Daily Kickoff: The Jewish staffers in Trump’s White House | Marc Goldman interview | Stephen Harper joins Joe Lonsdale’s VC firm | Tavi Gevinson BDay


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FIRST LOOK: Jewish Staffers in Trump’s White House — by JI’s Aaron Magid: Natalie Strom, Assistant Press Secretary and a former staffer at the Republican National Committee (RNC), completely rejected charges of alleged anti-Semitism in pockets of the administration. “It’s pretty silly to me every time that I hear it and I’ve never felt like anything but supported as a person,” she noted… The White House staffers also cited the press’ role in the perception of the White House’s attitude towards the Jewish community. Adam Kennedy, White House Deputy Director of Research, noted, “There is a natural slant in the media that tries to portray the things that we do in a negative light. That could be this administration is too close to Israel to this administration has a problem with the American-Jewish community. All on the same day.”

A member of Georgetown’s Kesher Israel Synagogue, Ari Schaffer appreciates the respect given to him at the White House. “For me, someone on the more observant side, Sabbath observant, I have never had any problems taking time off. There has never been a question about observing my faith in any way, shape or form.” [JewishInsider]

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Everything You’ve Been Told About Whether the Iran Deal Is Working is Probably Wrong” by Yair Rosenberg: “The erroneous assumption that Trump would immediately tear up the Iran deal… is another example of how Trump’s reputation on the Middle East is often at odds with his statements and actions… Just as consequentially, the misrepresentation of Trump’s position on the Iran deal is of a piece with the broader misrepresentations of the Iran deal by both its proponents and opponents since its signing… Most critics of the deal… argued that Iran would comply with the deal until it obtained full sanctions relief and rebuilt its economy… In other words, both sides have repeatedly moved the goalposts on the Iran deal for political purposes, when there is still plenty of time on the game clock before we know whether the accord helped curb the regime’s nuclear ambitions or enabled them. And for the moment, President Trump seems inclined to let that clock continue to tick.” [TabletMag]

Trump complained Iran is not living up to ‘spirit’ of the deal during joint press conference with the Italian PM yesterday: “I think they are doing a tremendous disservice to an agreement that was signed. It was a terrible agreement. It shouldn’t have been signed. It shouldn’t have been negotiated the way it was negotiated. I’m all for agreements, but that was a bad one, as bad as I’ve ever seen negotiated. They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that. And we’re analyzing it very, very carefully and we’ll have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future. But Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the agreement. And they have to do that. They have to do that. So we will see what happens.” [YouTube

HEARD YESTERDAY — Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), one of four Democrats to vote against the Iran deal, on MSNBC’s MTP Daily: “We need to make sure that the U.S. does not do anything that would violate the nuclear agreement… I want Iran to comply with the nuclear agreement. We have got to be clear-eyed about it… The agreement has gone into effect. We cannot rewrite history… I don’t want [the administration] to look for an excuse to break the agreement. But we want to make sure that Iran complies with this agreement.” [MSNBC]

DRIVING THE DAY — Meeting Mattis, PM hails ‘welcome change’ of US leadership: “Ahead of his meeting with Mattis in Jerusalem, Netanyahu… hailed the Pentagon chief’s “strong and forthright words” on Iran, and US President Donald Trump’s “very forthright deeds” in launching a strike on a Syrian airbase… “We sense a great change in the direction of American policy,” Netanyahu told Mattis at a joint press conference in Jerusalem. “This has been appreciated around the world and in our region. I think this is a welcome change, a strategic change of American leadership and American policy,” Netanyahu said.” [ToI• Avigdor Liberman: Crucial to place more pressure and sanctions on Iran [JPost]

“Repeating previous statements by the Trump administration, Mattis said Tehran appears to be living up to the agreement reached in 2015… But he added, “That in no way mitigates or excuses the other activities of Iran in the region, to include its support for the war in Yemen, which drags on thanks to Iranian support or what they are doing in Syria to keep Assad in power and continue the mayhem and the chaos and the murder that’s going on there and the refugees.” [Politico]

“Mattis’ Mideast trip holds promise, reality check for Israel” by Daniel Shapiro: “Strong enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) can be expected, but if Israeli officials expect the tough-talking Mattis to present a plan to dismantle the JCPOA, Mattis may need to adjust their expectations. There is no indication that the Trump administration — with its hands full with North Korea and with the counter-IS campaign as its regional priority — has any near-term plan to consider military action against Iran’s nuclear program.” [Al-Monitor

PIVOT — “U.S. pushes U.N. Security Council to focus on Iran not Israel” by Michelle Nichols: “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the 15-member council that its monthly meetings on the Middle East – traditionally focused on Israel and the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon – regularly turned into “Israel-bashing sessions. Iran is using Hezbollah to advance its regional aspirations. They are working together to expand extremist ideologies in the Middle East,” she said… “The incredibly destructive nature of Iranian and Hezbollah activities throughout the Middle East demands much more of our attention. It should become this council’s priority in the region.” [Reuters] • Video of Haley’s opening statement at the UNSC [YouTube

JERUSALEM, HERE I COME — “Finding a house in Jerusalem for new US ambassador” by Orly Harari: “While the Ambassador (David Friedman) already owns a private residence in Jerusalem’s Talbiya neighborhood, State Department officials ruled out his request to work out of the home, saying that it does not meet the logistical requirements necessary for the Ambassador’s office or residence, where foreign officials are received for official events… According to a report by Channel 10, aides to the ambassador and Jerusalem city officials are currently searching for a new residence in the city. The report claims that officials involved in the search are strongly considering properties in the Katamon neighborhood.” [INN

JI INTERVIEW — with Marc Goldman, a Boca Raton-based investor and RJC board member, who supported Scott Walker and Marco Rubio earlier in the 2016 Republican primary but later became a strong supporter of the Trump/Pence ticket. “I think it is all going according to expectations and the best I would hope for,” Goldman told JI’s Jacob Kornbluh in a phone interview when asked to grade Trump’s performance so far. “I feel that in each arena that he has stepped up to he has shown a change in direction for America. The enthusiasm generated amongst most working people and many business people will stand us in good stead – because people are starting to feel that government is with them, not against them.”

Q: Do you still believe Trump will move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem?

MG: “I do. Since in the last eight years America has shown itself to be an unreliable ally, that would send a clear message to friend and enemy alike that the U.S. will stand up for what’s right.”

Q: Have you spoken to the President since the inauguration?

MG: “I have seen him a number of times. I belong to his golf course (Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach) and he’s been there a number of times – either for lunch or for some of the dinners.” Read the full interview here[JewishInsider]

“Citing ethics concerns, Ivanka skips book tour” by Annie Karni: “In light of government ethics rules, I want to be clear that this book is a personal project,” she wrote Thursday in a post on her Facebook page. “I wrote it at a different time in my life, from the perspective of an executive and an entrepreneur, and the manuscript was completed before the election last November.” She said her decision to opt out of promotion was made “out of an abundance of caution and to avoid the appearance of using my official role to promote the book.” [Politico]

COMING SOON — Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer will deliver the keynote address and receive an honorary doctorate at Yeshiva University’s 86th Commencement at Madison Square Garden in New York City on May 25. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was last year’s keynote speaker. [YU]

PROFILE: “Conservative with a Big C” by Binyamin Rose: “[Sen. Tom Cotton] made his first Jewish friends at Harvard, where he quickly learned what Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were all about. “I’d heard of them in a vague Biblical sense, but the idea that you wouldn’t have classes on them or that people might be going home for them was just not something that was within my realm of experience as a high school kid growing up in rural Arkansas,” Cotton says. Two months into his first semester at Harvard, Israel’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Cotton took interest in the intense debates among his right- and left-wing Jewish classmates, and through that experience, began to gain an appreciation for the depth of the bonds between the US and Israel. That’s when he began reading more about US-Israeli relations and Israel’s role in the Middle East.” [Mishpacha]

** 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: Jerry Della Femina sells Hamptons paper to Ron Perelman [Newsday; TNM] • Pencils Of Promise Founder Adam Braun Has An Audacious Plan To Reinvent College [Forbes• West Bank to get 3G mobile service [Al-Monitor] • World Trade Center Developer Janno Lieber to Oversee M.T.A. Expansion Projects [NYTimes] • Ralph Lauren still paying rent at abandoned former flagship store [NYPost]

SPOTLIGHT: “Stephen Harper goes to Silicon Valley” by Murad Hemmadi: “The ex-PM has started an international business consulting firm based in Calgary and joined the board of real estate giant Colliers International. His latest gig: Advisor to Silicon Valley venture capital firm 8VC. The firm was started after the breakup of Formation 8, where founding partner Joe Lonsdale and other members of the team worked.” [Macleans; Medium]

KAFE KNESSET — All in the family — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Two TV channels possibly ruined Netanyahu’s weekend last night, by reporting on the deep involvement of his family in ongoing police probes and legal decisions. Channel 10 reported that the State Attorney’s Office is expected to recommend an indictment against Sara Netanyahu in the PM’s residence affairs, in which the PM’s wife allegedly ordered food for private events and paid for her father’s caregiver from the official residence expenses. Meanwhile, Channel 1 reported that the premier’s cousin, Nathan Milikovsky, recently testified to the police in two of the ongoing investigations, File 1000 in which Netanyahu is suspected of allegedly receiving illegal gifts and in File 3000 – a/k/a the “submarine affair” which involves another Bibi cousin – David Shimron.

Milikovsky is Netanyahu’s cousin from his father’s side, and according to recent reports in Israeli media, Netanyahu himself testified that Mililkovsky used to fund some of Bibi’s cigar-smoking habits. Milikovsky is also the former director of GrafTech International, a major business partner of Thyssenkrupp, the German conglomerate which is the subject of the alleged corruption probe in the “submarine affair.” According to the report, Milikovsky gave open testimony and was not questioned under warning.

The Netanyahu family spokesperson, Nir Heffetz, released two statements adamantly rejecting both reports: “It is a disgrace to consider prosecuting the Prime Minister’s wife for these false claims and, first and foremost, the shameful accusations of her “sin” – taking care of her dying father in his last days. Apparently there is no limit to the hatred towards Netanyahu.” Milikovsky, according to another statement, has been helping Netanyahu for decades, “and this is allowed, well known, and legal.” As for the submarine affair, attempts to tie the prime minister to it are “absurd and pathetic.” Heffetz ended with the Bibi refrain: “There was nothing and there will be nothing.” Read today’s packed Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

TALK OF THIS TOWN: “Prominent Adas Israel Rabbi Gil Steinlauf is leaving the synagogue” by Julie Zauzmer: “Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, who has preached to Supreme Court justices and hosted speeches by a president and vice president during his nine years as rabbi at Washington’s Adas Israel, told congregants on Thursday that he will leave the synagogue for a new job… A grandchild of President Trump is enrolled in the Adas Israel preschool… Steinlauf has been outspoken about politics. On the day of Trump’s inauguration, he published a forceful letter to the new president: “I know you so well, Mr. Trump, because in every generation, you hate and seek to destroy us.”” [WashPost

“Amos Oz, David Grossman among Intl Booker Prize nominees” by Jill Lawless: “Two of Israel’s most renowned authors and an Argentine first-time novelist are among six finalists for the Man Booker International Prize for fiction. David Grossman’s “A Horse Walks Into a Bar,” Amos Oz’s “Judas” and Samanta Schweblin’s “Fever Dream” are on a six-book shortlist announced Thursday for the 50,000 pound ($64,000) prize. Edinburgh International Book Festival director Nick Barley, who chaired the judging panel, said Grossman’s portrait of a failing standup comic and Oz’s story of history and betrayal were masterworks by mature writers with big international reputations.” [AP

“Vogue Editors Share Their Favorite Wedding Day Moments” by Alexandra Macon — Hildy Kuryk, Communications Director, Vogue: “We first heard the choir from the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn at an event for Mayor Bloomberg, and I remember being completely overwhelmed by how powerful their voices were and the immense impact they had. I jokingly turned to Jarrod [Bernstein] and said that I wanted to have them for our Jewish wedding—never thinking it could happen. Well . . . he always seems to make magic happen for us, and our wedding day did not disappoint. We were able to completely surprise our guests when, after dinner ended, the doors opened and 60 members of the choir came out and led everyone upstairs to kick off the dancing… We will be celebrating our 10-year anniversary this June, and he still makes me as happy now as I was in this picture.”” [Vogue]

WINE OF THE WEEK — Katlav 2013 Cabernet — by Yitz Applbaum: Spending Shabbat in Jerusalem with my eldest son was guaranteed to be a great Shabbat. His Chabad Rabbi from Princeton surprised us both when he texted that he was in town with his student-board. He brought with him some great wine for us to taste— a lot of good things all in one place.

We opened three bottles from the Katlav Vineyard. The 2013 Cabernet shined the brightest, although the other two are worth drinking as well. The Cabernet is very rich—full of blueberries and a hint of boysenberry. The grapes used are from the Judean Hills which give this wine a Bordeaux overtone and a long lingering soft finish. I saved half the bottle from our tasting and enjoyed it very much later that evening with a healthy serving of veal. [Katlav]

BIRTHWEEK: Law professor at Arizona State University, former State Department official and an expert on Iran’s nuclear program, Orde Félix Kittrie turns 53…

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Comedienne, screenwriter, film director and actress, Elaine May (born Elaine Iva Berlin) turns 85… British chemist and professor at the University of Cambridge, Sir Alan Roy Fersht turns 74… White House Chief of Staff (1988-1989), now serves on many corporate, cultural, educational and volunteer boards, commissions and task forces, Kenneth Duberstein turns 73… Award winning folklorist, author, poet and editor of dozens of books, Howard Schwartz turns 72… Emergency physician for Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City, California, Joseph Edward Beezy turns 69… UCSB mathematician, an early winner of a MacArthur genius fellowship, Michael Hartley Freedman turns 66… Aide to the Mayor of Chicago, attorney Scott D. Yonover turns 53… Voice actress, whose career included the voice of Regina “Reggie” Rocket on Nickelodeon’s Rocket Power, Shayna Bracha Fox turns 33… Once the top ranked collegiate female tennis player in the US and currently the head women’s tennis coach at the University of North Florida, Audra Marie Cohen turns 31… Editor-in-chief of the online Rookie Magazine, aimed primarily at teenage girls, Tavi Gevinson turns 21… VP of operations at HEED, an event platform of WME-IMG and AGT, after 4 years as executive director of Israel Birthright Excel, Ifat Bechor… Engagement associate and Ezra Fellow at the University of Chicago Hillel, Joshua Gibbs… Marketing and recruitment associate at Birthright Israel, Alexandra Cohen… Irv Silberberg… Robert Kaufman… Howard Rosenblum

SATURDAY: Real estate developer and principal owner of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, Zygmunt “Zygi” Wilf turns 67… Calgary-based businessman and philanthropist, CEO of of Balmon Investments (holdings in hotels, nursing homes, energy, real estate and financial services), Alvin Libin turns 86… Actor and later one of Hollywood’s most prolific producers, Mark Damon (born Alan Harris) turns 84… Co-founder of Human Rights Watch, formerly national director of the ACLU (1970-1978), president of George Soros’s Open Society Institute (1993-2012), Aryeh Neier turns 80… English journalist and former anchor of of BBC Television’s Newsnight, Adam Eliot Geoffrey Raphael turns 79… Former US Poet Laureate and winner of a Pulitzer Prize, Louise Elisabeth Glück turns 74… Conductor and professor of music at Boston University, Joshua Rifkin turns 73… Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin since 2011, he has served as mayor twice before (1973-1979 and again 1989-1997), Paul R. Soglin turns 72… British economist and former Chief Economist at the World Bank, Sir Nicholas Herbert Stern turns 71… Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania (1995-1999), Jon D. Fox turns 70… New Zealand native, managing director and CEO of the Commonwealth Bank Group, an 1,100 branch bank based in Australia, Ian Narev turns 50… NYC-based attorney, member of Kriss & Feuerstein LLP, represents financial institutions, bridge lenders, real estate debt funds, hedge funds and real estate companies, Jerold C. Feuerstein turns 49… Goldman Fellow at the NY Regional Office of AJC Global, Zachary Krooks turns 22… Competitive ice dancer, Elliana Pogrebinsky turns 19… Israeli columnist, editor and researcher, contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and the Jewish Journal, Shmuel Rosner… Edward Lifshitz

SUNDAY: Literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, Holocaust scholar and educator, George Steiner turns 88… Stage, television and film actor Alan Oppenheimer turns 87… Uruguayan-born author, software developer and entrepreneur, co-founder of Gryphon Software, author of a book on the history of anti-Semitism, Gabriel Wilensky turns 53… CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, Bill Browder turns 53… DC-based Executive Director of the Orthodox Union’s Advocacy Center, Nathan J. Diament turns 50… Russian Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics (1988), Yelena Shushunova turns 48… Billionaire heiress and businesswoman, daughter of Ronald Lauder, style and image director for the Estée Lauder Companies, Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer turns 47… Former University of Michigan quarterback, now an investor, Alex Swieca turns 25… Director General of Aish HaTorah, previously Eastern Director at the Wiesenthal Center, managing director of OU and international director of NCSY, Rabbi Steven Burg… Israel Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust since 2014, Ariella Saperstein… SVP of Government Relations at the Council on Foundations, previously director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Hadar Susskind… Health services researcher focused on smoking cessation programs for women, maternal health and child health, Judith Katzburg… Deputy Director of NCSEJ, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, Lesley L. Weiss… Oberlin, Ohio resident Patricia Ann Haumann… Marim Weissman… Terry Pullan… CEO of New Spirit Elisheva Mazya… Gary Pickholz

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Daily Kickoff: Kissinger on Kushner | Yael Lempert leaving WH for State Dept | James Packer quits Brett Ratner’s RatPac venture | ‘Shultz hour’


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FIRST LOOK: Henry Kissinger writes Jared Kushner’s profile for TIME 100 List… “Transitioning the presidency between parties is one of the most complex undertakings in American politics… and the greater that gap, the heavier the responsibility of those advisers who are asked to fill it. This space has been traversed for nearly four months by Jared Kushner, whom I first met about 18 months ago, when he introduced himself after a foreign policy lecture I had given. We have sporadically ­exchanged views since. As part of the Trump family, Jared is familiar with the intangibles of the President. As a graduate of Harvard and NYU, he has a broad education; as a businessman, a knowledge of administration. All this should help him make a success of his daunting role flying close to the sun.” [TIME] Full list [TIME]

“The Kissinger-Kushner Connection” by Joseph Bosco:“Through his mentoring relationship with Kushner, Kissinger is once again playing the role he sought and played initially as President Nixon’s National Security Adviser—the back-door, secret channel between heads of state, while bypassing the federal department whose name encompasses government-to-government relations.” [RealClearDefense]

TOP TALKER: “Three Months Into Trump Presidency, Obama’s Israel Adviser Leaves White House” by Amir Tibon and Barak Ravid: “[Yael] Lempert is expected to leave the NSC in a few weeks, possibly right after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives for his first meeting with Trump on May 3. As a career diplomat, Lempert is expected to return to the State Department.” [Haaretz

Abbas in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese publication: “I am ready to meet the Prime Minister of Israel any time in Washington under the patronage of President Trump.” [Asahi]

HEARD YESTERDAY — WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer at the daily briefing said Trump and Abbas will use the May 3 meeting “to reaffirm the commitment of both the United States and Palestinian leadership to pursuing and ultimately concluding a conflict-ending settlement between the Palestinians and Israel.”

INBOX — WH aide Sebastian Gorka to speak at The Jerusalem Post’s annual conference in NYC on May 7. The theme of this year’s conference is: “Israel – U.S. Relations in the Trump Era.”

DRIVING THE DAY: “Haley Wants Iran, Not Israel, at Core of UN’s Middle East Agenda” by Kambiz Foroohar: “[Nikki] Haley, who holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations’ top decision-making body for April, wants to use a monthly meeting on “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” to tackle Tehran’s role in Yemen and Syria and its support for Hezbollah… Thursday’s report will be presented by Nickolay Mladenov of Bulgaria, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process. While Mladenov… is expected to focus again on Israel and the Palestinians, Haley can prod the discussion toward other issues. “ [Bloomberg]

White House puts Iran on notice, again… In a rare appearance at the State Department yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson questioned the viability of the Iranian nuclear deal, accusing Iran of “alarming provocations” only a day after he declared they were complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. “The JCPOA fails to achieve the objective of a non-nuclear Iran; it only delays their goal of becoming a nuclear state,” said Tillerson. “This deal represents the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face from North Korea… It is another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions; we buy them off for a short period of time and then someone has to deal with it later.”

Tillerson did not offer any indication that the U.S. is ready to walk away from the deal, but emphasized that an interagency review ordered by the President would evaluate whether sanctions relief related to the nuclear deal was “vital to the national security interests of the United States.”

KEY LINE: “The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran.” [YouTube

Press Secretary Sean Spicer at yesterday’s daily briefing regarding Trump’s campaign pledge to renegotiate the nuclear deal: “Part of the review — the interagency process — is to determine where Iran is in compliance with the deal and to make recommendations to the President on the path forward.” [YouTube]

A JI reader ‘in the know’ tells us… “The Trump Administration doesn’t intend to amend the deal anytime soon.”

HEARD YESTERDAY — Martin Indyk at panel with Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan on Trump’s Israel and Mideast policy at the JCC Manhattan: “Israel doesn’t want the U.S. to tear up the Iran deal, and the reason for that is because the Iran deal for all its faults – and it has faults – took away Iran’s nuclear capacity for the time being… And that gives Israel – in particular – the U.S. and all of Iran’s adversaries in the Arab world breathing space. Now, is it good to try for a better deal? Yeah. So let Trump the great dealmaker negotiate with Iran now on a better deal in terms of the sunset clause. But talking about reviewing it is, I think, a little bit dangerous because we have an interest in maintaining the deal and ensuring that the Iranians stick to the deal.”

Dayan: “Now Israel and the U.S. see eye-to-eye in their views of the situation… The U.S. is starting a process of formulating a new policy… [Israel] will be more than happy to collaborate with the United States in the reformulation of its policy… I would like very much the flaws in the agreement to be amended.” [Livestream]

BACKSTORY: “Iran Gets Tillerson’s Approval But It’s Still on Notice” by Eli Lake: “U.S. officials familiar with the interagency process tell me the White House and State Department fought throughout the day on Tuesday over the language of Tillerson’s statement… Tillerson won that battle. His two-paragraph letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged a Trump administration review of Iran policy… When the president came into office, Iran was in the crosshairs. Trump’s first national security adviser, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, addressed the White House press corps in early February to put Iran “on notice.” … A senior National Security Council official told me Tuesday evening that Iran was still on notice and that the jury was still out on Iran.” [BloombergView]

“Divisions Within the Administration On Iran Deal” by Michael Warren: “On Thursday, the deputies of the National Security Council will hold their first meeting to discuss the Trump administration’s review of Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal… Without a deputy secretary of state and under secretary of state for international security (both politically appointed positions) to shape and enforce the administration’s viewpoint within a hostile State Department, the Iran deal is one area where the permanent administrative state is likely to win out.” [TWS Is Trump learning to live with Iran nuclear deal? [Al-Monitor

MATTIS MIDEAST TRIP — “U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis slams Iran, says will overcome influence” by Idrees Ali: “Everywhere you look if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Mattis told reporters in Riyadh after meeting senior Saudi officials. “We will have to overcome Iran’s efforts to destabilise yet another country and create another militia in their image of Lebanese Hezbollah but the bottom line is we are on the right path for it.” [Reuters

IVANKA’S VISIT TO GERMANY — on April 25th: “In commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Ivanka will visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. Ivanka will also stop by the United States Embassy in Berlin to meet Embassy staff and their families.”

HAPPENING TODAY – The State Department to commemorate this year’s Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel) at 12:15 pm EST. The event, co-sponsored by the Embassies of Israel, Lithuania and Japan, will honor the legacy of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania who saved the lives of roughly 6,000 Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. [Livestream]

TRUMP TEAM: “Cubs’ Todd Ricketts withdraws name for Trump’s Cabinet” by Lynn Sweet: “Unable to untangle his complex financial holdings to the satisfaction of the Office of Government Ethics, Cubs board member Todd Ricketts, tapped by President Donald Trump to be the Deputy Commerce Secretary, on Wednesday withdrew his nomination.” [ChicagoSunTimes

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Paul Singer isn’t satisfied with paint company’s spinoff idea [NYPost• Makeup guru Bobbi Brown’s new chapter: Get customers back in department stores [CNBC] • Quogue Capital’s Rothbaum Said to Bid for MLB’s Miami Marlins [Bloomberg] • Microsoft reportedly to acquire Israeli cloud monitoring startup Cloudyn for around $60 million [VentureBeat] • WeWork Wants To Build Out Your Office And Run It For You [FastCompany] • Aby Rosen’s new Four Seasons restaurant will be ready by Thanksgiving [NYPost]

HOLLYWOOD: “Packer quits Hollywood RatPac venture” by Peter Mitchell: “James Packer has exited Hollywood. The Australian billionaire sold his stake in RatPac Entertainment, the Los Angeles-based film, television and documentary business he created in 2013 with producer-director Brett Ratner… Mr Packer offloaded his stake to another billionaire mogul, American businessman Len Blavatnik, who heads conglomerate Access Industries… RatPac became a major player in Hollywood, co-financing more than 50 films that picked up 51 Oscar nominations and earned more than $US10 billion in worldwide box office receipts… RatPac aligned itself with another mogul, Steve Mnuchin‘s Dune Entertainment, and they signed a four-year, $US450 million deal with Warner Bros to fund as many as 75 of the studio’s films.” [The Australian]

“Robert Kraft lauds President Trump during Tom Brady-less White House visit” by Cindy Boren and Marissa Payne: “Overcoming long odds … is the foundation of everything that is great about this country,” Kraft said at the ceremony from the South Lawn of the White House. “This year’s championship was achieved after falling behind 25 points … that deficit had only been overcome seven times,” he continued. “In that same [manner], a very good friend of mine for over 25 years … launched a campaign for the president … facing odds almost as long as we faced. He persevered to become the 45th president of the United States.” [WashPost]

PROFILE: “Centrist ‘Backlash’ Propels Former TV Anchor Lapid in Israeli Polls” by Yaroslav Trofimov:“The man predicted to win Israeli elections if they were held today picks a seemingly contradictory way of describing himself: “an extreme moderate.” Once dismissed as a passing fad, Yair Lapid, a 53-year-old former TV anchor, has emerged as the most serious political rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And he has done so by trying to dispense with the traditional left-right divide of Israeli politics, adopting instead the vague but resonating language of ”sanity” and “responsibility.” [WSJ]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Shabbat is back on the political agenda, following a High Court of Justice ruling yesterday which authorized a Tel Aviv municipality bylaw to open 165 businesses on Shabbat. The issue has been debated for almost three years, with various Interior Ministers stalling their approval of the local law since it relates to the sensitive issue of the religious status quo. The ruling was celebrated and welcomed warmly by Tel Aviv Mayor, Ron Huldai who said: “Tel Aviv was free and will remain free.” However, in Jerusalem, the ruling received the opposite response. The haredi parties reacted with anger and are demanding that the ruling be reversed. UTJ leader, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, said the decision is “a continuation of a gross legal intervention in the values of religion and Jewish law.” “We will not give up or bargain away Shabbat,” a source in Shas told Kafe Knesset… On Sunday, in the weekly meeting of the heads of the coalition parties, tensions are expected to be high. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

TRENDING — “You’re Too Busy. You Need a ‘Shultz Hour.’” by David Leonhardt: “When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only if one of two people called: “My wife or the president,” Shultz recalled. Shultz, who’s now 96, told me that his hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job…. Around the house, hide your phone — in a backpack, a drawer or another room — for set periods of time, as Sherry Turkle of M.I.T. recommends. Or carve out a few hours each week when no one in your house can check a phone. The filmmaker Tiffany Shlain and her family do so for an entire day — a “technology shabbat.”” [NYTimes]

On a recent episode of the ReCode Media podcast, Axios co-founder Mike Allen told Peter Kafka he’s considering starting to practice a ‘phone Shabbat’ on the weekends. [ReCode]

Rahm Emanuel on Reince Priebus and being White House Chief of Staff: “When I had the role, I used to joke on Fridays, “Lucky us, just two more workdays until Monday.” It’s an all-consuming, thankless job—but walking through those gates at the beginning and end of each day, no matter how early or late, brings a tingle to your spine. The day that goes away is the day it’s time to go.” [TimeMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Swiss physicist and Nobel Prize laureate, Karl Alexander Müller, turns 90… Motivational speaker and co-founder of Harris and Schutz, previously president and CEO of Porsche (1981-1986), Peter Schutz turns 87… Chairman of the media networks division of Activision Blizzard, he previously held high-ranking roles at NFL Network, ESPN and ABC, Steve Bornstein turns 65… Immigrants’ rights activist and professor at Salem State University, Aviva Chomsky, eldest daughter of Noam Chomsky, turns 60… Television and radio host, syndicated columnist and political commentator, he is the host of The Steve Malzberg Show, a news and opinion show on Newsmax TV, Steve Malzberg turns 58… President and executive director of the DC-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, Marc Rotenberg turns 57… Entrepreneur, philanthropist, semi-professional race car driver and restaurateur, previously president and chairman of the Trust Company of New Jersey, Alan Wilzig turns 52… Television personality and game show host, J.D. Roth (born as James David Weinroth), turns 49… Israeli jazz bassist, composer, singer and arranger, Avishai Cohen turns 47… British film director Sarah Gavron turns 47… R&B, soul, pop singer and teen actress, at 13 years old she was the runner-up on the second season of “The X Factor,” Carly Rose Sonenclar turns 18… Senior Program Officer at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Yaniv Rivlin… Associate at Tishman Realty Corporation, Alex Berman… Atlanta-based Southeast Regional Director of AIPAC, Elliott G. Mendes… Political polling analyst at the DC-based Feldman Group, David Mariutto… News reporter for the Washington Examiner, Kyle Feldscher… Daniela Kate Plattner (h/ts Playbook)… Diane Kahan… Kelly McCormish… Joseph Gettinger

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Daily Kickoff: Trump admin says Iran complying with deal | Israeli Houzz eyeing $5B+ valuation | Netflix says it’s found next ‘Homeland’


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WHILE WE WERE ON PASSOVER BREAK — Betsy Rothstein of The Daily Caller wrote… “If any outlet is going to know how Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are spending Passover, it’s a safe bet that Jewish Insider has located the White House afikomen.” [TheDC]

CNN’s Betsy Klein:“As President Donald Trump grappled with the realities of governing, leaks about infighting within his administration, and multiple international conflicts, two of his top aides, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, were far from the White House. The couple celebrated Passover at the Four Seasons Whistler in Canada, according to an article and exclusive photo in Jewish Insider.” [CNN]

“White House aides grapple with newfound celebrity” by Annie Karni and Tara Palmeri: “The Daily Mail pays photographers a daily rate to sit outside the Kalorama home of Trump’s older daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, tracking them as they come and go, sometimes in their gym clothes, two industry sources said. The fashionable First Daughter, who now is an official White House staffer, is part of the gray area of formerly famous people who are now aides, as opposed to aides who are newly famous.” [Politico]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump administration says Iran complying with nuclear deal” by Matthew Lee: “The Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama, and says the U.S. has extended the sanctions relief… The certification of Iran’s compliance, which must be sent to Congress every 90 days, is the first issued by the Trump administration. The deadline for this certification was midnight.” [AP

But… “Trump orders review of lifting sanctions against Iran: Tillerson” by Lesley Wroughton: “President Donald J. Trump has directed a National Security Council-led interagency review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that will evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to the JCPOA is vital to the national security interests of the United States,” Tillerson said in the statement. “It remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods.” [Reuters]

FDD’s Mark Dubowitz tells us: “It underscores the commitment of the Trump administration to ramp up pressure on Iran, including through the use of increased sanctions tied to terrorism and other malign activities.”

Israeli Consul General in NY Dani Dayan: “As PM Netanyahu said in Congress: ‘[the sunset clause] creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by KEEPING the deal’” [Twitter

Ben Rhodes‏: “Every day, the situation in North Korea makes clear just how preferable it is to have the Iran Deal in place.” [Twitter

“Mattis in Riyadh to boost US-Saudi alliance” by AFP: “Mattis arrived in Riyadh Tuesday afternoon, wishing to “reinvigorate” ties by listening to Saudi leaders and learning “what are their priorities”, the official said.” [DailyMail]

“US Defense Secretary to Arrive in Israel Thursday” by Tzippe Barrow: “Mattis begins his meetings in Israel with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who traveled to Washington in early March to reaffirm the strong military ties between the two allies. Mattis will also meet with President Reuven Rivlin and visit Jerusalem’s Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial. On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Mattis.” [CBNNews]

ON THE HILL — JI INTERVIEW: Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD) discusses his political career, including the lessons he’s learned from his unsuccessful campaign for Maryland Governor, and from his military service in an interview with JI’s Aaron Magid. “My takeaway is never stop introducing yourself to the voters, but the other lesson was the same lesson my father taught me as a kid growing up is sometimes in life you are going to get knocked down and you won’t be successful in what you sought out to do,” said Brown. “But, if you believe in what you are doing: that is true whether you are running for office to serve, whether you are a doctor, lawyer, teacher or anything else. You have got to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and stay in the game. Teams that lost the Super Bowl don’t drop out of the NFL. They come back: season after season because that is the nature of life.”

Brown on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process: “My basic framework is that you can’t impose a solution. I do think that there has to be a bilateral agreement reached by the Israelis and Palestinians. Our role should be to encourage, cajole, prompt and incentivize that commitment. But, this is an agreement that has to be struck between the two parties. It cannot be imposed because then it won’t be lasting.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Republicans avoid big loss by forcing runoff in Ga. House race” by Robert Costa: “[Jon] Ossoff could find it difficult to sustain the momentum he witnessed this past week in a traditionally Republican district that has been in GOP hands since 1979….[Republican Karen] Handel’s showing was due to more than name recognition from her long tenure in state politics. She also benefited from $1.3 million in support from Ending Spending, a conservative advocacy group aligned with the billionaire Ricketts family.” [WashPost

“Ossoff Just Misses Flipping the 6th” by David R. Cohen, Michael Jacobs, Patrice Worthy and Sarah Moosazadeh: “The outcome keeps alive the possibility of Georgia’s first Jewish congressman since Democrat Elliott Levitas lost a bid for a sixth term in 1984… Although little was made of it, the election took place on a Jewish holiday, the eighth day of Passover, forcing observant Jews to vote early or not at all. Secretary of State Brian Kemp reported that 55,000 ballots were cast early in the congressional election; about 5,000 of those were mailed-in absentee votes.” [ATLJewishTimes]

2ND BAR MITZVAH? Alexis Levinson: “They’ve apparently hired a bar mitzvah DJ to emcee the Jon Ossoff election night party, where they are now playing ‘Celebration’ … Ossoff’s election night party is legit a bar mitzvah with a cash bar. Ppl are dancing, smiling, hugging. #GA06.” [Twitter

Ben Jacobs: “Pretty sure Jon Ossoff is using the playlist from his bar mitzvah for his election night party.” [Twitter]

“Billionaires, companies power Trump’s record inaugural haul“ by Nancy Benac and Julie Bykowicz: “After giving $5 million, Las Vegas gaming billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife had prime seats for Trump’s swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20 and gained access to a private lunch with the new president and lawmakers at the Capitol… Steve Wynn, now chief fundraiser for the Republican Party, gave $729,000 through his Wynn Resorts… Billionaire investor Paul Singer, for example, gave $1 million after long expressing skepticism about Trump. He’s since visited the president at the White House.” [AP]

Jake Sherman: “THE KRAFT GROUP — Robert Kraft’s company — gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration. he’s at the WH today with his Super Bowl champ patriots.” [Twitter

“Trump’s reliance on billionaire adviser blurs ethics lines” by Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey: “Billionaire investor Steve Schwarzman’s newfound status as a trusted outside adviser for President Donald Trump has created blurred lines in which the Blackstone CEO is offering guidance on policies that could boost the fortunes of his company and his personal wealth. The starkest example was Trump’s reversal last week on labeling China a currency manipulator… While many factors likely played into Trump’s decision, including the president’s desire to encourage China to get tough on North Korea, it also followed extensive advice Schwarzman had given the president on the topic, warning Trump against such a move. Even if Schwarzman was acting in the capacity of an economic expert, those policy changes directly help Schwarzman’s bottom line as CEO of Blackstone, the private equity giant. And Blackstone has gone so far as to warn its investors about the stakes of Trump’s China policy.” [Politico

“Ivanka’s brand prospers as politics mixes with business” by Erika Kinetz and Anne D’Innocenzio: “Ivanka has so many China ties and conflicts, yet she and Jared appear deeply involved in China contacts and policy. I would never have allowed it,” said Norman Eisen, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer under President Barack Obama. “For their own sake, and the country’s, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters.” [AP

PROFILE: “Meet The New York City Democrat Flacking For Ivanka Trump” by Steven Perlberg: “New York City political observers say that one of [Risa] Heller’s most striking traits is her fierce loyalty, clearly evidenced by her steadfast aid to Anthony Weiner… “If I had taken her advice at critical junctures even 5% of the time, I would have been infinitely better off. It doesn’t surprise me that people like the Kushners would gravitate toward her,” Weiner told BuzzFeed News… Heller became a rising star in New York political circles in the mid 2000s, when she arrived in Schumer’s office after communications guru Stu Loeser left for Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral reelection campaign. She stood out both for her aggressiveness even by Schumer’s intense standards; as a rare woman in a long line of aggressive young men who came up under the senator; and a fashionable figure in a schlumpy world.” [BuzzFeed

“With the ‘Democratic Invasion of the White House,’ Cuban Starting to Warm Up to Trump Presidency” by Brian Schwartz and Charlie Gasparino: “[Mark] Cuban gives Trump high marks for bringing into his inner circle what he considers moderate Democrats like [Gary] Cohn, Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump. “By my guess, 50 percent or more of non-military leadership in the White House are, or were recently, Democrats,” Cuban told Fox Business. “It’s a good balance.”” [FoxBusiness

NEXT MODERATE MOVE? “Top Trump confidant: Trump should make a deal with Ruth Bader Ginsburg” by Allan Smith: “Chris Ruddy, a confidant of President Donald Trump, told Business Insider in a Monday interview that Trump should cut a deal with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. His proposition: Replace her on the bench with Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacated seat in 2016… “They would remove a very liberal Democrat with a moderate, consensus Democrat, who I think Garland is,” Ruddy added. “And I think it would be a huge move and a sign for Trump that he’s willing to break through the political ice.”” [BusinessInsider

OVER THE WEEKEND — “Rex Tillerson and family tour the Holocaust Museum” by Emily Heil: “The nation’s top diplomat, dressed in the weekend business uniform of khakis and a navy blazer, spent a couple of hours touring the permanent exhibit, a spy tells us, accompanied by his wife… Tillerson’s visit came during the holy week of Passover — and just days after White House press secretary Sean Spicer apologized for remarks in which he seemed to forget about the Holocaust.” [WashPost

TRUMP TEAM: “Tillerson’s stock rises in the White House” by Annie Karni: “[Elliott] Abrams argued that while Trump’s veto of his job at State was “taken to be a slap at Tillerson – I think that was a mistake. I don’t think my situation had anything to do with the president’s view of Tillerson. They spend an awful lot of time together.”” [Politico

“Trump learning to love Bush aides” by Tara Palmeri: “Eliot A. Cohen… predicted that more Bush alumni will feel comfortable coming into the administration if it continues to shift to the conservative mainstream… “As the administration is looking a bit more normalish, there will be more people who will be willing to go in,” he said. “What would be transformative would be if Bannon quits or is fired. I think that would be an indication that it will be somewhere closer to a Republican establishment administration. That will change a lot of people’s attitudes,” Cohen added.” [Politico

COMING SOON: “Abbas ready for visit to Washington” by Daoud Kuttab: “Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said April 14 that a Palestinian delegation will visit Washington in the second half of April to plan for the visit, which he said will take place early in May. The London-based al-Hayat said April 14 that the delegation preparing for Abbas’ visit will include senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and intelligence chief Majed Faraj. The lack of a firm date has led some Palestinian media to report that the visit has been postponed, but a US White House source quickly shot down this rumor, insisting that the visit is still on.” [Al-Monitor]

— “Al-Quds said Trump’s team has prepared a draft plan demanding that the Palestinians return to negotiations with Israel without setting any conditions and halt transfer of funds to the besieged Gaza Strip.” [Wafa

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The hottest show in town today was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responding to the State Comptroller’s Report on Protective Edge in the Knesset. Several bereaved parents questioned Netanyahu and said they didn’t get the satisfaction of at least knowing that the mistakes leading to their sons’ deaths won’t be repeated. One bereaved father, Ilan Sagie, said Netanyahu “stabbed me in the heart and twisted the knife,” and pleaded “Why won’t you say you will fix the failures of Protective Edge?” Leah Goldin, mother of Hadar Goldin, a soldier presumed to be dead whose body is held by Hamas, broke down in tears while speaking to Netanyahu. The premier came off as patient, but at some times stern, explaining to Goldin, for example, that he is willing to make sacrifices to bring back her son’s body – but there is a limit. Bibi clearly knew there was no way for him to come out of such an emotional situation unscathed, and looked like he was having a difficult time.

Anyone reading haredi magazine Mishpacha over the last day of Passover in Israel, got to read about how much Netanyahu enjoyed seeing Hamilton on his last trip to NYC. Not only that, but Netanyahu said he made a suggestion to Lin-Manuel Miranda on how to improve the play. As Spamalot taught us, you won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews, so Netanyahu touted Hamilton’s Jewish connection. Bibi says he read that when Alexander Hamilton was a child in the Caribbean, his tutor was a Jewish woman, who taught him to recite the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. Later in life, Hamilton expressed admiration for the Jewish people, saying they have a “unique destiny” that is “part of God’s greater plan.” That, Netanyahu said, should go into the play. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Billionaire vs. billionaire: Israel’s Steinmetz sues Soros [ToI; Reuters] • Michael Bloomberg to fill event void left by Clinton Global Initiative [Axios] • Jared Kushner in Talks to Sell Stake in Real Estate Technology Company [WSJ] • The PPA Group teams with Israeli investor on Houston apartment complex [Chron• SeatGeek Raises $57M to Buy Israeli Firm TopTix [Billboard] • Bustle acquires Elite Daily from Daily Mail, rebrands as Bustle Digital Group [BI]

SPOTLIGHT: “Houzz Raising Funding at Valuation Above $5 Billion” by Erin Griffith, Leena Rao: “Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design services, is in the market raising a large new round of venture funding that could value the company at more than $5 billion, according to several sources familiar with the situation. The talks are early, but sources say the company could raise as much as $500 million. Asked to comment, a Houzz representative wrote, “It’s not true.” Founded in 2009 by Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen, Houzz has raised $213 million in funding to date. The Palo Alto-based company’s latest round, a $165 million Series D in late 2014 led by Sequoia Capital, valued it at $2.3 billion.” [Fortune]

“Sheryl Sandberg: Option B and Life After Grief” by Belinda Luscombe: “The woman who urged the world to lean in is now under­taking a campaign to help people push on, to bounce back from horrible misfortune. Her newest book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, is a primer for those who are bereaved, to help them recover and find happiness. But it’s also a guide for the unscathed on how to help people “lean in to the suck,” as Sandberg’s rabbi puts it.” [TimeMag]

“Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s controversial decision to turn down Yahoo’s $1 billion early offer to buy Facebook” by Mike Hoefflinger: “Curious, [Andy] Grove followed up: “Where does that willpower come from?” Zuckerberg considered the question—possibly for the first time—and concluded simply, “Jewish mother.”” [BI

“Selling Mark Zuckerberg” by Nitasha Tiku: “The Facebook CEO’s likability blitz isn’t a presidential campaign, it’s a focus group for his 1.8 billion constituents — and part of a high stakes campaign to win your likes” [BuzzFeed]

“Here’s Why A Nonprofit Named For Anne Frank Keeps Attacking Trump” by Jessica Schulberg: “Keeping a low profile is not [Steve] Goldstein’s style. When he was 6 years old, he skipped school to stuff envelopes at the local Democratic headquarters for then-presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey, according to a bio he provided. He has worked on Capitol Hill for Democratic lawmakers Frank Lautenberg and Chuck Schumer… Despite his past work on Capitol Hill, Goldstein says “nothing could be farther from the truth” in response to accusations that he’s taken the Anne Frank Center in a partisan direction. The center goes out of its way to point out that it was Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt who denied Anne Frank entry to the U.S., and has defended members of the Trump family when they were unfairly attacked, Goldstein noted.” [HuffPost]

Michael Steinhardt, Birthright Founder and ‘Wall Street’s Greatest Trader’, to Light Torch on Israel’s Independence Day: “Michael Steinhardt, one of the founders of Taglit-Birthright and a man once dubbed “Wall Street’s greatest trader”, has been selected to light an official torch on Israel’s Independence Day, Israel announced on Wednesday. He will join Rabbi Marvin Hier, who took part in U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration, in lighting the torch for the Jewish diaspora.” [Haaretz

Netflix says it’s found the next ‘Homeland’ — “Netflix thinks its new series, Fauda, could rival the success of Homeland across the globe. Lior Raz — lead actor and series co-creator — speaks with CNN’s Samuel Burke in Israel about his own time in the security forces, a tragic terrorist attack that killed his girlfriend, and how Netflix has garnered a once small Israeli series global praise.” [CNN]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Lawsuit targets neo-Nazi ‘troll storm’ against Jewish family” by Phil Drake and Seaborn Larson: “The lawsuit claims Andrew Anglin, publisher of the Daily Stormer neo-Nazi website with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, provoked legions of his followers to send a “tsunami of threats” to Tanya Gersh and her relatives. Gersh is a Montana real-estate agent who fell out of favor with the mother of Richard B. Spencer, considered by many to be the founder of the alt-right movement… A monetary figure has not been attached to the suit although Gersh hopes to win at least $225,000 for three of the four counts asserted in the complaint.” [USAToday

MEDIA WATCH — “Bari Weiss Joins ‘New York Times’ Opinion Section” by Tablet Magazine: “Bari, who edited [Tablet] news and politics section from 2011 to 2013, moves to the Times from the Wall Street Journal, where she worked as associate book review editor and also wrote frequently about topics like political correctness and campus culture.” [Tablet• Hiring Anti-Trump Conservative Is Part Of New York Times’ Effort To Expand Opinion [HuffPost

“An Op-Ed Author Omits His Crimes, and The Times Does Too” by Liz Spayd: “Marwan Barghouti… was given five consecutive life terms after being convicted in an Israeli criminal court of premeditated murder for his role in terrorist attacks that killed five people… On Sunday, he wrote a piece for the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times to draw attention to a mass hunger strike for what he calls Israel’s arbitrary arrests and poor treatment of Palestinian prisoners…  A biographical sentence at the end of the Op-Ed simply says, “Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.” I asked Jim Dao, editor of the Op-Ed pages, about the decision not to include Barghouti’s crimes…  I see no reason to skimp on this, while failing to do so risks the credibility of the author and the Op-Ed pages. In this case, I’m pleased to see the editors responding to the complaints, and moving to correct the issue rather than resist it.” [NYTimes• Netanyahu slams New York Times over Barghouti op-ed byline [i24News]

SPOTLIGHT: “CNN’s Jake Tapper Is the Realest Man in “Fake News”” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner“Tapper is on a diet… His diet consists, as basically all diets do, of pretty much just protein: protein shakes, protein snacks, protein protein. His friend Paul Rudd, who, Tapper says, got “really shredded” for Ant-Man, gave him the diet. Tapper follows it mostly, also doing cardio at the gym five times a week. “The modified Ant-Man” is what he calls it. I wonder what it says about us when Ant-Man is our superhero aspiration, but Tapper is realistic: “Paul’s a fellow 48-year-old Jew. This is achievable.” Fair.” [GQ]

BOOK REVIEW: “The Inside Story of the Clinton Campaign Disaster” by Bess Levin: “As Hillary thumbed through the pages, the [concession] speech struck her as tone-deaf. It’s too charged, she thought, too political… Jake Sullivan, her chief strategist took the lead in defending the tone. ‘Everything you said, we’re going to do in this speech. . . . But you have been saying for many months that he is temperamentally unfit and that he would be dangerous, and, if you meant it, you should say it. And you made a case that all these people’s rights and safety are in danger—if you meant that, you should say it.’ ‘It’s not my job anymore to do this,’ she said, her voice growing more forceful.” [VanityFair; Axios]

TRANSITIONS — Fred Brown, Communications Director for the Republican Jewish Coalition, was hired by Dezenhall Resources, a crisis management and communications firm, to serve as a senior counselor. h/t Playbook

Sinclair Announces the Addition of Boris Epshteyn: Boris Epshteyn, a former White House aide and Trump campaign chief surrogate, has joined Sinclair Broadcast Group as chief political analyst and will provide analysis and insight on major political stories. [SBGI• Flashback: Kushner: We struck deal with Sinclair for straighter coverage [Politico

BIRTHDAYS: US diplomat from 1962 forward, then President of the Council on Foreign Relations (1986-1993) ultimately becoming the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1993-1997), Peter Tarnoff turns 80… Literary theorist, legal scholar, author and public intellectual, has taught at Cardozo School of Law, Florida International University and University of Illinois at Chicago, Stanley Fish turns 79… Prominent Israeli criminal defense attorney who also served as the Attorney General of Israel (2010-2016), Yehuda Weinstein turns 73… Comedienne, actress and mental health campaigner in the UK, Ruby Wax (born Ruby Wachs in Chicago)… Overland Park, Kansas resident, Gloria Elyachar turns 57… Angel investment fund manager, who during his 12-year NFL career (1987-1998) won three Super Bowls, Harris Barton turns 53… Jerusalem-born historian, author, screenwriter, political commentator and senior lecturer at the Hebrew University, Gadi Taub turns 52… Israeli entrepreneur best known as the founder and former CEO of Better Place, an electric car company that raised $850 million yet was liquidated in a 2013 bankruptcy, Shai Agassi turns 49… French stand-up comedian and actor, Gad Elmaleh turns 46… Award-winning, film, televison and theatre actor, his official bar mitzvah was in 2015 at age 37, James Franco turns 39… Tel Aviv-born, now living in Toronto, entrepreneur, philanthropist, CEO and co-founder of Klick Health (a digital marketing firm in the medical field), Leerom Segal turns 38… Assistant Director of Campus Affairs at AJC: Global Jewish Advocacy, Seffi Kogen… Arthur Cohn… Jake Gerber

BIRTHWEEK: Editor of Commentary magazine, columnist for the New York Post, John Mordechai Podhoretz turns 56… NYTimes White House reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis… Chabad Rabbi, founder and executive director of the Aspen Chabad Jewish Community Center, Mendel Mintz turns 42… Political director for AIPAC’s Florida region, Evan Philipson turns 28… RNC’s Jonathan R. Brodo… VP and Deputy General Counsel at Scholastic Inc, Mark Seidenfeld

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Kafe Knesset for March 31

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sign up for the Daily Kickoff newsletter to read Kafe Knesset in your inbox each day Aftershocks, times two: Yesterday, Netanyahu solved two coalition-threatening crises in one day,…


Kafe Knesset for March 30

Thursday, March 30, 2017

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Monday, March 27, 2017

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