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TOP TALKER: “Israel Held Secret Talks With Russia, U.S. Over Cease-fire in Southern Syria” by Barak Ravid: “Israel, the United States and Russia held a series of secret meetings early last month in Amman and in a European capital regarding the cease-fire in southern Syria… The Israeli team included top representatives of the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, Mossad and the Israel Defense Forces. The American team was led by President Donald Trump’s special envoys on Syria, Michael Ratney and Brett McGurk… The Israelis told the Russians and the Americans that they had to demand from the Iranians that the Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah and the Shi’ite militias in Syria must leave the country.” [Haaretz]

“Facing Palestinian criticism, White House says closeness to Israel is an asset” by Michael Willner, Adam Rasgon and Herb Keinon:“This is a way for the Palestinians to try and message the administration: We have to see some sign that you in fact take our interests into account,” said Dennis Ross. White House officials say that Abbas takes the Trump team more seriously knowing that Kushner and Greenblatt are personally close with the Israelis – a distinction from members of the Obama administration. “What they mean to say is that, ‘because we’re close to the Israelis, we have the ability to influence Israeli behavior,’” Ross said. “And that indeed could benefit the Palestinians, to an extent.” [JPost] • Abbas issues new demands of Israel, but is quietly still arresting terror suspects [ToI]

JARED INSIDER: “Behind The Jared And Ivanka PR Machine” by Steven Perlberg: “On a Thursday late last month… Jared Kushner paused in the West Wing to chat with ABC’s Jonathan Karl and his daughter, who worked as a CNN summer intern. Kushner told Karl’s daughter that it must be interesting to be a reporter, because you always have to figure out who is going to lie to you… When Kushner thought he noticed another reporter, New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi, recording the exchange, he was startled and said it was off the record. He then uncomfortably asked Nuzzi to delete the recording, which she did not do. A few minutes later, after Kushner had left, a Secret Service agent and a press assistant approached Nuzzi and told her she was not permitted to record (she is).”

“A product of the ruthless New York corporate arena, [Josh] Raffel conducts the “blocking and tackling” for Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, routinely making the couple available for off-the-record chats, sources say. He’s smart and good-humored, and reporters who’ve battled with him say he comfortably oscillates between friendly chatter and aggressiveness. One White House reporter said he’s the most competent staffer in the West Wing… Sources say Raffel is intensely loyal to the couple… The couple trusts Raffel, whom Kushner has known for years, more than the White House communications department, and, according to sources close to them, they want him to be their press steward.” [BuzzFeed

DRIVING THE CONVO: “Elizabeth Warren Comes Out Against Senate’s Anti-BDS Bill” by David Colon: “Warren, who was never a sponsor of the bill, was asked about it by a constituent at a town hall last night. In response, she said that while she disagreed with BDS, she also said that ‘outlawing free speech-protected activity violates our basic constitution.'” [Gothamist]

NY Post editorial… Democrats’ latest anti-Israel turn: “The White House hopefuls may be responding to the shift by the party’s base against Israel… Then again, [Chuck] Schumer is 66 and [Steny] Hoyer 78, while [Cory] Booker’s 48 and [Kirsten] Gillibrand 50. In the Democratic Party, reliable support for Israel looks to be a thing of the past.” [NYPost]

An NJDC spokesman emails us… “Saying that the Democratic Party is anti-Israel is both detached from reality and an easy way to kill bipartisan pro-Israel support. We must work to keep fighting for the US-Israel relationship as a bipartisan issue, especially during the erratic Trump administration. This is too important of an issue to fall victim to increasing partisanship.”

ON THE HILL — Four Democratic Senators advocate for Palestinian Issa Amro — by Aaron Magid: Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson advocating for Palestinian activist Issa Amro who has been charged by the Israeli military court system, a Congressional staffer told Jewish Insider. A similar petition was submitted in the House and backed by 34 Democrats.

“It was a private letter raising the case of Issa Amro asking him to monitor the case citing the State Department’s own human rights report, which had mentioned Amro’s case,” the Senate staffer explained. Ha’aretz reported that Amro’s charges are for “spitting at a settler, obstructing soldiers and insulting them.” … “We fear that Israeli military courts deliberating over Mr. Amro’s charges will be unlikely to render a fair and impartial verdict given that the conviction rate within that system is 99.74 percent,” the House letter noted.

Eugene Kontorovich, Professor of Law at Northwestern University, blasted the Democratic House letter and told us last month, “Just as Israel does not seek to politicize the treatment of U.S. security detainees, U.S. Congressmen should not meddle in this matter.”

DRIVING THE DAY — Trump Threatens ‘Fire and Fury’ Against North Korea if It Endangers U.S.” by Peter Baker and Choe Sang-Hun: “This is a more dangerous moment than faced by Trump’s predecessors,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonprofit group in Washington. “The normal nuanced diplomatic rhetoric coming out of Washington hasn’t worked in persuading the Kim regime of American resolve. This language underscores that the most powerful country in the world has its own escalatory and retaliatory options.”[NYTimes]

HEARD YESTERDAY – Former Senator Joe Lieberman on i24News’ Crossroads: “I know that a lot of people will criticize President Trump for the language he used towards North Korea today, but as far as I am concerned, we have tried just about everything else and it hasn’t worked… So, I don’t mind the strong language. The question is: what next? Because this is an unstable, unpredictable leader of North Korea.. [Prompting China to act] could be the most immediate the most positive response to what President Trump has said. The Chinese may worry that they don’t know exactly what President Trump would do. He might take military action, which would destabilize the entire area, probably create massive refugees flows from North Korea into China, which the Chinese don’t want.”

Eliot A. Cohen: “America Is Not Ready for a War in North Korea” [TheAtlantic]

MORE ON TRUMP’S PLATE — “Iranian drone comes close to U.S. fighter jet: U.S. official” by Idrees Ali: “An unarmed Iranian drone came within 100 feet (31 meters) of a U.S. Navy warplane as it prepared to land on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf, a U.S. official said on Tuesday… This appears to be the first time an Iranian drone has come dangerously close to a U.S. fighter plane in the Gulf.” [Reuters

“Getting Trump Out of My Brain” by David Brooks: “If Trump falls in disgrace or defeat, and people’s partisan pride is no longer at stake, I hope that even his supporters will have enough moral memory to acknowledge that character really does matter… But where are people going to go for a new standard of decency? They’re not going to go back to the old WASP ideal. That’s dead. Trump revealed the vacuum, but who is going to fill it and with what? I could describe a similar vacuum when it comes to domestic policy thinking, to American identity, to America’s role in the world. Trump exposes the void but doesn’t fill it. That’s why the reaction against Trump is now more important than the man himself.” [NYTimes]

WSJ editorial… McMaster and the Commander: “Mr. Trump may worry about the damage Mr. Bannon and his allies could do to his Administration if he is no longer part of the White House team. But if his minions continue to vilify his colleagues inside the White House, how can anyone tell the difference?” [WSJ]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “Investigations Intensifying, Israel Imagines Life After Netanyahu” by Isabel Kershner: “There is, as yet, no clear contender to replace Mr. Netanyahu… An Israel without Mr. Netanyahu at the helm would, in any case, be an unfamiliar place for its inhabitants, the Middle East and the world… The Israeli leader has also become a fixture at the annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, showcasing a combative, theatrical style of diplomacy…. His tenure has been one of impasse in the Palestinian peace process. But inside Israel, he is credited with having maintained stability as Arab neighbors descended into chaos. A departure would leave Israel, its allies and its enemies in uncharted terrain… The notion that there is nobody to replace Mr. Netanyahu holds “until it happens,” Professor [Gadi] Wolfsfeld said. “They said nobody could replace Ben-Gurion.”” [NYTimesLATimes]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Thousands of Likudniks are expected to gather this evening in Tel Aviv for a mass rally and demonstration of support for Netanyahu. The rally was scheduled in the wake of all of the PM’s legal troubles and the Likud has been preparing quite a buildup for the event. Bibi himself is the keynote speaker and everyone is waiting for his speech, in which he is likely to address the latest developments in his investigations. A senior Likud figure told Kafe Knesset that he believes Netanyahu will be putting on quite a show. “It will be a declaration of war – on everyone – from the media to the Left – and even on law enforcement authorities.”

Not in the bag anymore? As if Netanyahu doesn’t have enough to worry about, senior United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni referred to an interesting letter in a talk to yeshiva students this week, according to a Walla! News report. Gafni recounted that Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach, who was the undisputed head of the Lithuanian Haredi community while he was alive, wrote a letter to former Prime Minister Menachem Begin while he was negotiating peace with Egypt that it is permissible to evacuate settlements for peace. “Concessions made only for peace are not considered concessions, and when God has mercy on us and the time comes, the ceded land will all be returned to us,” Rabbi Shach wrote… Haredi parties have long been reliable members of any right-wing government. Is Gafni hinting to Netanyahu that they aren’t his natural partners anymore anymore? Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

2020 WATCH — “Fundraising slows at pro-Trump super PACs” by Megan Wilson: “Future45, which collected $20 million of its $25 million in donations from Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson during the 2016 campaign, had zero donors so far this year… Of all the pro-Trump super PACs, Future45 had the least left in its coffers and also the smallest amount of operating costs in the first half of the year— spending just over $19,000, which could indicate it is shutting down or going on hiatus.” [TheHill

“Mark Zuckerberg’s Political Ambitions Are Grander Than You Think” by Nick Bilton: “The reaction to the rumors, though, were sometimes stranger than the potential of a Zuckerberg presidency. On the left, a lot of people applauded the notion of a tech genius running for office… Some in the alt-right reduced the prospect of Zuckerberg, who is of Jewish heritage, in the White House to horrifying racist screeds… One person who interacts with Zuckerberg on a regular basis theorized that maybe Zuckerberg is leaving open the option to run for office one day in the very distant future, or that he could try running for lesser office to better understand how government works.” [VanityFair

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: After A Comeback, Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe Faces Its Next Test [FastCompany] • By Buying Israeli Mobileye, Intel Jumps Firmly Into Driverless Car Race [NYTimes• Nielsen buys AI sports marketing co vBrand [Globes] • WeWork grows Seattle footprint with biggest deal yet in a project developed by Martin Selig [ConstructionDive] • With $5.3 million in funding, Yinon Weiss’ CarDash wants to change how you get your car serviced [TechCrunch]

SPOTLIGHT: “It’s Not Just You: These Super Successful People Suffer From Imposter Syndrome” by Stephanie Vozza: “You might be surprised at the people who admit to feeling like an imposter. While a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society at Harvard University, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg felt she didn’t deserve to be there. “Every time I was called on in class, I was sure that I was about to embarrass myself,” she writes in her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. “Every time I took a test, I was sure that it had gone badly. And every time I didn’t embarrass myself — or even excelled — I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again. One day soon, the jig would be up.”

“Actress and fellow Harvard alum Natalie Portman shared her continued feelings of inadequacy with the school’s 2015 graduating class in a commencement speech. “Today I feel much like I did when I came to Harvard Yard as a freshman in 1999,” she said. “I felt like there had been some mistake, that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company, and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove that I wasn’t just a dumb actress.”

“Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz admitted to being insecure: “Very few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today that they are now qualified to be the CEO. They’re not going to tell you that, but it’s true.” Schultz says a CEO’s willingness to feel insecure is not a weakness, but only when used properly. “I would say one of the underlying strengths of a great leader and a great CEO—not all the time but when appropriate—is to demonstrate vulnerability, because that will bring people closer to you and show people the human side of you.” [FastCompany]

PROFILE: “The Hotelier Who Reinvigorated a New York Neighborhood Heads to Vegas” by Nikki Ekstein: “With his next project, New York’s NoMad, Andrew Zobler put himself in charge of the whole thing, including operations. “I wanted to prove to myself and to the world that I could create a hotel,” he says… With the opening next year of the Park MGM in Las Vegas, which he’s undertaking with the namesake casino giant, Zobler is looking beyond boutique hotels to megaproperties with mega social scenes… Convention hotels, Zobler says, don’t have to be as boring as they usually are: “To me, that’s the next chapter.”” [Bloomberg]

“Despite his reluctance, when Zobler does talk about his background, it’s very telling. He starts with his two larger-than-life grandmothers. He inherited his ambition from his Holocaust-survivor paternal grandmother. “She had the idea that we survived for a reason,” he says. “That we should do something of importance.” He attributes his aesthetic sense to his maternal grandmother, Sydell, for whom the company is named.” [Surface]

“El Chapo Gives Up Public Defenders and Hires a Private Lawyer” by Alan Feuer: “While traveling in Israel on Tuesday, [Jeffrey] Lichtman confirmed in an email that he had been retained by Mr. Guzmán, whom he will now defend against a sprawling international conspiracy indictment that was filed against him in January by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.” [NYTimes]

“FBI: Teen Sold Bomb Threats Against Schools, Jewish Centers on the Dark Web” by Kelly Weill: “Michael Kadar, 19, was arrested in Israel in March, under suspicion that he was behind a wave of bomb threats targeting U.S. institutions. When Israeli police raided the Kadar’s bedroom, they found a flash drive containing the teen’s personal records on his alleged bomb threats… U.S. officials allege in newly unsealed court documents… that he was running a bomb threat business on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay… The post offered refunds for unsuccessful bomb threats, and tiered pricing ranging from $30 for a single threat, to $90 for “emailed bomb threat to a school districts\multiple schools + framing someone for it.”” [DailyBeastNYTimes

MEDIA WATCH: “When Silicon Valley Took Over Journalism” by Franklin Foer: “Makers of magazines and newspapers used to think of their product as a coherent package—an issue, an edition, an institution. They did not see themselves as the publishers of dozens of discrete pieces to be trafficked each day on Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Thinking about bundling articles into something larger was intellectually liberating… Journalism has performed so admirably in the aftermath of Trump’s victory that it has grown harder to see the profession’s underlying rot. Now each assignment is subjected to a cost-benefit analysis—will the article earn enough traffic to justify the investment? Sometimes the analysis is explicit and conscious, though in most cases it’s subconscious and embedded in euphemism.” [TheAtlantic]

TRANSITION — Hadas Gold tweets: “I’m starting a new chapter and a new beat! I’m joining CNN to cover European politics, media, & global business. This is a bittersweet moment – I LOVE Politico and the people here. I am forever indebted to Politico, my editors and colleagues. I joined Politico 5 years ago — my first real journalism job. There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude to for giving me a chance. I’m excited for this new opportunity CNN covering Europe’s changing dynamics and how it deals with U.S.” [Twitter]

“Welcoming Gretchen Hammond to Tablet” by Alana Newhouse: “Starting this month, Gretchen Rachel Hammond will be writing full-time for Tablet, as part of a year-long fellowship at the magazine… On June 24, Hammond broke the news that three women flying Pride flags festooned with the Star of David were forced by organizers to leave Chicago’s Dyke March—setting off a massive news story and a national conversation about anti-Semitism on the left. One week later, Gretchen was reassigned to nonjournalistic duties at the paper.” [Tablet

“Remembering Arlene Gottfried: Legendary New York City Street Photographer” by Paul Moakley: “Gottfried, who died at 66 on Aug. 8 of complications from cancer, according to her family, was born and raised in Brooklyn with her sister, Karen, who became a muse for much of her work, and a surprisingly camera shy brother, the comedian Gilbert Gottfried… As a shy, young Jewish girl with a head of curly hair, her identity was ambiguous and could fit in anywhere. She always carried a camera and as she got older, she carried a point-and-shoot in her purse. Over the span of three decades, Gottfried published five books that taken together can serve as photo albums of her life.” [TIME

SPORTS BLINK: “Blatt remaining patient as he waits for another NBA opportunity” by Allon Sinai: “I have an end game and that end game is that I would really like to go back to the NBA,” Blatt told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “There were no changes in the NBA this year from a coaching standpoint and my real goal is to try next year to get back into the league as a head coach. It may happen and it may not happen. But I wanted to leave that door open for myself if the opportunity arises.” [JPost]

“The New Moneyball, With Lots and Lots of Money” by Jared Diamond: “Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi took over the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office before the 2015 season and quickly drew the ire of a city built on the power of stardom. Inheriting a record payroll and massive expectations, they began running the Dodgers less like baseball’s wealthiest organization and more like the small-market teams they came from: They shunned the most expensive free agents and headline-grabbing trades in favor of protecting the farm system and adding complementary pieces of the puzzle.” [WSJ]

‘NEW AIR-KRAFTS’ — Patriots Become 1st NFL Franchise to Buy a Team Plane: “They only figuratively own the New York Jets, but the defending champions now own two wide-body jets. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the Patriots bought a pair of 767 Boeing aircrafts.” [BleacherReportESPN]

DESSERT: “At Nur, an Open-Armed Approach to Middle Eastern Flavors’ by Pete Wells: “For long commutes, few chefs can top the one that Meir Adoni has been making since he opened a Middle Eastern restaurant called Nur on East 20th Street in April. He splits his time between Manhattan; Tel Aviv, the site of his two other restaurants; and his home outside Jerusalem… The plates have energy. At times, in fact, they don’t know when to quit. The sauces and powders and garnishes proliferate so quickly that it’s hard to keep count… Nur’s menu embraces Morocco and Libya in North Africa, in addition to Israel, Yemen and Syria; again, it’s hard to keep count. His vision of his part of the globe is pluralistic.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Physicist and venture capitalist, co-founder and general partner of New Markets Venture Partners, Donald M. “Don” Spero, Ph.D. turns 78… Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News for more than 20 years, then a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Carl Robert Zelnick turns 77… Host of Showtime’s “Inside Comedy,” son of a Rabbi, he has appeared 130 times on Johnny Carson, David Steinberg turns 75… Romance novelist with 19 books on the NYT bestseller lists, Barbara Delinsky (born Barbara Ruth Greenberg) turns 72… Author of 36 Jewish themed books, founder of Rossel Books, he lectures on Israel, the Holocaust, Bible, archaeology, spirituality, Jewish history and Jewish education, Seymour Rossel turns 72… Psychologist and bestselling suspense novelist, Jonathan Kellerman turns 68… Southern California resident, Faith Schames turns 66… Member of the Minnesota Senate since 2007, following four years in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Ronald Steven “Ron” Latz turns 54… Chief of Staff for Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Amy B. Rutkinturns 48…

Kiev-born, member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 2007 from Montgomery County, Kirill Reznik turns 43… Reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times since 2017, previously Chief Investigative Reporter for Politico (2007-2017), Kenneth P. Vogel turns 42… Executive Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition, Jacob Baime turns 32… South Pasadena, California resident, Giovanna Fradkin… Senior counselor at at Dezenhall Resources since April 2017, previously communications director for the Republican Jewish Coalition and an RNC alum, Fred Brown… Partner at Hilltop Public Solutions, who served as Special Advisor to NYC Mayor de Blasio, Rebecca Kirszner Katz… Researcher at the London School of Economics, previously a public affairs / political intern in the DC office of SKDKnickerbocker, Isaac Lederman… Amanda Isaacson… Elise Aronson (h/ts Playbook)… Dan Zimerman Mark Shapiro

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Daily Kickoff: Dore, Dov and Dan discuss McMaster | JI trivia winners | Meet Rep. Jack Bergman | Thiel turning on Trump? | Wilf joins Nashville soccer

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KAFE KNESSET — When it rains, it pours — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Trouble just continues to pile up on PM Netanyahu’s desk. Against the backdrop of the numerous investigations, the Supreme Court ordered the PM to reveal the dates and length of his phone calls with Sheldon Adelson and the former editor in chief of Israel Hayom Amos Regev. In a dramatic decision in an ongoing case, initiated by Channel 10 journalist Raviv Drucker, the Supreme Court overturned a previous decision made by the Tel Aviv District Court. The lower court had accepted Adelson’s and Regev’s claim that publishing the information would be a breach of their privacy. The Supreme Court, however, stated that there is a “heavy public interest in exposing the information.” Now, Netanuahu is forced to publish the dates of the phone conversations between him, Adelson and Regev in the years 2012-2015, and everyone is waiting to see if there is any connection between the details and various news headlines in Israel Hayom. This data could strengthen the argument that Bibi acted as the de facto editor in chief of the freebie newspaper.

Last night more bad news emerged for the Netanyahus as Channel 2 reported that Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit is expected to announce an indictment against Sara Netanyahu in the “Residence Affair” in the upcoming weeks. The PM’s wife will first be granted a hearing, and only after that will a final decision be made. However, a clear-cut statement from the AG accusing her of fraud and using public funds for private expenses, is likely to exacerbate already existing tensions in the Netanyahu household.

Rallying the Likud troops: Tomorrow, however, Netanyahu has a special treat scheduled: a mass Likud Rally in Tel Aviv. Coalition chairman David Bitan, who is emerging as the biggest Bibi loyalist in recent weeks, announced the demonstration earlier this week, and is pressuring ministers, MKs, and activists to arrive and show support for the PM. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset today [JewishInsider]

BIPARTISANSHIP IN JERUSALEM: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer held a press conference at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem to display strong bipartisan support for Israel as the Democratic congressional delegation concludes its week-long visit to Israel and the Republican delegation kicks off its tour. The summer trip is sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation affiliated with AIPAC. [Pic]

Hoyer: “All of us together support Israel and there is no residual impact [from Netanyahu’s 2015 speech to Congress], whether you were pleased or not pleased,” said Hoyer. “This is not about Prime Minister Netanyahu or President Obama or President Trump. This is about a relationship between two great democracies, Israel and America. This is about a consensus that Israel’s security is critical for the security of the United States. This is not about personalities. This is about shared values. And our two countries are partners for peace and security… Democrats are very supportive of Israel and that is our focus and continues to be our focus.”

McCarthy: “We have made a point to make sure we have an overlapping time here in Israel together, Republicans and Democrats. Because this is not a partisan issue. This is a bipartisan issue… I don’t think any other country has this large a bipartisan delegation. I think this is an example of the respect for our relationship with Israel.” [ToIJPost]

JI TRIVIA — congrats to JI readers Aylon Berger, Zach Eckstein, Dan Marrow, Aaron Biel, Eli Schechner, Adam Rubenstein, Elie Pieprz, and Ari Mittelman who identified at least 15 individuals in the photo of Democratic members of Congress with Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday including…

Lillian Pinkus, Bob Cohen, Howard Friedman, Jimmy Panetta, Carrie McIntyre Panetta, Josh Gottheimer, Steny Hoyer, Ben Ray Lujan, Matt Cartwright, Nanette Barragan, Carmen Walker Brown, Anthony Brown, Salud Carbajal, Gene Green, Frank Pallone, Brad Schneider, Julie Schneider, Thomas Suozzi, Tom O’Halleran, Stephanie Murphy, Jose “Lou” Correa, Charlie Crist, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Val Demings, Darren Soto, Hilary Smith Kapner, Daniel Silverberg.

JI INTERVIEW — Meet Jack Bergman: The Former Pilot Now in Congress: Rep. Bergman (R-MI) discussed his military experience and 2010 visit to Israel in an interview with JI’s Aaron Magid. Bergman, a retired U.S. Marine, visited Israel in 2010 with JINSA as part of its special Generals and Admirals program and is planning to tour the Jewish state this week as part of a congressional delegation, a trip sponsored by AIPAC’s AIEF affiliate.

Bergman on the two state solution: “It’s complex. If you can get both [sides] to actually agree to negotiate in good faith and then go back and honor what they negotiated, the two state solution will have a chance. If you don’t have that, the two state solution is not a good alternative. You have to look at the history and how those negotiations have gone. It doesn’t relieve us from the responsibility to try and solve problems because if you quit trying to solve the problems, then usually the problems end up being one of armed conflict because people quit trying. I don’t quit.” Read the entire interview here[JewishInsider

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “Top Trump aides clashing over direction of US foreign policy” by Jonathan Lemire and Bradley Klapper: “In recent days, conservative groups and a website tied to Trump adviser Steve Bannon have targeted [H. R.] McMaster as insufficiently supportive of Israel and insufficiently tough toward Iran… The Zionist Organization of America on Monday announced it has undertaken a review of McMaster’s views on Israel. Dozens of conservative and alt-right social media stars have hammered the national security adviser on Twitter… The Iran nuclear deal also has been a source of disagreement. That Obama-era pact is opposed by Israel and prominent GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, who backs the Zionist Organization of America group that attacked McMaster.” [AP

“Former Pentagon Official: Israeli Right, Bannon Allies Trying To Oust McMaster” by Nathan Guttman: “I’ve spoken to [H.R. McMaster] and I’ve heard him talk in small groups that had nothing to do with Israel, and I heard his views on the Middle East and on Iran,” [Dov] Zakheim told the Forward. “His views are mainstream pro-Israel… You have an unholy alliance between the Bannon supporters and the extreme pro-Israel right,” Zakheim said. He claimed that those supporters of Israel joining the American far-right in criticizing McMaster believe that “if you’re not 1000 percent committed to the extreme settler point of view, then you’re already a suspect.” [Forward]

Dore Gold, former Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, emails us… “With Tehran unveiling new centrifuges for enriching uranium, like the IR-8 that operates 15 times more efficiently than the old IR-1, I cannot imagine that a serious senior officer like McMaster is not disturbed about Iran. Moreover, I cannot imagine that a former CENTCOM planner would be oblivious to Iranian troops creating a corridor for themselves from their border with Iraq to the Mediterranean in order to dominate the Middle East. Today being concerned about this doesn’t make him pro-Israeli alone, it would make him pro-Saudi, pro-UAE, pro-Egyptian etc. Since we are all Washington’s allies, it would make him pro-American as well. Thus my sense is that these charges are baseless and we need to sit down and deal with more serious matters.”

Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro tells us… “I think the country is fortunate to have someone of his quality and stature in the NSA position under the present circumstances. The person they are attacking is a caricature, not the real McMaster. And the charge of his unfriendliness to Israel is absurd — there is not a scintilla of evidence to support it.”

“You want McMaster out over Iran? That’s fine. Over Israel? Senseless” by Shmuel Rosner: “For a horde of reasons, all related to his understanding of the American interest, he seems reluctant to clash with the Iranians. This is not something he does to spite Israel, or annoy it, or put it in danger. He is not anti-Israel – he disagrees with Israel on some issues.”[JewishJournal]

“The Alt-Right and Glenn Greenwald Versus H.R. McMaster” by Jonathan Chait: “Greenwald has depicted the conflict, much like the nationalists themselves have, as the machinations of the deep state to prevent the authentic, democratically legitimate populist representatives of Trumpism from exerting their rightful authority. The episode has revealed a left-winger’s idiosyncratic sympathy for the most odious characters on the right.” [NYMag]

DRIVING THE WEEK — “A Trump Vacation Formula: Work Hard, Play Hard, Tweet Hard” by Peter Baker: “With driving rain on Mondaymaking golf unappealing, it remained unclear what the president did to enjoy himself… All told, Mr. Trump blasted out 13 Twitter posts before dinner… Mr. Trump complained that the “Fake News Media” was not paying enough attention to the United Nations Security Council vote to add more sanctions against North Korea, and he grumbled that he was not getting sufficient credit for the accomplishments of his 200-day-old presidency. He seemed particularly intent on making the case that he still has his base behind him despite overall low poll numbers.” [NYTimes] • In attacking Blumenthal, Trump opens himself to criticism over the military. Again [WashPost]

“Trump’s big win at the United Nations” by Aaron Blake: “President Trump is often accused of using Twitter to distract us from stories he doesn’t like. But on Monday, his petty, putdown-fueled tweetstorm likely distracted from a very good story for him… Saturday’s vote to go along with the sanctions, particularly by North Korea’s ally China, had even Trump skeptics in the foreign policy community hailing the work of the administration and, specifically, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. And it’s actually the second big foreign policy achievement to be announced in recent days, along with major progress against ISIS.” [WashPost]

IRAN DEAL — “How Trump’s Iran Threats Could Backfire—in North Korea” by Aaron David Miller, Richard Sokolsky and Robert Malley: “If the U.S. thrusts aside the nuclear deal with Iran—and uses contrived evidence to do so—the message to North Korea and others will be that America’s word is disposable and the U.S. cannot be trusted to honor its commitments. This would deal a possibly fatal blow to any chance of a diplomatic effort to, if not halt or reverse, at a minimum slow down North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs… The administration’s too-clever-by-half strategy of messing around with the Iranian nuclear accord… almost certainly would undermine its credibility with nations whose cooperation it desperately needs to deal with the North Korean nuclear challenge.” [PoliticoMag]

“Iran Is Using Syria to Advance Toward the Mediterranean” by Naftali Bennett: “Iran must be made to pay a price every day its soldiers remain on Syrian soil helping the Assad regime kill its own people. Tehran’s leaders must know that every violation of the nuclear deal will trigger harsh sanctions… There are many possible courses of action against Iran. Yet the free world—led by the U.S.—has yet to take the first and most important step: declaring that it cannot abide an Iranian empire from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.” [WSJ]

PREET REPLACEMENT: “Trump May Nominate a Giuliani Law Partner as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan” by Alan Feuer: “The Trump administration is considering naming Geoffrey S. Berman, a law partner of the former New York City mayor and ally of the president — Rudolph W. Giuliani, to assume the powerful position of United States attorney in Manhattan… Mr. Berman emerged as the White House’s top choice for the job in a “proposed nominee” document that has been circulating between New York’s two Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, for their approval.” [NYTimesBuzzFeed

FOGGY BOTTOM APPOINTMENT: “Veteran Diplomat David Satterfield Named New State Department Middle East Director” by Amir Tibon: “David Satterfield, a veteran American diplomat who has served in a number of key Middle East postings, will become the new acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs starting September… Satterfield has also dealt extensively with Israeli-Arab relations over the years, most recently in 2009 when he was appointed to be director general of the multi-national force in the Sinai, which helps maintain the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. After that role, he returned to the State Department in 2014 to be a special adviser on Libya… Satterfield will replace Stu Jones, another veteran diplomat who has worked extensively on the Middle East.” [Haaretz

TOP-OP: “Israel Boycott Backlash: ‘This Is Not the DSA I Founded’” by Ronald Radosh: “By signing on to BDS and joining a movement that’s swept college campuses here, DSA is embracing the agenda of the far left in Europe. It is taking the same approach toward Israel as Jeremy Corbyn is taking in Britain’s Labour Party… Were the Democratic Party to follow Corbyn’s lead, it risks becoming as weak and isolated as Labour is poised to become in Britain… Turning against Israel is also a major departure from where the founders of the DSA stood. Both Michael Harrington and Irving Howe were critical of aspects of Israeli policy, and friendly to the old socialist leadership of Israel’s earliest years. Yet they unreservedly supported the existence of the state of Israel, and favored a two-state solution. I suspect that Howe and Harrington, its founding intellectuals, as the saying goes, are turning over in their graves.” [DailyBeast]

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Mexichem to take over Israeli irrigation firm Netafim in $1.5 billion deal [Reuters] • Africa-Israel sale in trouble [Globes] • Ackman’s Pershing Square Nominates Three to ADP’s Board [WSJ] • Struggling to Survive, Congregations Look to Sell Houses of Worship [NYTimes] • Israeli company teaches tourists terror defense [CNN] • Israel’s Oryx Vision raises $50 million to develop new lidar for autonomous vehicles [VentureBeat]

STARTUP NATION: “CommonSense Robotics pulls in $6 mln seed” by Iris Dorbian: “CommonSense Robotics, a leader in on-demand fulfillment technology, announced [yesterday] that it has raised $6 million in seed funding from Aleph VC and Innovation Endeavors… CommonSense Robotics merges the convenience of online purchasing with the immediacy of in-store shopping, empowering retailers to improve speed in the fulfillment and delivery processes and offer economically sustainable on-demand delivery… Innovation Endeavors has offices in Silicon Valley and Tel-Aviv, and is solely backed by Eric Schmidt.” [PEHubCalcalist]

SPOTLIGHT: “Michael Rothman’s Millennial Dad Site Fatherly Raises $4 Million to Expand Into Video and Events” by Erin Griffith: “The company plans to use the money to expand the scope of its content, launch a podcast, develop original video series, and expand internationally in the next 18 months. The company has created franchises like 940 Weekends, a reference to the number of weekends dads have to spend with their kids between birth and age 18; My Father The…, a series of interviews with children of famous men, and the Father of the Year awards, which it hopes will lead to more events. Michael Rothman, the company’s CEO, says the strategic expertise from UTA and BDMI will be key to accomplishing Fatherly’s goals.” [Fortune• Flashback: ARQ interviewed Rothman last year [ThisIsArq]

“Trump’s Friend Tom Barrack Talks Gary Cohn and Polo in the Hamptons” by Amanda L Gordon: “In the Hamptons on Sundayevening, Tom Barrack… weighed in on Gary Cohn’s prospects to run the Federal Reserve. “Will he get it? Absolutely, if he wanted it, he will absolutely have it,” Barrack said at a polo match and asado benefiting the Robin Hood Foundation. “Honestly, he’s certainly capable and qualified for that job. But I think there’s other things that he can do that are even more important.”[Bloomberg

“Tim Kaine hitting Hamptons for re-election fundraising” by Richard Johnson: “The Virginia Democrat will press the flesh on Aug. 20 at the Bridgehampton home of Lizzie and Jon Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels and co-owner of the NY Giants. Co-hosts for former vice-presidential hopeful Kaine’s cocktail reception will include Liz Robbins and Doug Johnson, Ophelia and Bill Rudin, and Tracy and Jay Snyder.” [NYPost]

“Peter Thiel Has Been Hedging His Bet On Donald Trump” by Ryan Mac: “At one event with friends in January 2017, Thiel said of Trump’s presidency that “there is a 50% chance this whole thing ends in disaster,” according to two people who were in attendance. In other conversations, he questioned the president’s ability to be reelected… At an event in May in San Francisco, he was described by one guest who was in attendance as “annoyed” with the first months of Trump’s presidency. With little policy being established by the White House, Thiel worried that the the next four years would be defined by stagnation.” [BuzzFeed]

TALK OF THIS TOWN: “Stephen Miller blasted a reporter as ‘cosmopolitan.’ But he lives in a $1 million CityCenter condo” by Emily Heil: “Miller bought the two-bedroom CityCenter condo in 2014 for $973,000, according to property records. The unit comes with a hefty condo fee of nearly $1,800 a month. At the time, he was a 28-year-old Senate staffer with a $129,000 salary — not too shabby for a public servant… The buyer for the property is listed as “Stephen Miller Cordary, Inc.,” a company whose address is the same as that of Cordary Inc., the Los Angeles-based real estate company that his father, Michael Miller, owns.” [WashPost

“The Real History of American Immigration” by Joshua Zeitz: “Even the most model of “model minority” groups—Eastern European Jews who arrived in the United States between the 1880s and early 1920s—were principally engaged in the unskilled needle trades or as small business owners. Stereotypes notwithstanding, in the 1940s just 24 percent of Jewish men in New York—first and second generation, alike—claimed a college- or graduate-level education. In 1957, that figure climbed to 28.5 percent, and, by 1970, it was 36.4 percent… While 75 percent of Jewish men in that decade qualified as “white collar,” most were small business owners; only 14 percent worked in licensed professions like law, medicine or insurance.” [Politico]

“Allen Ginsberg Was Once a Bob Dylan Bootleg Taper” by Andy Cush: “The [Allen] Ginsberg tapes evidently came from the Stanford University library’s department of special collections… Though the library has digitized over 2,000 recordings from the Ginsberg papers, the [Bob] Dylan shows still aren’t officially available online–until last week, you had to physically travel to the library to hear them. The new YouTube videos mark the first time the tapes have become available for the wide listening public. Keith Gubitz, the California-based Dylan collector who uploaded the videos… told SPIN that word about Ginsberg tapes began circulating online amongst a community of fellow Dylan enthusiasts in July, but he’s not sure exactly how they made it out from Stanford’s listening room.” [SPIN

SPORTS BLINK: “Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, joins Nashville’s MLS ownership group” by Joey Garrison: “Mark Wilf, his brother Zygi, and cousin Leonard, in their 13th season as majority owners and of the Minnesota Vikings, have signed on as a minority owner of Nashville Soccer Holdings, the business enterprise led by billionaire Nashville businessman John Ingram. Though terms of the arrangement, including financial details, are not being disclosed, Ingram will remain the lead owner of Nashville’s MLS expansion team.” [TennesseanESPN]

BIRTHDAYS: US Ambassador to Israel since May 15, 2017, previously a NYC-based bankruptcy attorney whose clients included Donald Trump, Ambassador David Melech Friedman turns 59… Professor Emerita at the Graduate School of the City University of New York and mother of Bill Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb turns 95… Actor and director, with a career in film, television, and theatre, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1980 for Kramer vs. Kramer and in 1989 for Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman turns 80… Dutch diplomat and politician, he served at the Dutch mission to the UN (1970-1977), then a member of the Dutch House of Representatives (1982-2006) including the last four years as Speaker, Frans Weisglas turns 71… Vancouver, Washington resident, Juliana E. Miles Bagherpour turns 60… CEO of BusinessGhost, a ghostwriting firm that has written and published 550 books, including 18 national best sellers, he has completed more than a dozen triathlons since 2002, Michael Graubart Levin turns 59… Attorney and White House aide who served as Chief of Staff to both VP Al Gore (1995-1999) and VP Joe Biden (2009-2011), in 2014-2015 he served as Ebola “Czar,” Ron Klain turns 56… Film director whose works include 9 Disney films, Jon Turteltaub turns 54… Founder in 1994 and CEO ever since of DC-based Connections Media, Jonah Seiger turns 46… Orthodox Jewish blogger (Torahmusings) who serves as the book editor and a member of the the editorial committee of the Orthodox Union’s “Jewish Action” magazine, Rabbi Gil Ofer Student turns 45… MLB pitcher since 2005, he attended Yale University and majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, he pitched during the qualifying round for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Craig Breslow turns 37… Peoria, Illinois native, now at West End Strategy Team, Sarah Garfinkel turns 28… Campaign coordinator at Los Angeles-based fundraising firm Omaze, Morgan Furlong turns 25… Internet celebrity and fitness model, Jennifer Leigh “Jen” Selter turns 24… Skokie, Illinois native, now an Associate Director at AIPAC’s Chicago office, Zachary Pellish… Jack Baum… Rob Schwartz… Elizabeth Gordon

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Daily Kickoff: At town hall, Sen. Wyden defends Israel Anti-Boycott Act | Bibi’s ‘business as usual’ | Profile: Yifat Oren | Mazel Tov Sophie & Alex

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Tu B’Av: “Google Doodle Celebrates Tu Be’av, Israel’s Holiday of Love” by Joseph Hincks: “It’s that special time of year again in Israel: Tu Be’av, the day of love. Often referred to as the Jewish version of Valentine’s Day, the holiday was treated in Google’s time-honored tradition of celebrating amorous dates with… pangolins, of course.” [TimeMag]

SCENE IN JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with a group of Democratic members of Congress visiting Israel on a trip led by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and sponsored by AIPAC’s AIEF affiliate. [Pic] Any JI reader who can correctly identify at least 15 seated individuals in this picture, will receive a shoutout in tomorrow’s Daily Kickoff. Email

KAFE KNESSET — “Business as usual” — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: One of Netanyahu’s confidants told Kafe Knesset: “It is better for us not to be dragged into a battle of containment with all the information coming out, and the best defense line is to show that we are working as usual. If we respond to every report or development, the public will see a PM who is constantly occupied with his legal affairs and they won’t necessarily tolerate it for a long time. So it is better to focus on leading the country.” … However, the State’s Witness agreement signed with Ari Harow has definitely been at the top of Netanyahu’s concerns for days, and over the weekend he held intensive consultations to deal with the developments.

Under the terms of the State’s Witness agreement Harow will be paying a 700,000 shekel fine and doing community service instead of serving prison time for his own felonies. “It is not like Shula Zaken. It is not that I broke the law together with Netanyahu and now I am seeking to bring him down to avoid punishment,” Harow was qouted by Channel 2’s Amit Segal last night, referring to the infamous State’s Witness deal signed with the closest assistant of former PM Ehud Olmert which was a crucial stage in the latter’s indictment. “The definition of a State’s Witness is an internal figure who turns on his boss. This not the case. I am not a classic ‘State’s Witness’ – not in the offenses that I am accused of and not in the agreement I signed.” Harow added that he “did not think in real time that these were criminal offenses, and even now I do not pretend to think so, so the argument that I am ‘opening up on Netanyahu’ is incorrect,” he said. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here[JewishInsider]

“As Netanyahu Investigators Close In, Some Ask: How Long Can He Hold On?” by  Isabel Kershner: “Any actual indictment could still be many months off, and most analysts, including [Sima] Kadmon, doubt that Mr. Netanyahu, a political survivor who has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, will be going anywhere soon…” [NYTimes]

“Palestinian Officials: Israel Peace Talks Are a Non-starter While Netanyahu Under Investigation” by Jack Khoury: “What the Palestinian leadership is afraid of is that Netanyahu may make moves to appease the Israeli right wing that will have serious ramifications in the field and bury the two-state solution… According to [a source close to Abbas], the Palestinian leadership is beginning to believe that U.S. President Donald Trump won’t present any initiative in the near term, and even if the White House intends to do so it will prefer to wait until Netanyahu’s situation is clarified. If the investigations lead to Netanyahu being replaced or to new elections, the Palestinians say, everything will have to be reevaluated.” [Haaretz

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Jared Kushner looks for a deal in the Middle East” by Katrina Manson and John Reed: “We’re very targeted, strategic, direct — I don’t want to say less diplomatic because we try to be diplomatic — and we try to break through issues,” said a senior White House official… Informal advisers such as World Jewish Congress leader Ronald Lauder… are encouraging Mr Kushner that a two-state solution is achievable… While the Trump administration has yet to present the Palestinians with a plan, Husam Zomlot, chief representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Washington, meets Mr Kushner regularly. He said he is “100 per cent supportive” of their efforts… The senior White House official insists the work has to go ahead “on parallel tracks” — defusing day-to-day tensions and keeping the big picture in mind. “We still remain as optimistic as we’ve ever been.” [FinancialTimes(subscription)

“Palestinians warn Abbas could dismantle PA in 2018” by Uri Savir: “The [Palestinian] official noted that given recent events, the diplomatic window of opportunity regarding any possible initiative by US President Donald Trump and his team may close in the months after the UN General Assembly meeting in September… Abbas has altered his rhetoric in internal leadership deliberations and is threatening, in the case of diplomatic failure and greater violence, to resign at the end of the year and dismantle the PA. Abbas’ mood is more militant nowadays. The official recounted that Abbas was disappointed with the lack of Arab support during the Temple Mount crisis, and he found the US intervention through envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt very lacking.” [Al-Monitor

“The End of This Road: The Decline of the Palestinian National Movement” by Palestinian negotiators Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi: “Abbas (Abu Mazen), represents the last slender chance for a negotiated settlement: he is the sole remaining national leader of his people with sufficient, if dwindling, authority to sign and ratify a deal. For President Trump and his team, as well as for all those seeking to end this century-plus-old conflict, there should be no doubt about the moment’s urgency. After Abbas, there will be no other truly weighty representative and legitimate Palestinian leadership, and no coherent national movement to sustain it for a long time to come.” [NewYorker

“Trapped between Israel and Hamas, Gaza’s wasted generation is going nowhere” by William Booth and Hazem Balousha: “In many interviews, in their torn-just-so jeans and fresh white sneakers, Gaza’s young people today say they would rather fight for a job in Tel Aviv than fight Israelis. “If the borders were open, I’d work in Israel in a minute. I got absolutely no problem with that. Everybody would work in Israel,” said Iyad Abu Heweila, 24, who graduated with a degree in English education two years ago but now spends his days hanging out… “I know it’s bad, but sometimes I wonder, if there’s another war with Israel, maybe there would be work for translators?” Heweila asked.” [WashPost]

PALACE INTRIGUE: “Trump Defends McMaster Against Calls for His Firing” by Peter Baker: “General McMaster and I are working very well together,” he said in a statement… “He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country.” A senior White House official… added that Mr. Trump has “total confidence” in his national security adviser… At one point on Friday, Breitbart News, formerly run by Mr. Bannon, had close to a dozen headlines on its home page about General McMaster, like “McMaster ‘Deeply Hostile to Israel and to Trump.’” … “General McMaster is a true public servant and a tremendous asset for the president and the administration,” Jared Kushner… said in an email.”

“Eliot A. Cohen, a former State Department counselor under President George W. Bush and a staunch critic of Mr. Trump, used words like “terrific” and “thoughtful” to describe General McMaster. “He’s infinitely better than Michael Flynn; he’s infinitely better than some of the crazies that you could have,” Mr. Cohen said. “But I believe he’s just going to have very limited success because of Trump.” [NYTimes• Israeli officials say under-fire McMaster a great friend of Israel [ToI]

Mark Dubowitz‏: “Today I pulled up everything I could find that McMaster has said on Iran dating back to 2007. If he isn’t tough-minded, I don’t know who is.” [Twitter]

“White House ‘Enemies List’ Drove McMaster-Bannon Feud” by Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng, Kimberly Dozier and Spencer Ackerman: “An internal White House enemies list of alleged Obama loyalists to be fired early in the Trump administration is a key contributor to a long-running feud between the National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon… NSC intelligence director Ezra Cohen-Watnick and ret. Col. Derek Harvey, the NSC Mideast director… had meetings with Bannon throughout their tenure, described as hushed national-security related “chats,” by one senior White House official, without seeking McMaster’s permission beforehand… These “chats” between Bannon and Harvey and Cohen Watnick… contributed to McMaster’s desire to “finally make moves against” them, as one senior official recounted.”

“A source close to McMaster claims it also follows a pattern of leaks to right-wing blogger [Mike] Cernovich that he blamed on Cohen-Watnick, in which minor NSC staffers would be called out for anti-Trump infractions like being seen talking to a former Obama official… According to multiple administration sources, it became a source of bemusement among staffers that if one crossed Cohen-Watnick in a staff meeting, a punishing leak to Cernovich would often quickly follow.” [DailyBeast]

“The Mooch’s replacement could be Stephen Miller” by Mike Allen: “Stephen Miller, the Trump senior policy adviser who just tangled on-camera with CNN’s Jim Acosta, is under consideration for White House communications director, top Trump sources tell me… Miller is not the top contender, the sources said.” [Axios]

IRAN DEAL: “Iran vows ‘unified’ response to breach of nuclear deal” by Amir Vahdat: “Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that his administration and country will show a “unified” response to a breach of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal… The Saturday remarks by the Iranian president came during the swearing in ceremony for his second term as president. Iran’s state TV reported that more than 130 high-ranking officials from various countries and international organizations attended the ceremony in Tehran. Among them was EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who coordinates follow-up of Iran’s nuclear deal… “Those who intend to tear down the deal, should know that they are tearing down their political life,” said Rouhani, without elaborating.” [ABCNews]

“How Trump can confront Iran without blowing up the nuclear deal” by Josh Rogin: “If Trump is determined to get the United States out of the Iran deal, nobody can stop him. But if the majority of his national security team gets its way, Trump will repeat what he did with Cuba: make minimal changes to the policy, then declare he has undone Obama’s “terrible deal” and fulfilled a campaign promise. And if Trump can’t bring himself to certify Iran’s compliance anymore, he should at least minimize the chances his decision will cause a diplomatic crisis and distract the United States from the mission of combating Iran’s other nefarious activities.” [WashPost]

“Trump is trying to politicize intelligence to support his Iran policy. That’s dangerous” by David Cohen: “When I traveled the world to build support for sanctions on Iran by presenting intelligence (with authorization, of course) on the progress of Iran’s nuclear program, the hangover from the Iraq intelligence failure was palpable. But because our intelligence on Iran was unquestionably sound, we were able to persuade dozens of countries to work with us in pressuring Iran.” [WashPost]

“In Afghanistan, U.S. Exits, and Iran Comes In” by Carlotta Gall:“Iran has come to see the Taliban not only as the lesser of its enemies but also as a useful proxy force… Iran has sent squads of assassins, secretly nurtured spies and infiltrated police ranks and government departments, especially in western provinces, Afghan officials say… But it could have been prevented, in the view of [Timor] Sharan. “The fact is that America created this void,” he said. “This vacuum encouraged countries to get involved. The Syria issue gave confidence to Iran and Russia, and now that confidence is playing out in Afghanistan.” [NYTimes]

SUMMER WHITE HOUSE — “President Trump is going on vacation to Bedminster. His critics are going to hate it” by David Jackson: Tevi Troy, who worked in the George W. Bush administration, criticized what he called the hypocrisy surrounding commentary on presidential vacations – the out-party criticizes the in-president over them, roles that reverse when the White House changes political parties. “It’s the most obvious and blatant hypocrisy,” Troy said. “Presidents of both parties deserve to have a vacation.” As perhaps a warning against avoiding a break from a very stressful job, Troy cited the example of a president who did not take any long vacations: James K. Polk.” [USAToday

UNGA WATCH: “Trump may host visiting leaders at his N.J. golf club during upcoming U.N. gathering” by  Anne Gearan: “Trump will potentially meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, diplomats said…. Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband, presidential adviser Jared Kushner, are also both expected to play roles during the gathering known as UNGA. Vera Jelinek, director of the Center for Global Affairs at New York University, said she expects Trump to highlight his administration’s view that the United Nations is biased against Israel, but also to cast himself as a global statesman.” [WashPost

ANTI BOYCOTT ACT: “Wyden pressed on Israeli anti-boycott legislation, talks healthcare at Wilson High” by Eder Campuzano: “The Democratic senator’s co-sponsorship of Senate Bill 720… drew some of the most prolonged questions and back-and-forths as Wyden explained his position… “As we have read the bill, it means that anybody in this audience can boycott Israeli products or say they intend to boycott Israeli products,” he said. What the bill won’t allow, Wyden told the audience, is collaboration “with a foreign government to promote the boycott” of Israeli products, just as U.S. companies are barred from doing under the Export Administration Act of 1979.” [Oregonlive

“Democratic Socialists of America vote to endorse BDS on Shabbat” by Shoshana Kranish: “The Democratic Socialists of America, whose membership has more than tripled in recent years, currently counts some 25,000 dues-paying members, and has long championed the Palestinian cause. While the movement is not officially associated with Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, the two are aligned politically. DSA was an official participant in the Women’s March in January 2017, of which Sarsour was a co-organizer.” [JPost] • The socialist movement is getting younger, thanks to one 75-year-old [WashPost]

2020 WATCH: ”Republican Shadow Campaign for 2020 Takes Shape as Trump Doubts Grow” by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns: “In the wider world of conservative Trump opponents, William Kristol, editor at large of The Weekly Standard, said he had begun informal conversations about creating a “Committee Not to Renominate the President.” “We need to take one shot at liberating the Republican Party from Trump, and conservatism from Trumpism,” Mr. Kristol said… Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations… put her longtime pollster on the payroll, has gotten better acquainted with some of New York’s financiers and carved out a far more muscular foreign policy niche than Mr. Trump.” [NYTimes• Political Donors Put Their Money Where the Memes Are [NYTimes]

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Rent The Runway’s Jenn Hyman featured on the latest episode of How I Built This with Guy Raz [NPR• The promoter Seth Hurwitz has succeeded by creating high-quality venues and catering to artists’ needs. His latest undertaking is no exception [NYTimes] • Meet Ted Frank: This Lawyer Is Making It Less Profitable to Sue When Companies Merge [Businessweek] • The World’s Most Feared Investor, Paul Singer [Bloomberg] • We Want Answers: Josh Kopelman on Technology’s Next Wave of Disruption [PhillyMag] • WeWork to Pump $500 Million Into Southeast Asia, South Korea [Bloomberg]

SPOTLIGHT: “Some of L.A.’s richest people oversee USC. They will decide what to do after the dean drug scandal. Out of 57 voting trustees, only three have commented” by Sonali Kohli: “The full board of trustees, which includes director Steven Spielberg, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and mall magnate Rick J. Caruso, must ultimately determine whether USC President C.L. Max Nikias, himself a voting member, and other top administrators acted appropriately with regard to Puliafito… Wealth is a common thread in the trustee roster. About a dozen are billionaires, including developer Ed Roski; Miriam Adelson, an addiction specialist and the wife of casino owner Sheldon Adelson; Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff.” [LATimes]

“Google Camp is for tech royalty and British royalty alike” by Claire Atkinson: “Google Camp in southern Italy last week was the place to be for newfound tech royalty… The exclusive get-together was hosted by Alphabet boss Larry Page and Google chief Sundar Pichai and attended by Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel and Netflix’s Reed Hastings. The luminaries also included Britain’s Prince Harry, Emma Watson, Sean Penn and the NBA’s Kevin Durant, who ate local Sicillian specialties. Music empresario David Geffen was even posting Instagrams, sources told On the Money. Guests dined under the gaze of the historic Valley of Temples in Agrigento. Google hired Lenny Kravitz and Elton John to perform.” [NYPost]

“Billionaire Chelsea F.C. owner Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova separate” by Ian Mohr: “Russian billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich and his wife of 10 years, gorgeous Garage Magazine founder Dasha Zhukova, have separated. The jet-setting pair, who have two children, say the split is amicable. They confirmed their separation in a joint statement, exclusively telling Page Six: “After 10 years together, the two of us have made the difficult decision to separate, but we remain close friends, parents and partners in the projects we developed together. We are committed to jointly raising our two children. We will also continue to work together as co-founders of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and the New Holland Island cultural center in Saint Petersburg.” [PageSix]

–Yahoo News anchor Bianna Golodryga tweets: “Dasha is very close with Ivanka Trump. Attended the inauguration as a guest.” [Twitter]

“Gary Cohn Takes a Brief Trump Break at Hamptons Party for Pink” by Amanda L Gordon: “The former Goldman Sachs president reappeared on the Hamptons social scene that he had long inhabited before joining Donald Trump’s administration — attending the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s Party for Pink in Bridgehampton with his wife, the artist Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn and daughter Chelsea Cohn, a senior at Brown University… [Gary Cohen] declined to comment on the Federal Reserve position but confirmed that even at the party he was on duty. “I haven’t had a phone call in an hour,” Cohn said. He gestured to his pockets. “I have White House phones, I’m working. No one’s on vacation in the White House.”” [Bloomberg]

PROFILE: “A Hollywood Party Planner Who Isn’t Instagram-Obsessed” by Marielle Wakim: “For Yifat Oren, a party is never fully planned; she makes tweaks and changes until the lights go up and the band stops playing. “She sweats the details like there’s no tomorrow,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former longtime chief executive of DreamWorks Animation who started WndrCo, a new Hollywood venture. Mr. Katzenberg hired Ms. Oren to plan both of his children’s weddings. “I love how unflappable she was,” he said in an email, adding, “Given the circumstances and the customers, that’s pretty herculean.” … She was born in Tel Aviv but spent the majority of her formative years here in the San Fernando Valley. Early in her career she worked in catering; some patrons of the (now-defunct) company took note of her meticulousness and hired her to plan bar mitzvahs and weddings on the side.” [NYTimes]

MEDIA WATCH: “Israel moves to shut down local operations of Al Jazeera” by Ori Lewis: “Israel plans to revoke the media credentials of Al Jazeera TV journalists, close its Jerusalem bureau and pull the Qatar-based station’s broadcasts from local cable and satellite providers, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara said on Sunday.” [ReutersHollywoodReporter]

“Why Are There No New Major Religions?” by Jon Emont: “Faiths, of course, don’t have to be numerous to deliver spiritual sustenance to their followers, or even to be influential, as Judaism (a religion of 14 million) shows. Still, the small scale of new faiths over the past 1,500 years since Islam raises a question: Why, if creating new faiths is an inextinguishable feature of the human condition, have new religions had such limited recent success? … Instead most of the dynamism is happening within existing faith traditions, as religious entrepreneurs within established traditions adapt their faiths to the needs of 21st-century parishioners, leading to trends like the major growth of Pentecostalism among former Catholics in Latin America and the rise of puritan strains of Islam around the Muslim world.” [TheAtlantic

“The Secret Life of the City Banana” by Annie Correal: “New York’s first street-sweeping operation helped clean up the streets, but the notion of slipping on a banana peel made its way into American culture, Mr. Koeppel said, thanks to Yiddish theater.” [NYTimes]

SPORTS BLINK: “Kraft gives Tom Brady’s mother a Super Bowl ring” by Mike Florio: “Patriots quarterback Tom Brady excelled in 2016 while processing concern and worry for his mother, Galynn, who has been battling cancer… In recognition of her struggles and the impact it had on her son last year, Patriots owner Robert Kraft has given Galynn Brady a Super Bowl ring.” [NBCSportsDailyNews

MAZEL TOV SOPHIE & ALEX: “Hillary and Bill Clinton attend wedding alongside guests Huma Abedin and Tiffany Trump in NYC” by Cheyenne Roundtree: “The former President and First Lady were all smiles while at the wedding of 24-year-old Sophie Lasry, the daughter of Avenue Capital Group founder Marc Lasry, on Sunday night. Lasry married Alex Swieca, a 25-year-old investor and former University of Michigan quarterback, who is the son of another hedge fund manager, Henry Swieca… Hillary and Bill are long-time friends of the father-of-the bride, Marc Lasry. The Clintons weren’t the only high profile guests of the wedding. J-Lo and A-Rod came dressed to the nines, with the singer wearing an elegant teal gown.”[DailyMailJPost

BIRTHDAYS: Former US intelligence analyst, pled guilty to espionage in 1987, released from prison in 2015, Jonathan Pollard turns 63… President of merchant bank Palisades Associates, Chair of the NJDC, and former CEO of Empire Kosher Poultry, Greg Rosenbaum turns 65… Rabbi of a congregation in Monsey, NY, he is both a senior Rosh Yeshiva and professor of biology at Yeshiva University, expert in medical ethics, Rabbi Moshe David Tendlerturns 91… Brooklyn resident, Esther Holler turns 80… Partner in the Los Angeles office of Mayer Brown, previously the US Trade Representative (1993-1996) and then US Secretary of Commerce (1996-1997), Michael (“Mickey”) Kantor turns 78… Actress who appeared in 30 films and TV shows and co-starred with Clint Eastwood in “High Plains Drifter,” Verna Bloom turns 78… Co-founder of the world-wide chain of Hard Rock Café, board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Peter Morton turns 70… Retired Lieutenant General in the Israeli Air Force, he also served as Chief of Staff of the IDF, Dan Halutz turns 69… Former PR Director for the New York Yankees, sports management executive, television executive producer, and author of more than 20 books, Marty Appel turns 69… Founder and CEO of the Zimmer Children’s Museum located in the offices of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, Esther Netter turns 59… Deputy Director of AIPAC’s Leadership Institute, Havi Arbeter Goldscher turns 38… MLB catcher since 2011, he played for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic and was named Pool A MVP, Ryan Lavarnway turns 30… Social activist, writer, public speaker and the founder of a global nonprofit organization (Love for the Elderly), he has given 2 TEDx talks, Jacob Cramer turns 17… Scott Harrison

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