Daily Kickoff: Saudis start distancing from Trump — on Jerusalem, Syria… | Heard at J Street | Does the NFL care that Josh Rosen is Jewish?

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HEARD LAST NIGHT — At J Street’s gala dinner honoring the group’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) thanked J Street for working closely with the Obama administration to get 42 Democrats to support the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. “Two years ago, I came to J Street to thank you for supporting President Obama when he called for an historic understanding with Iran. It was an incredible achievement — not just for the President and the U.S., but for Israel and the world, and you were part of it.”

“J Street exists to support those of you strong enough and courageous enough to lead us in a different direction,” Ben-Ami told the members of Congress and candidates that participated in the group’s 10th-anniversary celebration.

The evening also featured a conversation between former Mideast envoy George Mitchell and Susan Glasser. “Is America out of the peace-making business?” Glasser asked. “I don’t think we can, or will be, or should be out of the peace-making business,” Mitchell replied. Addressing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Mitchell said, “Jerusalem was, is, and will be forever the capital of Israel. There’s no doubt about that. Nobody questions that. The only question is: will there be in East Jerusalem a Palestinian capital of a Palestinian state? … In fact, what [Trump] has done — which I call an unwise and premature decision — has made getting negotiations started  and getting an agreement far more difficult than it was in the absence of that.” The former peace envoy added that he hopes Jared Kushner succeeds in his role to bring peace. [Video]

SPOTTED: Ben Rhodes, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Ed Perlmutter, (D-CO), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY); Sen. Angus King (I-ME), MK Merav Michaeli, Dan Helmer, Amy Rutkin, Daniel Schwartz, Debra Shushan, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Aaron Weinberg, Steve Rabinowitz, Aaron Keyak, Michael Koplow, Dan De Luce, Ron Kampeas, Natan Guttman, Jillian Jones, and Amir Tibon.

HEARD EARLIER AT THE J STREET CONFERENCE — Former UN Ambassador and National Security Adviser Susan Rice warned that a possible U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal would likely lead to the collapse of the international accord. “Iran will be in a position to say quite truthfully that they upheld their obligations and the U.S. did not,” Rice explained. “That would leave them free — if they chose — to resume their nuclear program and pursue it without constraints.” [Video]

Rice also mocked the Trump Administration Middle East peace negotiation team, casting doubts that Jared Kushner, Ambassador David Friedman, and all “these Middle East experts” could craft a viable peace plan. “It’s highly unlikely to be sort of a balanced bridging proposal that could yield progress,” she said.

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) shared his party’s critique of Trump’s policies, while also noting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in 2015 and his policy on African refugees as lines crossed requiring Congress to “speak out.” Friends of Israel, Cardin said, have “a responsibility to speak out against the policies of Israel or the United States that are not consistent with our Jewish and Democratic values.” [CSPAN]

— “Cardin received a frostier reception than [Bernie] Sanders, the only keynote speaker to receive a thunderous standing ovation as he delivered a speech that was scathingly critical of Israel’s use of force against Hamas protesters in the Gaza Strip… By contrast, Cardin received scattered boos and sparse applause when he defended controversial anti-boycott legislation that J Street opposes.” [Al-Monitor]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): “As someone who believes absolutely and unequivocally in Israel’s right to exist, and to exist in peace and security; as someone who as a young man lived in Israel for a number of months and as is very proud of his Jewish heritage; as someone who is deeply concerned about the global rise of anti-Semitism and all forms of racism; we must say loudly and clearly that to oppose the reactionary policies of Prime Minister Netanyahu does not make us anti-Israel.”

“At J Street, Palestinian Ambassador Says Trump Peace Plan Must Include Jerusalem” by Amir Tibon: “Palestinian Ambassador to the U.S. Husam Zomlot told the J Street conference… that the Palestinians will not accept any Trump administration peace plan that does not include East Jerusalem or address the issue of refugees… With regard to the Trump administration’s upcoming peace plan, he said the Palestinians will not accept a “state minus” or a “state in provisional borders.” He also said they will not accept a state “with one Israeli soldier on its soil.” … “The two-state solution was never a Palestinian demand, but a concession. Painful, but essential for the cause of peace. We have done our share. We will continue doing our share… We have recognized the State of Israel on 78 percent of historic Palestine,” he said.” [Haaretz]

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI): “If you look at my positions and put them in the ’80s or ’90s, they would be mainstream. If you compare my views on Israel to the views of the American public, right now, I’d probably be right in the middle. But in Congress, I am on the left edge. That cannot hold. And so I’m committed to making the Democratic Party a big tent, a pro-Israel party where there’s room for everyone from Bernie Sanders to me, to Chuck Schumer, and I’m committed to growing the number of progressives who care about Israel.”

— “Sen. Brian Schatz Calls on Fellow Progressives to Fight Anti-Semitism Within Their Ranks, Not Just On Right” by Yair Rosenberg: “In one year, anti-Semitic incidents have increased by nearly 60 percent,” he noted. “And frankly, it’s coming from all sides.” This crosspartisan bigotry, Schatz continued, has historical precedent that should disturb us… “It’s easy for us to look at another country or another political party and say: ‘Enough! Do better!’” Schatz observed. “It is a tougher conversation when the problem is in our own tent. But we know that we cannot look the other way when people who would otherwise be our progressive allies speak out of ignorance or fear or convenience and they cross a moral line.” [Tablet]

Aaron David Miller and Steven Simon write… “Partisanship is compromising our special relationship with Israel: A United States divided regarding Israel might forgo intervention on its behalf in a crisis, in a way that could create doubts about American reliability while forsaking a solemn commitment to a people that had passed through the gas chambers and crematoria. Israel is especially significant to American Jews, a diverse religious and ethnic community. A partisan approach to Israel essentially cuts off many American Jews from a focus of their emotional and historical roots. It devalues some American Jews while privileging others.” [WashPost]

SIGHTING — The NYC Council delegation visited Efrat today and met with Yesha Council’s Chief Foreign Envoy Oded Revivi as part of a week-long mission to Israel. [PicYesterday, the group met with Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog [Picand Regional Cooperation Minister Tzahi Hangebi. [Pic]

PIC OF THE DAY — Anthony Scaramucci, The Mooch, met yesterday with Jewish students at Rutgers University Chabad House to discuss countering anti-Israel and BDS campaigns on campus. The event was co-hosted by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce and Rabbi Mendy Carlebach [PicPic]

“I am a one state solution person,” Scaramucci said. ”I know there are places like J Street [that push the two state solution]… but they don’t really understand the issue. They are not spending enough time in the area understanding the history, and they certainly are not spending enough time understanding that people want to take that state out in the worst possible way. And you cannot let that happen.”

DRIVING THE CONVO — “The News Is Too Much With Us, Late and Soon” by Gail Collins and Bret Stephens: “Bret: I’m surprised to find myself writing this, but I think the [Syira] strike was a waste of perfectly good cruise missiles. We did nearly the exact same thing last year, and it did nothing to stop Bashar al-Assad from slaughtering his own people and using chemical weapons on them… The strike really was classic Trump: A show of force mainly for the sake of show, without any strategy behind it. Iran has entrenched itself in Syria alongside Russia, while Israel is quietly preparing for war on its northern front. The administration looks likely to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal next month, but little thought seems to have been given to what comes after. In all, just another reminder that the Trump disaster is global.”[NYTimes]

TALK OF THE MIDDLE EAST — “Saudi king uses Arab Summit to adjust Riyadh’s stance toward Trump” by Bruce Riedel: “The Saudis are uncomfortable that they have been widely perceived in the Arab World as colluding with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, to undermine the Palestinians’ claim to the holy city, a perception that damages the Saudi mantle as the defender of the holy mosques, which is crucial to the royal family’s legitimacy. Pictures on TV of protesting Gazans burning Saudi flags and pictures of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been blocked in the kingdom… To the Saudis, Trump increasingly sounds like Barack Obama in advocating a strategy that leaves the Arabs to take care of themselves. Riyadh was mystified when Trump claimed Salman was ready to pay for America to stay in Syria.” [Al-Monitor]

–Martin Indyk tweets“Saudi King Salman’s “Jerusalem Summit” puts it back on the table after Trump claims he took it off. Stark demonstration of the counterproductive consequences of Trump’s Jerusalem embassy decision. And a reminder to Jared that the King is still in charge.”

“Trump still intends to get U.S. troops out of Syria as soon as possible, White House says” by Karen DeYoung, James McAuley and William Booth: “The White House said Monday that President Trump still intends an early exit for U.S. troops in Syria, as French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to walk back his suggestion that he had convinced Trump to keep them there for the “long term.” … Speaking at a news conference during a visit to New Zealand, Macron said defeating the militants remains the military objective for France and the United States, and that the mission would end on “the day” that is accomplished.” [WashPost] • “Israel disappointed over US-led strike on Syria” by Ben Caspit [Al-Monitor

“U.S. Seeks Arab Force and Funding for Syria” by Michael R. Gordon: “The Trump administration is seeking to assemble an Arab force to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria and help stabilize the northeastern part of the country… John Bolton… recently called Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s acting intelligence chief, to see if Cairo would contribute to the effort, officials said. The initiative comes as the administration has asked Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to contribute billions of dollars to help restore northern Syria. It wants Arab nations to send troops as well.” [WSJ]

“Trump jokes about being jealous of Bolton” by Jordan Fabian: “President Trump on Monday joked that new national security adviser John Bolton could lose his job if he receives “all the credit” for last week’s airstrikes on Syria. Trump acknowledged Bolton… where the president was participating in a tax event. The crowd gave Bolton a raucous standing ovation. “John, that’s pretty good. I didn’t expect that. I’m a little jealous,” Trump said. “Are you giving him all the credit? Uh oh, you know that means the end of his job.” [TheHill]

— “Bolton era begins with exits and anxiety at National Security Council” by Jenna McLaughlin, Jeremy Diamond and Evan Perez: “Even as the White House cites Bolton’s desire — and right — to build his own team, he has yet to announce a single senior hire to replace the departing officials. Instead, he has kept his new staff guessing — feeding a sense of uncertainty and anxiety that has filled NSC offices since his arrival… “No one knows what’s going on,” one source close to the NSC told CNN. “It’s a bit chaotic.”” [CNN]

IRAN DEAL — “EU fails to agree to new Iran sanctions as Trump deadline nears” by Gabriela Baczynska and Peter Maushagen: “The European Union failed to agree new sanctions against Iran on Monday amid Italy’s opposition and fears that punishing Tehran for its missile program and regional role would not stop U.S. President Donald Trump from abandoning a separate nuclear deal. Speaking on the sidelines of EU foreign ministers’ discussions in Luxembourg, some diplomats said the outcome meant the EU might not make the U.S. President’s May 12 deadline to “fix” the 2015 nuclear accord.” [Reuters]

ON THE HILL — “Bob Corker is free to speak his mind about Donald Trump, if he could only make it up” by Ben Terris: “Corker, who gets along with everyone, grew close with Trump and his team. As the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, they often sought his advice on world affairs… On one occasion last June, Corker was at the White House… when Trump called him into the Oval Office. There, surrounded by top aides, the president sat in front of a speakerphone talking to King Salman of Saudi Arabia… In a photo of the call taken by a White House photographer, Corker leans on the Resolute Desk, whispering in the president’s ear. But when the king opened with lavish praise for Trump, the president’s fortitude melted away and he told aides, “I like the king.” Around this time Corker started to get regular calls from Trump staffers from “what sounded like the inside of coat closets,” often just to gripe about how things were run at the White House.”

“But it was precisely this proximity that lead him to make his first viral criticism of Trump. After the President refused to fully condemn the white nationalists who had marched on Charlottesville, an upset Corker held forth with the press, offering a sound bite he knew would make waves: The President had not shown “the stability, nor some of the competence” to lead, he said. That same week, Corker found himself summoned to the Oval Office once again… “The President says, ‘Bob, you said I was incompetent,’ ” Corker recalled… By the end of the meeting, Corker said, Trump had offered to endorse him if he changed his mind and decided to run for another term. (The president has denied this on Twitter.) “Despite everything,” Corker said, “we do have a very, very warm relationship.”[WashPost]

“The CEO of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company compared Trump propaganda tactics to Hitler” by Alexandra Ma: “[Nigel] Oakes told Emma Briant in recorded interviews, which were released by the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Monday: “Of course, Hitler attacked the Jews. He didn’t have a problem with the Jews at all, but the people didn’t like the Jews… so he just leveraged an artificial enemy. Well, that’s exactly what Trump did. He leveraged a Muslim.”” [BusinessInsider]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Sean Hannity Is Named as Client of Michael Cohen, Trump’s Lawyer” by Alan Feuer, Michael Grynbaum and John Koblin: “Now, Mr. Hannity finds himself aligned even more closely with the president. During a hearing at a packed courtroom in Lower Manhattan on Monday, he was named as a client of Mr. Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen… The courtroom disclosure about Mr. Hannity occurred during the expanding criminal investigation into Mr. Cohen by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.” [NYTimes]

— “The Michael Cohen legal sideshow: Gasps, pratfalls and paparazzi” by Hunter Walker: “After the hearing… Cohen and many of the other lawyers remained in the courtroom… Cohen was preoccupied with the courtroom sketch artists. He asked to see the drawings they made of him. “I’m better-looking,” Cohen declared after reviewing a sketch.” [YahooNews]

“Dershowitz confronts Hannity: ‘You should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen'” by Brett Samuels: “I really think you should have disclosed your relationship with Cohen,” [Alan] Dershowitz said, calling it a “complicated situation.” “It was minimal,” Hannity responded. “I understand that, and you should’ve said that,” Dershowitz… replied. “You were in a tough position because, A, you had to talk about Cohen, and, B, you didn’t want the fact that you had spoken with him to be revealed.” “I have the right to privacy,” Hannity interjected. “It was such a minor relationship.” “You should have said that,” Dershowitz said.” [TheHill]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR — “Prosecution moving toward indicting PM on gifts probe — report” by Jacob Magid: “The prosecutor in charge of overseeing the graft probes into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is moving “in the direction” of an indictment over gifts he received from wealthy businessmen, Channel 10 reports. However, the indictment in the so-called Case 1000 will be on the lesser charges of breach of trust rather than bribery as recommended by police earlier this year… A breach of trust indictment would mean that Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan would likely not face charges along with Netanyahu.” [ToI]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Rothschild Names Heir as Chairman, Elevating Next Generation [Bloomberg] • Carl Icahn All But Exits Casinos With Tropicana Entertainment Sale [WSJ] • Steve Cohen Thinks He Can Dance. Lincoln Center Is Ready for Him [Bloomberg] • Well known U.S. activist investors including Nelson Peltz and William Ackman took a hit from the first-quarter U.S. stock market slump, while some smaller players delivered gains [Reuters]• Lerer Hippeau’s takeover of Binary Capital is now complete [Recode] • Les Moonves demanded control of CBS/Viacom in 2016 [Axios Israeli Government Divided On Required Response to U.S. Tax Reform [Calcalist

STARTUP NATION — “U.S., Israeli Space Agencies Join Forces to Protect Astronauts From Radiation” by Andy Pasztor: “U.S. and Israeli space officials have teamed up with a Tel Aviv-based technology startup to combat one of the gravest threats confronting future astronauts: excessive radiation exposure. StemRad Ltd., a closely held Israeli company that already supplies a different type of personal radiation-protective gear to a limited numbers of soldiers, nuclear plant workers and emergency responders, developed the space version of its product in conjunction with Lockheed Martin Corp.” [WSJ]

SPOTLIGHT — Ariela Wertheimer on Art and Letting Go: “The artist Ariela Wertheimer says her visibility as a member of the wealthiest family in Israel compounds the vulnerability that nearly every artist faces when showing their work. “I was painting and doing things all my life, but I was afraid to be exposed, because of my family name, because, I don’t know why, many things,” Wertheimer said Monday on Cheddar TV. “The moment you show your art, your work, you expose yourself.” Wertheimer is preparing for her first New York exhibition, “The Freedom to Let Go”, which will be featured at ArtExpo New York from April 19 to 22. Wertheimer is married to Eitan Wertheimer, the son of Stef Wertheimer.” [CheddarVideo]

TOP TALKER: “After Giving Them the Finger, Birthright Co-founder Slams ‘Stupid Left-wing Jews’ at Protest” by Debra Nussbaum Cohen: “I find it really peculiar that so many Jews are supporting BDS and events like their protest,” Steinhardt told Haaretz. “I don’t really understand it, but that’s my age catching up with me, I guess… I passed this group of protesters behind a barrier and it was clear these were young Jews,” Steinhardt said later. “Birthright is such a warm, welcoming, nonpolitical enterprise you’d think they could find better things to protest. They were screeching something and I gave them the finger, and that was that.” [Haaretz] • Adelsons Donate $70 Million to Help Connect Young Jews to Israel [Bloomberg

“Sarah Lawrence to honor Barbara Walters with new building” by Cindy Adams: “Barbara Walters put “20/20” on the map and created “The View.” She’s interviewed royals, stars, every president… No. 1 for a lifetime, she’ll now stay No. 1 for everyone’s lifetime… In 2019, her Sarah Lawrence alma mater honors B.W. with its first new building in a decade — the Barbara Walters Campus Center. Cost — $35 mil. Donors included [Michael] Bloomberg, Hugh Jackman, Leonard Lauder, David Geffen. State of the art facilities include archives, photos, memorabilia, stories, reading room, 800-seat assembly hall.”[PageSix]

“Barry Diller Talks About His 5-Year Battle for NYC’s Pier 55 Park” by Peter Kiefer: “Scheduled to open in fall 2020, Pier 55 — aka “Diller Island” — will be an undulating 2.7-acre green space, featuring a 700-seat amphitheater and two other performance spaces, built atop 132 concrete mushroom-like pots… When the park opens, 51 percent of the tickets for the performances will either be free or under $30 dollars… Since the plans were first revealed back in 2014, the project’s budget grew from $35 million to more than $250 million. When asked how he plans to address the costs, Diller said he was open to suggestions. “Other than write checks there’s nothing much we can do. We want to build it right. And yes, it’s true — the delay was costly. But my family’s lucky. We have the resources and we’re gonna do it,” he says. ” [HollywoodReporter]

MEDIA WATCH — “The Times and The New Yorker Share the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service” by Michael Grynbaum: “Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on Monday to the news organizations that drove two of the biggest stories of the year… The prize for public service, considered the most prestigious of the Pulitzers, went to The New York Times and the New Yorker magazine for their revelations of sexual harassment and abuse that had gone on, unheeded and unpunished, in the spheres of Hollywood, politics, the media and Silicon Valley. The national reporting prize went to The Times and The Washington Post for their coverage of Mr. Trump’s possible ties to Russia.” [NYTimes]

ACROSS THE POND — “It backed Israel before Balfour: Corbyn stance is stark shift from early Labour” by Robert Philpot: “Labour proved itself a steadfast supporter of the establishment of a Jewish homeland. Its own annual conferences, and those of its allies in the trade union movement, repeatedly endorsed this principle during the 1930s. In May 1939, Labour opposed the Conservative government’s White Paper, which sought to halt Jewish immigration to Palestine and effectively reneged on the undertakings made by Arthur Balfour nearly 20 years before… Even at the height of its power in the early 1980s, the hard left was no more than a noisy, disruptive and electorally toxic minority. Today, its power is deeply entrenched: it has elected one of its own to the leadership.” [ToI]

TRANSITION — Christians United for Israel (CUFI) announced that Diana Hagee, the wife of CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee, and Shari Dollinger will take on the roles of Co-Executive Directors. David Brog, Executive Director of the Maccabee Task Force, continues to serve on CUFI’s Executive Board.

SPORTS BLINK — “Josh Rosen is Jewish. And a ‘millennial.’ Does the NFL care?” by Jacob Bogage: “Josh Rosen sat for an interview for an ESPN The Magazine cover story and was immediately confronted with the flaws that seemingly will undo him as an NFL quarterback. “You’re a cocky, jerkish, overly opinionated rich kid who’s too smart and has too many outside interests for his own good,” ESPN senior writer Sam Alipour posed to the UCLA junior. That characterization stemmed from remarks made by former Bruins Coach Jim Mora, who claimed Rosen would not “fit” in some NFL cities because of a lack of a “blue-collar, gritty attitude.” … “This is classic anti-Semitism,” ESPN personality Tony Kornheiser said on his podcast last week. “Absolutely classic anti-Semitism that says, ‘We don’t want this guy. This guy’s too smart.’”” [WashPost]

DESSERT — “The Curse Of The Dairy Kosher Restaurant in Manhattan” by Shira Feder: “Basta, the high-end Manhattan eatery, with its selection of Israeli style dairy dishes, was only open for a scant few months before closing its doors again… From Cafe K to the iconic va Bene to SoomSoom to Prime’s Pizza da Solo, the decline of defunct kosher dairy institutions continues to spread… Kosher meat restaurants like Reserve Cut and Le Marais will always be safe… So what’s causing this curious discrepancy in the future prospects of kosher dairy versus meat restaurants? It’s because many Jewish Manhattanites will deign to eat dairy in non-kosher restaurants, but will stick to strictly kosher places for meat.” [Forward]

“A Cousin of the Martini, the Alaska, Strikes Gold” by Robert Simonson: “A gin mind-set led Kayla Quigley, the bar and beverage manager at Our Fathers, a new Boston restaurant that serves contemporary Jewish cuisine, to the cocktail. “We knew we wanted this to be a gin bar,” she said. “We knew we wanted to truly elevate the spirit.” She did this two ways: by stocking more than 90 gins, and by mixing the spirit into a host of cocktails, both celebrated and less so, like the Alaska.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Cynthia Kugler turns 82… Retired Los Angeles cardiologist and active Yiddish enthusiast, Martin Bobrowsky, MD turns 78… NYU professor and noted legal scholar, Richard Allen Epstein turns 75… Barry Schreiber turns 75… Sports historian, author, publisher and cultural commentator. he has been the official baseball historian for Major League Baseball since 2011, John Thorn turns 71… Talk radio host best known for his work on NYC’s sports radio station WFAN, his nickname is “The Schmoozer,” Steve Somers turns 71… CEO and EVP of B’nai B’rith International, Daniel S. Mariaschin turns 69… Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ, Rabbi Aryeh Malkiel Kotler turns 67… French billionaire, based in Geneva, he and his brother own the House of Chanel perfume company as well holdings in vineyards and a thoroughbred horse racing stable, Gérard Wertheimer turns 67… Actress, screenwriter and film director, Daphna Kastner turns 57…

Winner of two Super Bowl rings during his career with the San Francisco 49ers (1984–1988), he is now a physician and an inductee in the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, Dr. John E. Frank turns 56… Director of Rutgers University Press since 2016, following 15 years at Temple University Press. Micah Kleit turns 48… Professor of politics and Russian studies at New York University and co-author of The Monkey Cage, a politics and policy blog at The Washington Post, Joshua A. Tucker turns 47 (h/t Playbook)… White House correspondent at The New York Times, Julie Hirschfeld Davis turns 43… Bloomberg Gadfly columnist covering industrial companies and conglomerates, she previously was a reporter at Quartz and the Wall Street Journal, Shelly Banjo turns 34… Communications director for Congressional candidate Rufus Gifford (MA-3), he was previously a spokesman at the State Department, the Senate and the National Security Council, Dean Liebermanturns 29… Brian T. Earll turns 26… Senior director at Bully Pulpit Interactive,Alex Kellner… Communications manager at the Center for Responsible Lending, Matt Kravitz




Daily Kickoff: Mr. Steinhardt, tell em how you really feel! | Klarman now funding Dems | Israel’s next super fruit | BDays: Ron Dermer, Tony Blinken

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PIC OF THE DAY: Outside last night’s Birthright Israel gala dinner in NYC, Michael Steinhardt’s message to protesters…

ALSO SPOTTED AT THE DINNER: Sheldon & Miriam Adelson (along with a son who skipped Coachella to be there), Haim Saban, Bob Kraft, Israeli Consul Gen. Dani Dayan, Dan Senor, Charles Bronfman, Shawn & Dorit Evenhaim, Gidi Mark, Phil Rosen, Tom Stern, Jay Feldman.

2018 WATCH — “In the era of Donald Trump, New England’s biggest GOP donor is funding Democrats” by Annie Linskey: “Boston hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman lavished more than $7 million on Republican candidates and political committees during the Obama administration… But the rise of Donald Trump shocked and dismayed Klarman… He’s given roughly $222,000 since the 2016 election to 78 Democrats running for Congress… “The Republicans in Congress have failed to hold the president accountable and have abandoned their historic beliefs and values,” Klarman said in a prepared statement… “I received a tax cut I neither need nor want… I’m choosing to invest it to fight the administration’s flawed policies and to elect Democrats to the Senate and House of Representatives.” [BostonGlobe

— Trump sticking with small donor strategy: “Even as some major Republican donors have warmed to Mr. Trump, his political operation is not abandoning the approach that carried it through much of the 2016 campaign, when it relied primarily on a stream of donations from small donors giving online.” [NYTimes]

2020 WATCH — “Kander targets Trump during New Hampshire address that sounded like a potential 2020 stump speech” by Paul Steinhauser: “Jason Kander took sharp aim at President Donald Trump on Saturday night as he headlined a major Democratic Party dinner in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first presidential primary. The former Missouri secretary of state… claimed that “right now, white supremacists and the KKK are literally on the march, displaying for everybody their horrific views that they once thought they had to hide. Why? Because they are emboldened by a president that says they are very fine people.” Kander added: “We deserve to have a commander-in-chief who at least has the courage to stand up to the KKK and Nazis.”” [STLTodayCSPAN]

— “Eric Garcetti, presidential long shot, journeys to Iowa, the land of dreams” by Mark Z. Barabak: “When Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti set out Friday to introduce himself to Iowa with a two-day visit, the all-but-announced Democratic candidate for president was traveling a well-trod path… He used the occasion to speak a bit of his fluent Spanish, denounce anti-Semitism…” [LATimes]

TOP TALKER — “Trump, a reluctant hawk, has battled his top aides on Russia and lost” by Greg Jaffe, John Hudson and Philip Rucker: “The president, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia… His briefers tried to reassure him that the sum total of European expulsions was roughly the same as the U.S. number. “I don’t care about the total!” the administration official recalled Trump screaming… Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. “There were curse words,” the official said, “a lot of curse words.””[WashPost]

PALACE INTRIGUE — “G.O.P. Pollster Withdraws From Role Advising Both Pence and Haley” by Maggie Haberman: “The Republican pollster who had planned to split time advising both Vice President Mike Pence and the United Nations ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, on national security issues withdrew from the dual role on Sunday night… The move by the veteran strategist, Jon Lerner… came two days after President Trump learned of the unusual time-sharing plan… Mr. Trump was displeased by the move for several reasons… Mr. Lerner will continue in his role advising Ms. Haley and, one White House official said, continue to informally advise the Pence team… Mr. Trump made clear to advisers… that he did not want to see Mr. Lerner with a seat at the table in the White House.” [NYTimes]

BEHIND THE SCENES: “Trump was furious when he learned Pence was bringing on Nikki Haley’s deputy Jon Lerner… “Why would Mike do that?” Trump wondered aloud about Pence’s decision… Trump told Kelly to get rid of Lerner… Senior officials, including White House Counsel Don McGahn, were concerned about the logistics of Lerner dividing his time between Haley and Pence.” [Axios]

— Lerner was pictured in The Situation Room with the President on Thursday evening discussing Syria.

TALK OF THE MIDDLE EAST — The United States, along with Britain and France, launched airstrikes on Friday night against Syrian research, storage and military targets as President Trump sought to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus last weekend that killed more than 40 people. Trump rushed to declare “mission accomplished, indicating the one-time strike does not reflect a shift in position to withdraw from Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the strike, but Israeli officials are worried that Putin may try to limit Israel’s operations in Syria in retaliation for U.S.-led strikes. Yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had convinced Trump to stay engaged in Syria long-term. “I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term,” said Macron. The White House pushed back immediately. “The U.S. mission has not changed — the President has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

“Inside Trump’s decision to bomb Syria” by Philip Rucker, Missy Ryan, Josh Dawsey and Anne Gearan: “National security adviser John Bolton, in his first week on the job, was a hawkish voice urging a meaningful show of force that would deter Assad. Trump also heard from some hawks on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who said he urged the President to forgo his plan to pull back troop levels in Syria…” [WashPost] • Trump Adviser Bolton Coordinated U.S.-led Strike in Syria With Israel [Haaretz]

ISRAEL’S STRIKE — Tom Friedman writes… ”The Real Next War in Syria: Iran vs. Israel: Round one occurred on Feb. 10, when an Iranian drone… was shot down… Israeli Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said Friday that… “the aircraft was carrying explosives.” … “This is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel — not by proxy,” a senior Israeli military source told me. “This opened a new period.” It certainly helps to explain why Israeli jets launched a predawn missile raid on the Iranian drone’s T4 home base last Monday… “It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people,” said the Israeli military source.”

“Senior Israeli defense officials have let it be known that if the Iranians were to strike back at Israeli targets, Israel may use the opportunity to make a massive counterstrike on Iran’s entire military infrastructure in Syria… These defense officials say there is zero chance Israel will make the mistake it made in Lebanon — of letting Hezbollah establish a massive missile threat there — by letting Iran do the same directly in Syria… Unless [Qassem] Suleimani backs down, you are about to see in Syria an unstoppable force — Iran’s Quds Force — meet an immovable object: Israel. Fasten your seatbelt.” [NYTimes]

DRIVING THE CONVO — “A Trump Doctrine for the Middle East” by Martin Indyk: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried repeatedly to enlist Trump’s aid in establishing red lines in Syria against Iran’s establishment there… Instead, Netanyahu has had to travel seven times to Moscow to beseech Putin for the help he could not secure from Trump. But absent Trump’s engagement, Putin has no interest in challenging his Iranian partner… Bibi’s appeals therefore fell on Putin’s deaf ears… Now Tehran’s promises of retaliation are ratcheting up tensions and an all-out confrontation is looming… Should that happen, Trump can be counted on to cheer Israel from the sidelines as the troubled place becomes predictably even more troubled.”[TheAtlantic

Eliot Cohen writes… “Neither Precise Nor Proportionate: Vladimir Putin has yet another piece of evidence that President Donald Trump will steer away from a direct confrontation with him… So message received: The American enemy will posture and thump his chest, but is afraid to actually stand up to you, even though his air force could blow yours out of the sky and his navy sink yours to the bottom of the sea.” [TheAtlantic

Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky write… “The bottom line, while far from perfect, the Trump administration’s response is better than the alternatives in the land of lousy options.” [USAToday]

Wall Street Journal editorial… “Trump’s Next Syria Challenge: The better U.S. strategy is to support regional opponents of Iranian imperialism and try to turn Syria into the Ayatollah’s Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran begin to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war.” [WSJ

“Arab leaders meet to unify ranks with eye on Iran, Jerusalem” by Aya Batrawy: “Arab heads of state stressed in their opening remarks unity and unwavering support for Palestinians. King Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the US decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel… The strongest criticism of the Trump administration came from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas… “The decisions have made the United States a party to the conflict and not a neutral mediator,” he said.” [ToI]

Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt tweeted on Friday afternoon: “Saeb Erakat’s personal attack on me is a symptom of the difficulties in the path to peace. Saeb knows there’s no truth to his accusation. This outburst, like all his recent outbursts, is merely intended as a distraction from the important work that lies ahead. But this empty, self-indulgent rhetoric won’t stop us from trying. Saeb: It’s time to time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Or, you can continue to run in circles, and get pretty much nowhere! Shabbat Shalom/Salam!”

“Think tank offers roadmap for Israel-Diaspora relations” by Tamara Zieve: “The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) has released a new framework for Israel-Diaspora relations… One of the main recommendations is that Israel take Diaspora Jews into consideration when formulating Israeli policies that have ramifications for world Jewry, while advising that Diaspora communities aspire to interact with all parts of Israeli society and exercise “appropriate caution with regard to major involvement in the political plane.””[JPost]

HEARD AT J STREET CONFERENCE DAY 2 — “Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, accused Israeli politicians from the current government of showing “ignorance” about American Jewry and its connection to Israel. He specifically mentioned Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, a member of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party, who said that non-Orthodox Jews won’t exist in two generations. Jacobs said that this ignorance leads the Israeli government “to miss our strength, our vitality and our commitment to Jewish values.” [Haaretz

Nadav Tamir, senior adviser at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, at a panel discussing the future of the Israeli-Diaspora relationship: “I can guess that most people here in this room don’t like Sheldon Adelson, but you have to give him the credit that he is putting his money where his mouth is.” [Video]

HAPPENING TODAY — Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-IL), Ambassador Susan Rice, and Palestinian Chief Representative to the U.S Dr. Husam Zomlot will address J Street. In the evening, J Street will celebrate its 10th anniversary at a gala dinner featuring a keynote address from Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and a conversation with former Mideast Envoy George Mitchell, moderated by Susan Glasser. [Livestream]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Alan Dershowitz discusses his recent meetings with Trump on CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter: “I was there to talk about the Middle East. I’ve been there at three times to talk about the Middle East. My hope is that he can help bring about a peaceful resolution of the Middle East and I want to help him… That’s why I was invited to the White House and that’s why I will continue to go back to the White House, no matter who’s president, to try to help fix the big problems of the Middle East… I was only with him for an hour and a quarter. It was a very informal dinner with a group of people, he seemed upbeat. He wanted to talk about, you know, the Netanyahu issue in Israel. He wanted to talk about the Gulf and Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… In fact, at the dinner, they basically threw me out when they wanted to talk about confidants, as they said, ‘All right. We’re finished with dinner. You leave now.'” [Video]

INSIDE THE ADMIN — “Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein tells confidants he is prepared to be fired” by Julia Ainsley: “One source who spoke to Rosenstein said he seemed fully aware he may soon lose his job and was at peace with the possibility… Rosenstein has said in recent private conversations that history will prove he did the right thing by firing Comey in May 2017.” [NBCNews

“Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency” by Adam Davidson: “Even if he were to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and then had Mueller and his investigation put on ice, and even if—as is disturbingly possible—Congress did nothing, the Cohen prosecution would continue… This is the week we know, with increasing certainty, that we are entering the last phase of the Trump Presidency. This doesn’t feel like a prophecy; it feels like a simple statement of the apparent truth.” [NewYorker

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Michael Cohen once rented Ivanka’s Park Avenue apartment to the Taxi King” by Richard Johnson: “Cohen… once put a shady Russian-born taxi magnate into a Trump Park Avenue apartment owned by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. The tenant was Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, who was sentenced in 2017 to 28 days in a Chicago jail for contempt of court. Freidman — who was Cohen’s partner in operating 32 taxi medallions that Cohen owned — is set to go on trial in May in Albany on charges of failing to pay $5 million to New York State.” [PageSix]

“Under Siege, Michael Cohen Is Vacillating Between a New Level of Exasperation and Trumpian Business-As-Usual” by Emily Jane Fox:“[Cohen] has suggested to people close to him that perhaps he should act as his own attorney, because he may be the most apt person to defend himself. He has expressed anger at the lack of outrage over the fact that his legal office and private residences were searched… at times, he has jokingly asked whether there is going to be a “Million Michael March”—a reference to the renowned 1995 African-American display of unity—to retrieve his documents.” [VanityFair] • Everything that mattered in the Trump Organization, every sizable deal or sensitive transaction, required Jason Greenblatt’s signature, not Cohen’s [Bloomberg]

Elliott Broidy Quits RNC Post After Report on Payment to Ex-Model: “Los Angeles-based investor Elliott Broidy, who has been a top fundraiser for Trump and the party, issued a statement Friday acknowledging that he “had a consensual relationship” with the woman, who got pregnant. He said he retained [Michael] Cohen after Trump’s personal lawyer told Broidy he had been contacted by the woman’s attorney. “It is unfortunate that this personal matter between two consenting adults is the subject of national discussion just because of Michael Cohen’s involvement,” Broidy said in the statement.” [WashPostWSJ] • Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Used the Same Delaware Company for Payment Deals to Two Women [WSJ

— Broidy “also resigned from the Republican Jewish Coalition, where he had been a member of the national board of directors.” [Forward

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Wall Street Titan, Hank Greenberg, Takes Aim at Law That Tripped Him Up [NYTimes] • Leon Black may be looking to buy Tronc [NYPost]  Turnberry Associates and Richard LeFrak buy Costco store next to SoLē Mia in North Miami Beach [TheRealDeal] • Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz Tells Trump Pentagon Cloud Plan Makes ‘No Sense’ [Bloomberg] • Citigroup and Apollo defend Kushner family loans [Politico] • Moelis Reminds Staff to Treat Young Bankers Well [Bloomberg] • Israeli cybersecurity startup empow raises $10 million in Series B funding round [CyberScoop]

SPOTLIGHT — “Wall Street’s $6 Trillion Man Fink Is Finally Worth $1 Billion” by Tom Metcalf: “[Larry] Fink and [Stephen] Schwarzman… have been on a collision course for years. They work, literally and figuratively, on the opposite sides of the same street… The broad outlines of their twin careers are by now well-known. First came the years together at Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group LP, where the young Fink added a bond shop to the striving buyout operation. Then, the inevitable split. Fink got what was then the underdog: BlackRock Inc. It’s no underdog now. Lately, the investment world has been tilting BlackRock’s way. Today the firm sits atop $6.3 trillion in assets, making it the world’s largest money manager and one that dominates the market in passive-investments… Fink’s personal fortune, meantime, has at last eclipsed $1 billion.” [Bloomberg]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT — “Goldman Sachs Comes to the App Store” by Peter Rudegeair: “The deal closed on Friday for Clarity Money, whose backers include Soros Capital and Citigroup Inc.’s venture-capital arm. Adam Dell — brother of Michael Dell, the personal-computer pioneer—founded Clarity Money and will join Goldman as a partner, a title rarely given to outsiders… Goldman is paying a high eight-figure sum for Clarity Money — a rich valuation for a two-year-old startup that has yet to turn a profit. But Clarity Money’s roughly one million users will quadruple Goldman’s customer base.” [WSJ]

“Zuckerberg’s $1.5 Million Worth of Private-Plane Trips—and Other Perks of Being the Boss” by Anders Melin: “The benefits of running a large public company go well beyond paychecks and stock awards. Take Mark Zuckerberg, who crisscrossed the U.S. last year… all part of a personal challenge to meet and talk with regular people. The cost of his personal trips on private planes added up to $1.52 million… while the expense of his personal security program rose 50 percent to $7.32 million. Facebook Inc. footed both bills…  Las Vegas Sands Corp. spent $3.97 million last year on personal security for CEO Sheldon Adelson and his family, surpassed only by Facebook’s costs for protecting Zuckerberg.” [Bloomberg

“The Scientist Who Rose From Russia’s Ghettos to Israeli President” by Gil Troy: “Chaim ben Ozer had to be crazy smart to be the first kid ever sent at eleven, from his “shtetl,” Motol, to study science in the big city, Pinsk. After studying in Germany, he earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in Switzerland—escaping Russia’s restrictions on Jews’ creativity, identity, and freedom… Legend has it that Chaim Weizmann parlayed his successes as “Charles” to make Jewish history. In 1917, when [Lord Arthur] Balfour… asked his super-scientist friend how to honor his contribution to the British war effort, Weizmann supposedly replied: “There is only one thing I want: a national home for my people.”” [DailyBeast]

HOLLYWOOD — “‘Broad City’ Renewed for Final Season; Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson Sign Comedy Central Deal” by Daniel Holloway: “The half-hour series from Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson has been renewed for a fifth and final season set to premiere in 2019, Comedy Central announced Wednesday… As part of the first-look deal, Comedy Central is putting three new series into development. Two, “Mall Town USA” with writer-creator Gabe Liedman “Young Professionals” with writer David Litt, executive produced by Glazer and Jacobson; and a third, “Platinum Status,” written by Glazer’s brother Eliot and exec produced by Glazer with Principato Young and Electric Avenue’s Will Arnett and Marc Forman.” [Variety]

TALK OF THE TOWN — “Starbucks C.E.O. Apologizes After Arrests of 2 Black Men” by Matt Stevens: “The video shows the men surrounded by several police officers wearing bicycle helmets in the Center City Starbucks. When one officer asks another man whether he is “with these gentlemen,” the man said he was and called the episode ridiculous. “What did they get called for?” asked the man, Andrew Yaffe… Moments later, officers escorted one of the black men out of the Starbucks in handcuffs. The other soon followed… Kevin R. Johnson, the chief executive of Starbucks, released a statement in which he called the situation a “reprehensible outcome.””[NYTimes]

TRANSITION — Michael Froman, former U.S. Trade Representative in the Obama Administration, is joining Mastercard as vice chairman and president of strategic growth. h/t Playbook

DESSERT: “Move Over, Avocado — Meet the Next Super Fruit” by Nick Dall: “When Israeli horticulturist Yossi Zaphrir first started experimenting with pitaya (aka dragon fruit) back in 1990, people often told him the flamboyant-looking fruit “tasted like wood.” Now, after decades of selective breeding, demand for his supersweet, purple-fleshed Bilu pitaya is so high that the 88-year-old has had to double production capabilities at his farm in Rehovot, Israel.” [Ozy]

BIRTHDAYS: Born and raised in Miami Beach, he is Israel’s Ambassador to the United States since 2013, Ron Dermer turns 47… Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Advisor under President Obama, Antony John “Tony” Blinken turns 56… Actress, she was previously married to Ronald Perelman, Ellen Barkin turns 64… Singer Mordechai Werdyger, known by his stage name Mordechai Ben David, turns 67… Olympic track-and-field athlete, and survivor of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, Esther Roth-Shachamorov turns 66… Physician, venture capitalist in the biotechnology and life-sciences industries, founder of development stage biotech companies, Lindsay Rosenwald turns 63… Professor of international affairs at Princeton University and co-director of the Woodrow Wilson School’s Center for International Security Studies, Aaron Louis Friedberg, Ph.D. turns 62… Filmmaker, he directed the 2011 documentary “Paul Williams Still Alive” and the 1997 slapstick comedy “Vegas Vacation” starring Chevy Chase, Stephen Kessler turns 58 (h/t Heather Podesta)… Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School since 2016 and former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf turns 56…

Television producer David Kohan turns 54… Long Island native, now a Los Angeles pharmacist, Jeffrey D. Marcus turns 54… Former Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, Dawn Zimmer turns 50… Member of the House of Commons of Canada since 2015, she represents the riding of Toronto-Danforth, Julie Dabrusin turns 47… Ellen K. Finestone turns 45… Senior communications officer for media and external relations at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2017, Alexandra Sydney Glass turns 40… Principal of Dark Horse Strategy Group, Geoff Middleberg turns 28… Uriel Kejsefman turns 27… Singer, pianist, and composer, Mendy Portnoy turns 26… Associate at NYC’s Global Infrastructure Partners, he was a White House staffer in 2017, Matthew Saunders turns 25… SVP of Schnur Associates, a marketing, PR and lobbying firm, he was previously a deputy director for AIPAC, Joel L. Schnur… Allan A. Myer… Darlene Arden… Josh Goldstein… Sarah Wolfson (h/ts Playbook)…




Daily Kickoff: Bob Iger on running for office | Jon Lerner promoted | GOP mega-donor Sam Fox calls Gov Greitens ‘a disgrace’ | John Paulson’s tax bill

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INBOX — “Today is Friday the 13th and the 13th day of the Omer. What are the odds?” — Jay Orchard, Miami Beach, FL. 

PROFILE — “Disney CEO Bob Iger On Taking the Biggest Risk of His Career” by Rob Haskell: “Iger was born in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, where both of his parents had also been born and raised, and grew up in Oceanside, Long Island, a post–World War II insta-community of 500 identical houses. Iger conveys the angstless placidity of a man who has his life sorted… an unmistakable gravitas hovers around him. He is, by most accounts, what his mother’s friends would call a mensch.”

First Jewish POTUS? “Even before the last election, Iger started to think about running for president himself. “Willow [Bay, Iger’s wife] initially not only hated the idea,” he says, “but put her foot down because she thought it would be highly destructive to our family and to our lives.” But the thought nagged at him, and with his wife’s reluctant permission, he was in the process of seriously exploring a run when the Fox deal sealed his fate. “The thought I had was coming from the patriot in me, growing up at a time when we respected our politicians not only for what they stood for but because of what they accomplished. I am horrified at the state of politics in America today, and I will throw stones in multiple directions. Dialogue has given way to disdain. I, maybe a bit naively, believed that there was a need for someone in high elected office to be more open-minded and willing to not only govern from the middle but to try to shame everyone else into going to the middle.”

“Iger’s good friend Oprah Winfrey believes he would have been the ideal candidate. “Bob is one of the people I respect most in the world,” she says. “That’s a very short list. He is infinitely capable of multiple categories of expertise, and he has created an environment where you can disagree with him—and that’s not just because I’m Oprah. I really, really pushed him to run for president, so much so that I said to him, ‘Gee, if you ever decide to run for office, I will go door to door carrying leaflets. I will go sit and have tea with people.’ ” I ask if perhaps there will be a place for Iger in her Cabinet. “Um, I’d have been happy to be in his Cabinet.” [Vogue]

“Iger Says What Sort of President He’d Be, Then Visits Iowa” by Anousha Sakoui: “The profile posted online a day after Iger visited a children’s hospital that Disney supports in Des Moines, Iowa, a must-stop state for any presidential candidate.” [Bloomberg]

ALSO IN THE HAWKEYE STATE: “LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, eyeing a presidential run, will be in Iowa this weekend” by Elizabeth Chou:“Garcetti, who has aspirations to run for president in 2020, will be in Iowa… on Friday and Saturday as part of a push by the Democratic party to support their candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.” [MercuryNews]

2020 WATCH — “As most Democrats stay silent, Elizabeth Warren calls on Israel to exercise restraint against Palestinian protesters” by Zaid Jilani: “I am deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries in Gaza,” Warren said. “As additional protests are planned for the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.” … The Intercept reached out to a trio of other high-profile Democratic senators: California’s Kamala Harris, New Jersey’s Cory Booker, and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand. Booker and Gillibrand did not respond to a request for comment. Harris’s office said it would send a statement, but did not do so or respond to a follow-up inquiry.” [TheIntercept

ON THE GOP SIDE: “Sam Fox, former chairman of Republican Jewish Committee, says Greitens should resign” by Eric Berger: “Sam Fox, a former U.S. ambassador and prominent philanthropist in the St. Louis Jewish community, told the St. Louis Jewish Light in a statement that Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens should resign in the wake of allegations that he was abusive to a woman he had an affair with in 2015. “The Governor is a disgrace to the Republican Party, to the State of Missouri, and to himself,” Fox stated in an email. “He should resign.” [StlJewishLight]

Eric Cantor on PBS Frontline — And with the chronology, Charlottesville happens next, you’ve said some very important, strong things about it. The President comes out and states—he’s awkward in the way he equates the premises with the protesters. What was your reaction? What was Trump missing?

Cantor: “My view was plain and simple. I mean, the irony of being in Thomas Jefferson’s town and to sit here and allow for that kind of hate and not calling everyone out who was a part of the hatred, it just struck me as just unacceptable. And I think most of the country—most of my party, I think—took that position, too, and did not like the fact that when you had people bearing torches, saying completely repugnant, racist, anti-Semitic slurs, remarks and chants, that you didn’t call them out unequivocally, period? So I just think there was a lot of visceral reaction to that, and unfortunately, that lingers.” [PBS]

JON LERNER PROMOTED — “Pence Hires Haley Aide as National Security Adviser, Creating Unusual Dual Role” by Maggie Haberman: “Vice President Mike Pence has hired Jon Lerner, a veteran Republican pollster who is a deputy for the United Nations ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, as his national security adviser, a spokeswoman for Mr. Pence said on Thursday evening. Mr. Lerner will continue to work with Ms. Haley while advising Mr. Pence “full time,” according to Alyssa Farah, the vice president’s spokeswoman.” [NYTimes]

— Flashback to a 2010 profile: “Associates of Lerner, a devout Jew, say his ethical and religious principles are as important to him as his conservative political beliefs. So faithful is Lerner to Judaism that he never works on Sabbath. Even in the heated final weeks of a campaign, he drops everything from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. “That’s a good thing,” Mark Sanford said. “The lesson is that you can, in fact, shut down in the middle of campaigns and still have good things happen in the electoral sense.” [McClatchy]

“Trump’s foreign policy is about to get a lot more Republican” by Josh Rogin: “Lerner has close relationships with Mike Pompeo and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another card-carrying member of the traditional GOP foreign policy establishment.” [WashPost]

ON THE HILL — “Pompeo’s diplomatic foray falls flat” by Elana Schor and Nahal Toosi: “Mike Pompeo had his best chance yet Thursday to win over skeptical Democrats. But after hours of tough questions at his confirmation hearing, he had changed no new minds in his bid to become secretary of state… With Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) opposed to Pompeo, [Sen. Bob] Corker faces a thorny task in steering the nominee to the floor before a scheduled recess at the end of the month. The Foreign Relations panel is divided 11-10.” [Politico] • Trump nominee Pompeo pledges to be tough on Russia, ‘fix’ Iran deal [Reuters]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt writes… “Don’t overlook John Bolton and Mike Pompeo’s anti-Muslim ties: I am aware that a segment of people in the United States — within the Jewish community and among the public — see Islamist extremism as the most pressing threat to our interests and thus are ready to overlook the views and associations of these two men. And I can appreciate Bolton and Pompeo’s outspoken stance on fighting terrorism. They have a strong record of support for Israel, and I agree with some of their policy positions regarding the Jewish state. But choosing to ignore a public official’s intolerance or role in conspiracy theories is neither practical nor morally appropriate.” [WashPost] • Watch Cory Booker confront Mike Pompeo on his ties to Islamophobes [Vox]

IRAN DEAL — “European official sees progress on Trump’s Iran deal concerns” by Arshad Mohammed and John Irish: “We came out feeling like we are making good progress towards addressing the president’s concerns and coming (up) to an agreement,” [a] European diplomat told a small group of reporters… Senior diplomats from the three European nations that are party to the deal met Brian Hook, the U.S. State Department’s director of policy planning, in Washington on Wednesday…“If the U.S. agrees to … working with the Europeans to ensure the Iranian nuclear program is only for civilian use forever then we can agree on something,” the diplomat told Reuters.”[Reuters]

— “Israel and Iran Are Headed for a Collision in Syria” by Avi Issacharoff: “With each passing day the sensation in Israel, of standing alone against the Iranian gambit to turn Syria into an Iranian forward base, grows more intense. The only thing that might change it is change of American policy.” [TheAtlantic] • Jerusalem Responds to Russia: Iranian Aggression Is Destabilizing Syria – Not Israel [Haaretz]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT… “Trump’s allies worry that federal investigators may have seized recordings made by his attorney” by Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey and Tom Hamburger: “Two people familiar with [Michael] Cohen’s practices said he recorded both business and political conversations. One associate said Trump knew of Cohen’s practice because the attorney would often play him recordings Cohen had made of his conversations with other top Trump advisers… During the 2016 race, Cohen — who did not have a formal role on the campaign — had a reputation among campaign staff as someone to avoid, in part because he was believed to be secretly taping conversations.” [WashPost] • Hearing related to FBI raid at Cohen’s office set for Friday [NYPost]

MUELLER WATCH — Rod Rosenstein, the embattled deputy attorney general overseeing the Robert Mueller Russia probe, met with President Trump at the White House yesterday amid growing expectation that the President may oust Rosenstein. Rosenstein reportedly came to assure Trump that the Justice Department was cooperating with the Republican congressional examination of the origin of the FBI’s inquiry, but he failed to defuse the President’s anger over his approval of the FBI raids of Michael Cohen’s office and home. CNN reported that the White House is preparing talking points designed to undermine Rosenstein’s credibility. But Trump’s whisperer, Alan Dershowitz, warned on CNN’s AC360 that “it would be a terrible mistake” to fire Mueller, Rosenstein “or anybody.”

James B. Comey: By the Book: If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be? The United States Constitution isn’t a book, so I would pick “The Road to Character,” by David Brooks.” [NYTimes]

Benjamin Wittes writes… “The Principle of Professional Law Enforcement Is Now on the Line: Expect President Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the next few days. Maybe he won’t do it. Maybe he’ll change his mind… I understand the instinct to treat a Rosenstein firing as different from a Mueller firing… But today is the wrong day to dwell on Rosenstein’s vices and errors—because those vices are not the reasons Trump is persecuting Rosenstein. Instead, Trump is persecuting Rosenstein because of the deputy attorney general’s virtues.” [TheAtlantic]

OF NOTE — Ron Kampeas tweets“Trump fired Jim Comey the day after Comey spoke at last year’s ADL National Washington conference. Rod Rosenstein is speaking this year.”

— The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Leadership Summit will be held on May 6-8 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. Other featured speakers include Reps. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and world champion gymnast Aly Raisman.

HAPPENING ON MONDAY: Palestinian Chief Representative to the U.S Dr. Husam Zomlot will address the J Street National Conference in Washington, DC at the afternoon plenary session.

“In Harsh Letter, Top Palestinian Negotiator Tells Foreign Diplomats Trump Envoy Greenblatt Has Turned Into Israel’s Spokesman” by Jack Khoury and Noa Landau: “[Saeb] Erekat, who has met with [Jason] Greenblatt many times since the latter took office, charged that since the mass demonstrations near the Israel-Gaza border began a few weeks ago, the U.S. envoy has “assumed the role of spokesperson of the Israeli Authorities” and “consistently repeated Israeli talking points.” … A senior Palestinian Authority official… said the letter was intended to persuade the diplomatic corps, especially European diplomats, that nothing can be expected of the Trump Administration… “We keep hearing, ‘Let’s wait for Trump’s plan,’” the official said. “But in light of positions like those Greenblatt has voiced, there’s nothing to wait for.”” [Haaretz

“U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem Stalled, Despite Government Efforts” by Yael Darel: “The conversion of the American consulate in Jerusalem into an embassy was exempted from needing a building permit, and a contractor has been chosen to do the work, but the chances of it being completed by Independence Day are slim, TheMarker has learned. The reason is that no funds have been committed for building a wall around the embassy, one of the main safety precautions demanded by the Trump administration.”[Haaretz]

INTERVIEW — “Jimmy Carter: Trump should avoid nukes; nationmust bridge divides” by Bill Barrow: “As president, Carter… drove peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt in the Camp David Accords, though he couldn’t replicate the feat between Israel and the Palestinians. “I took a position of wanting to see balance between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said… “Evangelicals are naturally inclined from a religious point of view to be loyal to Israel,” he said, because of their more literal interpretations of the Bible. Those Christians also hold “that the Jews should also all become Christians — that’s not often mentioned,” Carter added.” [AP

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Stephen Schwarzman, School District Change Terms on His $25 Million Gift [WSJ] • Bernie Madoff Victims to Receive $504 Million From Fund [DailyBeast]  General partner of Sequoia Capital’s Israeli arm, Gili Raanan, is setting up a new fund to invest in early stage cybersecurity companies [ToIGlobes]

“Worried About Your Tax Bill? Hedge-Fund Star John Paulson Owes $1 Billion” by Gregory Zuckerman: “By April 17, [Paulson] the hedge-fund manager must make federal and state tax payments of about $1 billion, on top of roughly $500 million in taxes he paid late last year, said people close to the firm… Seven years ago, Mr. Paulson was managing $38 billion and was firmly among Wall Street’s elite. Today, Paulson & Co. is managing under $9 billion—most of it Mr. Paulson’s own assets, said the people close to the firm. That’s one reason this particular IRS deadline sting “ [WSJ]

SPOTLIGHT — “Glencore Is Losing Billionaire Allies to Trump’s Sanctions” by Thomas Wilson and Thomas Biesheuvel: “In just four months, Glencore Plc chief Ivan Glasenberg has lost two of his closest business allies as President Donald Trump’s aggressive foreign policy hits home, forcing him to cut ties with billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Dan Gertler… In Congo, where Gertler had aided most of Glencore’s engagement with the government, the company now needs to navigate a series of complicated roadblocks without its trusted trouble-shooter. In Russia, Deripaska, a Glencore partner since at least 2007, was one of the company’s most important allies.” [Bloomberg]

MEDIA WATCH — “The 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media 2018” by Alison Brower and Marisa Guthrie: “Andrew Lack, 70, is still trying to wrap his head around Trump’s attacks on NBC News… which he’s called an “out-of-body experience.” When not defending his network (and, this fall, its handling of Ronan Farrow’s Harvey Weinstein reporting), Lack, the husband of a Snap executive, is talking tough, pushing the Facebooks and Twitters of the world to start compensating publishers for content.” Also on the list: Campbell Brown, Noah Oppenheim, David Rhodes, Jeff Zucker, Ben Smith, David Remnick [HollywoodReporter]

PIC OF THE DAY — TechCrunch obtained screenshots for the new Gmail from “a tipster called Chaim.” Naturally, the screenshot features an invite by David to a Seder at Chabad. [Pic]

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE — As Israelis observed the Yom HaShoah yesterday with a moment of silence and several ceremonies, President Donald Trump proclaimed April 12 through April 19 as the “Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust.” Trump also tweeted, “On Yom HaShoah we remember the six million Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust.” Meanwhile, a new survey found that many U.S. adults lack basic knowledge of what happened in the Holocaust. As many as 41% — including 66% of millennials – cannot say what Auschwitz was. Sen. Chuck Schumer called the survey “extremely troubling.”

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli and Polish presidents march from Auschwitz to Birkenau: “Presidents Reuven Rivlin of Israel and Andrzej Duda of Poland… led thousands, including many young Jews from around the world, in the March of the Living… Rivlin recalled how Poland was the cradle of Jewish culture before the Holocaust. But he also referred to the “deep disagreement” his country has had with Poland over its passage earlier this year of a Holocaust speech law… Duda, whose wife has a Jewish father… recalled Polish wartime heroes who struggled to save Jews and said Poland fulfills its duty to remember the Holocaust by preserving sites like Auschwitz.”[PBS] • Israeli, Polish presidents fail to resolve Polish ‘Holocaust law’ crisis[JPost]

REPORT — “White House urged Israel to end Poland Holocaust bill dispute” by Barak Ravid: “The White House and State Department conveyed messages to Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, and to other diplomats at the Israeli embassy about the importance of relations with Poland… Vice President Pence met with the head of the Israeli opposition, Itzhak Herzog, on March 5 in Washington and raised the Poland crisis. An Israeli foreign ministry official said Pence asked Herzog to temper his critical statements against the Polish government and help solve the crisis, and Herzog stressed that the bill and the rhetoric about it from the Polish government were highly offensive and unacceptable.” [Axios

TRANSITION: Roger Zakheim has been hired as director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute Washington, D.C. office.

DESSERT — “Rabbis Banned His Beer. But He’s The Most Jewish Person Ever” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: “[Simon] Bergson’s first language is Yiddish, and he sprinkles Yiddish phrases liberally in conversation… Bergson said that one of their rabbis waited in the lobby of his apartment building for hours on Sunday before Passover. They spoke to each other in Yiddish, and Bergson invited him to the office the next day to sign the agreement. After the deal was done, Bergson, no naïf in the ways of Jewish communal professionals, got ready for the inevitable ask. “I said to [the rabbi], ‘Okay, tell me, tukhes afn tish, how much is this going to cost me?’” Bergson said, using a common Yiddish phrase that directly translates as “ass on the table,” and means, “let’s be real.” The rabbi was offended. “He said, ‘No, you’re insulting me, it’s not about the money,’” Bergson said.” [Forward

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Film director and choreographer, famous for “Singin’ in the Rain,” Stanley Donen turns 94… Curator and then director of the Louvre, he is the son-in-law of Alain de Rothschild, Pierre Rosenberg turns 82… Geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate, Michael Stuart Brown turns 77… Actor who won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Vincent in the television series “Beauty and the Beast,” Ron Perlman turns 68… Longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and the bandleader for Conan O’Brien on The Tonight Show, Max Weinberg turns 67… Member of the UK Parliament (1992-2005), she served as the UK’s first ever Minister of State for Asylum and Immigration under then-PM Tony Blair, Barbara Roche (née Margolis) turns 64… Principal of Dubin & Co., Glenn Dubin turns 61… Pacifica Radio’s investigative journalist Amy Goodmanturns 61… Aide to President George W. Bush (2002-2006), then the youngest-ever Federal Reserve Governor (2006-2011), Kevin Warsh turns 48… Guitarist and founding member of the rock group “Staind,” Aaron Lewisturns 46… Executive director of DC-based Sixth & I, Heather Moran turns 45… Major gifts officer for OneTable, Lauren Epstein… Director of Operations at Israel on Campus Coalition, Ian Hersh… Helene Cash… Director of Operations at Dataminr, Morgan Hitzig

SATURDAY: Former member of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Elisse B. Walter turns 68… Senior columnist for Haaretz, Chemi Shalevturns 65… Media executive, majority owner of CBS Corporation, Viacom, MTV Networks, BET and Paramount Pictures, Shari Redstone turns 64… Television and theatre producer, Marc Platt turns 61… Professional makeup artist and the founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown turns 61… Birmingham, Alabama-based post denominational rabbi, known on social media as “Deep South Rabbi,” Barry Altmark turns 61… US Ambassador to Mexico (2016-2018), previously Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (2012-2016), Roberta S. Jacobson turns 58… Front-office official of MLB’s Los Angeles Angels, he was previously the manager of the Detroit Tigers (2014-2017), an MLB catcher (1993-2010) and manager of Israel’s national baseball team, Brad Ausmus turns 49… Emmy Award-winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur, best known for her portrayal of Buffy Summers on the WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Sarah Michelle Gellar turns 41… Author of three books, journalist for Monocle and Bloomberg Politics, co-founder of Votecastr to track elections in real-time, Sasha Issenberg turns 38… Hillel David Rapp turns 38… Jon Fine… Founder and CEO of Charity Bids, Israel Schachter… Moriah Elbaz… Casey Tepper… Glenn Starr-Conner… Anne Monk… Documentary filmmaker Nicholas Ma… Yitzchak Tendler… Co-Founder at BurnAlong, Daniel Freedman

SUNDAY: Movie producer and philanthropist, Dr. Henry George Jareckiturns 85… Senior advisor at Covington & Burling, Howard Lawrence Berman turns 77… Duke University professor and Nobel Prize laureate, Robert Lefkowitz turns 75… NYU professor Avital Ronell turns 66… Executive director at American Press Institute and author of a debut novel “Shining City,” Tom Rosenstiel turns 62… Born in NYC, now living in Jerusalem, he is the Rebbe of the Boyan Hasidic dynasty, Rabbi Nachum Dov Brayer turns 59… Deputy Secretary of the Treasury (2014-2017) and member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2010-2014), Sarah Bloom Raskin turns 57… Managing partner, CEO and chief investment officer of Hudson Bay Capital Management, Sander R. Gerber turns 51… Cheryl Myra Cohn turns 43… Senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and founder of the Truman National Security Project, Rachel Kleinfeld, Ph.D. turns 42… Actor, comedian, writer, producer and director, Seth Rogen turns 36… Policy director at the DC-based, Arab American Institute, Kristin McCarthy turns 30… Resident of NYC and Tel Aviv, he is the founder and CEO of Stoop ​and Mdrn., two platforms offering residential housing solutions as a service, Zach Ehrlich turns 29… Social entrepreneur, environmental activist Erin Schrode turns 27… VP of government affairs at Cross River Bank, he was previously AVP for government affairs at Yeshiva University and a member of the New York State Assembly, Y. Phillip Goldfeder…  Moshe Lehrer… David Brand

Kafe Knesset for September 1

Friday, September 1, 2017

The BB-Sheldon Hotline: So just how close are Bibi and Sheldon and what is the extent of the PM’s involvement in Adelson’s freebie, Israel Hayom? That was the…

Kafe Knesset for August 31

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bibi against Meni Naftali: PM Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana toast was, as promised, quite a show. Two thousand Likud activists gathered at the Avenue Conference Center near the Ben…

Kafe Knesset for August 30

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bibi launches Rosh Hashana toast season: It is that time of the year again, as the Jewish New Year approaches. Politicians are starting to make the rounds with…

Kafe Knesset for August 29

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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

Kafe Knesset for August 28

Monday, August 28, 2017

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

Kafe Knesset for August 25

Friday, August 25, 2017

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