Daily Kickoff: NBA’s Steve Kerr on growing up in the Middle East “more worried about Israeli right than Lebanon” | Natalie Portman is Jackie Kennedy

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “For Trump son-in-law and confidant Jared Kushner, a long history of fierce loyalty” by Shawn Boburg: “The same dynamic — this time between Kushner and Trump — played out on the campaign trail, when Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, publicly defended his father-in-law against claims that his rhetoric was fueling anti-Semitism and racism. And it seems likely to carry over into the White House, where Kushner is expected to play the role of informal gatekeeper and confidant to the president and may be entrusted with the enormous task of trying to broker an end to conflict in the Middle East.”

— “The Kushners gave millions to political, charitable and pro-Israel causes… In 1997, when Kushner was just 16, then-President Bill Clinton made a stop at the corporate headquarters of the family business, lavishing praise on the Kushners during a speech. To mark the moment, the Kushners gave Clinton a shofar… Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, founder of Chabad House at Harvard, who met Jared his freshman year and became close to the Kushner family, said that as a student Jared was devoted to his family and his Orthodox Jewish faith and had the mature bearing of a graduate student.”

— Kushner on bridge-gate: “Back on Dec. 7, 2013, the day after Wildstein resigned from the Port Authority amid growing evidence that he had ordered the lane closures, Kushner got in touch with him. In an email obtained by The Post, Kushner drew a parallel between Wildstein and his father, who had also resigned as a Port Authority commissioner in 2003 as questions began to percolate about Kushner’s campaign contributions. “Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and wishing the best. For what it’s worth, I thought the move you pulled was kind of badass,” Kushner wrote. Heller, the Kushner Companies spokeswoman, said this week that the message was a “poorly worded way of Jared trying to cheer up an old friend.”” [WashPost]

“Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is next president’s ‘eyes and ears’” by Chris Megerian: “The election results were rolling in, and so were the phone calls for Donald Trump. But no matter who was on the other end of the line, the person handing the phone to the next president of the United States was the same. “Jared was screening the calls,” said Armstrong Williams, a political ally who described the scene in Trump’s Manhattan skyscraper on election night…. “If Jared is going to call you in the morning, it won’t be before 9 or 10 o’clock, because he always has breakfast with his wife and kids,” said Williams… Despite overseeing the purchase and sale of billions of dollars in property over the last decade, Kushner is the kind of person who cleans up after meetings even when they’re not in his own office, said Asher Abehsera, a fellow real estate executive… No matter what, Williams said, “he watches his father-in-law’s back, like a hawk.”” [LATimes]

“Kushner took central role in Trump-Abe meeting,” by Naoya Yoshino: “The sources said the swift action was enabled by Jared Kushner, the husband of Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, who is one of her father’s closest aides. It was Kushner who informed Japanese officials several days before the meeting that it would take place in Trump Tower.” [Nikkei]

Breakfast with Trump: The Trump Transition Finance Committee, led by Lew Eisenberg and Steven Mnuchin, are hosting a breakfast with President-Elect Trump in NYC on December 7th. Tickets are $5,000 per person. Hosts on the invite include Stanley Chera, Edward Czuker, Richard LeFrak, Howard Lorber, Jamie McCourt, Larry Mizel, Elliott Broidy, Wilbur Ross, Lee Samson, and Mel Sembler. h/t Maggie Haberman [Twitter]

TRANSITION TOWER: “Tug of War Delays Some of Donald Trump’s Key Hires” by Damian Paletta: “Newt Gingrich, who backs former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for secretary of state, said the search is playing out a bit like Mr. Trump’s longtime reality show, “The Apprentice,” as he publicly mulls the candidates’ skill sets and invites “audience participation.” One conservative activist said he believes the choice has come down to Messrs. Romney and Bolton, while he said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, remains a long shot for the job.” [WSJ

“Trump spent Thanksgiving asking: Mitt or Rudy?” by Emily Smith: “One witness told us Trump took a prime table next to the fireplace in the club’s living room, but spent a lot of time greeting members and asking who they think should be his top diplomat… Guests joining Trump for Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago included… Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter…” [NYPost• Conway: Trump backers feel ‘betrayed’ by Romney consideration [CNN]

Kellyanne Conway on CNN’s State of the Union: “I mean has [Romney] been around the globe doing something on behalf of the United States, of which we’re unaware? … Has he been helpful to Mr. Netanyahu?”

Trump ‘furious’ over Kellyanne Conway comments on Sunday shows about Romney:“Kellyanne went rogue at Donald Trump’s expense at the worst possible time,” a source familiar with Trump’s thinking told MSNBC. Trump’s top aides said they were “baffled” by Conway’s comments and suggested that it feeds into a growing concern inside the campaign that “instead of driving Donald Trump’s message, she’s pushing her own agenda.”” [CNBC]

“Joe Lieberman praises Trump’s national security picks” by Ana Radelat: “The Trump transition team’s release announcing the appointment of Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland to serve as deputy national security advisor quoted Lieberman as saying the appointment “has brought to the top ranks of his administration one of our country’s most experienced, informed, and wise foreign policy and national security experts… KT and General Mike Flynn will form a very strong leadership team at the National Security Council,” Lieberman said… From 1970-1976 McFarland served as an aide to Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council.” [CTMirror]

INBOX — JINSA statement on General Mattis: “We are pleased with the array of highly qualified candidates that President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering for Secretary of Defense… We feel compelled to convey that characterizations of one candidate, General James N. Mattis, USMC (ret.), as anti-Israel are ill-founded and unfair… Were General Mattis to become Secretary of Defense, and work more closely with Israel in that position, we believe he will become an even closer friend of the State of Israel.”

“Trump disavowal of white supremacists doesn’t quiet concerns” by Bill Barrow and Jonathan Lemire: “The ADL’s [Oren] Segal called Trump’s answers when questioned an important step to “allay any illusions” white supremacists have about their place in a Trump administration.” [AP]

“Harvard classmates barely recognize the Bannon of today” by Matt Viser: “A Jewish classmate said he never heard him say anything anti-Semitic. “I don’t think there’s a racist bone in his body,” said Thomas Meredith, who sat with Bannon in the skydeck.” [BostonGlobe• Combative, Populist Steve Bannon Found His Man in Donald Trump [NYTimes]

— “When asked about the scenes from the alt-right conference, Bannon said he doesn’t follow Spencer’s group and doesn’t know much about it. Breitbart’s mission, he said, calls for “more voices, not less,” with no single line of thought dominating the site. Race-based nationalism, he said, is a “non-starter.” “I don’t think it stands the test of logic and there is no future for that really in America,” Bannon said.” [RichmondTimes

“Jewish leader urges open mind about Trump despite antisemitism concerns” by Harriet Sherwood: “Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, told the Guardian: “I think the president has the right to choose his own people and we should take a look-and-see approach… You give Trump the benefit of the doubt. He is the president. Every president picks people that we don’t necessarily agree with and hold our noses on… Rosen said: “I expect Trump to be a strong supporter of Israel and to understand Israel’s security concerns. I think he’ll be a good friend … The election of Trump in the immediate term will be a bigger hug, call it that, with Israel [than would have been the case with Hillary Clinton].” Despite anxieties in some quarters over Trump’s policies and appointments, “we need to give him a chance,” said Rosen.” [TheGuardian

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt: “Questions about Keith Ellison Reflect Questions about the Democratic Party: As it relates to Israel as a major foreign policy priority, the Congressman needs to explain past votes, to share his present vision, and to clarify how he will act in a future crisis. Without a clear understanding of his positions, it seems impossible to imagine he could build the trust needed to lead a major political party at such a delicate time.” [Medium]

SCENE LAST NIGHT IN NYC — Over 5,000 Chabad shluchim (emissaries) and their family, friends, supporters from over 90 countries gathered at Pier 8 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, last night for the Annual ‘Kinus Hashluchim’ Banquet. Keynote speaker Malcolm Hoenlein shared stories of his long association with the Lubavitcher Rebbe – which began with a visit to Crown Heights at age 13 – and his experiences with Chabad houses across the world, including those active in the fight for Soviet Jewry. Other speakers included Rabbi Dovid Hazdan of South Africa and emcee and Chabad leader Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, who announced the opening of a Chabad house in South Dakota, the last state without a permanent rabbinic representative.

“Brooklyn man set to become South Dakota’s only rabbi” by Reuven Fenton: “Although Jews have lived in the Mount Rushmore State since the mid-1800s, their numbers have dwindled to some 400 spread across 77,000 square miles. There are three synagogues in the state, but all they get is occasional visits from student rabbis out of Cincinnati. Sioux Falls, the largest city, also has South Dakota’s largest Jewish community — about 150 members.” []

Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff: “World’s largest #mannequinchallenge attempted with 4,000 Rabbis.” [Video]Andrew Cuomo: “Thanks for coming to NY! We hope you enjoyed your time here.” [Twitter

SPOTTED: Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky (named most influential rabbi by Newsweek), Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, Ukrainian businessman Gennadiy Bogolyubov, Argentinian businessman Eduardo Elsztain, Rabbi Steven Wernick, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Former NY AG Bob Abrams, Rabbi Mendy Alperowitz, Chabad’s first Shaliach in South Dakota, Russian Chief Rabbi and friend of Putin, Berel Lazar, Matt Lewin, David Slager, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Tablet’s Liel Liebovitz, UJA’s Eric Goldstein, JCRC’s Michael Miller, Israeli Consul General to NY Dani Dayan, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon, NYPD Commissioner John O’Neill, Councilman David Greenfield, Conference of Presidents’ Sam Schear, Richard Stone, Stephen Greenberg, FIDF’s General Meir Klifi, and author of the “Hertog Study” on Chabad’s campus impact and Brandeis Professor, Marc Rosen, Shabbat host to the Stars, Mordechai Lightstone, Chabad’s media guru Motti Seligson, Yaacov Behrman, Jeff Leb, Herbert Block, Jason Koppel, Andrew Herenstein, Kalman Yeger, Yidel Perlstein, Joel Eisdorfer, NYC Public Advocate Office’s Yoel Lefkowitz, NYC Mayor’s Office community liaison Pinny Ringel, and Rabbi Abe Friedman.

“After Fidel Castro’s Death, Can Cuba’s Resilient Jews Survive — or Even Thrive?” by Ilan Stavans : “Under Castro, Cuba continued to maintain official relations with Israel even after the 1967 Six Day War, when most of the rest of the communist world cut ties with Jerusalem. Cuba cut those ties only after the Yom Kippur War, in October 1973. But Israeli tourists have long visited Cuba freely, and Cuban artists and intellectuals have visited Israel regularly…  Ruth Behar, a Jewish Cuban-American anthropologist who teaches at the University of Michigan… believes that many Cuban Jews in Miami want to return now to invest in and rebuild the island’s infrastructure. Moreover, this “new flow of people, ideas and money” will help to re-energize Cuba’s Jewish community, she said.” [Forward]

HEARD YESTERDAY – Jeffrey Goldberg, the last U.S. journalist to interview Fidel Castro, discussed the 2010 interview on CBS’s Face the Nation: “He called me down to Cuba to discuss an issue that was of concern to him, the Iranian nuclear program and the threat of nuclear war in the Middle East…  The key memory or one of the key memories of this is when I asked him if he regrets asking Khrushchev in 1962 to annihilate the United States with nuclear weapons. And he paused and he said — in essence, he said, that was probably a bit too much… I would just not be surprised if, 10 years from now, there is a Trump golf course at the Bay of Pigs. Just mark my words.” [CBSNews• Fidel Castro and Israel’s Right to Exist [TheAtlantic]

“Israel’s Military Intel Chief: 2017 Will Be Unstable for Palestinians, We Should Prepare for Terror Waves” by Barak Ravid: “The MI chief also addressed the recent U.S. election and upcoming elections in Europe. “The world is in its adolescence and there are many ‘anti’ votes,” he said as he showed a slide of Trump and Britain’s referendum on leaving the EU. “Trump won because he was anti-establishment. The question now is whether his ‘anti’ ideology will stand up to the test, and how will he act against the establishment from within the White House.”” [Haaretz]

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SPOTLIGHT — Edwards Lifesciences buys Israeli company Valtech Cardio for $1B: “Edwards Lifesciences Corporation is acquiring Israeli valve repair device company Valtech Cardio Ltd. The company has developed the Cardioband System for transcatheter repair of the mitral and tricuspid valves. Edwards will pay Valtech $340 million in stock and cash at closing, with the potential for up to $350 million in milestone payments over the next 10 years and $300 million more for Valtech’s early-stage transseptal mitral valve replacement technology program.” [Globes]

PROFILE: “Robert Morgenthau on His Years as District Attorney: ‘I Don’t Look Back’” by John Leland: “Robert Morris Morgenthau was born in 1919, into a family that rose to great public influence through public service. His grandfather Henry Morgenthau was President Woodrow Wilson’s ambassador to Turkey, where he unsuccessfully urged the United States to intervene in the Turkish slaughter of Armenians; his father, Henry Morgenthau Jr., was Treasury secretary under his friend President Franklin D. Roosevelt and persuaded the reluctant administration to intercede belatedly in the Nazi slaughter of Europe’s Jews.” [NYTimes]

Charles Renfrew and James Reynolds: “Obama Should Pardon This Iowa Kosher-Food Executive”[WSJ]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “How a serious opponent could beat Mayor de Blasio in upcoming re-election bid” by Jennifer Fermino: “Hank Sheinkopf, a political strategist going back some five decades to when John Lindsay was mayor, said the key is to find a “visionary” candidate not above taking jabs at de Blasio. He said he’d run a commercial with his candidate that asked, “Do you really think the mayor ought to be fighting with the governor? I’d say, ‘I’m the guy who wants to make sure Albany works with us and not against us,’” he said… He’d also target whites, specifically East Side Manhattan Dems, non-Orthodox Jews and “Queens Catholics,” he said.” [NYDailyNews

“Tatiana Navka, Wife Of Putin Aide, Sparks Outrage With Holocaust-Themed Ice Skating Routine” by Lee Moran: “Tatiana Navka, a former Olympic figure skating medalist and wife of Putin’s chief spokesman Dmitry Peskov, donned striped concentration camp uniforms complete with yellow stars of David, to competed for top honors on the celebrity competition show “Ice Age.” She and her partner Andre Burkovsky skated across the ice to “Beautiful That Way” by Israeli singer Achinoam “Noa” Nini. The performance appeared to be well received by the audience… Navka posted photographs of their performance to Instagram after the show. She explained the routine was “based on one of my favorite movies” and that it was important for children to know about the Holocaust.” [HuffPost; ToI]

ICYMI: “Anti-Semitism, America, and the Jews” by Alana Newhouse: “Here’s the truth that our communal leaders have been nervously dancing around for far too long: You are free to assimilate; you always have been. But you can’t abrogate both Jewish knowledge and Jewish experience and still be meaningfully Jewish. By diluting your Jewishness, you are depriving America of the gifts your ancestors brought here, and in doing so you are damaging a country that has been good to us.” [TabletMag]

HOLLYWOOD: “Natalie Portman Is Jackie Kennedy: Our First Lady of Sorrows” by Boris Kachka: “Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem to an Israeli father and American mother. They moved Stateside when she was 3, living in Maryland and Connecticut before settling on Long Island… Portman’s version of Jackie is a woman who’s privately brash, secretly terrified, and publicly a lacquered black box. “She was an incredibly mysterious person, and I think Natalie has that in her eyes,” says Jackie director Pablo Larraín. “That’s why I wanted so many close-ups.” Portman’s polyglot charm, dancer’s poise, and eminent cheekbones compelled a writer to call her “the Jewish Jackie Kennedy.”” [Vulture

Ben Platt on Late Night with Seth Meyers: “Dear Evan Hansen star Ben Platt chats with Seth about his intense love of theater since childhood and his family’s neighborhood claim-to-fame as the Von Platts.”[NBC]

SPORTS BLINK: “Steve Kerr talks about his father’s assassination, growing up in the Middle East, not ‘sticking to sports’” by Olgun Uluc: “Speaking on ‘The Axe Files’ — a CNN and University of Chicago podcast, hosted by former Barack Obama Senior Advisor, David Axelrod — Kerr recalled the day he received the call about his father’s death, and how growing up in the Middle East — he was born in Beirut, Lebanon, before living in Egypt — has shaped his attitude toward the current state of politics… Despite understanding the risks of his father’s job — the family had their car firebombed by the Jewish Defence League, a far-right religious-political organisation — the Golden State Warriors’ head coach was in shock when he was told the news… “My dad was beloved in the Middle East. He spoke fluent Arabic. He was a champion for the Palestinian cause. If anything, we were more worried about right wing Israeli politics than anything going on in Lebanon,” Kerr said.” [FoxSports] • Listen to the podcast[CNN]

WEEKEND WEDDING: “Jenna Kauffman and Jonathan Grinberg: Don’t Send Flowers. Pizza Will Do” by Rosalie Radomsky: “Jenna Shane Kauffman was married Nov. 26 to Jonathan Grinberg. The couple met in April 2014 at a Seder on the first night of Passover at Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse on the Lower East Side of New York. He quickly learned that she loved pizza, which she stayed away from during Passover in observance of the holiday’s tradition of not eating bread. He ordered a large Domino’s pizza with extra cheese and ranch dressing to be delivered to her apartment as soon as the holiday was over. They began dating, and the next Passover she sat with him and his friend’s family at Sammy’s Roumanian.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Songwriter, arranger and composer, winner of two Academy Awards, three Emmys and six Grammys, Randy Newman turns 73… David Letterman’s musical director, band leader and sidekick from 1982 to 2015, Paul Shaffer turns 67… Former judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and then Homeland Security Secretary (2005-2009), Michael Chertoff turns 63… Comedian and host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central (1999-2015), Jon Stewart (born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz) turns 54… National political reporter for the Washington Post, Matea Gold turns 42… Principal at Podesta Group after five years at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Anna Weinstein… New Orleans Attorney and Associate Professor of Trial Advocacy at Tulane University Law School, Joel Loeffelholz… Managing Partner and founder of PR firm, EDGE Partners, Jeremy Wimpfheimer… Executive Director of Bikkurim, an incubator for Jewish nonprofit organizations, Aliza Mazor… Jude Rabinowitz… Steven Barkin

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



Daily Kickoff: Obama Admin looks for DNC alternatives to Keith Ellison | Kushner to solve Middle East peace? | Gen. Winston tapped to run inauguration

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Ed note: Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We’ll be back in your inbox on Monday.

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Democrats’ Leadership Fight Pits West Wing Against Left Wing” by Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman: “In a sign of the discord gripping the party, President Obama’s loyalists, uneasy with the progressive Mr. Ellison, have begun casting about for an alternative, according to multiple Democratic officials close to the president… along with his inability to do the job full time and his links to Mr. Sanders, Mr. Ellison’s past criticism of Mr. Obama and praise for Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, worry some Democrats looking for a figure to lead the opposition to Mr. Trump.”

“Mr. Ellison, a Muslim, defended Mr. Farrakhan in the 1990s, saying he was “not an anti-Semite,” and has positioned himself on the left flank of congressional Democrats on Israel… Aides to Mr. Ellison were going to make him available for a telephone interview, but then declined when informed that he would be asked about his past comments on Mr. Farrakhan. They emailed a list of his links to the Jewish community.”[NYTimes

“Keith Ellison’s ascent signals the Democrats’ willingness to redefine ‘pro-Israel’” by Ron Kampeas: “It sends the wrong symbol for someone with those views to take a leadership role in the Democratic Party, especially since the party has been struggling with Israel,” said Abraham Foxman, the retired national director of the Anti-Defamation League, giving voice to what many establishment pro-Israel figures are saying without attribution. “Israel has always been a bipartisan issue; this makes it less of one.” Jonathan Greenblatt, Foxman’s successor at the ADL, in a statement sought to straddle the warmth Ellison has engendered at home in Minneapolis with concerns about his record. “We spoke with leadership in the Jewish community in Minnesota who confirmed what ADL and other national organizations have seen: that Keith Ellison is a man of good character,” he said in an email to JTA… He has been on the record in support of Israel and supports a two-state solution.” [JTA

National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar: “Dems really don’t want to talk about Ellison’s record on Israel. “No comment” said one Schumer ally. Many stories avoiding elephant in room.” [Twitter]

Steve Rabinowitz: “Defending Keith Ellison: Those praises from diverse members of the Jewish and pro-Israel community coupled with what I do know about his record in Congress convince me that Jews shouldn’t worry if he becomes the next DNC chair… For me, it’s much more noteworthy what the Alan Dershowitzes and the Chuck Schumers, the Marshall Bregers and the Michael Latzes, the Marc Schneiers and the Religious Action Centers and the Jews of Minnesota all say.” [JPost

TOP TALKER: “Trump, in Interview, Moderates Views but Defies Conventions” by Michael Shear, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman: “Mr. Trump rejected the idea that he was bound by federal anti-nepotism laws against installing his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in a White House job. But he said he would want to avoid the appearance of a conflict and might instead seek to make him a special envoy charged with brokering peace in the Middle East… He said that Mr. Kushner, who is an observant Jew, “could be very helpful” in reconciling the longstanding dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians. “I would love to be able to be the one that made peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” Mr. Trump said, adding that Mr. Kushner “would be very good at it” and that “he knows the region.” “A lot of people tell me, really great people tell me that it’s impossible — you can’t do it,” Mr. Trump added. “I disagree; I think you can make peace… I have reason to believe I can do it,” he added.”

— “Mr. Trump made a forceful defense of Mr. Bannon, who he named to become his chief strategist and who has drawn charges of racism and anti-Semitism. He said Mr. Bannon had been dismayed at the reaction to his hiring. “I’ve known Steve Bannon a long time. If I thought he was a racist or alt-right,” he said, “I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.” Mr. Trump added: “I think he’s having a hard time with it, because it’s not him. I think he’s been treated very unfairly.” He also defended Breitbart, the news site Mr. Bannon founded, which has carried racist and anti-Semitic content, saying it was no different than The Times, only “much more conservative.”” [NYTimes• Full transcript[NYTimes

Thomas Friedman: “Wow, watching Trump try to forge a deal between Bibi Netanyahu and the Palestinians would be pay-per-view!” [NYT]

Lunch topic? — Former Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair “was seen sharing lunch on Wednesdaywith Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and billionaire Sam Zell — who just took Trump’s name off his Upper West Side buildings — at Harry Cipriani at the ­Sherry-Netherland.” [NYPost on 11-16

Aaron David Miller tells us: “The main reason we don’t have serious negotiations between Israel and Palestinians isn’t because of any potential mediator – the proverbial man/woman in the middle; it’s because of Israel and the Palestinians who sit on either side. Neither is able or willing to make the decisions that would make serious mediation possible, let alone successful. As for a future President Trump, let him have a go at  the problem of the much too promised land. Having tried for twenty plus years, I wish him the best of luck.”

KAFE KNESSET — Bennett Recruits Trump — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: At the Jerusalem Post’s Diplomatic Conference this morning, Education Minister Naftali Bennett called on PM Netanyahu to use Donald Trump’s election victory in order to put the nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. Bennett has been advancing this line ever since November 9th, when he first declared that the Trump presidency ensured there won’t be a Palestinian state.

The problem for Bennett is that just yesterday, Netanyahu himself signed a new cooperation agreement with the visiting Prime Minister of Poland, which included a clear referrence to the two-state solution. And at the JPost conference, Egypt’s Ambassador to Israel reiterated his country’s commitment to the decades-old formula that Bennett is calling Netanyahu to disavow.

It seems like Netanyahu, for the time being, is playing it safe: he is waiting to see what Trump will do once he enters office, and is trying to reassure Israel’s other allies that his government isn’t going to rush towards annexation in the West Bank anytime soon. Bennett, however, is making a political profit by challenging the PM from the right, and is counting on the fact that previous statements by some of Trump’s aides and advisers, have convinced many right-wing Israelis that if Trump is elected, there will be no limits for Israel. Now, if it turns out there are, the Education Minister will try to pin it on Netanyahu. The more things change, the more they stay the same…

“Trump’s Jewish Ties May Be Key to Moscow’s Outreach” by Alexander Bratersky: “A high-ranking and well-informed source has told online Russian news publication Gazeta that in their search for channels of communication with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Kremlin representatives have used members of Russia’s Jewish business circles who have contacts with the family of his daughter Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew.” [RussiaInsider]

“Donald Trump disavows ‘alt-right’” by Jeremy Diamond: “I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group,” Trump told a group of New York Times reporters and columnists during a meeting at the newspaper’s headquarters in New York. “It’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why.” [NYTimes; CNN]

Abe Foxman tells us: “It was a good beginning.”

“Alarm in Germany and Israel as U.S. white supremacists ride Trump wave” by Noah Barkin and Luke Baker: “Yair Lapid, a member of the foreign affairs and defense committee in the Israeli Knesset, called the video “sickening” and “intolerable”… David Keyes, foreign media spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in response to a Reuters query about the Washington meeting: “Prime Minister Netanyahu condemns anti-Semitism everywhere and appreciates President-elect Trump’s denunciation of all forms of racism.” [Reuters

INBOX — Conference of Presidents’ statement: “We welcome President-elect Trump’s unambiguous disavowal and condemnation of Mr. Spencer’s repugnant rhetoric and ideology in the remarks he made today…  We hope President-elect Trump’s remarks today will be joined to reset the national conversation.”

HEARD YESTERDAY – Alan Dershowitz on CNN: “One thing we know about Donald Trump, he knows how to show outrage. He knows how to yell and scream at the people at ‘Hamilton’ because somebody got up and made a polite reference to the Vice President[-elect]. So, considering who he is and what he’s said about other people, including at his own party, this statement that ‘I disavow’ just is nothing. It was worse than nothing in some ways… This is not even a condemnation… He’s much crueler, much tougher on people who have run against him or who have upset him, or have insulted him. He knows how to be outraged. We haven’t seen that kind of outrage. And he has to say it not to the New York Times, he has to say it to his own people. He has to say it to his constituents, and he has to say to his constituents, ‘Don’t you dare glorify them or join them because if you go near them, you are not on my side.’ He can do it.” [JewishInsider

TRANSITION TOWER: “Mitt Romney Leads Donald Trump’s Picks for Secretary of State” by Michael Bender and Damian Paletta: “Trump is leaning toward asking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to be his secretary of state, according to people familiar with the deliberations… Delaying Mr. Trump’s decision about secretary of state is an internal tug of war between supporters of Mr. Romney, and those urging the selection of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.” [WSJ] • Romney said to be serious about secretary of state job [CNN]

“Gov. Nikki Haley picked to become UN ambassador, sources say” by Andy Shain: “The Trump administration is likely banking on Haley’s strong communication and problem-solving skills in being the U.S. representative at the 193-member United Nations in New York.” [PostandCourier]

Sen. Lindsey Graham: “Governor Haley is a strong supporter of the State of Israel.  Her presence as Ambassador will be reassuring to all those who are concerned about the increasing hostility of the United Nations toward Israel.”

RJC’s Matt Brooks: “Governor Nikki Haley is a brilliant choice to serve as our country’s Ambassador to the United Nations. Governor Haley is hardworking, smart, and has a strong world view that will represent the United States well on the global stage.”

Dan Senor‏: “Critics will ask if Nikki Haley has been engaged in international affairs. I’ve had conversations with her on and off over the years. She has a strong worldview.” [Twitter

“Democrat Harold Ford Jr. emerging as potential Trump pick” by Annie Karni: “Ford endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race, and he and his wife, Emily, contributed to Clinton’s campaign. But Ford is also close with Trump’s children, Don Jr., Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, an associate said.” [Politico

SPOTTED IN NYC: “Mark Cuban — Talking Trump with Controversial Adviser Stephen Bannon: The Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” star met with Stephen Bannon Tuesday afternoon at the King Cole Bar in NYC’s St. Regis. They’ve done business deals together in the past, but this had to be about politics.” [TMZ

“Fellow Trump Critics, Maybe Try a Little Listening” by David Brooks: “It seems like the first thing to do is really learn what this election is teaching us. Second, this seems like a moment for some low-passion wonkery. It’s stupid to react to every Trump tweet outrage with your own predictable howls. It’s silly to treat politics and governance purely on cultural grounds, as a high school popularity contest, where my sort of people denigrates your sort of people. We’ve arrived at the moment of actual governing. We’ve arrived at the moment when Trump has to turn his vague notions into concrete proposals. Trump promised to rip up the Iran deal, but he seems to be realizing there are six other signatories and we’ve lost leverage with the Iranians because we already gave them back their money.” [NYTimes]

“The ‘Trump Effect’: Allies and Adversaries Adapt to Uncertainty” by Eli Lake: “It remains to be seen whether Trump will reassure NATO and other allies when he is president. But so far, many conservative foreign policy elites who were critical of Trump’s approach in the campaign have become willing to give the next president a chance. Elliott Abrams, a former deputy national security adviser under George W. Bush who supported Marco Rubio and later Ted Cruz in the primaries this year, told me that recalibration from allies and adversaries could be an opportunity. “This uncertainty is good,” he said.” [BloombergView

“Airbus Says U.S. Approves More Plane Deliveries to Iran” by Robert Wall: “The export license was granted on Tuesday by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, an arm of the Treasury Department, and clears Airbus to deliver more than $20 billion in jets to Iran Air, the Islamic Republic’s flag carrier… The Airbus and Boeing plane deals have been staunchly opposed by critics of the nuclear accord with Iran.” [WSJ

“Iran’s atomic chief doesn’t think Trump will scrap the nuclear deal” by Ishaan Tharoor:“The Islamic Republic of Iran acts upon its undertakings under the nuclear deal and we expect the other side to act upon its undertakings as well,” Salehi said Tuesday, according to a report by the semiofficial Fars News Agency. “I imagine when the U.S. president practically takes the country’s leadership, he will take actions on the basis of the realities.” Salehi added, “It is an international issue, and we think that we will not face so many problems.” [WashPost

“Israel accuses Iran of sending Hezbollah arms on commercial flights” by Michelle Nichols:“In a letter to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon… wrote that Quds Force officers pack arms and materiel into suitcases that are transferred to Hezbollah either by commercial flights to Beirut or commercial flights to Damascus in Syria, and then transferred by land to Lebanon.” [Reuters

“Former US defense official calls on Trump to halt Israel’s sub program” by Gavin Rabinowitz: “The American taxpayer is effectively subsidizing this new round of submarine procurement,” wrote Dov Zakheim, a former senior Department of Defense official and adviser to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, arguing that given the cloud over the deal, the US should evaluate the purchase and stop it if necessary. “It may be too late for the Obama administration to do much about the Israeli submarine purchase,” Zakheim, who led a joint US-Israel evaluation 30 years ago that approved the original submarine program, wrote in the National Interest. “But the incoming Trump administration should insist that Israel not move ahead until the Pentagon, working in tandem with Israel’s Navy, has had a chance to review the new submarine program, especially since the IN [Israel Navy] itself has reservations about it.” [ToI] 

**Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email
SPOTLIGHT: “Peter Thiel’s Silicon Valley Brain Trust Hits a Wall” by Maya Kosoff: “Thiel has been asking some tech entrepreneurs to join Trump’s administration. Thiel, “carrying around an iPad with an editable list of possible candidates,” is receiving mixed responses. Some right-wing thinkers, feeling out of place in largely liberal northern California, are excited by the idea of working with Trump to effect governmental changes they feel have long been neglected… Possible candidates at this point include Thiel’s Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, Thiel Foundation president Blake Masters, and Zenreach founder Jack Abraham the Post reports. Thiel, a Facebook board member and a PayPal founder, has also enlisted the help of PayPal co-founder Max Levchin to help suggest names.” [VanityFair]

PROFILE: “Meet Robert Mercer, the Mysterious Billionaire Benefactor of Breitbart” by Max Kutner: “Bannon critics can apparently blame Rebekah; she pushed Trump to bring him on board, the Republican fundraising insider says. Her ties with Bannon go back a few years or more. They served together as officers of at least two nonprofits, Reclaim New York and the Government Accountability Institute. They have also produced at least one documentary together, Clinton Cash, a fearmongering look at the Clinton family’s finances. It was also Rebekah who convinced Trump to hire Conway, according to the fundraising insider. “She is like her dad,” says the Media Research Center’s Bozell. “She understands issues, she understands people, she has a very good read on what’s real and what’s BS.”” [Newsweek]

“Koch brothers can keep $2 billion they received from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, Manhattan judge says” by Victoria Bekiempis: “The billionaire brothers, Charles and David, and about 100 other Madoff customers had claimed a victims’ advocate couldn’t recoup their profits for distribution because the money had been transferred outside the U.S. long before Madoff was arrested in December 2008, according to Bloomberg. Irving Picard, the lawyer charged with liquidating Madoff’s firm, maintained the money could be brought back. He argued that U.S. law applied, but the judge did not agree.” [NYDailyNews; DealBook

LongRead: “Bernie Sanders on Donald Trump’s Victory, Identity Politics, and the Failures of the Democratic Party” by Jason Zengerle: “Sanders—his hair unkempt, his Brooklyn accent untamed—brought campaign crowds to their feet with wonky calls to reinstate Great Depression-era banking legislation. And now, in the wake of Trump’s election, Sanders has become a crucial voice in determining the direction of a depressed and decimated Democratic Party… GQ: Is there any silver lining to the fact that Trump’s victory will help ensure big changes to the Democratic Party—changes that could push it in the progressive direction you favor? No, I would not say that there’s any silver lining in Trump’s victory. It is scary, and I think there are many, many people throughout this country who are very frightened about what will happen over the next four years. So I don’t see any silver lining…. GQ: What was it like to become a pop-culture figure? The good news, from a political point of view, is that having Larry David imitate you on Saturday Night Live has a real political impact, no question about it.” [GQ

MEDIA WATCH: “Top journalists warn of threat to press freedom ‘quite close to home'” by Brian Stelter: “This year the threats to press freedom are quite close to home. It’s right here,” New Yorker editor David Remnick said at the Committee to Protect Journalists dinner in New York City… “We will hold the new administration’s feet to the fire. And they should respect that, even if they don’t welcome it,” CNN president Jeff Zucker said… “It is still too early to draw conclusions about how this administration will work with the media,” but, “I think it is fair to say that based on some of what we saw during the campaign, we have some reason for concern.” [CNNMoney]

“Can the journalists who work for Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner still cover the White House fairly?” by Eric Johnson: “[Ken] Kurson himself provided input on a speech in March that Trump delivered to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC. After that, the Observer instituted a de facto “one man policy,” in his words, that its employees would not assist anyone’s campaign… He also noted that the Observer “ran some very tough columns about Donald Trump… “My feeling about being in media is, you’ve just got to do your best to do a good job and ignore this stuff,” he added. “I’m not on Twitter, I never Google myself, I try really hard not to let people get in my head.”” [Recode]

“Met Gala mastermind tapped to plan inauguration events” by Emily Smith: “Met Gala mastermind Stephanie Winston Wolkoff is being brought in to help plan the presidential inauguration events. Wolkoff, an ex-Vogue staffer who planned the glamorous gala for years and went on to orchestrate New York Fashion Week’s Lincoln Center expansion, is known in fashion circles as “General Winston” — a name bestowed by her mentor, Anna Wintour.” [NYPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Jerusalem cafés to ‘open for Shabbat,’ but not for business” by Jessica Steinberg: “Hayat and a group of fellow, young secular and religious Jerusalemites created “Open for Shabbat,” a program to open cafés on Saturdays as a place to meet and spend time together, but not for ordering food or doing anything that would violate the observance of the Sabbath, which starts at sundown Friday to Saturday night. “It’s a fact that cafés are a meeting place for people, and on the one day when people have free time, they’re not open,” said Hayat. “We’re not activists,” he added. “We’re community organizers. We’re not trying to go against anything, we’re trying to work within the existing framework.”” [ToI]

BIRTHDAYS: Grammy and Academy Award-winning American composer and music arranger, Johnny Mandel turns 91… Investment banker and former Chairman of NYC-based Lazard Frères, Michel David-Weill turns 84… United States Senator from New York since 1998, elected to his fourth term in 2016, Senate Minority Leader (next year) Chuck Schumer turns 66… Former United States Senator (1997-2015), Mary Landrieu turns 61… Psychiatrist, television personality and author of both fiction and non-fiction books, Keith Ablow turns 55… Majority owner of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder turns 52… Vice President at Blueprint Interactive for digital strategy, having previously managed a number of Congressional campaigns, Geoff Mackler turns 41… Account Vice President at UBS Financial Services in Baltimore, P.J. PearlstoneYaakov Neuberger… Development and grant writer for Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans (Beit Halochem), Elise Fischer… Government affairs and market development manager at The Copia, Shmuel Winiarz… Board member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and the Yitzhak Rabin Center, Andrea Lavin Solow… VP of media affairs at USTelecom, formerly deputy tech editor with Politico, Amy Schatz… Uri Landesman… Naomi Matlow… Erin Ross


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Daily Kickoff: Kushner shares his story in Forbes | 18-year-old Israeli raises $3.5M – led by Andreessen Horowitz | Meet Housparty, Ben Rubin’s latest

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Can Jared Kushner Be Loyal to His Father-in-Law and His Faith?” by Emily Jane Fox: “For a lot of the community, they think it’s a comfort,” the Kushner associate told me, to have Trump’s son-in-law in the inner circle. “They would say, though, that if they were to want anyone from our community in this role, Jared would not have been the first person they would have put on the list. . . . He would not be the guy where you’d be like, ‘Oh, thank God he’s there.’ He wouldn’t be a first- or second- or third-round draft pick.” Still, this person conceded the importance of having someone of their faith and background close to the president. “But, great,” this person continued, “we have someone there. It’s a comfort. He’s totally solid and fine.”

— “Susie Gelman, the board chair of the Israel Policy Forum, a nonpartisan group that has advocated for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… said that having a Jewish family member doesn’t predispose anyone toward supporting Israel or the Jewish community. “We have to judge the president-elect by his words and his deeds, not his family,” she said. “That he has Jewish members in his own family in no way exonerates him from speaking out vociferously on the kind of anti-Semitism we’ve seen throughout the campaign.”” [VanityFair]

FIRST LOOK: “Exclusive Interview: How Jared Kushner Won Trump The White House” by Steven Bertoni: “Kushner’s role expanded as the Trump ticket gained traction–so did his enthusiasm. Kushner went all-in with Trump last November after seeing his father-in-law pack a raucous arena in Springfield, Illinois, on a Monday night. “People really saw hope in his message,” he says. “They wanted the things that wouldn’t have been obvious to a lot of people I would meet in the New York media world, the Upper East Side or at Robin Hood [Foundation] dinners.” And so this Harvard-educated child of privilege put on a bright-red Make American Great Again hat and rolled up his sleeves.”

“The decision that won Trump the presidency started on the return trip from that Springfield rally last November aboard his private 757, dubbed Trump Force One. Chatting over McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, Trump and Kushner talked about how the campaign was underutilizing social media. The candidate, in turn, asked his son-in-law to take over his Facebook initiatives.”

— Kushner on his relationship with Gov. Christie: “Six months ago Governor Christie and I decided this election was much bigger than any differences we may have had in the past, and we worked very well together,” Kushner says with a shrug. “The media has speculated on a lot of different things, and since I don’t talk to the press, they go as they go, but I was not behind pushing out him or his people.”  Whereas Trump’s office is wall-to-wall Donald, a memorabilia-stuffed shrine to ego, the headquarters for the Kushner Companies is sparse and sober. A leather-bound copy of Jewish teachings, the Pirkei Avot, sits on a wooden pedestal in the reception room, and identical silver mezuzahs adorn the side of each office door.”

— “Kushner insists today that there will be no hate element in the Trump Administration, starting at the top. “You can’t not be a racist for 69 years, then all of a sudden become a racist, right?” he says. “You can’t not be an anti-Semite for 69 years and all of a sudden become an anti-Semite because you’re running.” His reaction to fringe elements, like the KKK and the white nationalist alt-right, who have embraced Trump? “Trump has disavowed their support 25 times… I don’t know if he could ever denounce them enough for some people.” Kushner’s support extends to Steve Bannon… “Do you hold me accountable for every single thing that the Observer’ s ever written, like they came from me?” Kushner says. “All I know about Steve is my experience working with him. He’s an incredible Zionist and loves Israel.”” [ForbesMag]

“Uncertainty Ahead for Health Insurer Started by Kushner’s Brother” by Rolfe Winkler and Anna Wilde Mathews: “For health insurance startup Oscar Insurance Corp., the election of Donald Trump could be a tough pill to swallow, complicated by ownership ties to the incoming administration that will put it under a bright spotlight. Josh Kushner, brother of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, is a co-founder… Oscar’s main business is now a question mark. Changes proposed by Republicans, including repealing the ACA, could dramatically shrink the individual insurance market, analysts said.” [WSJ

PROFILE — “Trump’s Original Four: The Staffers Behind His Historic Victory” by Jennifer Jacobs and Kevin Cirilli: “Asked to describe Michael Glassner, a 53-year-old Oklahoma native who grew up in Kansas, his coworkers used the same word: disciplined. He doesn’t raise his voice. He doesn’t drink alcohol. His escape is to go home to small-town New Jersey to see his wife and daughters, ages 12 and 14. He runs three to five miles on weekdays and 10 on Saturdays. His meals consist of a plate of asparagus or potatoes or some other pile of vegetables. “I’m a hamburger guy,” said Gigicos, whose office is next to Glassner’s on the 15th floor of Trump Tower. “He’s a vegetarian. We meet in the middle.”

“Glassner and Gigicos orchestrated Trump’s rallies, converting empty arenas into the made-for-TV spectacles that were the electricity of the campaign—and the one consistent strategy since the very beginning. Trump was at center stage, then Scavino amplified his message on social media. It was a new model for campaigns, said Glassner, who recalled the tediousness of organizing small events in all 99 of Iowa’s counties when he worked for Dole’s presidential campaigns in 1988 and 1996.” [Bloomberg]

TOP TALKER: “’Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President Elect” by Daniel Lombroso and Yoni Appelbaum: “After dinner, when most journalists had already departed, Spencer rose and delivered a speech to his followers dripping with anti-Semitism, and leaving no doubt as to what he actually seeks. He referred to the mainstream media as “Lügenpresse,” a term he said he was borrowing from “the original German”; the Nazis used the word to attack their critics in the press… The audience offered cheers, applause, and enthusiastic Nazi salutes.” [TheAtlantic]

— Even Trump, Spencer warned the white supremacist audience, has taken positions that are in his view too friendly to minorities and Jewish people… He said Trump “will be perhaps the most pro-Zionist president ever put in office,” citing his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, “which we should admit wasn’t actually that bad.”” [CNN

“D.C. restaurant apologizes after hosting alt-right dinner with ‘Sieg Heil salute’” by Justin Wm. Moyer:On Monday, Maggiano’s apologized, saying that it was “the inadvertent site” of the protest and that it closed the restaurant for the safety of its staff and guests. “This was a last minute booking made Friday afternoon, and the reservation was made under a different name, therefore we were not aware that NPI was dining with us or what the group represents,” Steve Provost, the president of the 51-restaurant chain, said in a statement posted to Facebook. The statement said Maggiano’s would donate $10,000, the profit from its Friday restaurant sales, to the D.C. office of the Anti-Defamation League, “which for decades has been working to bring people together in peace and understanding.”” [WashPost; Facebook

Trump’s spokesman Bryan Lanza: “President-elect Trump has continued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elected because he will be a leader for every American. To think otherwise is a complete misrepresentation of the movement that united Americans from all backgrounds.”

Former ADL National Director Abe Foxman tells us: “President-elect Trump needs to specifically condemn and distance himself from the racism and anti-Semitism spewed there. If he takes the time and effort to personally criticize SNL or the “Hamilton” episode then certainly this event deserves his personal attention and voice.” [JewishInsider]

“The US Holocaust Museum Is Calling On Americans To Condemn Hate Speech” by David Mack: “The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words,” the statement read. “The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech.” [BuzzFeed; Politico]

“CNN Sees Twitter Backlash Over “If Jews Are People” Headline Crawl” by Jackie Strause:”The issue Twitter users had, however, was with the chyron at the bottom of the screen throughout the segment, which read: “Alt-right founder questions if Jews are people.” Politico’s Hadas Gold tweeted, “*pinches self* i’m real! i’m a person!” and The Hill’s Jordan Fabian shared a screen grab with the words, “Come on.” Another user posted: “Just b/c some idiot says it doesn’t mean you put it on the chyron.” Jake Tapper later commented on the chyron, calling it “unacceptable” and “abhorrent.”” [THR; Mediaite]

“Trump asks for media ‘reset,’ but lashes out at execs” by Hadas Gold: “Trump turned to NBC News President Deborah Turness at one point, the source said, and told her the network won’t run a nice picture of him, instead choosing “this picture of me,” as he made a face with a double chin… Other attendees at the meeting from Trump’s team included chief strategist Stephen Bannon, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, spokesman Jason Miller… He described the situation in Syria, according to the source, as “Holocaust-like” and was effusive in his praise of President Barack Obama, the source added.” [Politico; CNNMoney] • Donald Trump’s media summit was a ‘f—ing firing squad’ [NYPost]

“Trump Cancels Meeting With The Times” by Sydney Ember: “A planned meeting between president-elect Donald J. Trump and The New York Times appears to have fallen through, with Mr. Trump declaring on Twitter on Tuesday morning that he had canceled the gathering because the ground rules had been changed.  Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the paper was not aware the meeting was canceled until reading Mr. Trump’s tweets.” [NYTimes

TRANSITION TOWER: “Jeff Sessions’s ridiculous anti-drug crusade” by Tana Ganeva :“Nadelmann points to other worrisome signs. Both Sheldon Adelson and Mel Sembler, big GOP fundraisers who have thrown around their millions to thwart medical marijuana, are on Trump’s inauguration team.” [WashPost

INBOX — ZOA opposes possible appointment of Mattis as Secretary of Defense: “Mattis’s statements at a 2013 Aspen Institute conference were hostile to Israel, and revealed a lack of appreciation for and understanding of the extraordinary value to American security resulting from a strong American-Israeli alliance and a secure Israel… Mattis’s position thus also runs afoul of the 2016 Republican platform’s commitment to prioritize Israel’s security.”

“JPost Poll: Israelis don’t believe Trump will move embassy to Jerusalem” by Lahav Harkov: “About half of Israelis think Trump will not move the embassy, with 11% certain he will not and 38% thinking it is unlikely. Only 6% of respondents think Trump will definitely move the embassy to Jerusalem, and 32% think it is likely. The poll also found that more Israelis (44%) think Trump is a true friend of Israel than not (18%).” [JPost

“Bennett to Trump Aides: Don’t Rush to Adopt Two-state Solution as Official U.S. Policy Hardline” by Barak Ravid: “Education Minister Naftali Bennett met three members of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s team on Sunday and asked that the new administration not rush to embrace a two-state solution, but rather examine alternatives to the official American policy that prevailed during the Bush and Obama administrations. These meetings were probably what prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue a directive to his cabinet members on Monday not to hold direct talks with Trump’s team.” [Haaretz]

Gershom Gorenberg: “Israel should be very worried about President Trump: A U.S. administration that resonates with authoritarianism has much more powerful and strategically useful partners available — as Trump’s admiration for Vladimir Putin’s Russia shows. Israel can easily become an inconvenience.” [WashPost]

“Let’s Stop Shaming Trump Voters” by David Suissa: “We’re always talking about the danger of stereotyping people, whether they’re Muslim refugees from Syria or undocumented immigrants from Mexico. But when it comes to Trump voters, well, we seem to have no problem stereotyping away. It’s almost as if any Jew who voted for Trump must be anti-Jewish or devoid of Jewish values.”[JewishJournal

“Why Jews have a special obligation to resist Trump” by Jill Jacobs and Daniel Sokatch:“Half a century ago, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “Let us yield no inch to bigotry, let us make no compromise with callousness.” As leaders of Jewish organizations committed to human rights, we believe that if ever there were a moment to commit to making no compromises with callousness, that moment must be now.” [WashPost]

“New Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council Gears Up To Work With Trump Administration” by Antonia Blumberg: “A newly formed council of prominent American Muslims and Jews announced its formation this week in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s win. Spearheaded by advocacy organizations the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council wasn’t a response to the election outcome, said Robert Silverman, AJC director of Muslim-Jewish relations. In fact, he said, its been in a process of formation all year.” [HuffPost]

“Iran’s Guards using Trump victory to claw back power” by Parisa Hafezi: “Trump and the Islamic State militants were gifts from God to the IRGC,” said a senior official within the Iranian government, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity like other figures contacted within Iran. “If Trump adopts a hostile policy towards Iran or scraps the deal, hard-liners and particularly the IRGC will benefit from it.” [Reuters]

KING BIBI — Susan Glasser‏ tweets: “Milestone today: Netanyahu beats Ben-Gurion record as longest consecutive serving Israeli PM, 7 years and 236 days.” [Twitter; JPost]

**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
SPOTLIGHT:”Former Cablevision owners have gone from friends to foes” by Claire Atkinson: “Well, how’s this for awkward. Patrick Drahi‘s Altice Group, the $34 billion Netherlands-based telecom behemoth that bought Cablevision in June from the Dolan family, is headed for its first programming fee fight — and sitting across the negotiating table will be none other than Dolan family-controlled AMC Networks.” [NYPost]

“Paulson’s Big Long: A Bet on Trump Yields Power and Profit” by Joe Light: “With Trump’s victory, Paulson — a political donor and economic adviser to the president-elect — is already seeing a payoff. His funds have a stake in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, once virtually worthless, whose common-class shares have roughly doubled since Election Day… Paulson this year gave more than $330,000 combined to Trump’s presidential effort, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.” [Bloomberg

STARTUP NATION: “You rarely livestream, but 1M people livechill on Houseparty” by Josh Constine: “Built from the ashes of Meerkat, Houseparty is leading the charge for a new kind of synchronous social networking. It’s the closest thing to being with friends in person. Houseparty’s founder Ben Rubin told me he sees the app as the Internet’s living room. But that’s too solitary of a metaphor. The big differentiator from other group video apps like Google Hangouts is that you don’t have to request people to join you, like inviting them to your home. You just get online, and you’re instantly “in the house” partying with any other friends with the app open.” [TechCrunch]

“This 18-year-old (Israeli) just raised $3.5 million to help developers easily add capabilities to their apps” by Connie Loizos: “RapidAPI, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that enables developers to find, test, and manage many of the APIs they want to integrate into their apps, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding. The company is interesting for numerous reasons — not least of them its founder, Iddo Gino, an 18-year-old who was a high school senior in Haifa, Israel last year when he was “discovered,” so to speak. It happened at a local hackathon, where Gino caught the attention of Dov Moran.  The renowned Israeli angel investor provided Gino with some early mentorship, as well as $250,000 in seed money that Gino — who studied briefly at the public research institute Technion – used to move to the U.S. in January.” [TechCrunch; VentureBeat]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Ivanka Trump Volunteers With Children at Jewish Pre-Thanksgiving Homeless Event” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: In posts on Instagram and Twitter, the first daughter thanked the UJA-Federation of New York and Project ORE for allowing her to volunteer at a pre-Thanksgiving meal for the homeless with her two children… When asked whether Ivanka Trump had been specifically invited to the Project ORE event, a spokesman for Educational Alliance said that the organization could not comment on individual volunteers. In a statement, UJA-Federation said it could not comment on whether the organization knew in advance that Trump would participate. ” [Forward] Ivanka Trump splits personal, brand Twitter accounts [FC]

“Jewish Father, Daughter Leave Hershey Kisses at San Francisco Mosques” by Lisa Fernandez: “While the incidents of hate and harassment are being reported on a daily basis across the country as concern grows over the rise of white nationalism, there are small acts of kindness occurring, too. One such act occurred this Saturday when Zoe Sokatch, 11, of San Francisco, and her dad, Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, delivered Hershey kisses to the San Francisco Muslim Community Center on Mission Street.” [NBC]

SPORTS BLINK: Robert Kraft On Election, Giving Back For Thanksgiving: “It’s just a moment when we all step back and realize we’re living in the greatest country in the world, we have a lot to be thankful for, we just had a big election, and it’s an organized democracy where everyone can protest, do what they want but we’re free to do that and not second guess so I feel very fortunate to be in this country,” Kraft said. Kraft made the comments at the 23rd annual Thanksgiving basket event sponsored by the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries and Stop & Shop supermarkets.” [CBSBoston

BIRTHDAYS: Novelist and screenwriter, Roger L. Simon turns 73… Former President (1996-2010) of the 2.2 million member Service Employees International Union, now a senior fellow at Columbia University’s Richman Center, Andy Stern turns 66… Television personality with past shows on MSNBC, CNN and Bloomberg TV, formerly an advertising executive, Donny Deutsch turns 59… Senior editor and writer for The Daily Beast and columnist and editorial writer for the New York Daily News, Harry Siegelturns 39… Actress, model, singer and brand ambassador for Israel’s Sodastream home-carbonation company, Scarlett Johansson turns 32… Actor, who has appeared in films directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, the Coen brothers and Warren Beatty, Alden Ehrenreich turns 27… SVP of Development for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Tim R. Cohen… Chief of Staff of Israel’s Embassy in Washington, Yarden Golan… Marty Robinson… Manager of public relations, communications and media relations for theSkimm, Jessica Sara Turtletaub


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