Aug
16

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Daily Kickoff: As Israel and Hamas reach ceasefire deal, Abbas lashes out at Trump admin

VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the app-based Debut Inbox for newsletters starting at 6:57 AM EDT and then updated throughout the morning. 

SPOTLIGHT — Trump Staffer Tried to Recruit Lobbyists for Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich — by Betsy Woodruff: “Two lobbyists… told The Daily Beast that [Daniel] Gelbinovich approached them and told them he was trying to help Roman Abramovich… find a lobbyist to help keep him from being added to the Treasury Department’s sanctions list… Gelbinovich was a low-level staffer on the Trump campaign… frequently booking travel for senior staff…  John Mann, a spokesperson for Abramovich, said the oligarch did not sign off on any outreach to D.C. lobbyists… Gelbinovich, for his part, claimed that none of the lobbyists he contacted agreed to represent Abramovich.” [DailyBeast]

GOOD DEAL — WhatsApp Co-Founder’s ‘Rest and Vest’ Reward From Facebook: $450 Million — by Deepa Seetharaman and Kirsten Grind: “After WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum announced he was leaving Facebook in late April, he has continued showing up at least monthly at the social-media giant’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. His incentive for making the appearances: about $450 million in stock awards, according to people familiar with the matter.”

“A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Koum’s schedule, but said he remains employed at the company, working on “various projects and helping transition WhatsApp leadership.” As part of selling WhatsApp to Facebook, Mr. Koum earned about 24.85 million restricted shares… The stock has vested in quarterly increments, with the final period taking place in mid-November of this year.” [WSJ]

TOP TALKER — Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett responds to Ron Lauder’s recent NYT piece critical of Israeli government… “Israel Is Proud of Who We Are: While I normally would happily respect the views of Jews all over the world — as different or as similar as they may be to my own — on this claim I cannot remain silent. Keeping Israel as the Jewish nation-state does not threaten the future of the Jewish people; it safeguards it. Protecting Jewish traditions, just as they safeguarded our people through two millenniums of exile, is the only way to be sure that Israel can continue to be a strong and vibrant democracy in a very difficult region.”

“While I welcome the concern of our Jewish brethren, alongside many friends of Israel around the world, and while I have full faith in their love for Israel and the Jewish people, I would urge all to remember that disagreement isn’t dangerous. But what damages us is when we forget what binds us together, what would happen if we were to or run away or turn our backs to one another. And Israel will never turn its back on its brothers and sisters around the world.” [NYTimes]

Flashback — March 19, 2018: Bennett to Lauder at the opening session of the 6th annual Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism in Jerusalem: “What are you doing? What are you doing, man? What are you doing?” Lauder: “You are my inspiration.” [Video]

Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni in a letter to American Jewish organizations: “It is no secret that there is a deep debate within Israel about her identity and the meaning of being a Jewish democratic state. Jewish communities around the world should be able to take part in this debate. I know that the concern of those of you who are worried about new political trends in Israel and legislation in the Knesset comes, like mine, from a place of deep love for Israel.”

REPORT — Shin Bet has denied 250 people entry into Israel this year: “The Shin Bet security service has denied entry into Israel to some 250 people since the beginning of the year, citing reasons such as involvement in terror or fears they would engage in spying while in the country, the Kan public broadcaster reported Wednesday.” [ToI] • Detentions of US activists raise questions about whether Israel has ‘blacklists’ of its critics [CNN]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH: Trump’s Mideast peace team — Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Jared Kushner and special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt — in a joint statement: “No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that’s the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved. Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities.”

ON THE GROUND: Truce goes into effect on Israel-Gaza border, and goods flow into Palestinian enclave again — by Noga Tarnopolsky: “A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas… went into effect Wednesday evening, ending four months of conflict along the volatile border… The agreement provides for a halt to rocket firings and the launching of incendiary balloons and kites on the part of Hamas, and, on Israel’s side, the reopening of Kerem Shalom, the only commercial crossing into Gaza, and the lifting of limitations on a permitted fishing zone of nine miles…” [LATimesHaaretz] • Head of Egyptian intelligence reportedly visits Tel Aviv to discuss Gaza truce [ToI]

— “Egyptian officials and the United Nations envoy in the region are now trying to broker a broader arrangement for a long-term truce that would allow significant investment in development projects in Gaza.” [NYT

VIEW FROM RAMALLAH — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the opening session of the PLO Central Council: “We were the first to fight against it and we will continue to fight against it until it falls. This is the ‘slap of the century.'” [JPostWafa]

— Palestinian president lashes out at US over Gaza situation: “Abbas… said of U.S. officials: “I swear to God, they are liars.” Abbas added that he believes the U.S. is trying to promote Gaza aid projects to serve its own interests.” [AP]

Max Boot writes… “I’ve been visiting Israel since 1998. The path to peace is shrinking: Uprooting 8,000 settlers from Gaza was traumatic enough; moving at least 80,000 out of the West Bank would be far harder, especially given the political strength of the settler lobby. The religious right is more powerful in Israeli politics (and the Israeli army) than it was in 1998, while the left is weaker… Among both Israelis and Palestinians, support for a “two-state” solution has waned since 1998.”

“But not all is gloom and doom. One of the most hopeful things I saw on my visit was a matzoh factory in Jerusalem where Palestinian employees happily work alongside Orthodox Jews, showing that, on a human level, coexistence is still possible.” [WashPost]

Israeli Military Clears Itself of Wrongdoing in 2014 Gaza War’s ‘Black Friday’ — by Isabel Kershner: “Known as “Black Friday,” Israel’s assault on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Aug. 1, 2014, was one of the deadliest and most scrutinized episodes in the 50-day war that summer. On Wednesday, the Israeli military cleared itself of wrongdoing in the bitterly contested episode.” [NYTimes]

ARGUMENT: Former Ambassador Dennie Ross writes that Iran may be throwing a tantrum over the reimposition of U.S. sanctions but will likely seek a way to indirectly renegotiate a deal with the Trump administration as the economy falters and pressure rises in Iran. [ForeignPolicy]

MIDTERMS — Democratic Michigan House candidate Rashida Tlaib in an interview with In These Times: “Palestinians are attacking me now, but I am not going to dehumanize Israelis. I won’t do that… Many [Israelis] are marching, saying no to Netanyahu’s apartheid policies. There’s a movement in Israel I support that wants an Israel that embraces Palestinians… I do not support aid to a Netanyahu Israel and I’m pro-humanity.”

Tlaib on BDS: “I‘m an ACLU card member. I stand by the rights of people who support BDS. Allow the students to be a part of the movement.”

What about a two-state solution vs. one-state?

“One state. It has to be one state. Separate but equal does not work.” [IntheTimes]

Batya Ungar-Sargon writes… “These Women Of Color Are Poised To Make History In Congress. But What Does It Mean For Israel? What the Jewish diaspora community needs from its elected officials is no longer unconditional support for Israel; it’s fair criticism… These are all questions that the Jewish community is currently grappling with – just like these new soon-to-be congresswomen. It seems wrong to hold them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.” [Forward]

Christian United for Israel (CUFI) has launched a statewide, six-figure TV and digital ad campaign urging Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) to support the Iran Hostage Act. The ad, titled “Take a Stand Against Iran” highlights Heitkamp’s support of the Iran nuclear deal. Cpl. Grant Neal, a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, says in the ad, “Thank God President Trump ripped that deal up. But Heitkamp sided with Obama. We’re less safe because of it.” The ad concludes, “Tell Senator Heitkamp to get tough on Iran.” [Video]

STATESIDE — GOP Governor Candidate John Cox Shares Story Comparing Long California DMV Waits To Holocaust — by Nick Miller, Andrew Nixon and Ben Adler: “Republican gubernatorial candidate and businessman John Cox told a story during a California DMV visit on Wednesday that compared the much-criticized long lines and waits to surviving concentration camps during the Holocaust… “You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach. He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse. He’s 90 years old and he had to wait four hours down in Long Beach. Can you imagine that?” Cox says.

“Campaign spokesman Matt Shupe said Cox mistold the story… “He was saying that it reminded him of pre-war Germany” when Jews had to wait in lines to be processed.” “In no way does he mean this as a slight to the Jewish community,” Shupe added. “He misspoke. It’s very unfortunate. But it’s nothing more than that.” [CapRadio]

Polis just dropped $3 million into TV ads in the governor’s race — by Joey Bunch: “Jared Polis is demonstrating the perks of being rich. The Democratic gubernatorial nominee and tech millionaire on Wednesday announced a jaw-dropped television ad buy: $3 million for October… Polis has put in more than $12.4 million so far toward his campaign, compared to about $2.5 million raised by his Republican opponent, Walker Stapleton.”[ColoradoPolitics]

2020 WATCH: Trump confidant sees Michael Bloomberg as potential 2020 threat — by Steve Holland and Ginger Gibson: “Corey Lewandowski, who remains in close touch with the president after serving as his campaign manager during part of the 2016 campaign, told reporters that Bloomberg has the advantage of not being a Washington insider, has the wealth to finance a campaign and holds policy positions popular among Democrats. Bloomberg is an “American success story” who would be “very competitive.” [Reuters]

Harvey Levin Is Casting the TMZ Primary — by Felix Gillette and Gerry Smith: “Levin’s chumminess with Trump was hardly a secret to TMZ’s staff… TMZ’s coverage has since become more critical. According to the two former editorial staffers, sometime around the start of 2018 the restrictions on anti-Trump stories mysteriously loosened. They never got a memo explaining why, but TMZ’s website is now rife with clips of celebrities criticizing the president. Recent videos have included actor Mickey Rourke calling him a “garbage can” and Levin referring to Trump’s July closed-door meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a disaster.”

“What changed? According to a person with knowledge of the relationship, not long ago Levin and Trump talked on the phone regularly. But they had a falling-out over the president’s repeated efforts to ban transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military—a policy Levin finds repugnant… According to the source, Levin and Trump haven’t spoken for months.” [Bloomberg

** 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: New CEO at Ben & Jerry’s Plans to Whip Up Activism, ‘Whirled Peace’ [WSJ• Elliott Lawyer Warns Korea Better Brace for More Activist Funds [Bloomberg] • DJ David Guetta Buys Miami Condo From New York Billionaire Richard LeFrak [WSJ]

INTERVIEW — Rabbi Abba Cohen, Vice President for Federal Affairs and Washington Director and Counsel at Agudath Israel of America, talks Trump in an interview with Mishpacha: “We’ve had a very productive relationship with the administration, particularly in the area of religious liberty…  We have also found the administration to be very supportive in regard to our top domestic priority — working to help and protect Jewish schools. At the same time, we have differences with the administration. Certainly, some of the positions that they’ve taken on legal immigration — particularly in regard to refugees — are not positions that we share.” [Mishpacha]

ACROSS THE POND: Labour prepares the ground for compromise on antisemitism code — by Jessica Elgot and Heather Stewart: “Labour is preparing the ground to amend its anti-Semitism code of conduct to align with International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance guidelines… The Guardian understands the party is open to adopting the full IHRA definition, with all its examples, after it has finished conducting a consultation with the Jewish community. Labour hopes to settle the issue before its party conference at the end of September.” [TheGuardian]

What France Means When It Talks About ‘Anti-Semitism’ — by Karina Piser: “Focusing on Muslim antipathy towards Jews lets the rest of the country off the hook… Violence between French Muslims and Jews has also routinely corresponded to upticks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The notion of a “new anti-Semitism,” then, overlooks both anti-Semitism’s endurance in France—including among non-Muslims—and the way more than a half-century of Jewish-Muslim hostility in the Middle East has played into this trend.” [NewRepublic]

HOLLYWOOD — Israeli ‘Tzeva Adom’ film named semifinalist at NBC festival — by Amy Spiro: “Tzeva Adom: The Color Red, a short film about an unlikely relationship across the Gaza-Israel border, is one of the semifinalists at the upcoming NBC Universal Short Film Festival. The 20-minute film was written by C. Ashleigh Caldwell, directed by Michael Horwitz and stars Shani Atias, the younger sister of Moran Atias… Earlier this month, the film was named one of the 15 semifinalists at the festival… Finalists will be selected and screened in October in Los Angeles.” [JPost

Jerry Seinfeld talks about the 10th season of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and Seinfeld in an interview with screenwriter Dan Amira: “Jokes are not real. People assume that when you say something that you believe it. It’s purely comedic invention… You use Twitter mostly for self-promotion. Why no Twitter jokes? I don’t hear the laugh. Why waste my time? It’s a horrible performing interface. I can’t think of a worse one. I always think about people that write books. What a horrible feeling it must be to have poured your soul into a book over a number of years and somebody comes up to you and goes, “I loved your book,” and they walk away, and you have no idea what worked and what didn’t. That to me is hell.” [NYT]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Isaac Mizrahi: Studio 54, ‘Clutchy’ Parents and His Big Brown Cadillac: “Before Isaac Mizrahi was a fashion powerhouse, before he was a judge on Project Runway: All Stars, he was a schoolboy in Brooklyn raised by parents he describes as both “religious religious” and “clutchy clutchy.” It was in this backdrop that Mizrahi first started to feel out his own identity and explore New York’s thriving ’70s club scene. As is still the case with so many American teenagers, Mizrahi’s ticket to freedom came in the form of his first car: a second-hand Cadillac Deville.” [Ozy]

DESSERT: Inside NYC’s most dramatic restaurant wars — by Beth Landman, Steve Cuozzo and Lauren Steussy: “The Four Seasons finally reopened Wednesday after a two-year construction saga. The most fabled restaurant in New York City history is reborn — shrunken but beautiful — three blocks south of the Seagram Building that was its home for nearly 60 years… Four Seasons owners Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder claim to have a waiting list of old-timers clamoring for reservations…  Since Seagram landlord Aby Rosen booted the Four Seasons when its lease was up in July 2016 and replaced it with Major Food, there’s been no love between the restaurateurs.”

“Once, during the long closure, Henry Kissinger — a devotee of the old house’s $40 baked potato — called Niccolini and von Bidder over to his limo, which was stopped on Park Avenue. “So when are you going to open your place?” von Bidder recalls Kissinger growling. Preview meals over the past week drew fashion designer Joseph Abboud, philanthropist Charles Bronfman, famed residential broker Dolly Lenz and practically every big commercial real estate dealmaker in town.” [NYPost]

REMEMBERING: Moshe Mizrahi, 86, Who Won an Oscar for ‘Madame Rosa,’ Is Dead — by Richard Sandomir: “Moshe Mizrahi, an Israeli director whose “Madame Rosa,” one of several movies he made in France, won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film in 1978, died on Aug. 3 at a hospital in Tel Aviv… Two films that he shot in Israel — “I Love You Rosa” (1972) and “The House on Chelouche Street” (1973) — were nominated for Oscars for best foreign-language film. (Neither won.)” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Former member of Congress from New Jersey, Richard Alan “Dick” Zimmer turns 74… Sportscaster who is known as the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys,” he has broadcast the Cowboys since 1976, Brad Sham turns 69… President and CEO of the Business Roundtable, he was previously the White House Chief of Staff (2006-2009) following three years as OMB Director (2003-2006), Joshua Brewster “Josh” Bolten turns 64… Gerald Platt turns 64… Former IDF fighter pilot, he served as commander of the Israeli Air Force (2004-2008) and then as CEO of El Al (2010-2014), General Eliezer Shkedi turns 61… Senior partner in the Denver office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and an AIPAC board member, Steven C. Demby turns 60… Founder of Value Retail Plc and co-owner of the New York Islanders professional hockey team, Scott David Malkin turns 60… Sports journalist and executive, she spent 17 years on-air at ESPN/ABC and CBS covering Super Bowls to NBA and MLB playoffs, now she is a founder of Walk Swiftly Productions, Bonnie Bernstein turns 48…

Senior staff writer for Politico Magazine and editor-at-large of The Agenda, Miami Beach resident, Michael Grunwald turns 48… Senior editor of Kol HaBirah (a Jewish newspaper and media company that serves the Washington and Baltimore Jewish communities), Kami Troy turns 44… CEO of digital marketing agency 360i, Sarah Hofstetter turns 44… Co-founder and co-CEO of The Creative Counsel, South Africa’s largest advertising agency, in 2014 he was named by GQ as one of the Best Dressed Men of the Year, Gil Oved turns 43… Events Director for the Republican Governors Association, Patricia W. “Tricia” Moffatt turns 40… Producer for CBS’s Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show “The Talk,” Matthew Silverstein turns 37… Project Manager at Tel Aviv Global, she was the executive assistant to the ambassador at the Embassy of Israel in Washington (2016-2018), Galit Tassi… Associate at Blackrock, founder of Music Matters, Phillip Schermer… Staffer in the New England office of J Street, Cooper Boyar… Ellen Weissfeld… Marshall Cohen… Dave Jacobsen

Aug
15

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Daily Kickoff: Congressional candidate who labeled Israel ‘apartheid’ wins Minnesota primary | Sean Rad, Justin Manteen sue Barry Diller’s IAC for $2B

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VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the app-based Debut Inbox for newsletters starting at 7:03 AM EDT and then updated throughout the morning. 

RJC Chairman and former Sen. Norm Coleman’s cancer returns — by Dana Thiede: “Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman is again fighting the cancer that threatened his life. Coleman posted on his Facebook page Tuesday that the squamous cell cancer that was originally detected in his tonsils, throat and lymph nodes has returned. “The beast that is my cancer has returned. It has reasserted itself,” Coleman wrote… My physicians at the Mayo Clinic remain optimistic that the beast can still be contained. My hopes and prayers are for a very long time.”

“I won’t lie to you. Cancer has shaken my soul. But, it has not broken my spirit. I firmly believe in the genius and care of my Mayo Team. I believe in the power of prayer…. I am an optimist. Every fiber of my being throughout my life has had me believe that for every today we live, there will always be a better tomorrow. There is plenty life ahead of me.” [KARE11StarTribune

PRIMARY RESULTS: Ilhan Omar Wins Democratic Primary For Congress In Minnesota — by Sarah Ruiz-Grossman: “Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar… defeated four other Democratic candidates in a crowded race to fill the seat that opened up when Rep. Keith Ellison (D) announced his bid to become the state’s attorney general… If Omar wins the seat, she will become one of the nation’s first Muslim women in Congress ― she’ll likely be joined in the historic feat by fellow Democrat Rashida Tlaib, who won her primary for a House seat in Michigan last week.” [HuffPost]

— “Omar has been an open critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, calling its government an “apartheid” regime. She vigorously denied charges of anti-Semitism, tweeting that her criticism “is far from hating Jews.” [CNN]

INBOX — Jewish Dems Oppose Rashida Tlaib’s Pledge to Slash U.S. Military Aid to Israel: “JDCA disagrees with Michigan House candidate Rashida Tlaib’s comments suggesting that she would oppose U.S. military aid to Israel if elected to Congress… JDCA believes that threatening to cut military assistance to Israel is inconsistent with the values of the Democratic Party and the American people…”

Ellison wins Minnesota AG primary despite abuse allegations: “Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on Tuesday won his party’s nomination in his bid to be Minnesota’s next attorney general…” [Politico]

Senator Bernie Sanders easily won Vermont’s Democratic primary for Senate, but he is expected to snub the party and run instead as an independent.[NYTimes]

In Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, anti-Semitic candidate Paul Nehlen came in third place with 11% of the vote in the Republican primary for Speaker Paul Ryan’s House seat.

Jewish Democrat Wins Primary In Washington Swing Congressional District — by Ben Fractenberg: “Jewish Democrat Kim Schrier eked out a narrow primary victory against Jason Rittereiser to take on Republican Dino Rossi in a key Congressional race in Washington state.”[Forward]

Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier, is running for Congress. One of his constituents would be Auschwitz prisoner No. 27,276 — by Kristen McQueary: “Stasia “Stella” Dorna was prisoner No. 27,276. The tattoo on her left forearm near her elbow is a bluish stain that once drew laughter and humiliation at a Chicago department store where employees didn’t understand what it meant…  She shudders at the thought of someone, a candidate for elected office in her district, just down the road, believing that the Holocaust was a hoax. “It happened. I was there,” she says.” [ChicagoTribune

2020 WATCH: Nathan’s Hot Dog Honcho to Host Trump Campaign Fundraiser in the Hamptons — by Jennifer Jacobs: “Howard Lorber, a Manhattan developer and executive chairman of Nathan’s Famous Inc., the hot dog company, is hosting a fundraiser for President Donald Trump in the Hamptons… on Friday… The fundraiser will benefit Trump Victory, a joint committee for Trump’s 2020 campaign and the Republican National Committee.” [Bloomberg]

Stephen Miller’s Uncle Says ‘Dozens of Family Members’ Wanted Him to Call Nephew ‘Immigration Hypocrite’ — by Jessica Kwong: “White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s uncle David Glosser… noted that he penned the editorial Politico published Monday because “the administration has had an increasingly hostile posture towards desperate people trying to get into the country.” “I have a huge family. I wouldn’t offer to speak for my entire family, but dozens of family members encouraged me to push forward with this,” Glosser said.” [Newsweek] • Stephen Miller’s Great-Grandfather Sam Was a Chain Migrant and a Fine American [DailyBeast]

Marc Thiessen writes… “Trump’s failure to condemn the bigots of the alt-right tars his presidency: [Trump’s] failure to condemn the alt-right has also prevented him from expanding his support beyond his core supporters. With his record, he should be winning over millions of Americans who did not vote for him in 2016 but whose circumstances have markedly improved under his presidency. Instead, his support is stagnant and his disapproval numbers are growing.” [WashPost]

Tom Friedman writes… “What if Mother Nature Is on the Ballot in 2020? If in 2020 we’re in the midst of even more damaging droughts and storms than we are today, Democrats may be able to run against Trump’s make-America-polluted-again environmental strategy and his refusal to either acknowledge the threat of climate change or seize the incredible opportunity it offers America to become richer, healthier, more secure and more respected by leading the world in clean energy technologies… That message can play today in Rust Belt battleground states like Michigan and Ohio.” [NYTimes]

IRAN SANCTIONS — Iranian VP: U.S. is trying to make Iran ‘surrender’ through sanctions: “The United States is trying to make Iran surrender through the imposition of sanctions, Iranian vice president Eshaq Jahangiri said on Wednesday.” [Reuters]

FDD’s Behnam Ben Taleblu writes… “Tehran’s return to highly public missile testing can be seen as a response to the U.S. reinstating of penalties waived by the nuclear deal. Should the Fateh Mobin missile be mass produced, it would serve as further proof of Iran’s commitment to qualitatively improving it’s already quantitatively robust ballistic missile arsenal in the face of U.S. pressure.” [Axios]

Wendy Sherman, the lead negotiator of the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015, writes… “How We Got the Iran Deal: “I always expected that the greatest challenge to the deal’s success would be violations by Iran, not the political machinations of the president of the United States… I don’t know if the Iran deal can survive the reinstatement of sanctions…”

Sherman shares her experience with Iranian negotiators: “One day, during a break, I turned the conversation with [Abbas] Araghchi and [Majid] Takht-Ravanchi toward our inability to shake hands. I explained that I had grown up in a Jewish neighborhood outside Baltimore and that many of my neighbors were strictly observant Orthodox Jews—some of whom, like some conservative Muslims, avoid touching anyone of the opposite sex…  Araghchi and Takht-Ravanchi were at first slightly mortified, but as I continued my story, they began to listen with great interest. They had not known that they shared this custom with Orthodox Jews, and talking about the awkwardness of our greeting transformed its significance.”

On Bibi’s speech to Congress: “The speech was the equivalent of throwing a grenade into the negotiations. The Iranian negotiators had grown accustomed to Netanyahu’s hyperbolic rhetoric but were incensed by the fact that the U.S. Congress seemed to be endorsing it… Still, a good diplomat never wastes an opportunity, and we managed to use the [GOP] letter and Netanyahu’s congressional appearance to our advantage. When the Iranians claimed that we were asking for too much and that they could never sell the deal in Tehran, we reminded them that they were not the only ones taking political risks. “Look at this letter, and the joint session of Congress,” we said. “We have problems at home, too.” [ForeignAffairs]

LongRead — Daniel Sobelman writes in the Texas National Security Review: In asymmetric alliances, a superior state provides security to a weaker ally, who in exchange surrenders its autonomy to its stronger protector. But what happens when the weaker state’s vital interests clash with its stronger ally’s preferences? In 2011 and 2012, as Iran continued to develop and harden its nuclear program, Israel feared becoming dependent upon the United States to defend it against this potentially existential threat. To escape this scenario, and to enhance its leverage over the United States, Israel led its principal strategic ally to infer that a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran could be imminent… This article explains the outcome of this strategic interaction. [TNSR]

ON THE GROUND: Israel reopens Gaza crossing as truce talks press on — by Sakher Abou El Oun: “Israel reopened its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after closing it to most deliveries on July 9 over months of border tensions, as relative calm returned and truce talks pressed ahead… Israel’s security cabinet was reportedly meeting Wednesday to discuss the indirect talks.” [YahooNewsWSJ]

— Trump Administration Wants to See a Gaza Cease-fire ‘With or Without the Palestinian Authority’ — by Amir Tibon: “A spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council told Haaretz… that “we would like to see an end to fighting with or without the PA,” but emphasized that the administration still believes “it would be best if the PA reasserts control in Gaza so we can get on with making lives better.”” [Haaretz]

Palestinian Succession Talk Heats Up as PLO Council Convenes — by Jonathan Ferziger and Fadwa Hodali: “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas… will outline his vision for contending with hostility from Israel, Hamas and the Trump administration at a meeting that starts Wednesday of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council in Ramallah… The two-day gathering this week is aimed at “trying to reinforce Abbas’s legitimacy, which is fumbling in a way that is apparent to all,” said Sam Bahour, a Ramallah business consultant.” [Bloomberg]

Blocked by Israel for years, Palestinian mail finally arrives: “Palestinian postal service employees are working overtime to sort through some 10 tonnes of letters and packages blocked by Israel for up to eight years… The parcels, dating from between 2010 and this year… were released in a one-time deal.” [YahooNews]

National Security Advisor John Bolton will visit Israel next week “to discuss a range of important national security issues,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said yesterday.

Israel denies US author’s account of interrogation: “The Shin Bet issued a statement Wednesday confirming its agents briefly detained and questioned Iranian-born Reza Aslan at a border crossing, saying his “behavior there raised suspicion.” It denied Aslan’s claim he was questioned about his politics.” [AP]

David Horovitz writes… “Israeli democracy isn’t broken, but it is under assault: Uniquely in the Middle East, we in Israel have enjoyed free speech, freedom of religion, a free press, equality before the law, an independent judiciary and more. But in this Israeli summer of 2018, there’s a chill in the air. There’s a danger — and it’s not only from Damascus and Tehran, Hamas and Hezbollah.” [ToI]

** 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: Alphabet invests $375 million in Josh Kushner-founded Oscar Health [CNBCWired] • Stanley Druckenmiller Buys Facebook While Former Boss Soros Adds Tech Bets [BloombergBusinessInsider] • Carl Icahn Discloses Positions in VMWare and DVMT Worth $535 Million [Bloomberg] • David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit’s Bossert Hotel awning removed for touch-ups after latest scrutiny of hotel’s makeover[BrooklynPaper] • Warren Buffett boosts bet on ailing drugmaker Teva [ToI] • Elliott Takes New Stakes in Devon, VMWare, 21st Century Fox[Bloomberg] • The Wing’s Audrey Gelman On Building A Feminist Co-Working Empire [Forbes]

STARTUP NATION: Carbyne raises $15M as Founders Fund invests in its first Israeli startup — by Ingrid Lunden: “Carbyne, a startup out of Israel that has developed a new emergency callout platform that helps providers pinpoint a callers’ exact location and enable other services to improve and speed up communication and response times — by some 65 percent on average — has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Previous backers of Carbyne have included the former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, who is also the company’s chairman, and the company has now raised about $24 million, with a valuation that I understand to be in the region of $100 million.”[TechCrunch]

PROFILE — The Woman Behind the New York Times’ High-Risk, High-Reward Business Strategy — by Alexandra Bruell: “Meredith Kopit Levien got her start in the ad industry a few years after college, eventually landing at a digital marketing agency in New York. After publishing posts at Atlantic Media and Forbes, she joined the Times in 2013 as head of advertising. At the time, the seemingly inexorable decline of print advertising wasn’t the paper’s only problem; digital-ad revenue was dropping, too… Ms. Levien has become a fixture on the Madison Avenue scene, schmoozing at the industry’s major events and private gatherings. She hosts exclusive and eclectic dinners with chief marketing officers and editorial talent like Ms. Dowd.” [WSJ

SPOTLIGHT — Barry Diller’s IAC Sued by Tinder Co-Founders for $2 Billion: “Former CEO Sean Rad alleges that Tinder’s parent companies intentionally undervalued the popular dating app to deny early employees billions in stock options.” [HollywoodReporterNPR]

How Long Will Student Housing Be Big Business? — by Noah Buhayar, Kristy Westgard and Gillian Tan: “Isaac Sitt and Elliot Tamir had been investing in real estate for years when they stumbled onto the idea. They’d bought a few apartment buildings in Brooklyn in 2008 and, after the financial crisis, were struggling to rent units. So they decided to put up ads at the nearby Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, expecting to lease to doctors. Instead, they got medical students. With jobs scarce, tons of people were going to school, they realized. Sitt remembers thinking, “Hey, this is a good business,” even in a downturn. “Not only does it make sense, but I think we can raise equity for it.” Today, Sitt and Tamir run Vesper Holdings LLC, one of the largest owners of student housing complexes in the U.S… But there are signs that such luxuries may not be selling as students (and their parents) become more cost-conscious.” [Bloomberg]

Meet the BeatBuds: Scooter Braun’s Latest Kid-Pop Sensation — by Seth Abramovitch: “Jonathan Jonah and Matthew Shapiro are adjusting to an unexpected kind of rock stardom. Lifelong best friends — now 40, they met in first grade at Temple Emanuel Academy Day School in Beverly Hills — they have grown over the past five years into Los Angeles ‘hottest kids’ act with a pop-punk group known as The BeatBuds… The BeatBuds formed almost accidentally after Shapiro… suffered a back injury in 2012. While recuperating at home, he started playing music for his baby daughter… Jonah came over one day to jam, and they wrote their first kids song — the train-themed “All Aboard.” That led to a few more.” [HollywoodReporter]

CAMPUS BEAT: The 31 Best Colleges For Orthodox Jews — by Laura Adkins: “Our formula for Orthodox-friendly campuses is designed to ensure that all of the colleges on this list have kosher food on the meal plan, at least one Orthodox synagogue within 10 miles, abundant Jewish programming and an eruv surrounding their campus.” [Forward]

DESSERT: Israeli Ice Cream Shop Touts Cannabis-Flavored Treat — by Viva Sarah Press: “Big pails of nut pastes, boxes of sugars and cases of raw ingredients line the shelves of the Vaniglia gelato factory in Israel. One at a time, like a little kid in a candy shop, Itay Rogozinsky, chef glacier and owner of the popular ice cream chain, unscrews the lids or opens the boxes to show the perfect consistency of each mixture. Rogozinsky drew international attention recently when he mixed certain quantities of these natural, raw ingredients into a new flavor of ice cream: cannabis.” [NoCamels]

INBOX — Dore Gold, former Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with former Australian Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney, Australia while on a speaking tour. [Pic]

BIRTHDAYS: Founder of Slim-Fast which he sold to Unilever in 2000 for $2.1 billion, a leading Democratic donor, S. Daniel Abraham turns 94… Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Stephen Breyer turns 80… Irvin Farber turns 88… CFO of The Trump Organization, he and Donald Trump Jr. are the trustees operating the company during the Trump presidency, Allen Weisselberg turns 71… Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Limmud FSU, he has also served as treasurer of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, Chaim Chesler turns 69… Economist, CPA, investment advisor and founding member of wealth advisor RVW Investing LLC, Selwyn Gerber turns 68… Colorado resident, he is an artist and avid mountain biker, William “Bill” Weidman turns 68… Emmy Award-winning actress, she played Grace Adler on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, Debra Messing turns 50…

Principal of Atlas Philanthropy, a consulting firm assisting charitable organizations with fundraising projects, Margot Atlas turns 49… Israeli attorney, he was an international model for Armani and appeared in the Israeli versions of The Amazing Race and Dancing with the Stars, Raz Meirmanturns 41… Program director of business ventures at Boston University, she was previously senior director of programming at MassChallenge (a global non-profit startup accelerator), Rachel Spekman turns 35… Executive Director of New York’s Transit Innovation Partnership, Rachel Sterne Haot turns 35… Director of communications, marketing strategy and content for Lemonade, a VC-backed startup in the peer to peer insurance industry, Yael Wissner-Levyturns 34… Product designer at Weight Watchers, Talia Siegel… Product and strategy professional at Uber, Ezra Mosseri turns 25… Real estate and business law attorney in the Baltimore law firm of Abramoff Neuberger, Meir Neuberger… Joe Farry… David Summer...

Aug
14

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Daily Kickoff: Ron Lauder pens another NYT piece critical of Israeli gov’t | House candidate Rashida Tlaib on U.S. aid | Ari Emanuel backs Applecart

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LAUDER OP-ED, PART TWO: Following his piece from March titled ‘Israel’s Self-Inflicted Wounds,’ Ron Lauder writes in today’s NYTimes… “Israel, This Is Not Who We Are: “The new nation-state legislation may also have severe national and international repercussions. In Israel, it will heighten the sense of polarization and discord. Abroad, Israel may find itself associated with a broken values system and questionable friends. As a result, future leaders of the West may become hostile or indifferent to the Jewish state. Tragically, the new policies will not strengthen Israel but weaken it, and in the long run they may endanger Israel’s social cohesiveness, economic success and international standing.”

“I have always stood by Israel and I always will. But now, as a loving brother, I ask Israel’s government to listen to the voices of protest and outrage being heard in Israel and throughout the Jewish world. As president of the World Jewish Congress, I call upon Israeli leaders to rethink their destructive actions during this summer of disharmony. This is not who we are, and this is not who we wish to be. This is not the face we want to show our children, grandchildren and the family of nations.” [NYTimes

— An NYT insider tells us, “It’s pretty extraordinary for The Times to run two Op-Eds by an outside contributor in five months, which underscores the urgency of the topic.”

TOP TALKER: Israel detains prominent Jewish-American critic at airport — by Josef  Federman: “The questioning of Peter Beinart was the latest in a string of incidents in which Jewish critics of Israel have been interrogated about their politics by border officials. The Israeli government called the incident a mistake.” [APHaaretz]

Deputy Minister Michael Oren: Beinart’s “interrogation at Ben Gurion Airport damaged the State’s image and forced the Prime Minister to admit that it was a mistake. Our image as a democratic state is one of the pillars [of the relationship] between Israel and the US, and harming it can have strategic implications.” [IsraelNationalNews]

IPF’s Michael Koplow tells us… “Very few people are going to be convinced that Peter Beinart or Simone Zimmerman are security threats to Israel, and I’m not sure that the Israeli government believes that to be the case either. It seems clear that there is now a policy of detaining and questioning people in an effort to police thought, discourse, and the wrong kind of political views. As a sovereign country, Israel has every right to determine its border policies and keep out anyone it pleases for any reason, but these policies are going to carry consequences for Israel’s image, its relationship with American Jews, and its levels of support within the U.S.”

“I’m hard-pressed to see how whatever gains Israel perceives there to be from such detentions and rounds of questioning possibly outweigh the costs. I don’t think it’s going away in the midst of a fight over the nation-state law, elections coming in six months, and a continuing expansion of what Israel defines as a threat. This is looking more and more to me like a feature rather than a bug.”

Mark Dubowitz tweets: “I’ve been held up and grilled at Ben Gurion. I don’t think they thought I was a security threat. As long as they keep us all safe, they can grill me all they want.”

TALK OF THE REGION: Israel to discuss easing restrictions on Gaza if lull in arson attacks continues — by Judah Ari Gross: “Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman will meet with senior members of the Israeli security establishment on Tuesday to discuss easing restrictions on the Gaza Strip following a decrease in Palestinian violence… Additionally, further economic incentives will be considered in the coming days if there is no renewal of violence.” [ToI]

— “A senior Israeli official familiar with the negotiations… told The Times that the deal with Hamas… is “virtually done.” [LATimes

REPORT: Netanyahu and Sisi held secret meeting on Gaza — by Barak Ravid: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi held a secret summit in Egypt on May 22nd to launch efforts toward a Gaza stabilization deal… During the meeting, the Egyptian president told Netanyahu that any solution in Gaza must include the return of the Palestinian Authority to the strip in order to gradually retake control from Hamas. Sisi stressed in the meeting that the full demilitarization of Gaza shouldn’t be a precondition to the initiative.”

— “The leaders also discussed the Trump administration’s long-anticipated Middle East peace plan.” [AxiosReuters]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, former Deputy National Security Advisor under Netanyahu and currently VP of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, on a conference call hosted by American Friends of Likud: “The Egyptians hate Hamas every bit as much as we do. They see them as an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an existential threat to the present Egyptian government. But Sisi and Netanyahu both have an interest in preventing an all-out explosion, if possible. We are in tandem with the Egyptians on this because we do have interests in common.”

“The first choice of the Israeli government, unless Hamas is stupid enough to force our hand irretrievably, is to try and see if they can reach some kind of regularization, not an agreement. There’s no base for a long-term agreement with Hamas. But there could be, let’s say, a set of actions on our part and on their part that would lead to an end to the current round of violence.”

“People who say, ‘Well, we just give Hamas more time to build up,’ I think are not reading the military situation right because we have a much better capacity to build up our own military technological solutions to the challenges that they pose. There’s not much of a way for Hamas to acquire and build up significant military capabilities. The one really important asset that they had were the tunnels and that is now being undone because of new Israeli technological breakthroughs. So time is not on their side, time is on our side, and if we can gain a few years of relative peace and quiet for our people in the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip then that’s worth trying.”

Palestinian-American businessman Zahi Khouri writes… “Trump’s funding cuts to UNRWA hold back generations of future leaders: As one businessman to another, I urge President Trump and his team to consider the long-term impact of children who will be deprived of meals, medical care, jobs, and perhaps most importantly, an education, as a result of these funding cuts.”[Reuters]

Netanyahu Slams Corbyn Over Memorial of Munich Attackers — by Robert Hutton: “On Twitter, Netanyahu accused Corbyn of laying a wreath himself, and of comparing Israel to Nazis. He said this deserved “unequivocal condemnation” from those on all sides of politics. Corbyn swiftly hit back, saying Netanyahu’s “claims about my actions and words are false.” He added: “What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children.” [Bloomberg]

The man behind the curtain in Corbyn’s Oz: A virulently anti-Israel spin doctor — by Robert Philpot: “In the court of Jeremy Corbyn, few wield more power and evoke stronger reactions than Seumas Milne. The British Labour party leader’s director of communications and strategy, Milne is a hardline and uncompromising left-winger, and a fierce opponent of Israel.” [ToI]

Jewish leaders question timing of EU summit — by David Herszenhorn: “The EU leaders’ summit, in Salzburg, which will focus on migration and is also expected to be the setting for potentially critical discussions about Brexit, is set to begin with a dinner on September 19. Yom Kippur…  Péter Niedermüller, a Jewish Hungarian member of the European Parliament, said he believes the date was chosen intentionally as a way for Europe’s right-leaning officials to send a subtle signal.” [PoliticoEU]

PALACE INTRIGUE: Iran’s Top Leader Faults Rouhani for Crisis, Saying He Crossed ‘Red Lines’ — by Rick Gladstone: “Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei said Monday that because of the insistence of [Hassan] Rouhani and his team, he had allowed them to negotiate the nuclear agreement… However, Ayatollah Khamenei said, Iranian negotiators surrendered too much and “trespassed the red lines that had been set.” Were it not for his own advice to Mr. Rouhani, the ayatollah said, “we would have given up more.”

“My sense is that Khamenei is throwing Rouhani under the bus, in a number of ways,” said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, an Iran expert and political science professor at Syracuse University.” [NYTimes]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: Manafort Turned to Kushner in Attempt to Get Banker a Trump Job — by David Voreacos and Neil Weinberg: “Paul Manafort turned to Jared Kushner for help in an attempt to secure a Trump administration job for a Chicago banker at the center of Manafort’s fraud trial. Manafort… got a quick response. ‘On it!’ Kushner replied on Nov. 30, 2016, according to an email submitted by prosecutors into evidence Monday at Manafort’s trial on bank and tax-fraud charges.”[Bloomberg]

Omarosa claims to have secretly recorded Jared and Ivanka — by Eliana Johnson and Annie Karni: “Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has told friends and associates that she has tapes of private phone calls from first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner… Both Trump and Kushner can be heard wishing Manigault Newman the best and telling her they had no idea her head was on the chopping block.”[Politico]

PRIMARY DAY — Voters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut and Vermont head to the polls today for the respective Republican and Democratic primaries.[NYTNPR]

RACES TO WATCH — Minnesota: In the 5th Congressional District, six candidates are vying to replace retiring Rep. Keith Ellison, who is running for Minnesota State Attorney General. One of the candidates, State Representative Ilhan Omar, would be among the first Muslim congresswomen if she wins.

Wisconsin: In the 1st Congressional District, five candidates are competing in the Republican primary to replace retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, including anti-Semite Paul Nehlen. Ryan is backing his former aide Bryan Steil. On the Democratic side, Randy Bryce, who goes by the nickname “Iron Stache,” is backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Vermont: Incumbent Senator Bernie Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination, but like in the past, Sanders plans to decline the nomination and continue running as an independent. “So sure is he of victory that he has spent time this summer campaigning with candidates in other states, including Maryland, Kansas and Michigan,” the NYTimes notes.

MIDTERMS — Congressional candidate tweets ‘off with your Yarmulke’: “Off with your #Yarmulke and I’ll take a ginsu to your pe’ah too!” tweeted [Mark] Roberts on Monday in response to criticism from a user shocked by his tweets. Roberts is running as the Oregon candidate for the US House of Representatives on behalf of the Independent Party of Oregon.”[JPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Michigan Congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. aid for Israel in an interview with UK Channel 4:

Host Krishnan Guru-Murth: As a Palestinian what’s your position on Israel and U.S. aid to Israel? Tlaib: “Look, I am a person that grew up in Detroit where every single corner of the district is a reminder of the civil rights movement… I can tell you when I was 12-years-old I sat there with my mother when she was shifted into a line with all the other brown people, and then all the other folks, you know — mostly citizens of Israel — in another section. And the way that she was treated less than, that inequality that is very evident when you’re there. When you understand truly that equality, justice, access to all those things is solely based on your faith, they’re solely based on your ethnicity, to me you were never going to get peace until we start talking about integration, until we start talking about — instead of walls and checkpoints — how we can connect people, and that divide will decrease. So many of us are so much about, ‘Let’s choose a side.’ Well, I’m for equality for all, for making sure every single person there has every right to thrive…”

Guru-Murth: And so when you get into Congress, will you vote against U.S. military aid for Israel? 

Tlaib: “Absolutely, if it has something to do with inequality and not access to people having justice. For me, U.S. aid should be leveraged. It should be leveraged to promote that value. If you’re going to be a country that discriminates against someone solely based on their faith, solely based on their skin color, in many ways — because there are Israelis now that are darker skinned and they’re not being treated equally, to me, that doesn’t fit the values of our country. So I will be using my position as a member of Congress to say no country, not one, should be able to get aid from us the American people… when they still promote that kind of injustice that I saw in Detroit, especially my neighbors who went through the civil rights movement.” [Video]

Poll: Hogan leads Jealous in governor’s race by double-digits — by Erin Cox and Scott Clement: “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has a considerable lead over Democratic challenger Ben Jealous and is supported by slightly more than half of likely voters, according to a poll released Tuesday… The poll raises questions about whether Jealous can expand his appeal beyond the progressive base that elected him in a six-way primary.” [WashPost]

** 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: Activist investor Carl Icahn says he won’t solicit votes against the Cigna-Express Scripts merger [WSJ] • Brookfield Asset Management secures option to buy land under 666 Fifth from Kushner Companies [TheRealDeal• Marc Benioff’s Salesforce owns $1 billion worth of other companies [BusinessInsider] • To land high-flying financial firm Carlyle, Stephen Green’s SL Green Realty Corp. made huge concession[CrainsNewYork] • Lease buyout pays for Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management’s move [NYPost] • Why Israel Stopped All Attempts by Chinese Companies to Buy Local Insurers [Calcalist] • Roman Abramovich proceeds with NYC townhouse construction [PageSix] • Blockchain Entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg Agrees to Buy Jerusalem Football Club, Report Says [Calcalist]

Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor backs data firm — by David McCabe: “Data firm Applecart said Monday that it had raised $6 million from investors led by Hollywood powerhouse Ari Emanuel… In addition to Emanuel’s Endeavor, investors include Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, Aspect Ventures, former Yelp SVP Michael Stoppelman and Infinite Computer Solutions founder Sanjay Govil… While Applecart is seen as a right-leaning firm, it has also worked for Democrats it feels align with its views on policy. “We don’t really care what someone’s party label is,” said Co-CEO Sacha Samotin.” [Axios

The Les Moonves Nightmare Enters a New Phase — by William Cohan: “Whether Moonves stays or goes is tangential to the real drama at CBS, which is actually unfolding in a Wilmington, Delaware, courtroom. That’s where Andre Bouchard, the chancellor of the Court of Chancery, is presiding over the preliminary phases of the ongoing legal dispute between CBS and National Amusements Inc., the holding company for the powerful Redstone family… The race is on to figure out what will come first: the October trial, or Shari’s decision to fire the remaining CBS directors that are defying her wishes.” [VanityFair

PROFILE: Love brought him, a nation fascinated him: NYTimes’ Tehran reporter — by David Beard: “New York Times correspondent Thomas Erdbrink’s Farsi skills, earnest nature, longevity in the country, marriage to an Iranian and status as a “neutral” outsider — not American, Israeli or British — aids him as he talks to citizens at the dried-up River of Life in Istafan, the shrine to beloved poet Hafez in Shiraz or the street currency trading market in Tehran. (One trader pulls out stacks of dollars to show his admiration for the U.S. currency and its “In God We Trust” motto. “Dollars are the best,” he tells Erdbrink. “You should always buy them.”)”[Poynter]

MEDIA WATCH: After 16 Stormy Years, Israel’s Channel 10 Due to Go Off the Air — Nati Tucker: “Over its 16-year lifetime, it survived multiple financial crises… Now that Antitrust Commission chief Michal Halperin has approved a merger, rival broadcaster Reshet will be swallowing it up. The only surviving remnant will be Channel 10’s news division… Its backers were some of the biggest names in Israeli business at the time, including Yossi Maiman and Alfred Akirov… A year later… Ron Lauder invested in the broadcaster and two years later the Israeli-American Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan joined him. All told, shareholders lost some 1.6 billion shekels on Channel 10.” [Haaretz]

Israeli Consul General in New York Dani Dayan shares his experience visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands: “My most thrilling encounter in St. Thomas was the opportunity to delve further into my lifelong hobby of exploring old and unique Jewish communities, searching for inspiration in synagogues and cemeteries… Despite a hugely positive experience with American Jews, where I have been struck by the community’s strength and depth, unfortunately my experiences have not been as singularly affirming as my time in St Thomas…” [Tablet]

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT: Honor the “Brick-and-Mortar SoundCloud” in the Hamptons — by H. W. Vail: “Each summer, the Apollo in the Hamptons gala swings the pendulum of power out east for one evening, all to benefit Harlem’s Apollo Theater. [Ronald] Perelman’s outsize presence across the entertainment, business, and media worlds makes for an evening that is almost preposterously glamorous… as he did this past weekend, to mix with the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Robert Downey Jr., Lloyd Blankfein, and Robert Kraft… Even Robert Kraft couldn’t resist standing up and dancing to Sting’s perfect performance of “Every Breath You Take” and “Message in a Bottle.”

“The only A-list name missing from the event, in the end, was the host himself. At the beginning of the show, a member of Perelman’s team explained to the crowd that he had come down with a bacterial infection and was being treated at Weill Cornell Medicine.” [VanityFair

BIRTHDAYS: Attorney General of New Jersey (2002-2003) and Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (2011-2014), David Samsonturns 79… President of the Hampton Synagogue and former Board member of the UJA Federation-New York, Carol Levin… Member of the New York State Assembly and Chapter President of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, Charles D. Lavine turns 71… Director of the Department of Neurosurgery and Professor of Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Oncology and Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins, Henry Brem, M.D. turns 66… US District Court Judge in South Carolina, he previously served as President of the Columbia (SC) Hebrew Benevolent Society and the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, Judge Richard Mark Gergel turns 64… Turkish-born economist and professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, he is also the joint editor-in-chief of the academic journal Global Policy, Dani Rodrik turns 61…

Professor, author and political analyst, he is the director of the Politics Forum at Georgetown’s School of Public Policy, he previously served as Jewish outreach director for Marco Rubio, Martin J. Sweet turns 48… Former AIPAC and Republican Jewish Coalition staffer, he ran in the 2018 primary to be the Republican candidate for Congress in the 10th District of Illinois, Jeremy Wynes turns 39… Russian-born political strategist, investment banker and attorney, he is currently the chief political analyst at Sinclair Broadcast Group after a ten week stint in the Trump White House, Boris Epshteyn turns 36… Ukrainian-born actress, she moved to Los Angeles at the age of seven and has appeared in dozens of films, Mila Kunis turns 35… Ryan Smith… Dylan Cooper… Tim Carney

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…