Daily Kickoff: Penny Pritzker shares her family’s Jewish history | Israeli police to question Len Blavatnik | Facebook’s wunderkind leaves for Google

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FIRST LOOK: “How to Get Rich in Trump’s Washington” by Nicholas Confessore in NYTimes Magazine: “There was also Brad Gerstman, a brawny Long Island lobbyist and P.R. man who had done work for Trump in New York over the years. On election night, Gerstman was so sure Trump was going to lose that he got on a plane to Israel. As Gerstman tells it, his business partner called as soon as he landed. ‘‘Why the hell are you in Tel Aviv?’’ his partner asked. ‘‘We have an office to open in Washington.’’ Gerstman hung up and went to his hotel, where he looked out over the Mediterranean, put a cigar in his mouth and listened to the congratulatory messages piled up in his voice mail. In January, he set up an office in downtown Washington. ‘‘We don’t want to sell ourselves as just the Trump guys,’’ Gerstman told me. ‘‘But maybe that’s what it takes for the first few years.’’

“By the end of his first 100 days in office, it seemed, Trump had not so much drained the swamp as enshrouded it with a billowing fog of uncertainty… ‘‘White Houses are always somewhat opaque places of fascination, where you don’t quite know who is up and who is down, or how decisions are ultimately reached,’’ said Bruce P. Mehlman, a prominent Republican lobbyist who served in the George W. Bush administration. ‘‘The added complexity here was there was not a single consistent governing philosophy. It was not clear if the president saw trade the way that Gary Cohn sees it or the way Steve Bannon sees it.’’” [NYTimesMag]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker talks to David Axelrod about her family’s beginnings on the Axe Files: “My great-grandfather came to the United States from what was Russia — but is geographically today part of Ukraine — 135 years ago. My family was escaping the pogroms. In fact, my family had a grain store outside of Kiev because Jews were not allowed to live in the cities. The grain store was ransacked, and for 60 hours my great-grandfather and his father hid in the attic of their grain store. When they came down, everything was gone, destroyed. That was the beginning of the impetus to move and to try and get out of Russia. Fortunately, they were able to come to the United States. I had the privilege when I was in government to be able to go back and actually see the village that they came from and then the place where the grain store was.”

“When he got to the United States, he came to Chicago and sold newspapers on the corner… Just to describe our humble beginnings, he couldn’t even afford a coat. Yet, his mother had something called the nickel club. The immigrants would save nickels to be able to help the new immigrants. Even back then there was a sense of gratitude for their good fortune to be in the United States and their obligation to try and help others. My great-grandfather went from being a nine-year-old, grew up, became a pharmacist, and then became a lawyer by age 30.”

Pritzker on immigration: “My guess is that either through the pogroms or through the invasion of Hitler and the Germans during World War II, my family probably would not have survived as Jews in that part of the world… I went back to the 75th anniversary remembrance of Babi Yar, where 35,000 Jews were rounded up and shot in 48 hours, and in the same area where my family had their grain store. We probably would not be here.”

Axelrod: “In fact, in 1924, Congress enacted a very strict legal immigration law that were very draconian quotas that would have prohibited my father — who came two years before that — from entering this country… In fact, many Jews couldn’t come because of that law and did lose their lives.” [CNNPodcast

“When the U.S. Turned Away 20,000 Jewish Children Fleeing Nazi Germany” by Sean Braswell: “By 1939, U.S. officials had received more than 125,000 visa applications, many from Germany and occupied Austria, and the Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were under pressure to relax the annual quota for German and Austrian immigrants, then set at 27,000. A bipartisan bill crafted by Sen. Robert Wagner, a New York Democrat, and Rep. Edith Rogers, a Massachusetts Republican, was put forward in early 1939 that would admit 20,000 child refugees to the U.S. over and beyond existing quotas. The Wagner-Rogers proposal was carefully couched as a humanitarian effort, was not limited to Jewish children, and it even specified that the costs would fall on private sources, not the government. But the bill, says Bon Tempo, a professor at the University at Albany, SUNY, “goes nowhere. It doesn’t even make it out of committee.” Why on earth not?” [Ozy]

HARVEY’S IMPACT: “Houston’s Jewish community devastated by Hurricane Harvey: ‘You’re pretty much helpless’” by Eitan Arom:“Michael Wadler’s tefillin were among the only things he owned that survived Hurricane Harvey. As he was tossing objects into a trash bag before dawn on Aug. 27 while a rescue boat waited outside, he managed to grab the leather boxes, with their ritual scrolls, leaving behind other crucial belongings, such as his shoes. For most of the day, he walked around barefoot.”

“Although the damage to the local Jewish community is obviously significant, the full extent is as yet unclear. Flooding at the United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, where Wadler is a member, caused as much as $1 million in damages, even waterlogging a newly built wing designed to resist floods. Congregation Beth Yeshurun, a Conservative synagogue where Wadler’s wife teaches Sunday school, also flooded.” [JewishJournal] • “Houston Runs Low On Kosher Food As Harvey Floods Delivery Routes” [ForwardChabad]

DRIVING THE CONVO: “Bush’s Press Secretary Criticizes Trump’s Harvey Response For Lacking Empathy” by Carla Herreria: “There was something missing from what President Trump said… but that’s the empathy for the people who suffered,” [Ari] Fleisher said during an appearance on Fox News. “That, in my opinion, should have been the first thing he should have said was that his heart goes out to those people in Houston who are going through this and that the government is here to help them to recover from this.”[HuffPost]

“Trump’s Reassuring Hurricane Response” by Tevi Troy: “It may be premature to conclude that Mr. Kelly has succeeded in bringing order to the Oval Office, but Harvey has demonstrated a reassuring ability to focus on a disaster when needed… It’s reassuring that the White House understands the importance of relying on trusted messengers during a crisis—especially given the backlash to Mr. Trump’s comments this month after the violence in Charlottesville, Va. During an emergency, the government needs wide cooperation from the public, which may not be possible under any president with credibility problems. Messrs. [Brock] Long and [Tom] Bossert have the standing to appeal to Americans across the partisan divide during Harvey and whatever disaster may come next.” [WSJ

“How Trump Kills the G.O.P.” by David Brooks: “When you have an intraparty fight about foreign or domestic issues, you think your rivals are wrong. When you have an intraparty fight on race, you think your rivals are disgusting. That’s what’s happening. Friendships are now ending across the right. People who supported Trump for partisan reasons now feel locked in to support him on race, and they are making themselves repellent.” [NYTimes

WHAT ISRAEL WANTS TO TALK ABOUT: “Iran Building Weapons Factories in Lebanon and Syria, Israel Says” by Isabel Kershner: “Israel is using a visit this week by the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to highlight concerns about what it says are Iran’s efforts to produce advanced, precision weapons in Lebanon and Syria… The assertions are not new, but Israel now appears to want to put them on the international agenda… While Israel has acted with relative impunity in the chaotic environment of Syria, any pre-emptive strike on Lebanese soil could spiral into a broader conflict over Israel’s northern border. Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported this week that in the face of the Israeli warnings, Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon has been working to stop Iran’s construction of the missile factory in his country.” [NYTimes

BUT… ON UN CHIEF’S MIND: “UN’s Guterres Says Israel Must Cease Settlement Construction” by Fadwa Hodali and Jonathan Ferziger: “There is no plan B for the two-state solution,” Guterres said Tuesday after meeting Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. “We believe that settlement activity is illegal under international law. It’s an obstacle to the two-state solution.” [Bloomberg

VIEW FROM MOSCOW: “Russia weighs in on Bannon-free White House” by Maxim A. Suchkov: “Another subject that makes Russia uncertain of US behavior is a potentially more assertive stance by Israel… The view in Moscow is that although [Steve] Bannon was one of the most pro-Israeli figures in the administration, there are still enough advocates for a greater convergence between the United States and Israel in the administration, not to mention Congress. Thus, counting on the United States to restrain Israel’s greater assertiveness is not an option. Moscow still hopes to maintain healthy relations with Tel Aviv and work through Israel’s concerns directly. At the same time, Russia’s not ruling out the worst-case scenarios. Russia has set up an air defense system with the Syrian military that links their communications and technical resources.” [Al-Monitor]

PRAISE, FOR ONCE: “U.S. Jewish Groups Laud Tillerson for Keeping Office for Fighting anti-Semitism” by Amir Tibon: “U.S. Jewish organizations applauded the Trump administration on Tuesday for not scrapping a State Department office devoted to battling anti-Semitism… A senior official in a prominent Jewish organization added… that “this is likely a win, and it’s the best deal we’re going to get.” … The Anti-Defamation League, which led a campaign against canceling the office, commended Tillerson. “At a time when there is a growing prominence to anti-Jewish movements and actions, the special envoy to combat anti-Semitism continues to be essential and it is important that the State Department has recognized this vital work,” the organization’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement.” [Haaretz]

A State Department spokesperson tells us… “We at the Department of State, as well as President Trump and Vice President Pence, are deeply concerned by continued high levels of – and in some places increasing incidents of – anti-Semitism in many countries. The Trump Administration considers the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to be a crucial position, and hopes to announce an appointment soon.”

HEARD YESTERDAY — Ousted White House aide Sebastian Gorka on The Michael Savage Show: “Some great Jewish Americans came to my defense. We have had people like Mort Klein, Jeff Ballabon and Bruce Abramson, and even numerous rabbis from New York… They told me that this is one of the saddest phenomena of American politics now that liberal, the liberal elements of the American Jewish population has basically become anti-Israeli. It’s the greatest saddest paradox. There are key people such as at The Forward, who are pro-BDS, who are pro-Iran deal. It’s this very tragic phenomena that the people who should be supporting Israel and US-Israel relations the most have really done so much to betray our great friendship with Jerusalem.” [YouTube]

“The Zionist Leader Who Can’t Quit Steve Bannon” by Lloyd Green: “For Bannon, the ZOA dinner is an opportunity to push back against charges that he and Breitbart are anti-Semitic. As for ZOA, the Bannon event gives it another chance to stake out its position that it is the go-to address for die-hard Israel supporters in the U.S. Unlike AIPAC, ZOA does not pay any mind to a two-state solution… As Bannon and ZOA’s [Mort] Klein correctly understand, Jews who voted for Trump voted in large part out of cultural affinity, just like white working-class voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. They represent Trump’s core, and Bannon and ZOA are not about to surrender that vote without a fight.” [DailyBeast]

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: “McCaskill Skips Israel Question, Says She Doesn’t Know What BDS Is” by Brent Scher: “[Claire] McCaskill was asked about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement, commonly referred to as BDS, during a town hall stop in Camdenton, Missouri, last week. “I don’t know what anti-BDS is,” McCaskill said as she moved on to the next question. McCaskill is one of thirteen Democratic senators to sponsor the Israel Anti-Boycott Act… A spokesman for McCaskill said that the senator is “obviously” familiar with the issue, despite not recognizing the acronym. “She didn’t immediately recognize the acronym, but is obviously familiar with the issue,” said the spokesman.” [FreeBeacon]

“Charlie Crist maintains centrist persona at Clearwater town hall” by Mitch Perry: “Crist earned some boos when he said he wouldn’t likely reconsider his support for the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. “I’ll take a look at it,” Crist said after the pro-Palestinian speaker had talked about the [BDS] movement for several minutes. After hearing the boos, Crist said, “You asked me to review it, and I said I will.” A member in the audience asked him why would he support it? “Because I believe in it,” he said. “But I’m willing to keep an open mind.”” [FLPolitics]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Carl Icahn selling unfinished Fontainebleau Vegas resort for $600M to Vector Group Chairman Bennett LeBow and Chief Executive Howard Lorber [NYPost] • King of Beverly Hills: Inside Beny Alagem’s new Waldorf Astoria [FinancialTimes] • How a Hotel Industry President, Harris Rosen, Created a Private Foundation [ChiefExecutive] • Estee Lauder CEO Denies Takeover Rumors: Company ‘Not for Sale’ [Bloomberg] • Roman Abramovich Is Buying Up Teslas to Give to His Friends [MoscowTimes]

KAFE KNESSET — Latest with Bibi investigations — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Police investigators are on their way to London to collect additional testimony – this time from British-Russian businessman and owner of Israeli Channel 10, Len Blavatnik. Blavatnik is reportedly involved in File 1000, a/k/a “the Gift Affair,” in which Netanyahu is suspected of receiving favors from his tycoon friends, such as Arnon Milchan, who is also a partial owner of Channel 10. Blavatnik will also be investigated for his involvement in File 2000, aka “the Noni Mozes affair.” The police suspect that Netanyahu tried to mediate between Blavatnik and Mozes, the publisher of Yeidoth Aharonoth, in a deal to purchase the paper. Ari Harow, Bibi’s former chief of staff who signed a state witness agreement and is supposed to provide information on both File 1000 and File 2000, is also back in the country after a few weeks abroad on vacation. Harow’s interrogation has resumed during these past few days. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Summer on David Geffen’s Yacht: Jerry Seinfeld, Obama, Oprah and More” by Chris Gardner: “David Geffen has had a busy summer on his megayacht, as evidenced by the Instagrams shared with his 37,300 followers. The movie and music mogul, who seems to enjoy posting pics of famous friends on Instagram, has shared a string of images these past few months including a busy August when he welcomed (at the same time) Oprah Winfrey and BFF Gayle King, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger with wife Willow Bay, Barry Diller with wife Diane von Furstenberg, and Diane Sawyer… Earlier this summer, Geffen posted, “Seinfelds, LeFraks in Ibiza,” name checking Jerry and Jessica followed by real estate mogul Richard and wife Karen, all posing on the deck in June off the Spanish island, a vacation hotspot.” [THR]

“Facebook’s 21-Year-Old Wunderkind Leaves for Google” by Sarah Frier: “Facebook Inc. hired Michael Sayman for an internship when he was 17 years old, and gave him a full-time engineering job at 18. Now, the wunderkind is leaving for Alphabet Inc.’s Google. He turned 21 last week. At Facebook, Sayman was a product manager who helped the social-media giant understand how his generation uses their phones, advising on experimental products for teens and helping executives understand trends. At Google, he’ll be a product manager for Assistant, a voice-based service built on the search engine’s giant database.” [Bloomberg]

“Meet the Orthodox Entrepreneur Bringing Luxe Fashion to the Masses” by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt: “Yoni Chesner was no fashion expert when he was growing up. He was a yeshiva student; his first job was making $6 an hour in a bagel shop in his hometown of Baltimore. “I went to the clearance section at Ross,” he says now, chuckling. But one visit to the Saks Fifth Avenue Company store in Aberdeen, Maryland, popular among local religious Jews on the hunt for good suits, not only changed his style, but his entire career. “I bought a few designer sweaters there, and put them up on eBay,” he said. “Before I knew it, I turned $300 into $900.”” [Forward]

“Ariel Foxman on taking a break from fashion media and his new role at Olivela” by Jessica Schiffer: “While consulting for some of those digital-native brands at the start of this year, [Foxman] was connected to Olivela… where he began assisting with brand and content development. The e-commerce platform… donates a portion of sales to children’s charities, including Good+ Foundation, which helps fight poverty… “My job is to get the promise and the story of our innovative retail experience to the right people, in the most compelling way,” he said.” [Digiday

“Japan’s Aso retracts Hitler comment after criticism” by  Kaori Kaneko: “It is clear from my overall remarks that I regard Hitler in extremely negative terms, and it’s clear that his motives were also wrong,” [Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro] Aso said in a statement. Aso said he wanted to stress the importance of delivering results, but not defend Hitler. “It was inappropriate that I cited Hitler as an example and I would like to retract that.” … On Tuesday, Kyodo news agency quoted Aso as saying, “I don’t question your motives (to be a politician). But the results are important. Hitler, who killed millions of people, was no good, even if his motives were right.” [Reuters

“How Israel Won the War and Defeated the Palestinian Dream” by Gregg Carlstrom: “A growing number of Gazans… don’t feel liberated. In private conversations, the anger they once directed at Israel and Egypt is now aimed at their own leaders. They often have these conversations in the dark, owing to the lack of electricity… In a courtyard outside Azhar University, recent graduates peddle cheap snacks and cigarettes to current students, who offer bleak predictions about their own futures: “I’ll be here with my own cart next year,” said one young man, a computer science student.” [Newsweek

“Can This MIT Student Entrepreneurship Program Bridge the Israeli-Palestinian Divide?” by Mary Jo Madda: “MEET brings together equal numbers of Israeli and Palestinian high school students each year to engage in coding and entrepreneurship training… [MEET’s] U.S. Development Director Etai Freedman: “I think the biggest lesson that people can take away, especially when we’re looking at current events and the issues that we’re seeing in the United States, is that MEET was able to leverage the impact of a project-based, excellence program into a value-shifting experience. What I mean by that is, when our students come together and work hard on binational projects, they accomplish something that they thought was going to be impossible for them to accomplish. They don’t just merely feel proud of the fact that they finished this project—they feel proud about the fact that they did it together. That’s model that can be replicated anywhere.”” [EdSurge]

THEATER: “Race, Money and Broadway: How ‘Great Comet’ Burned Out” by Michael Paulson: “The show is collapsing after a conflagration that was racially charged and distinctly contemporary: a social media uproar prompted by the financially motivated decision to bring in a white actor to replace a black actor who had succeeded a white actor. The result: Investors will lose most of the production’s $14 million capitalization, and more than 100 people will be out of jobs after the final performance on Sunday… Okieriete Onaodowan is Nigerian-American; Mandy Patinkin is white, and Broadway, like much of the entertainment industry, is facing scrutiny over its commitment to diversity.” [NYTimes]

“The Story Behind Lemon’s ‘A Million Matzoh Balls’ Sing-along, One of the Greatest Jewish Film Moments Ever” by Jada Yuan: “One wouldn’t necessarily expect the black, Panamanian director of Atlanta’s brilliant “Juneteenth” episode to dream up a sequence that may well enter the canon of great Jewish film moments. But [Janicza] Bravo did grow up Jewish, by way of her nonpracticing mother, and is married to “the most Jewish person ever,” she says, in [Brett] Gelman, who’s also Lemon’s co-writer… She first heard “A Million Matzoh Balls” when she was 19, at the Seder of a friend’s family who knew [Dean] Friedman and had invited him to come. Friedman never made it, but, she says, “I think we listened to it like 20 times in a row, and by the end I knew a good chunk of the words.” [Vulture]

“Howard Kaminsky, Publisher With a Best-Seller Sense, Dies at 77” by Richard Sandomir: “One of the books Random House published during Mr. Kaminsky’s tenure was “The Art of the Deal” (1987)… In pursuit of the company’s deal with [Donald] Trump, according to The New Yorker, Mr. Kaminsky produced a mock-up cover with large gold block lettering, which pleased Mr. Trump but prompted him to make one suggestion: “Please make my name much bigger.” Mr. Kaminsky came to be unhappy about having published Mr. Trump’s book, his daughter said. And when its sequel, “Surviving at the Top,” was published three years later, he told The Washington Post: “A lot of the yuppies that bought the first book were looking at Trump as, perish the thought, an icon. Now they probably don’t have jobs or can’t afford to buy the book.”” [NYTimes

“Michael Bloomberg talks tough on health and junk food” by Andrew Jack: “His comments sit a little incongruously with the free biscuits, crisps and other snacks nestled alongside healthier options visible from the glass-walled office where he settles down to talk. Yet he dismisses any irony. “Do we have full-sugared drinks or only diet?” he asks his aides. “We have full sugar,” replies one. “But small cups,” adds another… His health commissioner tried unsuccessfully to take a similarly tough approach on unhealthy food in New York, with a proposed ban on “Big Gulp” giant soda servings, which was rebuffed in the courts. “We won that by sort of losing,” he argues. “If you take a look at [soda] sales, they’ve plummeted around the world. So we really did win that; if they had [just conceded], it wouldn’t have percolated around the world.”” [FT]

“Hava NaGrilla! At kosher BBQ, thousands rejoice” by Allison Steele: “Jeff Klein approached his brisket like a cleaver-wielding surgeon, slicing away at the meat until he revealed the pink that remained at its center some 12 hours after it hit the grill… The brisket was promptly whisked to the judges’ table, joining entries from 19 other teams who came together over the weekend for Hava NaGrilla, Philadelphia’s first-ever kosher barbecue festival. Organized by the Men’s Club of Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El and held on the synagogue’s grounds in Wynnewood, the event last Sunday drew an estimated 4,500 attendees who lined up for smoked meats, whiskey tasting, a beer garden, mechanical bull rides, and a pickle-eating contest. The event raised an estimated $20,000 to $30,000 for the Mitzvah Food Project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, organizers said.” [PhillyInquirer

BIRTHDAYS: Founding editor of “George” magazine together with JFK, Jr., currently EVP of Time Warner, Gary L. Ginsberg turns 55… Active in CJP (the Jewish Federation of Boston), co-chair of Acharai (CJP’s volunteer leadership development program) and a co-founder of Maoz (a leadership network in Israel), Deborah Cogen Swartz… Basketball star in both the US and Israel, a first round pick in the 1965 NBA draft, Tal Brody turns 74… Stand-up comedian (known for his angry face), author, political activist and voice actor, Lewis Black turns 69… Hasidic Rebbe of Zvhil-Mezhbizh, based in Boston, Miami and Jerusalem, previously married to CBS & Viacom’s Shari Redstone, Rabbi Yitzhak Aharon (Ira) Korff turns 68… Producer for CBS News “48 Hours,” previously a criminal justice editor of Joe Ricketts’ DNAinfo and reporter for the NY Post and NY Daily News, Murray Weiss turns 66… Israeli vocalist who sings in Hebrew, Turkish and Spanish, a judge in the inaugural season of “The Voice Israel” on Israeli television, Shlomi Shabat turns 63… Rosh yeshivah at Yeshivat Maale Gilboa and the rabbi of Kibbutz Lavi, he served as a member of the Knesset for the Meimad party (2002-2003), Rabbi Yehuda Gilad turns 62…  Business manager of the Perth Amboy (NJ) Free Public Library, Herschel Chomskyturns 57… Member of the UK’s House of Lords, former executive editor of The Times of London where he remains a weekly political columnist, and is now associate editor, Baron Daniel Finkelstein turns 55… Associate Producer at Fox News Channel, Eldad Yaron… Mati Geula Cohen

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Daily Kickoff: White House declines to criticize Bibi’s settlement comments | Bolton loses access to Trump | How Bob Iger became an ice cream advisor

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INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Trump unusually silent after aides challenge him” by Josh Dawsey, Ben White and Eliana Johnson: “The president, whose approval ratings have dropped into the 30-percent range and who has lost a raft of senior staff members, is loath to get rid of anyone right now, one adviser said. Some close to Trump note that he needs [Gary] Cohn and [Rex] Tillerson, seen as stabilizing forces in his administration, more than they need him at this point… Cohn told associates that he hadn’t heard a word from the president about his supposed anger — and that he didn’t regret one bit having made his comments.” [Politico]

“Tillerson’s comments defy anything we’ve seen” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “Former Secretary of State James Baker used to describe himself as the White House’s man at the State Department, not State’s man at the White House, for precisely this reason. The easiest way to hang a closed-for-the-season sign on the State Department — at home and abroad — is to lose the President’s confidence. Tillerson wasn’t Trump’s first choice or probably second choice for the job; and in the odd bureaucratic landscape Trump has created on foreign policy, it’s doubtful he ever had the confidence of his boss.” [CNN

Jennifer Rubin: Put Tillerson out of his misery, Mr. President — just fire him[WashPost

“Two Bankers Are Selling Trump’s Tax Plan. Is Congress Buying?” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Kate Kelly: “For [Gary] Cohn and [Steve] Mnuchin, quiet competitors since their days as new partners at Goldman Sachs more than two decades ago, the task is a consequential test of whether real-world experience in finance has equipped them to carry out a delicate political negotiation, and whether two Jewish New Yorkers who have been lavish supporters of Democrats can succeed in Mr. Trump’s Washington… Mr. Cohn — who wears monogrammed shirts, gold cuff links and a Rolex watch next to a brown leather bracelet with a “peace” tag and a black beaded one with silver skulls — has brought a brash style and a take-no-prisoners approach to the tax issue…

“And the two men have been virtually inseparable while working on the tax rewrite, talking at least once a day, dining together more than once a month at such popular Washington spots as Rasika and the Trump International Hotel, and keeping a singular focus on achieving the biggest tax cut possible in line with Mr. Trump’s desires.” [NYTimes]

“Trump’s most popular Cabinet secretary is Obama holdover” by Arthur Allen: “VA Secretary David Shulkin has proved to be something unique in President Donald Trump’s Washington: an Obama appointee nominated by Trump who is beloved by almost everyone and getting stuff done… Shulkin has managed to get work done under an erratic president by “making sure he is not tapped to make decisions outside of Veterans Affairs,” says one colleague. Former President Barack Obama appointed him to lead the VA’s health system in 2015, but “my only party is the veteran’s party,” he told Politico in an interview at his office.” [Politico]

FOGGY BOTTOM TRANSITION: “Tillerson to abolish most special envoys, including climate” by Josh Lederman: “But President Donald Trump’s administration plans to keep envoys for religious freedom, fighting anti-Semitism and LGBT rights, despite speculation from critics that it would seek to downgrade those priorities… The Trump administration will keep envoys or at-large ambassadors for women’s issues, hostages, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS and Holocaust issues.” [AP

— “The special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations would remain under the office of the secretary.” [CNN

TOP TALKER: White House declines to criticize Netanyahu for vows to never remove Israeli settlements from the West Bank — by Aaron Magid: A senior Trump administration official refrained from criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for promising that he would not uproot West Bank settlements. “It is no secret what each side’s position is on this issue,” a senior White House official told Jewish Insider. “Our focus is on continuing our conversations with both parties and regional leaders to work towards facilitating a deal that factors in all substantive issues.”

“We are here to stay, forever,” Netanyahu said at an event in the settlement of Barkan, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. “There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel. It has been proven that it does not help peace. We’ve uprooted settlements. What did we get? We received missiles. It will not happen anymore… We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle.” [JewishInsiderHaaretz]

Former Amb. Dan Shapiro tells us how the Obama admin would have reacted… “I think we would have had concerns about the implications of such a declaration for the ability to achieve a two-state solution. Since that was our government’s, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s, stated goal, we likely would have pointed out those concerns. The current administration has not yet been as clear about the two-state solution as their objective, so they will have to decide whether a position that no settlements can ever be removed is inconsistent with what they are trying to achieve, and if so, whether to express that publicly or privately. The downside of such public statements, as we sometimes learned the hard way, is that it can cause the Palestinians to harden their stance. But if the Palestinians don’t know where this whole effort is leading, they may have a hard time absorbing a statement like last night’s in any event.”

KAFE KNESSET — Greenblatt’s tour — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Aside from periodic leaks from the Palestinian and Arab press (which are usually staunchly denied by the White House), not many details of the peace talks have made it to the media. Thus, journalists are left to explore Jason Greenblatt’s social media accounts and speculate and read between the lines. Greenblatt dedicated yesterday to meetings with Palestinian opinion makers, activists, and civil society members. These efforts took place against the backdrop of criticism by Ramallah officials over Greenblatt’s pro-Israel stance. He met with a group of Gazans for the second time, and moved on to a meeting with pollsters Khalil Shikaki and Ghassan Khatib “to understand more about Palestinians’ views on peace.” Greenblatt then continued to a private tour of Rawabi, the first planned city built for and by Palestinians. Greenblatt tweeted, “Very impressed by visit to Rawabi City developed by my friend Bashar Masri. Maybe we’ll try the zip line next time!” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — “Trump Associate Boasted That Moscow Business Deal ‘Will Get Donald Elected’” by Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman: “The business associate, Felix Sater, wrote a series of emails to Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in which he boasted about his ties to Mr. Putin and predicted that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would be a political boon to Mr. Trump’s candidacy. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote in an email… Mr. Sater presented himself as so influential in Russia that he helped arrange a 2006 trip that Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, took to Moscow. “I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin,” he said… In a statement, [Ivanka Trump] said that… she took “a brief tour of Red Square and the Kremlin but I have never met President Vladimir Putin.” She did not say whether she sat in his chair.” [NYTimes]

“Top Trump Organization executive asked Putin aide for help on business deal” by Rosalind S. Helderman, Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger: “Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower – Moscow project in Moscow City,” [Michael] Cohen wrote [Dmitry] Peskov (the Kremlin’s top press aide)… “As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance… and look forward to hearing from you soon,” Cohen wrote… Cohen’s email marks the most direct interaction yet documented of a top Trump aide and a similarly senior member of Putin’s government.” [WashPost

COMING SOON: ‘Steve Bannon to Speak at ZOA Gala” by Rosie Gray: “ZOA president Morton Klein confirmed that Bannon is on the lineup to speak at the November 12 event in New York, saying “All I can tell you is Steve Bannon is going to be at the dinner.” Bannon may introduce ZOA’s top donor Sheldon Adelson at the dinner; Klein said “I don’t know if he’ll be introducing” Adelson but that it’s a “special appearance by Steve Bannon.” … Other guests include Joe Lieberman, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, and Sen. Tom Cotton.” [TheAtlantic

Flashback: Bannon a No-Show At ZOA Dinner [JewishInsider

IRAN DEAL — John Bolton complains he has lost access to Trump to influence on Iran nuclear deal: “Steve Bannon asked me in late July to draw up… a game plan for the president — the option he didn’t have — which I did. Here it is. It is only five pages long, but like instant coffee, it can be readily expanded to a comprehensive, hundred-page playbook if the administration were to decide to leave the Iran agreement. There is no need to wait for the next certification deadline in October… I offer the Iran nonpaper now as a public service, since staff changes at the White House have made presenting it to President Trump impossible. Although he was once kind enough to tell me “come in and see me any time,” those days are now over. If the president is never to see this option, so be it.” [NationalReview]

Shut Out of the White House, Iran Hawk Makes Public Appeal to Trump” by Dan De Luce: “A source involved in the Iran policy discussions at the White House confirmed that Bolton was in and out of the Oval Office for at least several weeks. At one point, he was even offered the possibility of serving as deputy national security advisor, with the idea that he might eventually get to replace H.R. McMaster… It now appears that with Bannon gone, Bolton no longer has access to the Oval Office.” [FP]

“Iran rejects U.S. demand for U.N. inspector visit to military sites” by Parisa Hafezi: “Iran’s military sites are off limits… All information about these sites are classified,” Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht told a weekly news conference broadcast… “Iran will never allow such visits. Don’t pay attention to such remarks that are only a dream.” [Reuters] • New Hamas leader says it is getting aid again from Iran [AP]

2018 WATCH: GOP Candidate for Governor Says George Soros Rant Not Racist: “A Pennsylvania state senator seeking next year’s Republican nomination for governor says he doesn’t plan to apologize for calling billionaire Democratic donor George Soros “a Hungarian Jew” with “a hatred for America.” Sen. Scott Wagner told the York Daily Record on Monday that… if Soros was Catholic, he’d have called him a Hungarian Catholic, and meant no offense by it… On Monday, the state Democratic Party described Wagner’s comments as anti-Semitic. Wagner says he has a long record of donating to the York Jewish Community Center.” [ABCNews]

2020 WATCH: “The 2020 campaign just kicked off in a New Hampshire strip mall” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Just like that, the 2020 retail campaigning for president began right here in a strip-mall campaign headquarters Monday, when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti showed up for what he called ‘the most important race in the country.’ He was talking about the Manchester mayor’s election. Joyce Craig, the Democratic candidate, invited him to join her… Garcetti worked the crowds, introduced himself as ‘Eric,’ and took a bumper sticker and put it on the back of the black SUV he was driving around in… On Labor Day, both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jason Kander, the Democrat who narrowly lost his U.S. Senate bid in Missouri last year, will be back.” [Politico]

** 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: Gilead Sciences Inc. on Monday agreed to pay about $11 billion for Israeli-American company Kite Pharma Inc., an ambitious bet on a new type of cancer therapy that is on the brink of becoming commercially available in the U.S. [WSJ] • Big companies are fueling WeWork’s growth [Recode] • How Westfield is combating the Amazon threat with digital upgrades at its malls [Digiday• Mark Cuban’s New Blockchain Project: The Future of Social Media and Messaging? [Fortune]

“Teva Pharmaceutical is a generic manufacturer with a particular problem: It can’t find a leader or a strategy—­at least not in Israel” by Devin Leonard and Yaacov Benmeleh: “Some Teva [Pharmaceutical Industries] employees may not be around to see another CEO. The company plans to lay off 7,000 worldwide before the end of the year. At Teva’s Kfar Saba plant north of Tel Aviv, the workers have hung banners in the hallways reading “We won’t be the victims.” “My heart hurts with what’s happening to Teva,” says Eliran Kozlik, chairman of the factory’s labor union. “Every day, I’m following the stock.” In the lobby a little later, he checks Teva’s share price on his phone and groans. It’s down an additional 4 percent so far that day.” [Bloomberg]

“Why the rise of Iranian-Americans in tech is no surprise” by Connie Loizos: “Longtime Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has put Iranians and Iranian-Americans in the spotlight. In part, that’s because the 48-year-old, just elected to become Uber’s new CEO, fled Iran with his family at age 9 to escape the Iranian Revolution. In part, his ties to other people of Iranian descent in the U.S. tech world are, well, extensive… Venture capitalist Pejman Nozad, who was practically penniless and unable to speak English when he moved to the U.S. from Iran in 1992, says that neither Khosrowshahi’s success, nor that of his extended network, should come as a shock to anyone who knows how Iranian families tend to operate — putting family and friends first, followed closely by a dedication to study, particularly of math and science.” [TechCrunch]

TALK OF THE NATION: “What did it take to finally unite Al Sharpton and Jews? Donald Trump” by Dana Milbank: “President Trump has united us, after all. He brought together the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Jews. This modern-day miracle was on display Monday, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Mall, 54 years to the day after the great man gave his greatest speech… Sharpton has been a controversial figure in the Jewish community for decades… But that was long ago, and a rehabilitated Sharpton… made Jews the centerpiece of his Thousand Minister March for Justice on Monday… A cantor led the crowd in the Hebrew song “Hine Ma Tov” … A black Jewish woman in a tallit… spoke, and a rabbi blew a shofar.”[WashPost

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Jewish Community Mourns Couple Killed in House Fire” by Sarah Maslin Nir: “Neighbors clustered below, whispering in English and Yiddish about how hours before some had watched helplessly as an early-morning blaze tore through the home in the largely Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish community. As the fire burned, a teenager who lived there had stood on that roof, begging someone to save her parents, trapped inside. Her parents, Chaim Eluzer Shulem Gluck, 61, and Faigy Gluck, 59, were found unconscious in the home.” [NYTimes

TRANSITION: George Selim, former Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Director of the Office for Community Partnerships (2015-2017), was hired by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to serve as Senior Vice President of Programs. In this newly created position, Selim will lead ADL’s education, law enforcement, and community security programs, and oversee its Center on Extremism in this newly created position.

Jeffrey Herbst, who led the Newseum for the past two years, has stepped down as president and CEO: “Jeff Herbst is a strong leader whose accomplishments included raising the profile of the Newseum, increasing its fundraising base, and contributing to important national debates on freedom and free expression. We’re grateful for his leadership,” said Peter Prichard, chair of the Newseum.” [BusinessWire]

MAZEL TOV: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife welcome new baby girl: “The couple posted a photo of the family Monday, along with a letter they wrote to August hoping she will get to enjoy her childhood.” [AP

Israel’s embattled PM shows lighter side with Conan O’Brien: “The two traded barbs over a meal at the prime minister’s residence as they tossed cucumbers to his dog, Kaya. Netanyahu quipped that the fluffy white dog is “paler than you,” while the fair-skinned O’Brien offered that “if you try to give an American dog a cucumber, he would punch you.”” [APVideo

SCENE YESTERDAY — The American Zionist Movement (AZM) marked 120 years since the global Zionist movement was founded at the site of the official Theodor Herzl Memorial, located in Freedom Square Park in Queens, NY. Speakers included Galit Peleg, Israeli Consul for Public Diplomacy, AZM’s Herbert Block, World Zionist Organization’s Dr. Esther Serok, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, and HWZOA’s Ellen Hershkin. [Pic]

DESSERT: “Brooklyn’s Ample Hills Positions Itself to Be the Next Ben & Jerry’s” by Larissa Zimberoff: “Ample Hills’ connection to Disney goes beyond the Star Wars franchise. One day early in the company’s history, Smith spotted Bob Iger’s name on his e-commerce order sheet. It was a short list: Not many people order ice cream online. “Iger, the CEO of Disney, must love ice cream,” Smith thought… Iger emailed Smith with the message that he thought the ice cream was great. Iger ended by writing, “If you ever want sage advice from a guy who’s been in business for a long time, feel free to get in touch.” For Smith, it was surreal. “Your jaw drops and you say, ‘Is this really Bob Iger?’ ” He emailed right back: “Bob, I could use some advice.”

“The relationship between Ample Hills and Iger flourished. “I gave everyone ice cream. By the way, I don’t eat much ice cream,” Iger said in a phone interview. “Everyone thought I had lost my mind.” He sent pints to Jimmy Kimmel, Mike Nichols, J.J. Abrams, Tom Hanks, Oprah. Everyone reveled in Iger’s new sweet tooth. Iger and Smith have been talking for well over three years now. Among the many pieces of advice Iger passed along was not to sell a big chunk of Ample Hills to a single investor early on, and to keep the new factory in Brooklyn, even if it cost more. “I have the luxury of collecting a lot of wisdom from business decisions, not that all of it is applicable to an artisan ice cream shop. [Yet] it’s been nice to impart that wisdom to someone I like so much, and to help a high-quality product thrive.” Iger is not an investor in Ample Hills, but he does admit to having regular helpings of the stuff, including, of course, the Star Wars flavors.” [Businessweek]

BIRTHDAYS: Former US Secretary of the Treasury (2013-2017), Jacob Joseph ‘Jack’ Lew turns 62… Former US Secretary of the Treasury (1995-1999), Robert Rubin turns 79… Lakewood, Caifornia resident, Joe Lissakturns 83… Long time movie and television actor, Elliott Gould (born Elliott Goldstein) turns 79… Philanthropist and hotel / real estate mogul, she is an attorney and co-founder of Ogden CAP Properties and co-founder of Dog Tag Bakery, Connie Milstein turns 71… Dean of Duke Law School since 2007, he was previously a US District Court judge based in Sacramento (1990-2007), David F. Levi turns 66… Los Angeles resident, Warren Stern turns 65… Senior Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, Amy L. Nathan turns 62… CEO of the Consumer Technology Association and author of the New York Times best-seller “Ninja Innovation,” Gary Shapiro turns 61… Journalist, author, blogger and former editor for the Jerusalem Post, Lisa Frydman Barr turns 53… Election law guru and head of the DC office of Clark Hill PLC, Charlie Spies turns 45… Rosh Yeshiva / Head of School at Bnei Akiva Schools in Toronto, Rabbi Seth Grauer turns 39… Manager of government relations in the philanthropy practice at DC-based Van Scoyoc Associates, she was previously a manager at Jewish Women International, Robin Rubin… Partner at DC-based HLP&R Advocacy (a government affairs and public policy firm), he was previously a chief of staff or legislative director for four members of Congress (2003-2016), Jerr Rosenbaum… Adam Shapiro (h/ts Playbook)…

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Daily Kickoff: Nikki Haley to State Dept, Dina Powell to UN? | David Remnick on “Fauda” | Inside the Solidaire network | Javanka repelled by DC elite

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THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Exiles on Pennsylvania Avenue: How Jared and Ivanka Were Repelled by Washington’s Elite” by Sarah Ellison: “When I asked a longtime associate how Jared and Ivanka felt about their time in Washington, the first word uttered was “sacrificial.” It’s clear that, after an initial period of awe at the sheer power of their positions, Jared and Ivanka have been stung by the vitriol directed at them… “I haven’t had anything to do with them since they moved,” said one New York friend… When they lived in New York, Kushner used to remind Ivanka that “we’re in the zoo, but let’s try hard not to be part of the animals.” He often would add, “You want to be watching.” The friend noted that Kushner has traded up into a higher-powered circle: “He is rolling with the prince of Saudi Arabia and not the real-estate guys anymore.”

“Politics is new to Jared and Ivanka, but it isn’t just politics that they are navigating. They are in a new town that “punctures their self-esteem on a daily basis,” a New York friend of theirs told me. They know they can never have their New York life back as it existed before Donald Trump started his campaign, nor do they want to give up the power of their current positions in Washington. The future unfolding before them looks nothing like the future they may have imagined five years ago. Ivanka may be disingenuous when she says she “didn’t ask for this,” but she is right to say that she didn’t ask for this—that is, for the actual situation in which they find themselves: powerful, in a sense, and yet ineffectual; emotionally essential to Donald Trump, but lacking the skills to assist; impossible to fire and reluctant to leave; compromised ethically and perhaps legally; and facing reputational or familial harm no matter what they decide to do.” [VanityFair

SPOTLIGHT: “The Trouble With Ivanka’s Business Partner” by Ben Schreckinger: “[Ivanka] Trump’s relationship with [Moshe] Lax and the mountain of legal and financial troubles—reported here for the first time based on dozens of interviews and public records—raise serious questions about the first daughter’s judgment, even as she continues to serve as a powerful White House adviser… In March, Trump’s company announced it was discontinuing the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry line to focus on a mass-market collection, leaving the current status of her business relationship with Lax unclear. Until his LinkedIn profile was taken down this week, it listed him as the current chairman of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.” [PoliticoMag; PageSix

JI INTERVIEW: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) discussed President Trump’s response to the Charlottesville protests and his expectations of Trump fulfilling his campaign promises in an interview with JI’s Jacob Kornbluh. “There is no moral equivalency between people who associate themselves with the KKK and Nazism and those who are opposed to individuals who associate themselves with the KKK and Nazism,” Zeldin said with regards to Trump’s ‘both sides’ remark. “I condemn completely, in the strongest possible terms, anyone who in any way, shape, or form at all associates themselves with the evil bigotry, intolerance, and evil connected to the KKK and Nazism, and the President is in a unique role to play as President of the United States to be able to lead our nation in healing a divide that in many respects he inherited.”

Responding to Bret Stephens’ recent NYTimes’s op-ed, in which he questioned why Trump’s Jewish supporters are still sticking with him after failing to follow through on key promises, Zeldin emphasized: “There’s a lot of very positive victories that have taken place already that Trump’s political opposition refuses to acknowledge because they have pledged to resist, oppose, and obstruct this president on anything and everything saying you can’t work with the president ’cause if you work with him, you’re legitimizing his presidency. I don’t believe that the Iran deal should be recertified. I also believe that the President is going to move forward with his commitment to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the administration is stating that it’s not a matter of if but when, and hopefully, that is done sooner rather than later.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

JERUSALEM EMBASSY UPDATE: “Trump team, Netanyahu renew talks on US embassy move to Jerusalem” by Raoul Wootliff: “During that meeting (between Kushner and Netanyahu), the embassy move “was brought up by both sides as part of a productive broad conversation about a number of issues,” a US source familiar with the discussions said Sunday… “Needless to say, the administration’s policy is ‘when not if,’” the source added… A source in the Prime Minister’s Office… confirmed that the issue was discussed but, like their US counterparts, declined to comment on the details of the conversations.” [ToI]

ICYMI: Netanyahu told visiting Republican members of Congress earlier this month that the embassy relocation ‘could easily be done.’ [JewishInsider]

DEAL, ULTIMATELY: “In effort to revive peace talks, US asks PA to halt diplomatic offensive against Israel” by Daniel Siryoti and Erez Lin: “According to the Palestinian official, the Trump administration intends to formulate a diplomatic plan of action that will include a set timetable for the parties to discuss most of the conflict’s core issues. As stated, the administration has conditioned its efforts on the Palestinians’ “silence” on the diplomatic front against Israel. Abbas agreed in principle to Kushner’s request, but asked for Trump’s personal guarantee and commitment to the plan and the two-state vision. Kushner and Abbas decided that Trump and the PA president would meet at the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this coming September, and that during that meeting the U.S. president will promise to present the American road map for peace currently in the works… The Palestinian source told Israel Hayom that a meeting between all three leaders in New York was a possibility.” [IsraelHayom

“White House Official: Kushner Never Said Settlement Freeze Will Topple Netanyahu” by Amir Tibon: “A senior White House official strongly denied on Saturday a report in Arab newspaper al-Hayat which said that Jared Kushner… told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel will not be asked to freeze settlement building because that could lead to a breakdown of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. “This is nonsense. This comment was never made.”” [Haaretz]

“Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Push Is Going Nowhere. That’s Why Israelis Love It” by Benny Avni: “Past American administrations jumped into the peace process pool before checking if there’s any water in it; we jumped after them and cracked our heads,” Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul general in New York, told The Daily Beast. He commended Kushner’s go-slow approach, saying, “Perhaps he’ll realize there’s no water in this pool, and so there’s no reason to jump in.” [DailyBeast]

REPORT — Netanyahu said set to meet Trump in the US in September: “The two are scheduled to meet on September 17 in New Jersey, likely at Trump’s National Bedminster Golf Club.” [ToI]

KAFE KNESSET — UN Chief on 3-Day Visit to Israel — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Israel yesterday for his first visit to the region. His first meeting was last night at the King David Hotel with Jason Greenblatt who stayed in Jerusalem over the weekend after Jared Kushner’s visit last week. A senior Israeli official told Kafe Knesset that while Secretary Guterres “respects the US lead in the peace process and has no intention of replacing it, he wants to be involved in the process and help with whatever assistance he can.” The Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts are at the top of Guterres’s agenda for the trip, but Jerusalem has other plans and other burning issues to discuss. “The most pressing problem, the most important thing is Hezbollah and Syria,” PM Netanyahu told Guterres at the opening remarks of their meeting in the PMO. The PM raised Israeli discontent with the UNIFIL’s poor performance in south Lebanon (a cause which was recently embraced by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, as well) and continuing the campaign against Iran’s growing presence in Syria. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here[JewishInsider]

“Hezbollah: Iran’s Middle East Agent, Emissary and Hammer” by Ben Hubbard: “While Hezbollah has extended its regional reach, it has made its greatest foreign investments — and paid the highest costs — in Syria… Its leaders have portrayed the war as a conspiracy by Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia to use extremists to destroy Syria and weaken the pro-Iranian axis in the region. This, in their view, makes their intervention an extension of the “resistance” against Israel. But that argument falls flat for many in the region, who see a military force built to fight Israel turning its guns on fellow Muslims… Hezbollah went to Syria aware that if Mr. Assad fell, it would lose its only Arab state sponsor and the weapons pipeline from Iran. So Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, consulted with officials in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and they made a commitment to back Mr. Assad.” [NYTimes]

FOGGY BOTTOM, ROCK BOTTOM: “Rex Tillerson says Trump ‘speaks for himself’ on values” by Anne Gearan: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has become the latest and highest-ranking administration official to distance himself from President Trump, saying in a Sunday interview that the president “speaks for himself” in his response to racial hatred and violence.”[WashPost]

“Trump frustration with Tillerson rising fast” by Jonathan Swan: “President Trump has been growing increasingly frustrated with his Secretary of State… Tillerson’s jaw-dropping comments on TV today will likely only worsen their relationship…  We’ve been hearing for weeks, from sources who’ve spoken to the president, that Trump is getting more and more fed up with Tillerson, who has still yet to staff his agency.” [Axios]

One possible scenario for replacing Tillerson: “U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley moves to Foggy Bottom. Then Deputy Secretary National Security Adviser Dina Powell could be promoted to Haley’s job in New York, where Powell’s family lives.” [Axios]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Trump confronts unprecedented public rebuke by Gary Cohn after Charlottesville” by Damian Paletta and Philip Rucker: “Privately, a White House official said, Trump was furious about Cohn’s public airing… On Wednesday evening, Cohn complained loudly about Trump while dining with friends at a Long Island restaurant called the Frisky Oyster. Cohn explained to his companions — in a loud voice overheard by others — that he had to be careful not to give Trump too much lead time about some new ideas because the president could disclose the information prematurely and upend the planning process… “Until [Friday] morning, Gary Cohn was the overall front-runner, in my determination,” to be the nominee for Fed chair, said Alan Blinder, a former Fed vice chairman. “I don’t think so anymore.”” [WashPost

“Sebastian Gorka Is Forced Out as White House Adviser, Officials Say” by Maggie Haberman and Matt Stevens: “The White House, seeking to blunt Mr. Gorka’s claim that he had resigned, put out an unattributed statement saying that he no longer works in the administration, but that he did not resign.” [NYTimes]

“Gorka comes to defense of McMaster over stance on Israel” by Michael Wilner: “I’m not here to feed stories of palace intrigue – I hate that, and I’m still loyal to the president and his agenda,” Gorka said. But “I have never heard Gen. McMaster say things that are anti-Israeli. I’ve never heard that.” [JPost

IRAN DEAL: “If Report Says Iran Is Abiding by Nuclear Deal, Will Trump Heed It?” by Gardiner Harris: “A spokesman for AIPAC… refused to answer questions about whether the organization now wanted it scrapped. Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies… said he did not want the deal summarily scrapped… “I’ve shared these ideas with senior people in the administration, and I think there’s an openness to look at a third way,” he said… Simply pulling out of the deal, Mr. Dubowitz said, “would allow Iran to play the aggrieved victim and alienate the Europeans.” The importance of decertification, he said, is that it would help “to build a rap sheet” against small Iranian violations… But Aaron David Miller… called Mr. Dubowitz’s strategy a “Trojan horse that unwinds the deal.” “ [NYTimes• White House ‘pressuring’ intelligence officials to find Iran in violation of nuclear deal [Guardian]

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: Gillibrand talks anti-BDS bill at a town hall in Kingston: “I will protect your free speech rights to the end of the Earth, you will never have to buy something you don’t want to,” Gillibrand remarked, in response to a question about the Israeli boycott bill, intended to impose sanctions to corporations who support international coalitions against Israel… “There has been grave concern about that bill, until they fix it, I will not be on that bill,” she said. Gillibrand also said that she does not believe corporations should have free speech, because they are not people.” [MidHudsonNews]

Rep. Zeldin tells us… “I would encourage any of the Democrats who have withdrawn support to seriously reconsider getting back into the ‘yes’ column because it is a huge concern for our students on college campuses who are being exposed to anti-Semitism and hate through the rising tide of the BDS movement. It’s really important to combat the rising tide of anti-Semitism and BDS around our country for this legislation to pass.”

2020 WATCH: “As Trump struggles, some Republicans talking 2020 challenge” by Steve Peoples and Thomas Beaumont: “[Mark] Cuban… sees an opportunity for someone to take down the Republican president, who is increasingly viewed as divisive and incompetent even within his own party. “His base won’t turn on him, but if there is someone they can connect to and feel confident in, they might turn away from him,” Cuban told The Associated Press. “The door is wide open. It’s just a question of who can pull it off.”” [AP

LongRead: “Cash, Speed, and Trust: A Bay Area–based network of wealthy progressives is testing a new model for funding the resistance: Give fast and get out of the way” by Lauren Smiley: “For the Solidaire network and its founder—a 34-year-old oil heiress and newcomer to San Francisco named Leah Hunt-Hendrix—the Krasner primary proved that relatively small amounts of money can have a big impact if given to an on-the-ground organization with deep local ties. Solidaire has 150 members across the country, many of them young inheritors of wealth like Hunt-Hendrix.. A major part of Solidaire’s mission is to rapidly—meaning within days or even hours—fund frontline organizers of the left. In a time when a vast majority of American philanthropy goes to elite universities, hospitals, and foundations (that is, entities that are already pretty rich), Solidaire instead funnels money to organizations that either have little access to capital or are deemed too risky and too radical by most philanthropists.”

Overlap with George Soros: “Solidaire has up to 20 overlapping members with the Democracy Alliance, Soros’s secretive national network of super-donors committed to giving at least $200,000 a year to liberal causes. But Solidaire skews younger, has a lower giving threshold at $50,000 a year.”

Leah’s upbringing: “Hunt-Hendrix makes for an unlikely radical. She is the granddaughter of H.L. Hunt, the billionaire wildcatter of the East Texas oil fields, and among the country’s wealthiest individuals when he died in 1974, a few years before Leah was born. Leah [Hunt-Hendrix] and her five siblings grew up in two cultures: listening to Anita Hill and Gloria Steinem speak at salons convened in their family’s Fifth Avenue home, then spending summers in Dallas at their grandparents’ white-colonnaded estate, Mount Vernon… Heading back to Manhattan for high school… she started to look askance at the Upper East Side charity galas, observing that the elite didn’t seem so much empowered by their money as enslaved to appearing ever richer. “Charity” was aimed at being a palliative to the poor, who remained poor.”

“Turned off, Hunt-Hendrix set off to study politics at Duke and then went on to a PhD program at Princeton, where Cornel West was one of her advisers. Studying in the Middle East during grad school, Hunt-Hendrix was invigorated by the weekly Palestinian protests of the West Bank wall from 2006 to 2009. “That’s when she changed,” Hunt recalls. “That’s when Leah saw what could happen when people rose up.” (At the same time, Hunt was herself growing more radicalized: She was arrested for the first time in her life, on the lawn of the Bush White House, in a 2008 Iraq war protest.).” [SanFranciscoMag]

** 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 **

FIRST LOOK: “How Do You Make a TV Show Set in the West Bank?” by David Remnick: “When [Lior] Raz and [Avi] Issacharoff were interviewed by Dan Senor, a former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, at an AIPAC convention in Washington, D.C., they were cheered like rock stars on a triumphant tour… Raz is taking one meeting after another in Hollywood, and Yes has received a stack of offers from abroad to remake “Fauda” in different languages and settings: in Afghanistan, on the front lines of the Mexican drug trade, in operations against an American white-pride group. Raz is counting on moving his family to Hollywood soon. The “Fauda” cast, too, is relishing its emergence from obscurity. Hisham Suleiman, who plays the lead terrorist in “Fauda,” has become a celebrity at home and beyond…. When I was in Tel Aviv, he visited the city market and the evening news showed footage of him being applauded, complimented, kissed. “It’s crazy,” he told me. “This happens wherever I go!”

“Issacharoff met Raz when they were both young and hanging out in the same bars in Jerusalem. In an early episode of “Fauda,” one of the soldiers in the unit has a love affair with a bartender, who is later killed in a suicide-bombing attack. The episode is dedicated to Iris Azulai, who was Raz’s girlfriend when he was in the Army. “She was my first love,” Raz said. “She was one of the most beautiful women in Jerusalem, an amazing person. I’d been so insecure. I couldn’t believe she’d date me. All my self-confidence in life came from her.” One October morning in 1990, in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, a young Palestinian, Amir Abu Sarhan, a resident of a village near Bethlehem, attacked Azulai, yelling “Allahu akbar! ” as he stabbed her to death with a fifteen-inch knife. She was eighteen. An off-duty police officer heard the screaming, drew his gun, and shot the Palestinian to wound him. He hit him in both legs. But, when the officer came over to arrest him, Sarhan had the strength to pull another knife and stab him to death.” [NewYorker

“Israelis log out of high-tech jobs for a life offline” by Delphine Matthieussent: “[Dotan] Goshen, a graduate of Israel’s prestigious Technion technological institute, made a dramatic change of course after his boss called him at home one evening and berated him for not devoting himself sufficiently to his work — even though he was putting in at least 50 hours a week. The following day, the 37-year-old father of three handed in his resignation and set out to realise his dream of producing organic fruit and vegetables. He is one of a growing number of Israelis who entered the flourishing high-tech industry at a young age before abandoning high-flying jobs and good salaries for a lifestyle more suited to their ideals.” [AFP

“Conan O’ Brien is in Tel Aviv, and Israelis are loving it” by Ruth Eglash: “Throughout the weekend, Israelis filled social media with messages to the comedian and photos of chance encounters with him… Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to meet O’Brien in Jerusalem on Monday, joined in with the national obsession posting a greeting on his Twitter account… On Saturday, Conan posted a video on Facebook summing up his impressions. Standing at an overlook in Jaffa with Tel Aviv in the background, he describes tasting “shakshuka,” the popular egg-and-tomato breakfast dish, and drinking a Goldstar beer… O’Brien got people here laughing before he had even landed, posting a video from inside the bathroom on an El Al flight, saying he was brushing up on his Hebrew.” [WashPostFacebook

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Community hard hit by Hurricane Harvey flooding ” by Michael Duke: “Linda Burger, CEO of Jewish Family Service of Houston, lives on the other side of Brays Bayou. The Burgers also re-flooded this weekend. By 7 a.m. on Sunday, the first floor of their home had taken in water. “We are safe, but we have more water than last time,” Burger told the JHV. With roads impassable, offices closed and rain still falling on Sunday morning, Burger said that JFS is working remotely to return phone calls to those in need… Meanwhile, the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC is prepared to serve as an emergency supplies donation and distribution site as soon as the storm lifts. Burger said JFS will have case workers on site at the J to help expedite the recovery process.” [JHVOnline]

PROFILE: “Rachel Zabar, Scion of Saul, Eschews Lox for Vintage Couture” by Scene Stealers: “[Rachel Zabar] grew up a couple of blocks away from Zabar’s, which sits at the corner of 80th Street and Broadway. Her father, Saul, and uncle Stanley took over the store from their immigrant parents, who founded it in 1934. Ms. Zabar said her father insisted that his children work in the family business from a young age. “There was no arguing,” Ms. Zabar said. Saul Zabar, 89, remembers it slightly differently. “We let her make her own choices,” he said by phone. “The store was never part of her. We knew that from a very early age.” He added, “She was artistic. Even as a child, she had a natural talent for color and style.”” [NYTimes

DESSERT: “Why One Nashville Restaurant Made The Rare Choice To Go Kosher” by Emily Siner: “For people in Nashville who keep Kosher, following Jewish dietary laws, there’s almost nowhere to dine out. One of the only Kosher-certified establishments was Woodlands, an Indian restaurant on West End — and that closed earlier this year. But now another business has decided to go through the extensive process: Avo, a vegan restaurant housed in an old shipping container off of Charlotte Avenue. Avo’s owner was skeptical at first. But after the restaurant received its certification in mid-August, any headache to get there has already paid off.” [NashvillePublicRadio]

BIRTHDAYS: Billionaire technology executive, social activist and author, she is the COO of Facebook since 2008 having been VP of global sales at Google (2001-2008), Sheryl Sandberg turns 48… Independent international trade and development professional, Bernard Kupferschmid turns 86… Professor Emeritus of quantum physics at Tel Aviv University, Yakir Aharonov turns 85… Assistant Vice President and special counsel to the President of Queens College of the City University of New York, Jane Denkensohn turns 69… Israeli soldier held captive for over 5 years (2006-2011) by Hamas, Gilad Shalit turns 31…

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