Oct
18

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Daily Kickoff: Senate divided on Corker Cotton bill | A Rabbi in Congress? | Soros transfers $18B to his foundation | The Justice RBG Workout

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ON THE HILL — Senate divided on Corker Cotton Iran sanctions legislation — by JI’s Aaron Magid: Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tom Cotton (R-AK) have revealed their intention to propose legislation that would amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) by reimposing nuclear sanctions if Iran came within a year of obtaining nuclear weapons, and thus eliminating the sunset provisions currently in place.

Moderate GOP Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was optimistic about the Corker Cotton bill. “I talked to both of them about it. I like the direction that they are going in, but I haven’t seen the specifics yet.” Collins also appeared to back President Trump’s announcement last week. “I think it’s important to note that the President did not impose sanctions, which he could have done, nor did he withdraw from the agreement. He identified some flaws.” … When asked if he backs the legislation, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) replied, “Yes. Why not? If you are a strong supporter of Israel, if you think Iran is a rogue nation, I think both are good reasons to do it.”

While declining to address the Corker Cotton bill directly, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told Jewish Insider, “The greatest danger Iran poses in the immediate future is (a.) ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and (b.) support of Hezbollah and its missiles in Lebanon. We should be tough on that.” Congress has already passed sanctions this year targeting Iran for its support of terrorism and ballistic missile program adding to the uncertainty that Schumer would support new nuclear-related sanctions against Iran now.[JewishInsider]

Schumer’s responds to Trump’s attack regarding flip-flop on nuclear deal — by Marcia Kramer: “I had a great deal of misgivings about the nuclear deal and voted against it,” Schumer said at a Sunday news conference. “But now we ought to see; give it time to work.” Schumer’s position is strange to some, because it puts him at odds with many in the Jewish community. They were opposed to the treaty then… and they were pleased by Trump’s decision not to recertify it. “Decertification sends a message that the United States, hopefully with other countries as well backing them, will stand up against Iran’s aggressiveness and aggression — which continues unabated,” said Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations…

Pressed to explain his change of heart, Schumer said he places great weight on the opinions of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They have said it is in the country’s national security interests to keep the treaty in place. “The worst things Iran is doing right now are not within the nuclear field, but outside it.”[CBS2

DRIVING THE DAY: “Haley to Press UN Security Council on Iran After Trump Decision” by Kambiz Foroohar: “[Nikki] Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will use a Wednesday Security Council meeting on “the situation in the Middle East” to once again take on Tehran’s ballistic-missile program and its support for Hezbollah and Syrian ruler Bashar Al-Assad… The meeting will be the first public effort to gauge international support for the U.S. position on Iran after Trump declined to certify a 2015 nuclear deal.” [Bloomberg] • Khamenei says Iran will ‘shred’ nuclear deal if U.S. quits it [Reuters]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Rex Tillerson and the Unraveling of the State Department” by Jason Zengerle: “Tillerson feared the crisis (between Qatar and Gulf countries) could destabilize the region. Mattis, meanwhile, was concerned about the United States air base in Qatar… Together, the two cabinet secretaries began working to get Trump to try to broker a resolution. But other members of the Trump administration argued against such a move, especially Jared Kushner. Ever since Trump’s election, Kushner had been the focus of an intense courtship by Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi; and the two men quickly formed a close friendship with the president’s son-in-law. So close, in fact, that the crown princes convinced Kushner… of the opportunity the blockade provided to further tilt American foreign policy toward the Saudis and away from Iran, according to the Trump adviser. “Rex saw it as a crisis to solve,” the adviser says. “Jared saw it as an opportunity to seize.”” [NYTimesMag]

“Heritage Foundation considers top White House aide, Cubs co-owner as next leader” by By Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and John Wagner: “The Heritage Foundation has narrowed its search for a new president down to a shortlist of finalists, a group that includes Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs… For Ricketts — a longtime Republican activists whose father Joe is the founder of TD Ameritrade and brother is Pete Ricketts, the current Nebraska governor — the posting would offer both him and his family an even greater foothold in helping shape the direction of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Trump selected Ricketts to serve as deputy commerce secretary, but in April he withdrew his nomination from consideration…” [WashPost]

“Trump narrows Fed chairmanship list, decision may come by November” by Brian Schwartz: “President Donald Trump has narrowed down his list for the Federal Reserve chairmanship to five candidates, including former Federal Reserve Gov. Kevin Warsh… National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and current Fed Chair Janet Yellen… The long awaited decision by Trump to either keep Yellen or move on to a chairman of his own will likely be made by his trip to Asia, which is scheduled to begin on November 3… All of the candidates have met with the president about the Fed’s leadership position, while Yellen will be at the White House for her interview on Thursday…  The inclusion of Cohn is a surprising one seeing that he was considered to be virtually out of the running after he took on his boss for his response to the violence in Charlottesville.” [FoxBusiness]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Kushner Adds Charles Harder to Legal Team As Pressure Mounts” by Gabriel Sherman: “According to sources familiar with the matter, the person in Trump’s orbit who may have the most to be worried about in Priebus’s testimony is Jared Kushner. Priebus has knowledge of Kushner’s proximity to the controversial decision to fire Comey during a weekend at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey… Trump was accompanied for the weekend by Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Stephen Miller… Kushner’s closeness to the discussion of firing Comey continues to be much discussed by current and former Trump administration officials, who see it as one of the main drivers of the administration’s present legal travails. Two sources familiar with the matter told me that prior to Comey’s dismissal, Kushner expressed concern to West Wing officials about the investigation. “He’s all over us,” Kushner told one official in February… “He was freaked out about Comey from day one,” one Trump adviser said.” [VanityFair

“Putin Rival Ties Kushner Meeting to Kremlin Bankers by Ari Melber, Meredith Mandell and Mirjam Lablans: “A prominent exiled Russian oligarch said… that he believes a top Russian banker was not “acting on his own behalf” when he held a controversial meeting with Jared Kushner last December. “I am almost convinced that Putin’s people have tried to influence the U.S. election in some way,” [Mikhail] Khodorkovsky told MSNBC’s Ari Melber.” [NBCNews

“Trump team’s leaks about Israel’s hack of Kaspersky Lab could further ‘damage’ ties” by Jack Moore: “The precise details of how Israel was able to hack into Kaspersky Lab’s systems were not disclosed, but what was revealed is that Israeli intelligence officers presented the NSA with evidence of Russian government hackers attempting to glean classified information about the U.S.’s covert programs… “It’s very sensitive. It could affect future collaboration, the chain of information,” says Daniel Cohen, researcher at Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC) at Tel Aviv University…. The continued leaks about the Israeli operations that appear to benefit Washington risk leaving Israel looking like Washington’s proxy in the Middle East, a view widely held by its enemies from Tehran to Damascus… The next time that Israel assists the U.S. at an intelligence level, there may be unease at how that information will be shared, whether in the Oval Office or in the press.” [Newsweek]

TOP TALKER: “Israel: No peace talks with Palestinian government reliant on Hamas” by Ori Lewis: “Pursuant to previous decisions, (Israel) will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel, as long as it does not fulfill the following conditions,” the statement began… Netanyahu’s call… could hamper U.S. mediation attempts to resume peace negotiations.” [Reuters]

KAFE KNESSET — Hamas not welcome — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Last night the Security Cabinet concluded a two-day session debating the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. A joint statement was issued describing Israel’s new “red lines” vis-a-vis negotiations with the Palestinians. According to an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Cabinet decided not to hold any talks with any Palestinian government that relies on Hamas support. The statement outlined a series of Israeli conditions to acknowledging any Palestinian reconciliation process, primarily reiterating the well-known Quartet principles, but adding a few new demands to the list, such as Hamas disarmament and disengagement from Iran. The Security Cabinet stopped short of adopting the more aggressive approach proposed by Naftali Bennett, who demanded that Israel cut all ties with the PA. But right-wing ministers said the decision was a “dramatic message to the US, Egypt and the Palestinians,” bracing themselves for increased pressure on Jerusalem to re-launch a peace process with a Palestinian unity government, if it will be formed later.

Several insiders told Kafe Knesset there was broad skepticism amongst the cabinet ministers about the reconciliation process and the prospect of it actually leading to a Palestinian unity government. “There are still serious unresolved issues between Hamas and Fatah, and the road to a Palestinian unity government is still far away,” one minister said, “but it is important that everyone understands that Abbas has to make a choice — he must disarm Hamas or abandon the reconciliation process in order for us to have any contact with him.” The opposition, in a series of tweets, ridiculed the cabinet decision. Zionist Union MK Amir Peretz mockingly congratulated the Cabinet for the “brave decision to stop negotiations that don’t exist.” Joint List leader Ayman Odeh tweeted: “Netanyahu’s guide to peace negotiations: If there are divisions = no negotiations, if there is unity = no negotiations. But at his next UN speech he will still say that his hand is extended towards peace.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

MEDIA WATCH — Netanyahu welcomes Evangelical Christian press: “For many years, Israel has held a summit for Jewish media outlets, cultivating those journalists as unofficial “ambassadors” to help promote Israel’s image abroad, said Nitzan Chen, the director of Israel’s Government Press Office. “Using the same logic,” it decided to reach out to Christian media… That strong support for Israel was evident at Netanyahu’s meeting with the visiting journalists. Netanyahu, who routinely spars with local media and has accused them of reporting “fake news” in their coverage of a series of corruption scandals, received a warm welcome. “Good to see you, my friend,” said one journalist before asking a question. “There’s no fake news here.” Netanyahu’s embrace of the Christian media echoes the strategy employed by Trump.” [CBSNews]

2018 WATCH: “Could this rabbi be a first in Congress?” by Mark Oppenheimer: “Robert B. Barr, who plans to file papers today to be a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in Ohio’s 1st District, is notable… for being the first who seems to have a good shot at winning. If he is the eventual nominee, his opponent would be Republican incumbent Steve Chabot, who lost once already, in the Obama landslide of 2008, before reclaiming his seat in 2010. Barr, 62, is at once the most traditional rabbi (of the three) ever to run for Congress, and the least. He’s the most traditional because he has been a pulpit rabbi, at Congregation Beth Adam, outside Cincinnati, since 1980… At the same time… his Judaism is seen, by some, as well outside the mainstream… Barr founded a congregation, Beth Adam, that belongs to none of the major branches of Judaism.” [WashPost]

STEVE & SHELDON — “Bannon hits up GOP mega-donors exasperated with McConnell” by Alex Isenstadt: “[Steve] Bannon met with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, the GOP’s most prominent donor, for several hours when he swung through Washington this month.” [Politico]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Barry Diller takes shots at VCs, startup valuations[TC] • El Al Hopes New Dreamliner Fleet Will Solve Its Woes, but That Won’t Happen Anytime Soon [Haaretz] • Disney’s Movies Face a Big Test, and Bob Iger Likes His Chances [Bloomberg] • The Wall Street Journal ‘bumps’ into Jeffrey Katzenberg in the elevator [Video] • Israel’s Delek Group Mulling $280M Sale of Royalties From Tamar Offshore Gas Field [Haaretz] • Isaac Kassirer to buy $100M UWS portfolio [RealDeal]

“What cities fighting for an Amazon headquarters can learn from Seattle” by Patrick Sisson: “South Lake Union exists as it does today because of Amazon—that’s just a fact,” says Jordan Selig, managing director of Martin Selig Real Estate, which has the company as a tenant at its building on Elliott Avenue West. “The majority of the office and residential buildings are occupied by Amazon’s employees.” [Curbed]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli startups beginning to see benefits of New York” by Navot Volk: “The NY marketplace is robust in terms of customers.” says Sam Gutmann, OwnBackup CEO, when asked why he decided to make the move from Israel to NYC instead of choosing the Valley… OwnBackup is a leading cloud-to-cloud backup & restore vendor… Gutman had another practical reason to choose the Big Apple over the Valley: “Our team is currently split between US and IL. The seven-hour difference between Israel and NYC means overlapping working hours rather than constantly coordinating calls with the west coast. This is a major positive factor for the remote team. It is also relatively easy to fly back and forth on the NY-IL route.” [Globes]  

SPOTLIGHT: “George Soros Transfers $18 Billion to His Foundation, Creating an Instant Giant” by Juliet Chung and Anupreeta Das: “George Soros, who built one of the world’s largest fortunes through a famous series of trades, has turned over nearly $18 billion to Open Society Foundations… Soros Fund Management LLC’s 87-year-old founder now shares influence over the firm’s strategy with an investment committee of Open Society. Mr. Soros set up the committee and is its chairman, but it is meant to survive him… Mr. Soros doesn’t plan to trade the billions that now belong to Open Society… He plans to give it most of the rest of his wealth in his lifetime or upon his death.” [WSJ]

“Book’s challenge: Can you do squats like Justice Ginsburg?” by Jessica Gresco: “Personal trainer Bryant Johnson hears it all the time: Four more years. That’s how long fans of his client, 84-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, tell him he has to keep her healthy so that a one-term President Donald Trump doesn’t get to name the liberal Justice’s replacement on the Supreme Court. Johnson’s response: Why just four years? Why not 14? … And it’s resulted in a new workout book written by Johnson, out Wednesday: “The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong … and You Can Too!” Johnson said he hopes the book will show people: “You’re never too old to do something.” Ginsburg started working out with Johnson in 1999 after being treated for colorectal cancer. As Ginsburg tells the story, her husband told her she looked “like a survivor of a concentration camp” and needed to do something to rebuild her strength.” [AP]

“The Closing: David Greenfield” By Will Parker: “Are you a local celebrity in Brooklyn? “Kids in the neighborhood collect business cards and, apparently, mine is very valuable, especially if they can get my autograph. They stop me all the time, ask for my card, and then trade them at school. I think you can get like five cards for one Greenfield, so that’s pretty cool.”” [TRD]

SIGHTINGS — Yehiel M Kalish tweets: “When Nancy Pelosi sits down next to you on the plane! Such a nice person. Took pictures and answered questions from passengers. Very leader like!” [Pic]

At Reserve Cut Kosher Steakhouse in NYC: “It was a pleasure having Donald J Trump Jr. dine with us.” [Pic]

DESSERT: “Eating along the B line: Tasty, cheap eats on the Upper West Side” by Rachel Wharton: “Fine & Schapiro may have changed hands a few times since the Jewish deli opened in 1927, says current owner Eduard Taubes, but he’s made sure the place has stayed true to its Eastern European roots. Taubes, a Russian native who took over the reins in 1991, is a stickler for the details, making sure old cooks train new ones, that each table still gets cole slaw and pickles, and that the pastrami and corned beef for your “King Size” combo is both nicely fatty and sliced to order. Those are but a few of the New York City Jewish culinary traditions kept alive at Fine & Schapiro.” [NYDailyNews]

BIRTHDAYS: Engineer, philanthropist, co-founder and former chairman of Qualcomm, Irwin M. Jacobs turns 84… 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 67… Principal analyst at Kiernan Group Holdings, he is a homeland security and counterterrorism expert, Joshua B Sinai, Ph.D. turns 66… Founder of Dimension Films, former co-chairman of Miramax Films, and current head of the Weinstein Company after his brother Harvey was dismissed, Robert “Bob” Weinstein turns 63… Political strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and writer, he is the president of a consulting firm, the Economic Future Group, Jonathan Tasini turns 61… Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (2009-2014), he also held high level positions at the US Treasury during the Clinton administration (1997-2001), Gary Genslerturns 60… ESPN television host, sports reporter, and anchor, Rachel Nicholsturns 44… Moscow-born journalist who emigrated to the US when she was 7 years old, she covers national security and foreign policy topics for The Atlantic, Julia Ioffe turns 35… Politico’s White House reporter, Annie Karni turns 34 (h/ts Playbook)… VP of eCommerce at Israel365, Ayal Kellman turns 32… Founder of Coalesce Advisors and former president at Birthright Israel Foundation, David Fisher… Director of Development and Academic Programs at AEI, Suzanne Gershowitz

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Oct
17

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Daily Kickoff: Meet the U.S. Senate candidate married to a Rabbi | Sneak Peek of DC’s Bible Museum | The secret, kosher origins of fruit roll-ups

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2018 WATCH — The Army Pilot, Married to a Rabbi, Seeking Corker’s Senate Seat in Tennessee — by JI’s Aaron Magid: By most measures, the southern state of Tennessee would appear to be a significant challenge for any Democrat in the upcoming 2018 U.S. Senate race. Nonetheless, with incumbent Senator Bob Corker announcing his retirement last month — the chances for any new candidate slightly rose. It is into this vacuum that James Mackler has emerged: a Jewish Army veteran during the war in Iraq who, if elected, would likely be the first U.S. Senator married to a Rabbi. His wife, Shana Goldstein Mackler, is the rabbi at the Reform Temple Ohabai Sholom in Nashville. “If I can serve my community as a U.S. Senator, half as well as my wife serves her community as a member of the clergy, I will be doing great,” Mackler told Jewish Insider.

After September 11, Mackler — citing inspiration from his grandfather who fought in World War II — left his law practice and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served as a blackhawk pilot for the 101st Airborne Division before departing to Iraq in 2005. Mackler ties his military service to his support for the U.S. – Israel relationship. “As someone who joined the Army after 9/11 at a time of conflict, I have tremendous respect for Israelis who serve universally understanding for them there is always an existential threat to their nation. The fact that the US has such a strong democratic partner in the Middle East is so meaningful to me as a Jew and also as a service member and as an American.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

“Corker: Trump criticism had been ‘building for some time'” by Manu Raju: “Look I’ve been expressing concerns for some time and it’s built over time,” [Bob] Corker said Monday. “I’ve had private dinners, I’ve had private phone calls, I’ve tried to intervene on topics that I thought things were going in a different direction and are not going to be good for our country.” … Despite the flap, Trump needs Corker — who is chairman of the foreign relations committee — to help usher through new legislation on the Iran nuclear accord… In order to win over support in Congress, particularly from Democrats, Corker contended that the Trump administration needs to allay fears from Europe that the legislation would not blow up the nuclear accord with Iran.” [CNN

Ali Rogin‏: “Bob Corker says he’s shared legislative language on possible Iran bill changes with SFRC Dem counterpart Senator [Ben] Cardin.” [Twitter]

ON THE HILL — Sen. Schatz: “No way” Corker-Cotton bill passes — by Aaron Magid: Despite increased talk on Capitol Hill to strengthen sanctions against Iran, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) dismissed the possibility that legislation targeting Tehran sponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) will advance into law. Last week, the Republican Senators revealed their intention to amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) by reimposing nuclear sanctions if Iran came within a year of obtaining nuclear weapons, eliminating the sunset provisions. “There is no way this will pass,” Schatz told Jewish Insider on Monday. “It is crazy because Iran got what it wanted (initial sanctions relief), so Iran will be cheerleading anything that allows the U.S to break the deal because then they get their money and nuclear program too. It’s the worst of all worlds.”

In contrast to an Iran sanctions bill introduced by Senators Corker and Ben Cardin (D-MD) which passed overwhelmingly (98-2) earlier this year, the Corker Cotton legislation has not garnered sponsorship from any Democrats. The bill will require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and will need to attract backing from at least eight Democrats. Even Democratic lawmakers who voted against the JCPOA in 2015 have argued against decertification and in favor of preserving the nuclear agreement. “We will not buy into the false premise that it is Congress’ role to legislate solutions to problems of [Trump’s] own making,” Cardin said last week. [JewishInsider]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Trump hints at withdrawing from the nuclear deal at the start of a cabinet meeting: “I feel strongly about what I did. I’m tired of being taken advantage of as a nation… and we’ll see what phase two is. Phase two might be positive, and it might be very negative. It might be a total termination. That’s a very real possibility; some would say that’s a greater possibility. But it could also could turn out to be very positive. We’ll see what happens. I thought the tone of the Iranian leaders was very modified, and I was happy to see that, but I don’t know if that means anything. They’re great negotiators.”

“Donald Trump should pursue bigger, better Iran deal” – by YJ Fischer, former assistant coordinator for Iran nuclear implementation at the State Department during the Obama administration“In the early days of implementation of the nuclear agreement, it was my job to travel around the world explaining to international banks and companies that they could now invest in Iran, even encouraging them to do so… The Obama administration was concerned that the Iranians would withdraw from the agreement unless they saw real economic benefits from sanctions relief. It turns out we didn’t have to worry. The Iranians were so desperate for an economic boost, they’d take whatever they could get — and still would… We shouldn’t walk away from the nuclear agreement, but we should get more for U.S. companies and regional security. Now is the time to go back to the negotiating table to get more for more.” [USAToday]

BIBI STEALS HILLARY’S LINE — Netanyahu tells Zarif to delete his Twitter account: “In a video message posted to Twitter Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had some choice words for Iran’s foreign minister: “Delete your account.” Netanyahu made the order after… Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that all Iranians are part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and give their support. Netanyahu… said he would “love to know what the Iranian people think of that tweet. Sadly, the regime bans them from using Twitter. Ironic, don’t you think?”” [FoxNews]

“Trump making history by seeking changes to Iran deal, Israel’s intelligence minister says” by Ruth Eglash: “Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz… who has ambitions to become Israel’s next prime minister — compared the landmark nuclear accord… to a modern-day equivalent of the infamous Munich Agreement in 1938… “The threat from Iran is serious. I compare the nuclear deal to the Munich Agreement. I am not saying that Trump is like [former British prime minister] Winston Churchill, but I believe if Churchill had had the chance to cancel or change the agreement [Churchill’s predecessor Neville] Chamberlain reached with Hitler, then we might have prevented what happened after that,” Katz said.” [WashPost

“Trump’s Iran Strategy Looks Ominously Familiar” by Philip Gordon: “The similarities with the 2003 Iraq war are striking, starting with the president’s manipulation of facts and intelligence to suit his political purposes… Another striking similarity to 2002 is the role being played by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… Netanyahu, however, would perhaps be a more reliable expert witness today had he not testified to Congress in 2002 that there was “no question whatsoever” that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons and if he had not “guaranteed” that an invasion of Iraq would have “enormous positive reverberations on the region,” especially on Iran.”[PoliticoMag]

“If Trump Wants to Confront Iran, He Should Start in Kirkuk” by Ranj Alaadin: “The Peshmerga dominated Kirkuk because the Iraqi army collapsed and withdrew from the province in 2014, when the Islamic State launched its offensive. If the oil-rich territory had remained under Kurdish control, it would have dramatically altered the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil… For Iran, an emboldened Kurdistan is tantamount to a stronger United States, which is in the process of building permanent military bases in Kurdistan.” [FP]

“Israel Moves Ahead on West Bank Settlements, but Guardedly” by Isabel Kershner and David Halbfinger: “In restricting the number of final approvals now… [Netanyahu’s] government may also be taking into account some other Israeli priorities. Among them are the campaign against Iran and the joint interests he has been pushing with Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, with which Israel has no formal diplomatic relations… Based on several meetings he had with Mr. Netanyahu, [Oded] Revivi (chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council) believes the Trump administration has not really drawn clear lines about what settlement it could live with. “They said to the prime minister, ‘We are not going to put any limits on you, but just make sure that what you do doesn’t get us upset,’ Mr. Revivi said.” [NYTimes

KAFE KNESSET — To evacuate or not to evacuate? — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: New Labor chair Avi Gabbay has been making headlines for a few days now with a series of statements signaling an apparent “wink at the right” in an attempt to appeal to non-traditional Labor voters. Gabbay declared that he will not sit in a government with the Joint Arab List – which, of course, none of his predecessors have done either. He also doubted the notion of a Palestinian partner in the peace process in different public appearances earlier this week. Yesterday Gabbay made waves with another political hot potato: settlements. “If you make a peace agreement, then you can find solutions that do not require evacuation,” Gabbay said in an interview on Channel 2.  Gabbay added that he believes that the “dynamics and terminology we use in terms of making a peace agreement – which includes evacuation – is not necessarily correct.”

This is not the first time Gabbay presented this position, but it prompted a series of strong reactions from all around the political system. Right-wing politicians depicted Gabbay’s statements as proof of the settlers’ ideological victory. Left-wing figures blasted Gabbay for trying to appease the settlers. Tzipi Livni, Gabbay’s partner in the Zionist Union, sent out an SMS message stressing that Gabbay’s stance does not reflect her “Hatnua” party’s position, nor that of the Zionist Union, while Labor MK Itzik Shmuli tweeted that “separation into two states is an existential interest that will require painful concessions and evacuation of territory.” Other Labor MKs were less combative but did stress the traditional Labor distinction between settlement blocs and isolated settlements. Meretz MK Ilan Gilon accused Gabbay of “forgetting that he was chosen to head the alternative camp to the Likud, and that there is no political solution that does not include a territorial compromise.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Unity deal could allow Hamas leader to become PA president” by Daniel Siryoti: “A cunning plan to pave the way for senior Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to win the Palestinian Authority presidency after current President Mahmoud Abbas may have been the true aim behind Hamas’ willingness to compromise… One of the main articles in the intra-Palestinian reconciliation agreement deals with the option for significant reforms to both to the PLO and Hamas in the future that would allow Hamas to join the PLO. Such a move would pave the way for Mashaal to declare his candidacy.” [IsraelHayom] • Netanyahu: Israel Won’t Cut Ties With Palestinian Authority Over Unity Deal With Hamas [Haaretz]

“Unesco Shmunesco” by Shmuel Rosner: “Enter President Trump. An Israeli strategy 70 years in the making is suddenly severely undermined… Mr. Netanyahu then announced that when the United States quits Unesco, Israel will follow suit. It has no alternative. Israel can’t possibly let the United States leave an organization over anti-Israel bias and still remain a member itself… But the truth is, Israel would prefer to continue its longtime strategy at the United Nations: staying a member and fighting for Israel’s interests.”[NYTimes]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Hillel International Threatened to Cut Ties With Israeli Government Over Database of U.S. Jewish Students” by Judy Maltz: “Hillel International, the largest Jewish student organization in the world, threatened to end its partnership with the Israeli government if it didn’t immediately drop its plan to create a database of all Jewish students in the United States. This ultimatum forced the Diaspora Affairs Ministry to suspend the project late Sunday night… The proposed database was meant to help the Israeli government reach out to Jewish students in the United States and try to engage them more effectively.” [Haaretz

“Scaramucci-backed outlet runs online poll on ‘how many Jews were killed’ in Holocaust” by Rebecca Savransky: “A Twitter account linked to former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s so-called news outlet tweeted out a poll Tuesday about how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust. The tweet was taken down about an hour after it was posted, and The Scaramucci Post apologized if it offended anyone. “The intent of the poll was to highlight ignorance of the basic facts of the Holocaust. I take full responsibility for it,” the account tweeted.” [TheHill]

SNEAK PEEK: “D.C.’s huge new Museum of the Bible includes lots of tech — but not a lot of Jesus” by Michelle Boorstein, Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey: “The Museum of the Bible, a massive new institution opening next month just south of the Mall, is just as notable for what it ­includes — vivid walk-through re-creations of the ancient world, one of the world’s largest private collections of Torahs… A sensory room with images of animals, minor-key music and creaking boat sounds meant to evoke the “chaos” on board Noah’s Ark… With the input of Jewish scholars, they added lines to the script of a film to be shown at the museum so it includes not just Protestant biblical interpretation but also more context about the development of the rabbinical Talmud.” [WashPost]

TOP TALKER: “McCain, in speech, denounces ‘spurious nationalism'” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “The Arizona Republican, his voice wavering at points after a program celebrating his life and service in the military and Congress — former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at one point called him “a founding father of our time”… “To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems,” McCain said, “is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.” … In his introduction, Schultz echoed the themes of the evening. “There are some who question what this nation has become, our commitment to our founding values,” he said. “Perhaps they do not know where to look.” The answer, Schultz said, is McCain.” [Politico]

“Upswingers and Downswingers” by David Brooks: “Politics gets nasty in these “hatchet” periods because downswingers have a tropism toward ethnic and identity politics… Downswinging populists are taking over the Republican Party… The best thing upswingers can do in these times is to respect the downswinger critique — we’re in this moment for a reason — without falling for its ultimate pessimism. But the global populist tide is not going to be held off just by passing a new tax cut or a few other bills. There has to be economic, social and political solidarity with those left behind, as well as penance from those who did the leaving. There has to be a convincing story of where we are in history.” [NYTimes

NEXT GEN POLITICS: “Levin mum on re-election bid” by Melissa Nann Burke: “Longtime Rep. Sandy Levin has delayed announcing whether he’ll run for another term in Congress, fueling speculation that the 86-year-old Royal Oak Democrat might retire… Among the other potential successors to Levin is his son, Andy Levin, who lives in Bloomfield Township and is reportedly mulling a run for governor.” [DetroitNews]

“Dan Koh has a lot of high-profile donors from the world of sports and business” by Nik DeCosta-Klipa: “Dan Koh, the 32-year-old Andover native who previously served as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s chief of staff, turned more than a few heads earlier this month when he announced he raised $755,000 in just the first month of his congressional campaign. Seth Klarman, who runs a local investment firm and is New England’s top Republican donor, donated $2,700 to Koh. So did local power broker John Fish, the CEO of Suffolk Construction… Josh Kushner — who is the “liberal brother” of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and runs a technology investment firm in New York — donated the maximum as well… Josh Kraft, the CEO of the Girls & Boys Club of Boston and son of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, gave $500.” [Boston]

** 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: Microsoft adding former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to board [CNBC] • Work on Israel-Cyprus-Greece electricity link to start 2018 [ABCNews] • Redstone’s Ex-Companion Sues His Daughter, Grandson [WSJ] • The Mystery Of Wilbur Ross’ Missing Billions [Forbes]

STARTUP NATION: “In Israel Ultra-Orthodox Women Emerge as Tech Entrepreneurs” by Gwen Ackerman: “Avital Beck, 35, who has six children and a doctorate in molecular biology, co-founded her company MilkStrip so she could hold a challenging job and have flexible hours to spend time with her children. “Because most senior jobs in the tech industry are so inflexible, it just made sense to found my own company,” Beck said. Similarly, Tikva Schmidt, a software systems architect with 10 children, founded TIDE Technology, an outsourcing firm offering software architecture and development solutions, to provide high-level jobs for haredi women, while allowing them to raise their children.” [Bloomberg]

HOLLYWOOD: “Katzenberg Predicts Movie Studios Will Embrace Bite-Sized Entertainment” by Erich Schwartzel: “In an interview at The Wall Street Journal’s D.Live technology conference, [Jeffrey] Katzenberg said his company, WndrCo LLC, is building a venture that will cater to younger consumers and their mobile-first method of consuming entertainment… He envisions bite-sized entertainment that is easily watched on the phone at much higher production values than the videos found on YouTube Inc… The content will launch on an app-based service aimed at consumers aged 18 to 34 years old, with plans to cater to more demographics down the road.” [WSJ]

“Jeffrey Katzenberg: Harvey Weinstein Is a Monster, But Didn’t Act Alone” by Janko Roettgers: “Former Dreamworks chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg repudiated his former colleague Harvey Weinstein at Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference… but also said that Weinstein couldn‘t have acted alone… “Make no mistake about it: He is a monster,” Katzenberg said. However, Weinstein had not been a lone actor, but had instead been protected by other men around him. “There is a pack of wolves.” [VarietyCNET]

“‘Beautiful Girls’ Scribe Scott Rosenberg On A Complicated Legacy With Harvey Weinstein” by Mike Fleming Jr: “Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg just wrote a thought provoking post on his Facebook account about his early days at Miramax Films,. There, he wrote the memorable movies Beautiful Girls and Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead, and was part of that period when Harvey Weinstein became the center of the indie universe… “Everybody-f***ing-knew. But everybody was just having too good a time. And doing remarkable work; making remarkable movies. As the old joke goes: We needed the eggs. Okay, maybe we didn’t NEED them. But we really, really, really, really LIKED them eggs. So we were willing to overlook what the Golden Goose was up to, in the murky shadows behind the barn.” [Deadline]

“Mayim Bialik Responds to Backlash Over Harvey Weinstein Op-Ed” by Joe Otterson: “[It] has become clear to me that there are people who think I implied or overtly stated that you can be protected from assault by the clothing that you wear or the behavior that you exhibit,” Bialik said in a Facebook Live video with the New York Times. “That is absolutely not what my intention was and I think it is safe for me to start this conversation by saying there is no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave.” [Variety]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Fire-damaged Hagafen Cellars kosher winery reopens tasting room” by Sue Fishkoff: “The tasting room reopened this morning at Hagafen Cellars, the only kosher winery in the Napa Valley and Sonoma, although the property sustained heavy damage last week from the Atlas Peak fire. “As of today, we are open,” owner and winemaker Ernie Weir told J. by phone on Oct. 16. “The tasting room was impacted, but not so much that we can’t open. We’re waiting now for our first tourist.” Asked what the public can do to help, Weir didn’t hesitate. “Come visit,” he urged. “Keep the Napa and Sonoma wine business going.” [JWeekly]

“[Florida] Gov. Scott wants to give Jewish schools $1 million for security” by Kyra Gurney: “Gov. Rick Scott… announced the proposal… at Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton. The funds would help Florida’s Jewish day schools pay for video cameras, bulletproof glass, alarm systems and other safety equipment to protect thousands of students… “Every Florida student deserves to have the opportunity to learn in a safe and comfortable setting,” Scott said. “After Florida’s Jewish community received hateful threats last year, we saw the need to provide additional security so the children that attend Jewish Day Schools can learn without having to worry about feeling threatened.”” [MiamiHerald

SCENE YESTERDAY IN JERUSALEM — President Reuven Rivlin met with Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University in New York at his residence in Jerusalem. YU faculty member and former Ambassador Danny Ayalon also attended the meeting. [Pic

DESSERT: “The Surprising, Secret Origins of Fruit Roll-Ups” by Gabriella Gershenson: “To stay in business, the Shalhoubs quickly rethought who they should be selling their product to. “I was talking to my dad and I was like, ‘Dad, look, it’s a traditional Middle Eastern treat for Arab people, but Arabs aren’t a growing population,’” says Ray. “‘We have to do something different.’” By his assessment, the growing populations were Jewish and Hispanic. Ultimately, they went after kosher business because of some cultural and geographical commonality with the Arab population. A friend introduced the Shalhoubs to Kof-K Kosher Supervision, then a budding certifier of kosher foods, now an international powerhouse whose clients include Pepsi and ConAgra. “We were one of their first accounts and we’ve been with them since 1977,” says Ray. Joray found its footing, and has since become synonymous with kosher treats, Jewish delicatessens, and specialty shops. “Once you develop a reputation and trust within the kosher community, people are very loyal,” says Ray.” [Thrillist]

BIRTHDAYS: Rheumatologist and founder of the San Diego Arthritis Medical Clinic in 1975, Dr. Michael Keller turns 72… Rochester, NY resident, Peggy Futerman turns 60… Rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, he is a son of Professor Isadore Twersky and a a grandson of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, he also serves as the Rebbe of the Talne hasidic dynasty, Rabbi Mayer E. Twersky turns 57… 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 57… Hedge fund manager, he is the co-founder of AQR Capital Management, Cliff Asness turns 51… Founder of Maniv Investments and Maniv Mobility (Israel’s first venture capital fund dedicated exclusively to the new mobility future), Michael Granoff turns 49… Author and staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, Ariel Levy turns 43…  Ken Baer, founder of Crosscut Strategies and former Obama WH OMB associate director (h/t Playbook)… 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 34…

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

Oct
16

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Daily Kickoff: Trump attacks Schumer on Iran deal — “tell that to Israel, Chuck!” | Susan Rice tweets shade at AIPAC | Why Les Wexner favors Columbus

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OVERNIGHT: Israeli military strikes anti-aircraft battery in Syria: “The Israeli military said it struck and destroyed an anti-aircraft battery deep in Syria on Monday after it had opened fire on Israeli jets flying over Lebanon — the first such incident of Syrian forces targeting Israeli planes since the civil war began in 2011. Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said Israeli planes were on a routine reconnaissance mission near the Lebanese-Syrian border when they came under fire. They were not hit and returned to base safely… Russian forces in Syria were notified in real time, Conricus said.”[AP]

“The Coming Confrontation Between Israel and Iran” by Elliott Abrams: “If Iran does indeed plan to establish a large and permanent military footprint in Syria—complete with permanent naval and air bases and a major ground force—Israel will have fateful decisions to make. Such an Iranian presence on the Mediterranean and on Israel’s border would change the military balance in the region and fundamentally change Israel’s security situation.” [TheAtlantic]

Long-Read: “The Danger of President Pence” by Jane Mayer: “Before Pence took over the transition team, [Chris] Christie had warned Trump not to give a high-level job to the retired general Michael Flynn… On November 11, 2016, Christie was chairing a transition meeting, when, according to four sources, Flynn walked in with an ally, General Keith Kellogg. “Gentlemen, can I help you?” Christie asked. Ivanka Trump, who was a member of the transition team’s executive council, announced that she had invited them. Christie tried to reclaim control of the meeting, but Ivanka took over. Praising Flynn’s “amazing loyalty to my father,” she turned to him and asked, “General, what job do you want?” A participant at the meeting said, “It was like Princess Ivanka had laid the sword on Flynn’s shoulders and said, ‘Rise and go forth.’ ”

“(A source close to Ivanka didn’t deny the account, but said that it exaggerated her role, and that she was merely trying to show appreciation for Flynn’s support.) … A few hours later, Christie was deposed. Kushner, he felt, had humiliated him a second time. Bannon, who was given the job of dismissing him, admitted to Christie that Kushner had been against him all along, for personal reasons.” [NewYorker]

“Back online after Shabbat” — Ivanka Trump posted on Snapchat Saturdayevening recapping her day speaking at the World Bank IMF Annual Meetings [Pic]

Ivanka and Jared Kushner hosted children from Chai Lifeline at the White House last week: “Honored to spend yesterday afternoon bowling with these amazing kids. Thank you for visiting us at the White House!” [Instagram]

COMING SOON: “Vice President Mike Pence will be the guest of honor at an Israeli gathering celebrating seventy years since the November 29, 1947 United Nations vote that called for the establishment of a Jewish State. Pence will be the keynote speaker at the event hosted by Israel’s permanent mission to the United Nations. The celebration will take place in New York’s Queens Museum, in the same building which served as the UN headquarters from 1946 to 1950. The Israeli delegation said that during the celebration, the hall will be redesigned to appear in its original state from 1947.” [JPost]

DRIVING THE CONVO: “Trump national security team preaches calm over Iran deal but warns U.S. might still leave” by Anne Gearan and John Wagner: “Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said that the president’s threat to cancel the Iran deal “set out a marker” for the United States and its allies to fix what he called “a weak deal that is being weakly monitored.” … McMaster insisted that “the president’s not walking away from the deal yet” and wants to see “some real change.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said… “If we don’t see improvement, there is no sense in staying in, and he has every intention of walking out.”” [WashPost

WHAT’S NEXT? “Trump leaves Republicans with heavy lift on Iran deal” by Richard Lardner: “Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Friday he’ll reserve judgment on any legislation but has “serious doubts about whether it is even possible to fix such a dangerously flawed agreement.” … Taking the lead will be the Republican whom Trump has been feuding with — Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee… Corker promised an open legislative process. “You’re going to see all this evolve in daylight,” he said, adding that the bill could be introduced in the next two weeks… The legislation would… reduce from four to two the number of times a year Trump is required to certify to Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement. It would also rid the deal of sunset provisions.” [AP]

“The president leaves Congress to fix the mess he’s made on Iran” by Josh Rogin: “The president’s plan doesn’t make sense,” said Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Negotiating additional terms to the nuclear deal requires a coalition of international partners, not unilateral congressional action.” Democrats know they are being set up to take the fall if Congress fails to act. They expect Trump to accuse them of being weak on Iran. Nevertheless, Senate Democratic aides said, they don’t want to be complicit in a process that could lead to the United States being in violation of the agreement.” [WashPost

POTUS tweets this morning: “Dem Senator Schumer hated the Iran deal made by President Obama, but now that I am involved, he is OK with it. Tell that to Israel, Chuck!” [Twitter]

BOLTON BACK? — “Nikki Haley was Trump’s Iran whisperer” by Eliana Johnson: “Haley’s role was described by a half-dozen administration officials who took part in the Iran policy review. While many of the president’s Cabinet members, aides and advisers work to restrain his impulses, when it came to the Iran deal Haley did the opposite… Haley wasn’t alone. The fingerprints of former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton… were also on Trump’s Friday address in the form of a warning that Trump… could still cancel the deal “at any time.” The line was added to Trump’s speech after Bolton, despite Kelly’s recent edict, reached the president by phone on Thursday afternoon from Las Vegas, where Bolton was visiting with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson… The former U.N. ambassador supports a full U.S. withdrawal from the deal, something he told Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, during a meeting earlier this week.” [Politico

“Trump’s Boldest Foreign Policy Move Today Wasn’t Decertifying The Iran Deal” by John Hudson and Borzou Daragahi: “Another move Trump took on Friday could have a far more sweeping impact on US foreign policy in the Middle East: Labeling the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorists under an obscure Treasury Department designation… In a speech ahead of the designation, Trump heralded the move – the first time Washington has labeled the military branch of another country as terrorists… The main backers of a blanket terrorist designation of the IRGC include John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN, and Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies… Dubowitz… has become newly relevant in a US administration seeking more ideas for ways to clamp down on Iran. He has met repeatedly with top White House and State Department officials, including Brian Hook, the director of policy planning and Tillerson’s de facto right-hand man.” [BuzzFeed

VIEW FROM JERUSALEM — “Netanyahu commends Trump’s Iran deal, gives U.S. leverage” by Megan Henney: “Since the Iran deal was signed, Iran has been like a tiger unleashed from its cage,” Netanyahu told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo. “It’s not joining the community of nations, it’s devouring nations left and right. Refusing to go along with a bad deal is a good thing, an important thing, even a historic thing that’s certainly important for world peace.” [FoxBusinessCBN]  

— Netanyahu on Face the Nation: “I suggest that, you know, when Israel and the key Arab states agree on something, you know, you should pay attention… Remember I stood in the U.N. a few years ago and I drew that red line? That’s before the deal. They didn’t cross it because they knew what the stakes are. And Iran today knows that if they do what you just said, they’re going to get crippling sanctions on their head. The U.S. alone can do that.” [CBSNews

Susan Rice tweets ‘BS’ to AIPAC’s praise of Trump’s Iran policy speech — by Daniel Roth: “Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice tweeted a short but stinging response to one of the most powerful pro-Israel lobbying groups in the nation after the organization praised the President’s latest speech on Iran. Rice, who served in the Obama administration, tweeted ‘BS’ to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) praising Donald Trump’s remarks.” [DailyMail]

Flashback to 2015 — Susan Rice speaking at AIPAC’s Policy Conference: “It’s great to be back at AIPAC.” [Transcript

HEARD YESTERDAY — Hillary Clinton on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS: “I think it’s very dangerous… I know that Iran plays a game of aggressiveness and undermining of our interests and the interests in the region — there’s no argument about that. But my point has been and remains, I would much rather deal with Iran’s other bad behavior while not worrying at this moment about their nuclear program getting up and going again. And why on earth would we want two nuclear challenges in Iran and North Korea at the same time?” [CNN]

“UNESCO Gets First Jewish Director, Day After U.S. Leaves Over ‘Anti-Israel’ Bias” by Robbie Gramer and Colum Lynch: “A day after the United States and Israel pulled out of the U.N. culture and education body citing anti-Israel bias, UNESCO elected its first ever Jewish director general. Audrey Azoulay, France’s former culture minister, eked out a win over Qatar’s candidate and frontrunner Hamad bin Abdoulaziz Al-Kawari… U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley didn’t mince words when she outlined the U.S. withdrawal in a statement released on Thursday: “Its extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment,” she said, citing a “long line of foolish actions” including designating the Israeli-occupied ancient city of Hebron as a Palestinian world heritage site… UNESCO’s outgoing director general, Irina Bokova… acknowledged that the U.S. departure, coupled with that of Israel, is “a blow to the organization. It will certainly take its toll.”” [FP

ON THE HILL — Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) plan to introduce a resolution “reaffirming the deep historical connection between the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem.” The resolution also condemns UNESCO for the anti-Israel resolutions it has passed in recent years. “The Trump Administration has demonstrated strong moral clarity in deciding to withdraw and continuing to withhold U.S. taxpayer dollars from UNESCO as a result of its relentless hostility towards our close ally Israel,” Cruz said.

“U.S. Exit From UNESCO Took Israel by Surprise, Was Uncoordinated” by Barak Ravid: “Senior officials in Jerusalem confirmed that Israel learned of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s decision to quit UNESCO from a report posted on the website of Foreign Policy very late Wednesday night. In its wake, Israeli diplomats at the embassy in Washington, the UN and at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters asked their American counterparts for clarification. Only late Thursday morning was Israel told that in a few hours the State Department would announce the U.S. departure from UNESCO. Senior U.S. officials confirmed that Washington was not proactive about informing Israel of its decision.” [Haaretz

“One of Netanyahu’s closest allies is turning into a major Trump critic — and it may signal a shift in Israel’ by Peter Jacobs: “Ze’ev Elkin, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and one of the prime minister’s closest allies, has made waves in recent weeks with comments critical of Trump. “It seems that the floodgates have been opened and Israel’s patience with Trump is running out,” The Jerusalem Post’s chief political correspondent Gil Hoffman wrote Friday… The minister also said that Netanyahu has not rebuked him for his criticism of the US president. Israeli ministers have not received guidelines “to watch their words” on Trump, as is sometimes the case regarding important US decisions, Hoffman reported. Other top Likud members have now also started to criticize Trump.” [BusinessInsider]

“US launches $10 million water project in West Bank” by AFP: “Jason Greenblatt was among officials launching the project in the historic city near the Dead Sea… At Sunday’s event, Greenblatt did not comment on White House peace efforts… “The US administration and President Trump personally remain committed to a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and a central element of that peace is a thriving economy and real opportunities for Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza,” US Consul General Donald Blome said.” [ToI

WHITE HOUSE DEPARTURE: “Matt Saunders, who was special assistant to Jason Greenblatt, President’s Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, has left the White House. Friday was his last day and Saunders is figuring out his next steps.” [Playbook]

2020 WATCH — Trump campaign spent $1M in legal fees in last quarter: “Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee that courts big donors, disclosed nine contributors who gave more than $50,000 — including billionaire Ronald Perelman, Madison Square Garden Company Chief Executive Officer James Dolan, and real estate developers Richard and James LeFrak — after Sept. 20, when the party said it was using money from the legal account to pay law firms involved in the Russian investigation.” [FoxNews]

KAFE KNESSET — Bibi versus the Police — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: With the continued corruption investigations against Netanyahu, the Prime Minister decided to take his responses up a notch. He’s not only blaming the “Fake News Media,” but he also cast aspersions on the Police. On Saturday night, a Facebook post went up on Netanyahu’s page that is still a hot topic in Israel today. The PM pointed out that the Police spent millions of shekels to pay media adviser Lior Chorev – who worked with Kadima and Kulanu in the past – and connecting it to leaks to the press about the probes. Chorev called the accusations “delusional.”

The opposition, unsurprisingly, went wild, accusing Netanyahu of undermining the rule of law. Herzog said Netanyahu is “inciting and dividing for his own personal interest at the expense of the unity of the nation and harming the symbols of law and government.” And the unofficial opposition, Ehud Barak, tweeted that “Netanyahu is panicking and attacking his investigators who are investigating him with courage and integrity.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: 12 Israelis making a mark on Boston’s tech scene[Israel21c] • Kushner Plan for Fifth Avenue Tower Is Being Blocked by Partner [Bloomberg• Eli Broad, Patron of Los Angeles, to Step Down From His Philanthropy [NYTimes• Could Jeffrey Soffer’s JW Marriott Nashville become downtown’s largest hotel? [Tennessean] • It’s the Aby Rosen show at 100 East 53rd St, or it’s curtains [RealDeal] • Eva Moskowitz plans to double the number of Success Academy schools [ChalkBeat

TALK OF THE TOWN: “An Alternate Universe of Shopping, in Ohio” by David Gelles: Les Wexner, a Columbus native, remembers that when he attended Ohio State University in the late 1950s, his professors told him an unusual fact: Columbus was a major test market for consumer goods companies. When corporations wanted to see if a new soap or detergent would have broad appeal, they came to Columbus. A few years later, Mr. Wexner opened his first women’s clothing store in town, calling it The Limited. As the company expanded, he took his education to heart, trying out new styles and store designs in his hometown before rolling them out to new markets. The strategy worked. The Limited grew into a retail behemoth.” [NYTimes]

“The Kibbutz Movement Adapts to a Capitalist Israel” by Rory Jones: “Today, most kibbutzim have undergone some form of privatization. Many members now earn salaries outside the kibbutz but pay taxes for the community’s upkeep. New members can take out mortgages with banks and buy land on the kibbutz for their homes… Some young Israelis are now again drawn to the kibbutzim—some to secure cheaper housing outside hot markets like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, others to find a sense of community that can feel absent in impersonal cities. The population of the kibbutzim has increased by nearly 50,000 over the past 10 years.” [WSJ]

“Are Borough Park’s insular days numbered?” by Eddie Small: “Josh Zegen, co-founder of the Manhattan-based real estate firm Madison Realty Capital, said Borough Park’s insularity can make it difficult for developers to break into the neighborhood without a strong community connection. “Even though I’m Jewish, in many ways [I] would have to partner with someone in that community to be able to really develop to what the community would want,” he said.” [RealDealMag]

PROFILE: “Kevin Durant’s Killer Crossover” by Matthew Shaer: “Durant’s interest in business began around 2013, the year he parted ways with his agent and signed with Rich Kleiman at Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports. Durant and Kleiman came from radically different backgrounds: Kleiman, a native of Manhattan, got his start in the music industry, managing acts such as Mark Ronson. Just 35 when he and Durant started working together, Kleiman was voluble and gleefully profane—an Ari Emanuel on the make. Durant liked him immediately, and he paid attention when Kleiman advised him to be more proactive with his wealth.” [FastCompany]

“How Adam Pritzker Is Building an American Fashion Conglomerate of Brands That Makes Sense” by Dhani Mau: “In 2013, after co-founding and raising millions for tech-education platform General Assembly, Adam Pritzker started Assembled Brands, a “modern holding company” for small fashion and lifestyle brands. “I was interested in providing tools to entrepreneurs to help them advance their careers and I felt that gap had, in a certain sense, been filled in the technology sector,” he told me backstage after a panel at Friday’s Fashion Tech Forum in Los Angeles. “I didn’t know what I could add whereas in this industry I really had a sense of what I could add because I felt like small designers of products, across the board, really were very underserved.” [Fashionista]

Axios interviewed Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg last Thursday: Sandberg argued that Facebook isn’t a media company, “at our heart we’re a tech company… we don’t hire  journalists.” In highlighting Facebook’s positive impact, Sandberg gave a shoutout to Sheryl Olitzky’s Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom which fosters relationships between Muslim and Jewish women — on Facebook and offline — to build bridges and fight hate, negative stereotyping and prejudice. [AxiosFacebook]

MEDIA WATCH — Michael Bloomberg at HubWeek in Boston on his argument with Arthur Sulzberger: “On journalism and Trump: “I said to the New York Times publisher a few weeks ago (that) he helped get Donald Trump elected. Why? Because he had Donald Trump in the righthand column of the front page of the New York Times virtually every single day. And Arthur Sulzberger said, well, we had to explain to the public what he was saying and why he was wrong or right or whatever. And I said, no, Arthur, you didn’t have to do it on the front page every day…. He got free publicity because the news business today is so focused on, desperate to, whether it’s on print or over the internet, to get enough eyeballs and clicks that they can stay in business.”” [Bizjournals]

TOP TALKER: Mayim Bialik: Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World: “I entered the Hollywood machine in 1986 as a prominent-nosed, awkward, geeky, Jewish 11-year-old — basically a scrawnier version of the person I am today. Back then we didn’t have the internet or social media or reality TV, but I didn’t need any of that to understand that I didn’t look or act like other girls in my industry, and that I was immersing myself in a business that rewarded physical beauty and sex appeal above all else.” [NYTimes• The Big Bang Theory star’s op-ed about Harvey Weinstein sparks outrage on Twitter[BI]

“Born in Auschwitz, Israeli Artist, 102, Harnesses the Dark and the Light” by Isabel Kershner: “Born Gusta Wolf to a Hasidic family, [Tova] Berlinski has fond memories of growing up in Oswiecim, where about half the 12,000 residents were Jewish… She met Elec, from nearby Sosnowiec, where her father had a furniture store, through their activities in Beitar, the right-wing Zionist youth movement. Ten days after marrying, they set off for what was then the British Mandate of Palestine, to join the pioneers working to establish Israel… It has been more than 20 years since her solo “Black Flowers” exhibition was held at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, one of the peaks of a long career. But this month, Ms. Berlinski, now a widow, is emerging once again into the limelight, with a tribute exhibition and sale of her works at ArtSpace, a small gallery in the leafy neighborhood of German Colony in Jerusalem, where she has lived for more than 50 years.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Child of Holocaust survivors who was born in a displaced persons camp in Gunzberg, Germany, he is the National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Morton A. Klein turns 70… 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 78… Retired CFO of the airline industry’s ticket transaction settlement firm, Airlines Reporting Corporation, Chicago resident, Alfred Altschul turns 78… Film director, producer, screenwriter and creator of the The Naked Gun franchise, David Zucker turns 70… Best selling French novelist, one of whose books was made into Steven Spielberg’s “Just like Heaven,” Marc Levy turns 56… Avi Finkturns 32… Founder of The Gramlist, Brandon Perlman

BIRTHWEEK (yesterday): Media mogul, top Democratic bundler and producer of Power Rangers, Haim Saban turned 73… Retiring Vice Chairman of the US Federal Reserve (2014-2017), after an 8 year term at the helm of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer turned 74… Real estate developer and owner of MLB’s Washington Nationals, Ted Lerner turned 92… NYC communications strategist Stu Loeser

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

Greenblatt meeting with Netanyahu on Tuesday - photo by Haim Zach/GPO

Kafe Knesset for August 29

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Greenblatt’s tour: The President’s special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, stayed on after the senior White House delegation visited the region last week. According to senior Israeli sources, Greenblatt is…

Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Kafe Knesset for August 28

Monday, August 28, 2017

Guterres in Jerusalem: The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Israel yesterday for his first visit to the region. His first meeting was last night, as he…

PHOTO: REUTERS

Kafe Knesset for August 25

Friday, August 25, 2017

Trump-Netanyahu Instagram diplomacy: The Kushner-Greenblatt-Powell short visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah hardly made headlines this morning. The niceties of the Kushner-Netanyahu meeting, and the smiles in the Ramallah…

Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Kafe Knesset for August 24

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bibi-Putin bromance – the aftermath: Before Bibi headed to Putin’s dacha in Sochi, politicians across the political spectrum wished him luck. But now that the meeting is over,…

Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Netanyahu tells Congress: Remove sunset clause from Iran deal

Thursday, August 24, 2017

WASHINGTON – During a meeting with Republican Congressmen this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the lawmakers to “get rid of the sunset clause” from the 2015…

via Twitter/ @ofirgendelman

Kafe Knesset for August 23

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

While Bibi is meeting Putin in Sochi, the US special envoy to Syria, Michael Ratney, is in Jerusalem this week, Kafe Knesset has learned. Ratney will be meeting…