, but he has since endorsed Mr. Zeldin… The question, however, is whether too much love from Mr. Trump will be a bad thing for Mr. Zeldin. The campaign of [Perry] Gershon… has lately gained momentum. His third-quarter donations topped $1.5 million, one of the biggest hauls in the state.”

“Mr. Gershon said he had never considered running for office until he visited the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington… “The Holocaust Museum helped me see how some of the actions at Trump rallies were consistent with the birth of authoritarian Germany — the demeaning of the press, the denial of scientific fact and persecution of immigrants,” said Mr. Gershon, who, like Mr. Zeldin, is Jewish.” “Mr. Zeldin… criticized Mr. Gershon for drawing a parallel between Mr. Trump and Nazi Germany, saying the comparison was “unhinged and disgusting.” [NYTimes]

Perry Gershon Leverages Hamptons Star Power In Race Featuring Two Jews — by Ben Fractenberg: “Lee Zeldin gets a large chunk of his funding from Sheldon Adelson,” Gershon pointed out while touring Stony Brook University before the [Alec] Baldwin event… “I think that says a lot about Lee Zeldin’s policies and the way he looks at life. I’m not a Sheldon Adelson guy. I’m proud of that fact. I advertise it.” [Forward]

Attack Ads Against Some Democrats Try to Portray Them as Terrorists — by Jennifer Steinhauer: “In California, Representative Duncan Hunter… has used the specter of terrorism to target [Ammar] Campa-Najjar, whose paternal grandfather, Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar, was involved with the plan to murder Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Germany… “It’s a whisper campaign,” Mr. Campa-Najjar said in an interview in a taco restaurant here. “One guy was cleared by the F.B.I. to work in the White House,” he said, referring to his time in the executive office under President Barack Obama. “The other was indicted by the F.B.I.”

In Virginia ((7th District), Abigail Spanberger is being attacked for ties to a Muslim high school where she briefly taught English as a substitute teacher… She has also been accused of being in favor of “giving $100 billion to the leading sponsor of terrorism,” a vague reference to supporting an antinuclear congressional deal with Iran.” [NYTimes]

Walter Russell Mead reviews Amy Kaplan’s book titled Our American Israel: The Story of an Entangled Alliance“Kaplan’s perspective as a scholar of American studies provides the key insight of this book: that the United States’ affinity for Israel has less to do with American Jewish activism than with deep cultural forces that have manifested themselves on both the left and the right over the years. In the 1940s and 1950s, for example, the left was the source of Israel’s most vocal U.S. support.” [ForeignAffairs]

DRIVING THE DAY — Saudis May Admit Khashoggi Was Killed in Interrogation by Mistake — by Gardiner Harris, David Kirkpatrick and Eileen Sullivan: “Saudi Arabia was preparing an alternative explanation of the fate of a dissident journalist on Monday, saying he died at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago in an interrogation gone wrong… President Trump echoed the possibility that Jamal Khashoggi was the victim of “rogue killers.” Mr. Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh on Monday to meet with King Salman.”

“The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, left Washington last week, returned to Riyadh and will not be returning… The Saudi Embassy in Washington also canceled its National Day party, which was scheduled for Oct. 18… Advisors close to Prince Mohammed said he was shocked by the universal condemnation after Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance.”[NYTimes]

Aaron David Miller tweets“If you believe the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was a rogue operation, I have an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty to sell you.”

‘Pissed’ Ari Emanuel Called Jared Kushner to Vent About Saudi Khashoggi Fiasco — by Asawin Suebsaeng and Maxwell Tani: “Ari Emanuel told top clients and others close to him that he had called… Jared Kushner last week to relay his frustration with the fallout from Khashoggi’s disappearance… Emanuel also told colleagues that he was “pissed” about the consequences of Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.” [DailyBeast] • Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor Is Said to Seek to Terminate Saudi Deal [Bloomberg]

When Business Executives Become Reluctant Statesmen — by Andrew Ross Sorkin: “How can we get out of this? That was the question repeatedly asked during a series of phone calls over the weekend by the biggest names in finance — Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Larry Fink of BlackRock and Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone — about how they could extricate themselves from a conference in Saudi Arabia… Mr. Fink called Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the chief executive of the Saudi Public Investment Fund and Uber board member, and encouraged him to delay the conference… Mr. Schwarzman called Mr. Mnuchin, pressing him to cancel his trip or to work with the Saudis to postpone the conference.”

“By Sunday night, Mr. Dimon decided he could not wait for more conference-call diplomacy: He declared he was out… Mr. Fink and Mr. Schwarzman decided to give the Saudis one more chance: If the conference was not postponed by 6 a.m. Monday, they would withdraw from the event. At 6 a.m., the event was still on, and the three biggest names in finance were out.” [NYTimes]

Think tanks reconsider Saudi support amid Khashoggi controversy — by Alexander Nazaryan: “On Friday, the Brookings Institution — the center-left think tank that is perhaps the capital’s most prominent — announced that it would sever its ties with Riyadh… In its statement, Brookings said it has “no plans to accept any potential funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or any of its known affiliates.” The Middle East Institute, a 72-year-old think tank in Washington, also appears to be considering a similar measure.”

“The Wilson Center, where Khashoggi has been offered and accepted a position as a fellow, said that in July, it had requested funds from the Saudi government for work on an index of female leaders… Wilson spokesman Ryan McKenna [said] that if it turns out that Khashoggi was indeed murdered by the Saudis, “we will withdraw our pending funding request.” [YahooNewsBuzzFeed]

TRANSITION — John Bolton’s chief of staff out at National Security Council — by Sarah Westwood: “Fred Fleitz, who joined the administration this summer, will soon return to the Center for Security Policy, the conservative think tank where he worked as vice president for policy prior to leaving for the NSC post… Fleitz will return as president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy starting in January 2019, according to the think tank… Its controversial founder and current leader, Frank Gaffney, will transition into the role of executive chairman after Fleitz succeeds him.” [CNN]

IRAN SANCTIONS — Trump Admin Facing Pressure to Sanction Iran’s Financial Sector — by Jenna Lifhits“Former officials and experts are urging the Trump administration to fully enforce a powerful set of sanctions against Iran’s financial institutions this November… “Failure to achieve the disconnection of such banks from the SWIFT financial messaging system would fall short of President Trump’s stated goal of imposing maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic and would make it easier for the regime to endure the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions,” write the officials and experts, who include Elliott Abrams, Michael Doran, Joe Lieberman, Mark Dubowitz, Jamie Fly… and others.” [WeeklyStandard

** 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: Singapore investor Temasek to acquire Israeli cybersecurity firm Sygnia [CNBC] • Continuing upheaval in CBS’s boardroom could increase the odds of a Viacom merger and determine whether former CEO Moonves gets a $120 million payout [WSJ] • Carl Icahn to Oppose Dell’s Purchase of DVMT Tracking Shares [WSJ] • Why New York Has So Many Empty Storefronts [TheAtlantic] • 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki and bioengineer Stephen Quake on unlocking the secrets hidden in blood and spit[Wired] • M.I.T. is setting up a new $1 billion A.I. initiative, with a $350 million gift from Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman [FT

Facebook Deleted Thousands of Accounts Ahead of Israeli Municipal Elections — by Omer Kabir and Amarelle Wenkert: “In recent weeks, Facebook has removed thousands of fake accounts which attempted to influence Israel’s upcoming municipal elections, according to Israel National Cyber Directorate.” [Calcalist]

Marc Benioff Wants to Tax Billionaires, Including Himself — by Alex Davis: “Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff thinks philanthropy is the wrong way to attack the social problems that have accompanied the tech explosion of the past decade… “Philanthropy can only scale so far,” Benioff said on stage at the WIRED25 summit… That’s why Benioff last week pledged $2 million (half of it from Salesforce, half from himself) to support Proposition C, a San Francisco ballot initiative that would impose a new tax on companies generating more than $50 million in gross receipts in San Francisco.” [Wired]

CAMPUS BEAT — The Vanishing Ivy League Jew — by Shira Telushkin: “Declining Jewish numbers are not just about Jews, as noted, but about changes within the universities themselves. In the same years that Penn went from being 20 percent Jewish to 13 percent Jewish, the overall population of white students—a category that would include most, though certainly not all, Jews—at Penn declined from 64 percent to 44 percent. That’s pretty huge. And this reality raises new questions for Jews, who in the span of a few decades went from being castigated outsiders to part of the establishment on Ivy League campuses.” [Tablet

DESSERT — Apple fixes its new bagel emoji with cream cheese and a doughier consistency — by Nick Statt: “Apple’s most egregious crime in recent memory — a subpar bagel emoji — has been rectified… In the fourth beta release of iOS 12.1, it appears that the bagel has been replaced with a new icon that features both cream cheese and a doughier consistency more reminiscent of a fresh, hand-rolled bagel and not the frozen and machine-cut grocery store variety it was accused of emulating in its original form.” [TheVerge]

REMEMBERING — Herbert D. Kleber, Pioneer in Addiction Treatment, Dies at 84 — by Katharine Q. Seelye: “[Dr. Herbert] Kleber helped elevate the study of addiction to a discipline, and over the course of his career the field attracted increasing clinical interest and research funding… Herbert David Kleber was born on June 19, 1934, in Pittsburgh to Dorothea (Schulman) and Max Kleber, both of whom were Eastern European Jewish immigrants. His father trained as a pharmacist before going into the family luggage business, “Kleber Trunk and Bag,” which manufactured soldiers’ footlockers during World War II. His mother raised bonds for the new state of Israel.” [NYTimes]

Prominent Israeli Lawyer Who Represented Netanyahu Dies at 71 — by Ofer Aderet and Aaron Rabinowitz: “Jacob Weinroth, one of Israel’s leading lawyers, who represented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, died of cancer on Tuesday at age 71… Born in a displaced persons’ camp in Germany in 1947 to a family from Poland, Weinroth and his family moved to Israel when he was 2 and settled in Netanya… Weinroth was a study in contrasts in other respects. Although as a lawyer he represented many of Israel’s wealthiest and most influential citizens, he said in his younger years, he was fascinated by the writings of Karl Marx.” [Haaretz]

BIRTHDAYS — Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), told us that he’s celebrating his birthday today in Washington, DC by meeting with members of Congress and attending a book launch event by former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka at the Trump International Hotel… Israeli attorney, chairman of Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball since 1969 (regular winner of the Israeli championship and six-time winner of European cup titles), he won the 2011 Israel Prize for sports, Shimon Mizrahi turns 79… Retired CFO of the airline industry’s ticket transaction settlement firm, Airlines Reporting Corporation, Chicago resident, Alfred Altschul turns 79… Film director, producer, screenwriter and creator of The Naked Gun franchise, David Zucker turns 71… Professor of economics at Smith College, he has written extensively on the business of sports, Andrew S. Zimbalist turns 71…

Director of policy and government affairs at AIPAC, Dr. Marvin C. Feuerturns 68… Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1999, David Linsky turns 61… Bestselling French novelist, one of whose books was made into Steven Spielberg’s “Just like Heaven,” Marc Levy turns 57… Actress best known for her television roles in Undressed, Santa Barbara and 8 Simple Rules, Kala Lynne Savage turns 40… Founder of The Gramlist, Brandon Jared Perlman turns 37… West Point graduate with an MBA from Touro College, he is a four-time US Army light-middleweight boxing champion who boxed with a Star of David on his trunks, Boyd “Rainmaker” Melson turns 37… Avi Fink turns 33… Senior at Tulane University, Sam Ginsberg

Kafe Knesset for September 8

Friday, September 8, 2017

Boom! After months of investigations, deliberations, leaks and discussions over Sara Netanyahu’s alleged criminal affairs – Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has officially announced that the PM’s wife will…

Kafe Knesset for September 7

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Mum’s the word: Israeli officials, as always, kept mum this morning as the country woke up to news of an air strike on a military factory in Syria….

Amendment cutting US aid to UNRWA & UNHRC advances

Thursday, September 7, 2017

WASHINGTON – An amendment from Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) that would sever U.S. aid to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) — an agency that exclusively assists…

Rep. Pocan blasts Palestinian Authority for arresting Amro

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

WASHINGTON – As one of the more outspoken Congressmen regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) spearheaded a June letter advocating on behalf of Palestinian activist Issa…

Kafe Knesset for September 6

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

From Hollywood to the interrogation room: The first rule of Fight Club is that there is no Fight Club. So maybe the fact that “Fight Club” producer Arnon…

Kafe Knesset for September 5

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Chief of Staff Curse: The criminal rope involving Netanyahu’s present advisors, past advisors and associates is increasingly tightening in recent days. The Police have shifted into high…