Daily Kickoff: Meet Avi Gabbay | Ya’alon predicts Bibi will be indicted | Amb. Friedman meets Palestinian negotiators | WeWork’s new $20B valuation

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KAFE KNESSET — Meet Israel’s Macron: Avi Gabbay — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Last night, hundreds of Labor party activists gathered in Tel Aviv to witness the results of the party’s leadership runoff. Activists broke out in tears of excitement as Avi Gabbay’s victory was announced, chanting the Hebrew word “Mahapach” – which has no exact English equivalent but means something between a turnaround and a revolution.

Gabbay came from a humble background, growing up in Jerusalem with seven siblings, and moved up the corporate ranks to become CEO of Israel’s biggest telecom company, Bezek. He helped Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon found the Kulanu party, and was appointed Environmental Protection Minister without being an MK. When Netanyahu appointed Liberman as Defense Minister, Gabbay resigned from the government in disgust.

From Labor’s point of view, Gabbay’s ascent is revolutionary: Gabbay, a capitalist businessman and corporate manager, is miles away from the Labor party’s traditions and roots in socialism. Gabbay joined the Labor party only six months ago, but he succeeded in defeating the highly experienced and skilled apparatus of his rival, Amir Peretz. He promised to lead the party to “a dawn of a new day.” But there is still a long path until Gabbay rebuilds the Labor party to the level that it could be considered a real alternative to Netanyahu and the Likud. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

HOW IT PLAYED: “Israeli Labor Party Tries a New Leader: Gabbay, Self-Made Millionaire” by Isabel Kershner: “Avi Gabbay, a relative novice in Israeli politics… became the chairman of the center-left Labor Party… The Labor Party has not won a general election in 18 years… But the extraordinary rise of Mr. Gabbay, 50, is expected to breathe new life into the historic but diminished Labor movement… Isaac Herzog, the departing Labor chairman who won the party 24 seats in the last election to the Likud’s 30, was knocked out last week in a first round of voting. Some in the party have described the shake-up as “electrifying.”” [NYTimes] • Avi Gabbay hailed as ‘Israel’s Macron’ after Labour leadership win [Guardian]

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour tweets: “Netanyahu’s former defense minister, Bogie Ya’alon, predicts Bibi will be indicted. “Too many issues are under investigation,” he tells me.” [Twitter• Ya’alon’s interview with air at 9PM Israel time on CNN International

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL EMAILS… “Today in Jerusalem Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, accompanied by U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome, introduced Ambassador David Friedman to members of the Palestinians’ senior negotiating team. They had an open, cordial, and frank discussion on many topics related to peace negotiations. The Administration believes that in order to give everyone the best chance to reach an ultimate deal, it is critical to have negotiators that are close with the President and that is why the team includes Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Greenblatt and Friedman.” [JewishInsider]

“In Rare Move, U.S. Ambassador to Israel joins Trump Envoy in Meeting With Palestinians” by Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury: “Haaretz has learned that during Trump’s meeting in Bethlehem with Abbas a month and a half ago, Trump asked his advisers why Friedman was not part of the meeting… After that meeting, Trump instructed the policy be changed so that Friedman will attend the meeting with the Palestinians if need be.” [Haaretz]

Former Ambassador Martin Indyk tells us… “I believe Trump is serious about getting the ‘ultimate deal,’ but this incident probably says more about his lack of familiarity with the existing diplomatic protocols. Nevertheless, If Greenblatt wants Friedman on his team, he should have him. It’s good for the Palestinians to hear Friedman’s perspective which is informed by his knowledge of the Israeli side. But then by the same token Greenblatt should have the Consul General Doug Blome on his team and in meetings with Israeli negotiators. That way the Israelis could gain the benefit of his knowledge of the Palestinian side.”

GREENBLATT’S ISRAEL TWEETS: “This 17 Tamuz, I stand @ the Kotel before annual commemoration of destruction of Jerusalem & 1st/2nd Temples. I pray for peace here for all. Tonight I’m also praying for the Goldin, Shaul, Mengistu, al-Sayed & Abu Ghanima families.” [Twitter]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “Donald Trump Jr. Has Hired A Lawyer Who Has Handled Organized Crime And Cybercrime Cases” by Zoe Tillman: “Donald Trump Jr., under scrutiny amid revelations that he met last year with a Russian lawyer, has hired a New York criminal defense attorney with a practice that’s included high-profile organized crime and cybercrime cases. Alan Futerfas runs a small law firm in New York that focuses on white collar investigations and prosecutions… His clients have included… an Israeli man who was one of several defendants charged in a massive hack of consumer data from JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions.” [BuzzFeed

TOP TALKER: “Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign” by Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker, Adam Goldman and Maggie Haberman: “The email to the younger Mr. Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting… Mr. Goldstone’s message… indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information… Alan Futerfas, the lawyer for the younger Mr. Trump, said his client had done nothing wrong but pledged to work with investigators if contacted. “In my view, this is much ado about nothing. During this busy period, Robert Goldstone contacted Don Jr. in an email and suggested that people had information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front-runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia,” he said to The Times in an email on Monday… Representatives for Mr. Kushner referred requests for comments back to an earlier statement, which said he voluntarily disclosed the meeting to the federal government.” [NYTimes] • Rob Goldstone: who is the man who set up Trump Jr’s meeting with a Russian lawyer? [Guardian]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Jared Kushner Tried and Failed to Get a Half-Billion-Dollar Bailout From Qatar” by Ben Walsh, Ryan Grim and Clayton Swisher: “Throughout 2015 and 2016, Jared Kushner and his father, Charles, negotiated directly with a major investor in Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, known as HBJ for short, in an effort to refinance the property on [666] Fifth Avenue… HBJ ultimately agreed to invest at least $500 million through Al Mirqab, on the condition that Kushner Companies could raise the rest of a multibillion refinancing elsewhere. The negotiations continued long after the election, carried out as recently as this spring by Charles Kushner.” [TheInterceptBloomberg]

Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) tells JI’s Aaron Magid…“These guys are pretty new to the business so we don’t have to look for nefarious motives but I think it is critical that we better understand their finances. That’s been one of the problems all along.”

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV): “I think the committee will see all of this so it will all be revealed and we’ll see. I am very concerned about that. It’s extremely troubling.”

“Qatar crisis: Can Rex Tillerson fix this mess?” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “Even if Qatar agrees to tone down al-Jazeera programing and stop funding and hosting unfriendly Islamists, Doha won’t abandon its independent foreign policy nor cut ties with Iran, with whom it shares a huge natural gas field. Tillerson may end up in a truly thankless spot. If he fails in his first highly personalized diplomatic role, the media will hammer him as will his boss if he pushes the Saudis too hard. If he succeeds, the US might end up with a temporary fix that could easily come undone.” [CNN]

“Trump Aides Recruited Businessmen to Devise Options for Afghanistan” by Mark Landler, Eric Schmitt and Michael Gordon: Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon… and Jared Kushner… Mr. Feinberg, whose name had previously been floated to conduct a review of the nation’s intelligence agencies, met with the president on Afghanistan, according to an official… Mr. Kushner has not staked out as strong a position, one official said. But he, too, is sharply critical of the Bush and Obama strategies, and has said he views his role as making sure the president has credible options.” [NYTimes]  

“Comey friend: No memos given to me were marked classified” by Jake Tapper: “The Columbia University Law School professor and confidant of former FBI Director James Comey refuted a charge by President Donald Trump and his advocates in the media Monday: that Comey shared classified information with journalists. “No memo was given to me that was marked ‘classified,'” Daniel Richman told CNN… “The substance of the memo passed on to the Times was not marked classified and to my knowledge remains unclassified.”” [CNN]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Prof. Alan Dershowitz on Fox Business Network: “I think President Trump is making the same mistake that his critics make. A, he is rushing to judgment whether something is illegal, and, second, he is trying to criminalize political differences. He doesn’t like Comey. Nobody likes Comey, the Democrats don’t like him, the Republicans don’t like him. But I’m not so sure that what he did was illegal. We have to know the facts.” [FoxBusiness]

ON THE HILL — Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday during a hearing on the Taylor Force Act. Also testifying at the hearing is Elliott Abrams. Shapiro recently co-authored a Foreign Policy article where he argued against a complete cut off of US economic aid to the Palestinian Authority. “The legislation also contains no exception for humanitarian assistance. In the case of another conflict with Hamas in Gaza, the United States would be prevented potentially from providing basic foods, medicine, blankets, and shelter for the thousands of Palestinians — many of them children — who would be homeless,” Shapiro wrote with former Obama administration official Ilan Goldenberg.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who introduced the legislation, touted Wednesday’s hearing as a significant advancement for the bill’s passage. “I want to thank Chairman Corker for bringing the Taylor Force Act up for consideration. I urge my colleagues to swiftly approve this bill so we can get it passed and signed into law,” Graham said in a statement yesterday.

TRANSITION: President Donald Trump announced yesterday the nomination of Lewis Eisenberg as U.S. Ambassador to Italy. Eisenberg headed the Republican National Committee’s joint fundraising operations with the Trump campaign. He will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

IRAN SANCTIONS BILL: “Trump Admin. Lobbied Lawmakers to Weaken Russia Sanctions” by Andrew Desiderio:“A top Treasury Department official met with House leadership staffers and committee aides last Thursday to discuss changing a key component of the [Iran-Russia sanctions] Senate bill… The official, John E. Smith, the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees the implementation of foreign sanctions, met last Thursday with staff from the offices of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, as well as the Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees.” [DailyBeast]

HEARD YESTERDAY – WH Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short at the daily press briefing: “The administration’s perspective is that we support the sanctions in the bill on Russia and Iran. Keep in mind, it’s initially an Iran bill for which there is a Russia sanctions amendment. The administration is fully supportive of those sanctions. What our concern is, that the legislation we believe sets an unusual precedent of delegating foreign policy to 535 members of Congress by not including certain national security waivers that have always been consistently part of sanctions bills in the past… And by stripping that away from the executive branch, we think the way it’s currently drafted is something that neither a Democrat nor a Republican administration could support.”

“Jason Kander lost a big Senate race. In today’s Democratic Party, he’s still a rising star” by Ben Terris: “Jason Kander doesn’t feel like a loser… “The party is yearning to figure out its next-generation leaders,” said Brian Fallon, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign spokesman… And Kander has raised his profile so much since the election that many have been wondering whether he might be better off than had he won. “I don’t know about that,” said Abe Rakov, Kander’s former campaign manager and longtime political guru. “But from his personal perspective, he is happier than I’ve ever seen him. He’s fighting the battles he wants to every day and doesn’t have to do some of the things he’d have to had he won.”” [WashPost

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: WeWork Hits $20 Billion Valuation In New Funding Round [Forbes] • Paul Singer to challenge Warren Buffett on acquisition for Oncor’s bankrupt parent, Energy Future Holdings [NYPost] • Norman Pearlstine Is Retiring From Time Inc. [AdWeek] • 26-Year-Old’s Stock-Picking Game Acquired By Jon Steinberg’s News Network Cheddar [WSJ] • Indiana Lands Israeli Plastics Supplier’s First U.S. Production Facility [BusinessFacilities• Manischewitz Co. to cut 169 jobs, close plant in Newark [NJBiz] • Israel is getting serious about opening up the high-tech market to domestic investors [CNBC• Toyota leads $14 million funding round for Israel’s Intuition Robotics [ReutersCNBC]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Entrepreneurs Are Betting on a Billion-Dollar Future for Hemp” by Kate Krader: “[Dan] Dolgin was a veteran of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center, both in D.C., before he got burned out on government jobs. He’d been working on cybersecurity projects in New York when he met [Mark] Justh. “I grew up as a Jewish kid on Long Island,” Dolgin says. “I like the idea of making an impact in a depressed New York community, and of looking at agriculture in a new way. We began to consider hemp. Because of my regulatory background, I knew how government works—and doesn’t work.””[Bloomberg

TALK OF OUR NATION: “In Search of the Origin of the Jews” by Benjamin Balint: “While many remain wary of a “racialized understanding of Jewishness associated with Nazism,” [Steven] Weitzman writes, in recent years DNA research has largely confirmed much of what Jews have believed: “that they have an ancestry distinct from that of the non-Jews among whom they live, and that some of those ancestors came from the Near East.” At the same time, Mr. Weitzman acknowledges the obvious limits of such an approach: “Geneticists will always need to rely on nongenetic evidence—written texts, oral traditions, interviews with subjects about who they are and where they come from—to turn data into a coherent account of the past.”” [WSJ

“An avalanche of hate: How a Montana mom became the target of a neo-Nazi troll story” by Mallory Simon and Sara Sidner: “For three months, packed luggage sat on the floor of [Tanya] Gersh’s home. She debated fleeing, to escape what felt like an army of online hate coming after her… The Daily Stormer published more about Gersh and her “Jew agenda,” once with a doctored photo showing her and her tween son on the gates of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz… A tweet to her 12-year-old son had an image of an oven with the message: “PSsst kid there is a free X-box inside this oven.” Gersh thinks she will always be haunted by those images, and by the family talks she was forced to have… “I never imagined that I would have to teach my children that they might be hated because they are Jewish,” she says.” [CNN]

“The Foolhardy Crisis With U.S. Jews That Threatens Israel’s National Security” by David Makovsky and Dov Zakheim: “Aid to Israel is not automatic; it has required wide American public and bipartisan support to sustain it over time. American Jews have been instrumental in securing Congressional support for over $100 billion in past U.S. assistance… apart from the new ten year commitment of $38 billion… One cannot assume that such support is a given in the years ahead. Challenges unanticipated today could put considerable strain on the U.S.-Israel relationship. To add to that strain religious issues of access and conversion is nothing less than foolhardy, especially given the ongoing attenuation of American Jewish ties to Israel amid a generational decline in affiliation to Jewish institutional life.” [Haaretz] • Israel’s envoy in NY says Jewish state neglecting Reform, Conservative [ToI

–Counter-view: “Who Are We to Tell Religious Jews What to Do at the Western Wall?” by Irit Linur [Haaretz]

“A Muslim and a Jew urge the Supreme Court to strike down the Muslim ban” by Zev Yaroslavsky and Salam Al-Marayati: “Muslims and Jews together are derived from the stock of Abraham. Drawing on our shared roots, we look on with trepidation at the risks facing our country. The Supreme Court’s decision on the legality of the travel ban will not just be a holding on an administrative matter, but a stress test of the integrity and resilience of America’s democratic institutions.” [LATimes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Man on verge of death saves himself by jumping into safe” by Amanda Woods, Dennis A. Clark and Natalie O’Neill: “The man had just finished installing the heavy vault at the Rabbinical College Yeshiva of Machzikai Hadas in Borough Park… when it suddenly tipped over. The unidentified worker narrowly avoided being flattened like a matzo when he scooted into a gap left by the 2,500-pound safe’s hatch and wound up sitting unharmed inside, police sources and witnesses said.” [NYPost

MEDIA WATCH: “Reporter who broke Chicago Dyke March story removed from reporting duties” by Ben Sales: “Gretchen Rachel Hammond, an award-winning reporter for the Windy City Times, a Chicago LGBT newspaper, has been moved full-time to the paper’s sales desk as of Monday. Hammond was the first to report that three women were kicked out of the Chicago Dyke March, an LGBT parade on June 24, for carrying rainbow flags emblazoned with Jewish stars… Hammond confirmed that she is no longer reporting for the paper, but declined to say whether she was moved because of her coverage of the Dyke March… The paper’s publisher, Tracy Baim, confirmed that Hammond had been moved, but would not elaborate.” [JTA]

COMING SOON: “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Announces Season 9 Return Date” by Sopan Deb: “On Monday, HBO announced some pretty, pretty good news for fans of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — an Oct. 1 premiere date for Season 9. It will be the first episode of the series, in which the misanthropic comedian Larry David plays a lightly fictionalized version of himself, since the Season 8 finale in Sept. 2011… Jeff Garlin, who plays Mr. David’s agent; JB Smoove, who plays Leon, the freeloading and promiscuous friend Mr. David never asked for; and Susie Essman, Mr. Garlin’s wife on the show, are all expected to return.” [NYTimes

DESSERT: “Restaurant Puts the Spotlight on Middle Eastern Dumplings” by Front Burner: “In Melanie Shurka’s hands, the dumplings are mostly based on a Kurdish style served in Israel — round and looking something like a matzo ball with dough made from bulgur wheat, rice or chickpeas and filled with lamb, beef or vegetables. At Ms. Shurka’s West Village restaurant, decorated with Middle Eastern artifacts, the kubeh are served in richly satisfying vibrant broths.” [NYTimes

“Food company busted for selling phony ‘kosher’ cheese to kids” by David Li: “A Canadian food company was ordered to pay more than $19,000 for selling cheese falsely labeled kosher to Jewish youth campers, authorities said Monday. “We’re very pleased and gratified that the Canadian justice system was diligent in prosecuting this crime,” Richard Rabkin, managing director of kosher certifying agency the Kashruth Council of Canada (COR), told The Post on Monday. “It was a milestone, a first and we hope the last.” [NYPostCBC]

BIRTHDAYS: Ukrainian-born, moved to Chicago when he was 15 years old, computer scientist and internet entrepreneur, CEO of the digital lending start-up Affirm and former chief technology officer of PayPal, Max Levchin turns 42… IRS Commissioner during the JFK and LBJ administrations (1961-1964), founding member of prestigious tax law firm of Caplin & Drysdale, Mortimer Caplin turns 101… Harvard’s long time history professor whose focus was Russia and the Soviet Union, Richard Pipes (and father of Daniel Pipes) turns 94… Professor of Humanities at Yale and noted literary critic, Harold Bloomturns 87… Professor of Social Sciences emeritus at Harvard, he has written many books on Japan, China and Asia generally, Ezra Feivel Vogel turns 87… Co-founder and chairman of Odyssey Investment Partners, previously EVP of GE Capital Corporation (1990-1993), Stephen Berger turns 78… Member of the UK’s House of Lords since 1997 and the leading fundraiser for the British Labour Party from 1994 to 2007, formerly PM Tony Blair’s special envoy to the Middle East, Baron Michael Abraham Levy turns 73… Partner in the Santa Monica-based law firm of Maron & Sandler, EVP of the Milken Family Foundation and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, Richard V. Sandler turns 69… Founder in 1992 of Schnur Associates, a marketing, PR and lobbying firm, she spent 12 years as Executive Director of the Greater New York Coalition for Soviet Jewry, Zeesy Schnurturns 68… Founder and current president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which is headquartered in Chicago and Jerusalem, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein turns 66… Managing Member at Samuel Capital Management, Barry Mannis

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, known by his stage name “RebbeSoul,” Bruce Burger turns 60… Former CEO and president of Bloomberg L.P. (2008-2014), now CEO of Sidewalk Labs, he is married to Alisa Robbins Doctoroff, Daniel L. Doctoroff turns 59… Member of the Knesset for the Likud party since 2015, now serving as Deputy Environmental Protection Minister, Yaron Mazuz turns 55… Born in Marrakesh, Morocco, he is presently commander of the IDF’s Southern Command, Major General Shlomo “Sami” Turgeman turns 53… Member of the Editorial Board at the New York Daily News and author of a book on the outsized influence of the US Chamber of Commerce, Alyssa A. Katz turns 49… Graduate of Stanford U Law School, then White House aide in the Bush 43 administration, now based in Los Angeles at land use law firm of Park and Velayos, Lindsey Caren Kozberg turns 47… Consultant focused upon social impact strategies, previously COO of the DNC, chief strategy officer at Share Our Strength, and director of community relations at the NBA, Joshua D. Wachs turns 46… Founder and CEO of Wisconsin-based Good Karma Brands, he is the son of Mel Karmazin (former CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio and Viacom), Craig Karmazin turns 42…

Screenwriter, known for The Green Hornet (2011), 50/50 (2011) and Bad Sports (2013), Theodore Bressman turns 33… Legislative Director for Representative Tim Ryan and former Fellow at the American Jewish Committee, Anne Sokolov turns 32… as does her twin sister Kate Sokolov (daughters of shopping mall executive Rick Sokolov)… Offensive guard in the NFL for eight seasons for the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants, Geoffrey Isaiah “Geoff” Schwartz (his Hebrew name is Gedalia Yitzhak) turns 31… Los Angeles-based Group EVP of Public Relations for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science Channel, Laurie Goldberg… Director of community relations in the office of Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Celine Mizrahi… Principal at Cleveland-based Willoughby Union Point Associates and EVP at Omni Group Development Company, Bryan Stone… Matthew J. Rosenbaum… Chabad rabbi at Washington University in St. Louis and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Rabbi Hershey Novack… Jeffrey Maas… Harvey Mamon

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Daily Kickoff: Sun Valley Summit | Reality catches up to Trump admin on Mideast peace | Bibi retracts Soros statement | Profile: Yair Shimansky

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton” by Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman: “The meeting was also attended by his campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner… In his statement, Donald Trump Jr. said he asked Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner to attend, but did not tell them what the meeting was about… [Natalia] Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer invited to the Trump Tower meeting… recalled that after about 10 minutes, either Mr. Kushner or Mr. Manafort left the room… The Trump Tower meeting was disclosed to government officials in recent weeks, when Mr. Kushner, who is also a senior White House aide, filed a revised version of a confidential form required to obtain a security clearance.” [NYTimesWashPost]

Norm Eisen tells us… “It’s another strand in the web of contacts with Russians by Kushner and others associated with the Trump campaign. If nothing else, the Trump team’s willingness to take the meeting conveyed the signal that the campaign was ready to receive help from Russia. And it clearly got that help, big time, in the form of hacking, propaganda, bots and other cybercrimes and misconduct. There’s also a pattern of lying about or omitting these many contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia, in this case represented by of Don Junior’s changing stories. The special counsel will let us know what it all amounts to.”

“Who Is Rob Goldstone, Donald Trump Jr.’s Russian Connection?” by Dave Goldiner: “Rob Goldstone, the man who set up the explosive meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a politically connected Russian lawyer, is a British Jewish music publicist who has worked with the Trumps on the Miss Universe pageant.” [Forward]

SPOTLIGHT: “Aby Rosen’s brazen battles” by Konrad Putzier: “Last August, Rosen installed a more than 20-foot-tall billboard at RFR’s 337 Lafayette Street development site in Noho that read “Vote Your Conscience!” — a nod to Sen. Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump. The fact that he was business partners with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on the $375 million Watchtower acquisition and subsequent office conversion in Brooklyn Heights only added to the intrigue…”

“Rosen said he spoke about the poster with Kushner — whom he claims to keep in touch with even after the 36-year-old real estate scion decamped to the White House — and that the two argued about Trump’s platform in the run-up to the election. “We always talk about ‘This is right, this is wrong, you’re in the wrong camp, I wouldn’t have done that,’” he said. “He knows where I stand, I know where he stands,” Rosen added. “Deep down I think he has more of a Democratic mindset, but you know maybe [the Republican party] is a good party to be with right now … What you make out of that, that’s going to be the judgement.” [RealDealMag]

–Noteworthy tidbit about Rosen’s new restaurant in the Seagram Building: “The Four Seasons restaurant will be replaced by two new eateries — one of them merely called the Grill, which Trump White House advisor Reed Cordish is backing.”

TOP OP: “Why Does Donald Trump Keep Dissing Jews?” by Frank Bruni: “Trump has established a pattern of offending — or at the very least ignoring — Jews. The most recent example was just last week, when he declined to pay his respects at a Holocaust memorial in Warsaw that other American presidents routinely visited… Ivanka converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner, and the couple’s key roles in the White House mean that Trump has observant Jews at the very core of his presidency — and of his life. But that didn’t stop him from making remarks to Jewish Republican donors in December 2015 that seemed to play into an anti-Semitic stereotype. “I’m a negotiator — like you folks,” he said, later adding: “Is there anybody that doesn’t renegotiate deals in this room?”

“A prominent Jewish Republican put it well. “I think Trump is such a pathological narcissist that the act of telling people who love you that you reject them — he can’t get around that,” he told me, interpreting Trump’s reasoning this way: “What can be wrong with them? They’re for me!” Trump is disinclined to denounce any constituency or tactics that elevate him to the throne, where he’s sure that he belongs… He doesn’t understand the message of zipping through Yad Vashem when predecessors lingered, because he’s less concerned with the weight of his office than with the whims and convenience of Donald Trump. It’s all about him, always — and if he’s sure in his own heart that he’s good with Jews, then he shouldn’t have to prove it.” [NYtimes

“Can Conservatives Find Their Way?” by Tevi Troy: “At a surface level, some issues do appear to unite current conservatives: disdain for anticonservative and anti-Republican bias in the mainstream media; support for conservative judges like Neil Gorsuch, who joined the Supreme Court in April; and support for Israel. But these issues themselves are insufficient, as well as more limiting. As Lanhee Chen, a research fellow at Hoover, told me, “those three things alone don’t make a governing agenda.”… Jonah Goldberg put it to me, “Trump is like a magnet next to a compass,” making it harder for conservatives to find true north as they argue over whether it is the duty of conservatives to support him or the duty of conservatives to oppose him…” [NYTimes]

“Trump’s nationalists triumphant after Europe trip” by Michael Crowley: “The influence of nationalist White House advisers, like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller — along with Trump’s own raw instincts — were on clear display. And all represent setbacks for the likes of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, who are trying to steer Trump’s policies in a more conventional direction. “Overall the trip embraced nationalism much more than internationalism,” said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations.” [Politico]

“Attack, Attack, Attack: Why does Trump double-down every time it seems like he should retreat? Because Steve Bannon is back in his boss’s good graces” by Joshua Green: “[Steve] Bannon’s feud with Kushner has quieted down. And so far, while at least ten White House officials and former aides, including Kushner, have retained lawyers in the special counsel’s probe, distancing themselves from Trump, Bannon is not among them. Instead, he’s back in the bunker alongside a boss who is often angry, always under fire, and, on the matter of Russia, increasingly isolated from all but a handful of advisers and family members…. “[Marc] Kasowitz is a junkyard dog, exactly the guy Trump needs in his corner right now,” says Barry Bennett, a former campaign adviser.” [NYMag 

“The Road to Donald Leads through Ivanka” by David Böcking And Vanessa Steinmetz: “The so-called Ivanka Fund… also provides a boost to the G-20 hostess Angela Merkel. Amid the extremely difficult negotiations with the U.S. president on other issues addressed by the summit, the joint project announced on Saturday served to lighten the mood. It was a bright spot for which Merkel was more than willing to accept a joint appearance with Trump and his daughter… For Merkel, though, Ivanka presents an opportunity to gain the ear of a president who continues to act erratically.” [Spiegel] • Trump: Ivanka’s Life Would Be Much Easier If I Wasn’t Her Father [TIME

A White House official emails: “Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt flew to Israel on Sunday night to meet with Ambassador David Friedman. While the primary purpose of his trip is to meet with the Ambassador now that he is on the ground and fully installed in his position, Greenblatt will also likely be taking meetings relevant to both the Israelis and the Palestinians… This trip is an interim visit as talks continue about potential next steps. President Trump has made it clear that working towards achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority for him.”

ICYMI: Friedman hosted his first 4th of July celebration at the Ambassador’s residence in Herzliya last week – the second time he hosted a party in Israel since his bar mitzvah. [JewishInsider] 

“Israeli Labor Party to Pick Netanyahu Opponent in Primary Runoff” by Jonathan Ferziger: “Israeli Labor Party members went to the polls Monday for a runoff election between two candidates hoping to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… Amir Peretz, a former defense minister and labor federation head, is going head to head against Avi Gabbay, ex-chief executive officer of Israel’s biggest telecommunications company, Bezeq The Israeli Telecommunication Corp., for the chance to head Labor’s slate in the next national election, scheduled for November 2019. Commentators have given Peretz the edge.” [Bloomberg]

Trump administration hits roadblocks for Israeli-Palestinian talks — by Aaron Magid: Elliott Abrams told Jewish Insider, “There is a gap now between the optimism of the transition period and the very early days of the administration and the lack of actual progress. For example, it’s July and there has been no meeting yet between [PM Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Mahmoud] Abbas.” Grant Rumley, a researcher at the Foundations for the Defense of Democracies, explained that the Trump team “seem to be getting bogged down in the negotiations about the negotiations, which is kind of a staple of the peace process these days. Ultimately [the Palestinians] still want to know that this administration envisions a two state solution the way Obama, Bush and Clinton did before them. I am not sure Abbas knows how far he can go with this without these assurances. For any big push to happen, the Palestinians will want to know it ends where previous administrations stated the goal is.”

At the same time, Hussein Ibish, senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf Institute, credits the President for his active involvement on this issue. “The designation of Jared Kushner, the President’s trusted son-in-law, as the point person is an indication that this is (led by) the White House and not the State Department. That means the President put some amount of his personal and political prestige on the line,” he said.

Former Ambassador Daniel Shapiro: “I give [Kushner and Greenblatt] high marks for demonstrating the President’s personal interest and commitment both to Israel’s security and helping the Palestinians achieve their aspirations. Some of the language is a little bit different but I think the overall policy is much more similar. The commitments demonstrated to Israel’s security is also quite similar and important. The desire to engage Arab states more is also similar. The insistence on a sustained Palestinian commitment is also very consistent. I actually think there is much more continuity than change.” [JewishInsider]

“Trump Is In Danger of Pulling a Reverse Obama” by Ilan Goldenberg: “The administration’s overemphasis on the question of Palestinian prisoner payments may be creating a new precondition for negotiations – this time on the Israeli side. Whereas President Obama’s early push on settlements inadvertently created preconditions on the Palestinian side that persisted throughout his presidency, President Trump may be about to accidentally do the reverse.” [MatzavBlog]

ON THE HILL — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) will be holding a hearing on Wednesday to discuss the Taylor Force Act. Former senior George W. Bush administration official Elliot Abrams will testify in a sign of Chairman Bob Corker’s (R-TN) seriousness of passing such a bill.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will also hold a hearing on Wednesday for President Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI Director Christopher Wray. Given the controversial firing of former FBI Director James Comey, Wray’s hearing will likely be heated with both Democrats and Republicans using the platform to launch attacks on the opposing party’s handling of the Russia investigation. Additionally, after the Senate passed by an overwhelming margin (97-2) sanctions legislation targeting Iran last month, the bill still has not passed the House amid ongoing partisan disputes mainly regarding sanctions against Russia, which is tied to the same legislation. Those interested in applying tougher pressure against Tehran will likely lobby House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican leadership to advance the bill.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis tells the Mercer Island High School Islander: “The Iranian people are definitely not the problem, it’s the regime that sends agents around to murder ambassadors in Pakistan or in Washington DC. It’s the regime that provides missiles to Lebanese Hezbollah or the Houthi in Yemen… It’s going to be very hard to deal with them. What you have to do eventually is what then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did, which was to move sanctions, economic sanctions, against them and force them to the negotiating table because they want to stay in power.” [MIHS]

“At Private Dinners, Pence Quietly Courts Big Donors and Corporate Executives” by Ken Vogel: “The dinners are “a smart way for Vice President Pence and his team to recognize major supporters of his and the president’s agenda, and build resources that are going to be necessary for the upcoming battles,” said Charles Spies, a leading Republican election lawyer.”[NYTimes

2020 WATCH: “Andrew Cuomo Could Beat Trump … If He Can Win Over the Left First” by David Freedlander: “He’s beginning to travel out of state, including serving as policy chair for the Democratic Governors Association. He responded to a series of anti-Semitic incidents around New York by jetting off to Israel… “I’ll just be brazen and say it. If he decides to run for president, he’d be a really good president,” said Ken Sunshine, a public relations consultant for A-list celebrities and a longtime adviser to both Cuomos.” [PoliticoMag

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Sun Valley Summit: Potential Deal Discussions Could Turn Political” by Paul Bond: “A couple hundred media moguls are expected in Sun Valley, Idaho, starting Tuesday for the annual, multiday Allen & Co. summit, and speculation is that — in between conversations related to a stormy political climate — executives from Verizon, CBS Corp. and other major companies may be sizing up some of the smaller entities for possible acquisitions. A recent New York Post report said that Verizon may be considering making an offer for Disney, but while the former’s CEO Lowell McAdam is expected to attend the gathering, the latter’s CEO Bob Iger is not.” [HollywoodReporterNYPost]

** 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: Buyout firm Apollo to buy golf course operator ClubCorp for $1.1 billion [Reuters] • Paul Singer is thinking about swooping in on Warren Buffett’s latest deal [BusinessInsider] • Israel seeks managers for state-backed technology funds [Reuters] • Inside Gary Barnett’s $4B tower [TRD] • Priscilla Chan is running one of the most ambitious philanthropies in the world [Recode] • Sheldon Adelson Paid a Secret Visit to an Army Base While in Israel [Haaretz] • Israel Is Buying Drones That Fly With Machine Guns [Jalopnik]

“On Netanyahu’s Orders: Israel’s Foreign Ministry Retracts Criticism of anti-Semitism in Hungary and Strongly Attacks Soros” by Barak Ravid: “At the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry on Sunday retracted a statement issued the previous day by the Israeli ambassador to Hungary, which had called on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán… to halt a poster campaign against Jewish-American financier George Soros on the grounds that it was fueling anti-Semitism… [The statement said,] “In no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.” … The posters appearing all over Hungary over the past few days feature a picture of Soros laughing and are captioned, “Let’s not let Soros have the last laugh.” Some of the posters were glued to the floor of train cars in Budapest and other cities, so that anyone boarding the train would have to step on them.” [HaaretzABCNews

“The Story of Jay-Z: Decoding the historical context behind the emcee’s economic nationalism on his new album 4:44” by Adam Serwer: “Perhaps the most concise and perplexing statement of [Shawn] Carter’s new unambiguous love for capitalism comes in a couplet on the second track, “The Story of O.J.”… On one jarring line, Carter states, “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit. You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.” Carter’s admonition is meant to encourage black people to imitate what he perceives to be a Jewish strength of ethnic solidarity and financial prowess… But the line is nonetheless startling because it invokes the anti-Semitic canard that Jews maintain financial control of everything you see… Carter is also drawing on an old tradition of using American Jews as a model of a downtrodden people who found success in America.” [TheAtlantic] • Guy Oseary: “In my opinion, Jay is giving the Jewish community a compliment.”[Instagram]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Israeli list of unrecognized US rabbis points to rift” by Ilan Ben Zion: “The list, obtained by The Associated Press, includes a number of prominent Orthodox rabbis in North America… The rabbinate, which oversees religious rituals for Israeli Jews, such as weddings, births and burials, would not say why it had rejected the overseas rabbis’ credentials or provide the criteria for securing their recognition… Another member of the list, Rabbi Adam Scheier, who leads an Orthodox congregation in Montreal and has ties with [PM Justin] Trudeau, called it “an affront to the hard work and devotion of so many of my colleagues – of all denominations.” … Rabbi Daniel Kraus of Kehilath Jeshurun, a major Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan, also is on the list. Kraus serves with Haskel Lookstein, the rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump. Lookstein’s name was not on the list, and while his conversions have been questioned by the rabbinate in the past, they are now accepted.” [AP

“Sen. Al Franken is back to telling jokes” by Avishay Artsy: “In an interview with the Jewish Journal… Franken reflected on his journey and what comes next… In your interview with Marc Maron on the podcast WTF, you said you are “very Jewish but not devout.” In what ways do you think of yourself as very Jewish? [Al Franken:] “I’m not devout in the sense that I observe all the holidays. You know, I observe the High Holy days. I’m a Reform Jew, what can I say. But I culturally am extremely Jewish. I think part of it has to do with, there’s a lot of Jewish comedians… I identify very much as a Jew. I had that very much pounded into my head. I was born in 1951 so not long after the Holocaust and that Jewish identity means a lot to me. I married out of the faith, I married a Catholic girl, but our kids are half Irish Catholic and half European Ashkenazi Jew. But they really see themselves as Jews… My son married a woman who’s also half Jewish, and they identify themselves as a Jewish family. So it’s a bit of a cultural identity. I mean, my son lives on the Upper West Side, for god’s sake. They’re within spitting distance of Zabar’s.” [JewishJournal

HOLLYWOOD: “Amy Pascal’s Hollywood Ending, Complete With Comeback Twist” by Brooks Barnes: “Ms. Pascal… seems to have emerged stronger and happier, having reinvented herself as a producer through her company, Pascal Pictures. She will deliver three films to three different studios this year, with more than a dozen more movies on the assembly line… Ms. Pascal, who is married to Bernard Weinraub, a former New York Times reporter, and has a 17-year-old son, Anthony, said she was thrilled to have more time to spend with her family… “I’m at peace,” she said… Encouraged by blockbuster results for movies like “Wonder Woman,” Hollywood is racing to champion female directors and characters. Ms. Pascal was often at her best as a studio executive… “I’m not trying to correct or counterbalance,” Ms. Pascal said… “I’m interested in women because I am a woman, and that’s what I understand.”” [NYTimes]

MEDIA WATCH: Sinclair triples down on Boris Epshteyn — by Hadas Gold: “Sinclair Broadcasting chief political analyst and former Trump White House official Boris Epshteyn… will now appear on Sinclair stations across the country nine times per week for his “Bottom Line with Boris” segments, the company confirms.” [Politico]

“How Politico’s Next Generation Took Over Washington” by Sarah Ellison: “It’s been a year since Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman, and Daniel Lippman took over Politico’s Playbook newsletter, the always insightful, relentlessly insidery bible for Washington’s swamp-creature class. Since then, the three have crisscrossed the country, launched a podcast, an afternoon newsletter, and thrown themselves into the event business. They also just sold a book about the backroom deals and dramas on Capitol Hill, scheduled for release after the 2018 midterm elections, provisionally titled “A Hill to Die On.”” [VanityFair]

PROFILE: “The Jeweler Shaking Up the 600-Year-Old Diamond Industry” by Nick Dall: “One of the only jewelers whose team takes stones through every step in the process — from bruting and polishing diamonds to turning them into jewelry — Yair Shimansky is an unmitigated success story with 10 stores in South Africa and one opening in New York later this year. Shimansky grew up in Israel, spending months at a time with his sea captain father and part of high school in London, where he developed a lasting distaste for wearing a suit and tie. After completing military service, he spent two years in Japan and moved to South Africa for what was supposed to be a short visit. But instead of returning to Israel, he started selling jewelry at flea markets around Durban — at first importing silver pieces and later crafting his own designs.” [Ozy]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Orthodox Jewish mom uses emoji in fight for women’s rights” by Erin Durkin: “Adina Miles, an Orthodox Jewish mom and popular social media personality from Flatbush… took out an ad in the Flatbush Jewish Journal to thank City Councilman Chaim Deutsch for joining her for a local graffiti cleanup. The ad featured a photo of herself smiling next to the Brooklyn pol and a crew of volunteers. But the paper refused to run a photo of her unblurred face, saying it violated modesty rules. They also refused to print the word “girl” in her moniker — so she slapped an emoji laughing so hard tears pour out of its eyes over her face, hoping to draw attention to the absurdity of the rule.” [NYDailyNews

DESSERT: “Sara Kramer, a New York Native, Finds Herself at Home in Los Angeles” by Oliver Strand: “Sitting at the counter of Kismet, the airy restaurant she opened this year with Sarah Hymanson on a not-quite-fashionable stretch of Hollywood Boulevard on the edge of Los Feliz, she talks about Southern California ingredients with the same casual boosterism that makes real estate agents bring up the climate. “Local citrus, local dates,” said Ms. Kramer, 31, a native of New York. “This is really the ideal place for us to be making this kind of food.” By “this kind of food,” Ms. Kramer meant her elegant approach to Israeli cooking… “I love this flaky malawach,” she said of a crispy, buttery, supple pastrylike bread you pull apart with your fingers. She said she grew up eating malawach made by her mother, who is Peruvian and Israeli.” [NYTimes

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT — in Jerusalem: Last Wednesday night at Beit Hansen, Oklahoma-based philanthropist Lynn Schusterman was awarded the Builder of Jerusalem prize by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. In her remarks at the ceremony, Schusterman noted “I accept this award on behalf of those who believe in Jerusalem as a model of diversity, tolerance, belonging and coexistence. And who believe that Israel is the homeland for all the Jewish people.” Also in attendance: Stacy Schusterman, Sandy Cardin, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, Saul Singer, Wendy Singer of Start-Up Nation Central, Isabel Maxwell, Charlene Seidle of the Leichtag Foundation, and approximately 300 guests attending the annual ROI Summit.

BIRTHDAYS: Russian born mathematician, later a professor at UC Berkeley, Grigory Isaakovich Barenblatt turns 90… Broadway composer, whose scores include Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles, Jerry Hermanturns 86… Stan Udaskin turns 71… NYC born author, now living in Jerusalem, Naomi Ragen turns 68… Member of Holland & Knight’s public policy and regulation group, previously a member of the US House of Representatives for Florida’s 22nd congressional district (2007-2011), Ronald “Ron” Klein turns 60… Member of the New York State legislature: Assembly (1995-2004) and Senate (since 2005), representing parts of Bronx and Westchester Counties, Jeffrey D. Klein turns 57… One of the chief film critics for The New York Times, Anthony Oliver (A.O.) Scott turns 51… NYC-based PR consultant, formerly on Bill Clinton’s post WH staff, M Public Affairs and Glover Park Group, Elie Jacobs turns 39… H. Alan Scott turns 35… Founder, creative director and designer for a fashion line bearing her name, she is the daughter of CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, Kimberly Ovitzturns 34… VP of political and advocacy for BuzzFeed, Rena Shapiro… Managing editor of the Cleveland Jewish News, Bob Jacob… President of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey (mid-2014 to mid-2017), now chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Network Advisory Committee, Leslie Dannin Rosenthal… Michael F. Lewis… Kayla Sokoloff

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Daily Kickoff: Spotted at Aspen Ideas | Muslim and Jews in America | Haley defends UNWRA | Israeli women in high-tech | Bret Stephens joins MSNBC

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Ed note: The Daily Kickoff newsletter is going on vacation for the week of July 4th but, rest assured, we’ll still be posting news and scoops to JewishInsider.com. 

SPOTTED AT ASPEN IDEAS: Paul Singer and Haim Saban schmoozing with Start-Up Nation Central CEO Eugene Kandel outside the SNC tent [Pic] … Also at the Start-Up Nation Central tent, Dan Senor and Seth M. Siegel with Fareed Zakaria [Pic] … A slightly more subdued Jeffrey Goldberg, in his new Atlantic Editor in Chief role, MC’ing the Ideas Festival comedy night [Pic] … Aspen Institute trustee Lynda Resnick at comedy night joking about the various applicants — including Michael Flynn, James Comey, Sean Spicer — vying to replace Walter Isaacson as Aspen Institute President [Pic] … Andrea Mitchell playing the fiddle [Pic]

Jeffrey Goldberg comparing Trump and Yasser Arafat: “At a certain point, we have to treat [Trump] as an adult and say this is a lie. And by the way, all politicians lie. This is not a unique situation we are in, it’s exaggerated. I remember years ago, I interviewed Yasser Arafat twice within a 48-hour period. In the first interview, I asked him if he thought a two-state solution was possible and he said, yes absolutely. Forty-eight hours later, I asked him the question again and he said it’s not possible… I think both times he was telling the truth. And so there is this cognition issue that we have to deal with which is – [Trump] believes the things that he’s saying to be true to be true in a genuine way. He’s being honest with himself that he thinks the lies are true.” [YouTube]

Panel on Muslims and Jews in America — featuring Abdullah Antepli, Founding Director of Duke University’s Center for Muslim Life and The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. Antepli: “We have to start acknowledging that Jews and Muslims are not doing well… I always consider myself or call myself, a recovering anti-Semite. I say ‘recovering’ because if you’re exposed to hate early on and if hate got into your system so early in your life, it takes a lifelong struggle to get that poison out of your system. In the secular, ultra-nationalist, chauvinistic education that I have received in my secular household (in Turkey), the first book I read about Jews and Judaism, at the age of 12, was the children’s version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the second book was Henry Ford’s International Jew and the third book was Mein Kampf… What saved me was studying Islam and getting exposed to mainstream Islamic theology… and thankfully, I met many wonderful Jews later in my life, which allowed me to take the nearest exit and drive in the opposite direction as fast as I can.”

“Let’s not kid ourselves. Jews and Muslims in the Middle East, they are not locking arms and singing Hineh ma tov uma naim shevet achim gam yachad. And Jews and Muslims in France and England, they are not singing Ose shalom bimromav hu yaase shalom aleynu. Things are tense and many boats have sailed.” But here in America, despite the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… because of this beautiful country, because the kind of context that we are in, and because of the Muslim and Jewish communities — two very similar, very complimentary faith communities in the U.S., the ships have not sailed yet.”

Jeffrey Goldberg: ”I was just singing Hineh ma tov to myself… If you think about it from a Jewish theological perspective, it’s a lot easier for a Judaism, as a faith system, to walk together with Islam… Obviously, on a political and social level, it should be easier than it is to walk together. The Jewish story in America, we are just further down the road of the same story than the Muslim American community is today, even in terms of the controversies of being a Muslim in America today. If you remember, in the ‘20s and ‘30s, Jews were considered by a majority of Americans as an alien and possibly dangerous presence. In 1926, when the immigration was shut off, when there was a travel ban imposed on Jews, it was the same fear of the other that was causing that.”

Antepli: “I hope I didn’t suggest that Jews and Muslims in America should part, ignore, suspend their loyalties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… because it’s not possible. It’s simply not possible and it would be so unfair to the deep loyalties of these communities and deep attachment to their part of the world. But I still believe, can Jews and Muslims in America meet each other where they are? An overwhelming majority of Jews in North America, they consider themselves Zionist, pro-Israeli… And an overwhelming majority of my community, including myself are pro-Palestinian… Despite this breakdown, it is to me pathetic and it’s so sad if Jews and Muslims in America are seeing themselves as the foot soldiers for a proxy war in the Middle East and they have nothing to tell each other other than the talking points of this political conflict on each side of the aisle.

Antepli: “In the words of Einstein — to me, he’s one of the greatest rabbis of the 20th century — what we have been doing so far…”

Goldberg: “I like the Jewish pronunciation of Einstein, by the way, I really do…”

Antepli: “There are two types of ongoing Jewish-Muslim conversations in North America. One, a group of Jews of Muslims come together and completely ignore — intentionally don’t talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

Golberg: “These are those horrible endless interfaith seders…

Antepli: “Exactly… They talk about hummus, kosher chicken, halal chicken, and davening amidah, praying magrib together. Like – it’s all nice. But we have seen over and over the decades, this doesn’t have enough teeth and strength to prevent the kind of increasing polarization, increasing anti-Semitism in the Muslim community, increasing Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry in the Jewish community. Both communities are becoming more vulnerable and more and more hearts and minds are poisoned by hate… The second type of conversation is, they come and all they talk about is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Everybody comes with the self-serving facts and they start throwing facts to one another… And if we keep doing this and expecting different results — in the words of Rabbi Einstein — we are insane. We have to do something differently.” Watch the full session here [YouTube]

Wajahat Ali joking at Aspen Ideas comedy night: “Moderate Muslims, we are like Jews, really. Less self-loathing, more anger. Better food, less power.”

BATTLE OVER STATE: “Tillerson blows up at top White House aide” by Josh Dawsey, Eliana Johnson and Alex Isenstadt: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s frustrations with the White House have been building for months. Last Friday, they exploded… The episode stunned other White House officials gathered in chief of staff Reince Priebus’s office, leaving them silent as Tillerson raised his voice. In the room with Tillerson and [Johnny] DeStefano (the head of the presidential personnel office) were Priebus, top aide Jared Kushner and Margaret Peterlin, the Secretary of State’s chief of staff. The encounter, described by four people familiar with what happened, was so explosive that Kushner approached Peterlin afterwards and told that Tillerson’s outburst was completely unprofessional… and told her that they needed to work out a solution.” [Politico]

“Tillerson and Mattis Cleaning Up Kushner’s Middle East Mess” by Mark Perry:  Tillerson’s aides, I was told, were convinced that the true author of Trump’s statement (on Qatar) was U.A.E. ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, a close friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. ‘Rex put two-and-two together,’ his close associate says, ‘and concluded that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters. Otaiba weighed in with Jared and Jared weighed in with Trump. What a mess.'”[AmericanConservative]

HEARD THIS MORNING — Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe: “What Rex Tillerson did was not unprofessional. What Rex Tillerson did was patriotic, and way overdue…  Donald Trump wants his son in law to be the de facto Secretary of State… They are thinking ‘we don’t really need a Secretary of State, Jared’s going to be running everything himself.’ They’ve now gotten into a situation, they said it — I’ll testify under oath they said it repeatedly — Jared’s going to be the de facto Secretary of State… Let Rex Tillerson do his job or name Jared Kushner secretary of state.”

“Trump tweets shocking assault on Brzezinski, Scarborough” by Brian Stelter: “On Thursday morning, while MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” was on the air, Trump posted a pair of hateful tweets about co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Trump claimed that Scarborough and Brzezinski courted him for an interview at Mar-a-Lago around the New Year’s Eve holiday. “She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” the president wrote. MSNBC responded with this statement: “It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job.” [CNN]

BIBI-ADELSON RELATIONS: “Netanyahu, Bennett vie for Adelson’s support at West Bank event” by Raoul Wootliff: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett both lavishly praised billionaire Jewish businessman Sheldon Adelson at an event Wednesday amid speculation the casino magnate was shifting his support from the former to the latter. Adelson was in Israel to lay the cornerstone for a new School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Ariel University in the West Bank settlement. During his speech, Netanyahu switched to English to hail Adelson and his wife Miriam as “not only good friends but huge supporters of the people of Israel and the State of Israel.” Bennett did likewise… But it was the optics of the event that suggested Adelson may be inclining to put his immense financial clout, and the influential Israel Hayom newspaper backing, behind Bennett. At the celebratory meal, it was Bennett who sat next to Adelson, and the two were spotted heartily toasting one other during a lengthy private conversation.”[ToI]

RUDY IN ISRAEL: “Rudy Giuliani: Trump Will Dispel ‘Nonsense About Putin’ During Upcoming European Trip” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “President Donald Trump will emphasize the U.S. commitment to NATO in his upcoming trip to Eastern Europe and plans to “assure” the countries bordering Russia that “the United States is there to support them,” said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, speaking in Tel Aviv on Wednesday… The former mayor said he would be accompanying Trump on the July 5 trip.” [Haaretz

THE TRUMP TREATMENT — Israel to roll out red carpet for Modi:“Israel is going all out to make Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country, the first ever by an Indian premier… Mr. Netanyahu would be present at the Ben-Gurion airport along with the protocol team on July 4 to welcome Modi… Mr. Netanyahu, in a rare show of warmth, will also take Mr. Modi personally to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to show some of the rare exhibits related to the Indian-Jewish heritage… On top of all this, Mr. Netanyahu would also be accompanying “his friend” during his much awaited address to the Indian community at the Exhibition Grounds in Tel Aviv on July 5 in the evening.” [TheHindu

“India’s Modi to sleep in Trump’s bed in Israel” by Greer Fay Cashman: “After the big bear hug that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave US President Donald Trump in Washington this week, the news is that he will be the next occupant of Trump’s bed – well, not exactly. When Modi arrives in Jerusalem next week, he will be given the same luxury suite at the King David Hotel that Trump stayed in during his visit.” [JPost

LIKUD STAR IN NY: “Gideon Sa’ar warns American Jews two-state solution ‘a mistake’” by Moran Azulay: “Former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar said Wednesday that it would be “a mistake to return to the idea of establishing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria as a solution to the conflict.” Speaking during the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in New York, Sa’ar warned of the consequences of the idea. “The establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would flood the area with Syrian and Palestinian refugees and with radical Islamic elements who would arrive in order to lead the fight against the Jewish state. Israel will have no control over it then,” Sa’ar said.” [Ynet]  

ON THE HILL — by Aaron Magid: A Congressional letter calling on the Israeli government to drop military charges against Palestinian activist Issa Amro has obtained 32 signees, the highest number of support for an overtly pro-Palestinian initiative. Addressed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the letter notes, “United Nations human rights experts expressed concern that Mr. Amro is “being unfairly targeted due to his legitimate and peaceful human rights work.” Led by Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI), the letter received support from Deputy Democratic National Chair (DNC) Keith Ellison (D-MN), Karen Bass (D-CA), and Ro Khanna (D-CA). However, the letter did not win support from any top Democrats such as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

Haley Defends UNRWA’s Schools and Healthcare Against Congressional Attacks — by Aaron Magid: Amidst an onslaught of Congressional criticism, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley defended UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for aiding Palestinians. “I will say there’s also good that comes out of UNRWA: what they do with the schools and healthcare. You do see value in it,” Haley said on Wednesday when speaking before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Haley explained, “There is so much resentment between the Palestinians behind that fence and Israel: that an uneducated Palestinian versus an educated Palestinian.” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PN) then interrupted Haley and asked her how much longer should the United States continue to fund UNRWA given the perceived lack of reforms. Haley responded, “The schooling and the health care for those groups in there (Palestinians), I mean, there’s no other place for them to get it. There’s a population there that does need to have that.” [JewishInsider]

Haley also took the opportunity to praise senior advisor Jared Kushner’s efforts to reach a long lasting peace agreement. “When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I think he’s (Kushner) being very effective in terms of when I was there, there’s hope. I felt it. Both sides realized they’ve got to come to the table.” [CSPAN]

“Haley: Trump’s tough line already bearing fruit at U.N.” by Alex Zietlow: “[Nikki] Haley defended the Trump administration’s 2018 U.N. budget request, which has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill this week… Mr. Trump’s budget was “making a point,” Ms. Haley argued, “and it worked.”” [WashTimes] • The UN is giving up on Trump [Politico]

“Corker: Russia-Iran sanctions talks hit new hiccup” by Elana Schor: “Although “there is no language issue” remaining with the Russia sanctions bill, Corker told reporters, “another little thing that’s more of a political issue” has arisen to hold up an agreement on advancing the legislation. The Tennessee Republican, who met earlier Wednesday with Democratic counterpart Sen. Ben Cardin, declined to comment on the nature of the political problem…. As recently as Tuesday afternoon, Cardin said he was inclined to sign off on the House’s proposed change to the congressional review provision. “I think I’m okay with it” based on a staff-level review of the House-drafted language, Cardin told reporters, warning that other Democrats may not have all agreed.”[Politico]

“How Trita Parsi and NIAC Used the White House to Advance Iran’s Agenda” by Hassan Dai: “After Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential elections… Patrick Disney, an NIAC lobbyist and the coordinator for CNAPI (Campaign for New American policy on Iran) declared: “This is a chance to demonstrate that our group and our position is now the ‘center of gravity’ on the Iran issue. With Obama in the White House, it is no longer acceptable for staffers to say they only hear from the far-right hawks on Iran–we’re here and we’re going to push for a positive agenda.” … The convergence of views between the Obama administration and the pro-Iran lobby helped NIAC and its partners to evolve from a pressure group to a high-level White House player… According to official records, NIAC President Parsi, visited the White House 33 times between 2013 and 2016.” [TabletMag]

“The Squeeze Is On Against Hamas” by Grant Rumley: “Israel, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, and several Arab countries are dialing up the financial and diplomatic pressure on Hamas — but they may also be setting the region on a path for war. This joint squeezing of Hamas in Gaza comes at a time when one of its most important foreign patrons, Qatar, is also under more pressure than ever. The move may end up pushing Hamas back into Iran’s embrace after years of estrangement. Hamas’s military wing has been a consistent advocate for re-establishing ties with Tehran… The multiple threats to Hamas’s lifelines could also push the group into a corner, a position that has led to conflict with Israel in the past.” [ForeignPolicy]

** 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: Sycamore Wagers $6.9 Billion That Shira Goodman’s Staples Can Thrive Again [Bloomberg] • As David L. Cohen named Phila. Theatre Co. chair, the Comcast exec has a call for businesses[Bizjournals] • Alice Rogoff’s Alaska Dispatch deals with lawsuits; companies say the paper isn’t paying its bills [Ktva]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli women laying the foundation for biggerrole in high-tech” by Ferry Biedermann: “When VC crowdfunding company OurCrowd last week launched a new initiative to link some of the largest companies in the world more closely to Israeli startups, it was led by its business development partner Laly David. She’s fully involved in investment decisions, a rarity for a woman in Israel… Merav Cohen is another Israeli self-described serial entrepreneur who’s taken an initiative to help women CEOs and founders of startups. WMN in the port of Tel Aviv… is not only a co-working space but also an “ecosystem” to facilitate women-led ventures, she says.” [CNBC

“Israel Leans Closer to Ultra-Orthodox Jews, Upsets U.S. Groups” by Rory Jones: ““This despicable decision sends an unmistakable message to diaspora Jewry, one of divisions and of alienation,” said Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s office who is against the government suspension.” [WSJ]

“Federations dispute story over stopping donations to Israel” by Alyssa Schmitt: “Gordon Hecker, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, denies he planned to stop all donations from his federation to Israel… because of Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu’s recent announcement suspending the 2016 agreement to expand prayer at the Western Wall… Jason Shames, the CEO of the Northern New Jersey Jewish Federation, also was mentioned in the story saying the decision would impact his federation’s relationship with Israel as well. “Wherever it came from it’s all fabricated,” Shames told the CJN. “The federation has not considered any changes of our existing supportive programs in Israel or Israel in general.””[CJN

MEDIA WATCH: “CNN boss in crosshairs if AT&T-Time Warner merger approved” by Claire Atkinson and Emily Smith: “AT&T will look to “neutralize” CNN President Jeff Zucker after it buys Time Warner, The Post has learned… “There was early talk about the way Zucker managed that wasn’t a good fit for the new organization,” one source said. “They were eyeing ways to neutralize him.” That desire leaves Zucker facing an uncertain future that includes the possibility of getting unceremoniously dumped, one source said… “What would be the reason to fire him?” one CNN insider asked, adding AT&T would risk losing credibility and perhaps top news talent.” [NYPost

Bret Stephens joins MSNBC and NBC as an on-air contributor: “MSNBC show host Nicolle Wallace announced the news on her program Wednesday afternoon when Stephens joined the show to discuss health care. “We’re so, so, so lucky and happy to have you,” Wallace said.”[Mic]

TRANSITION: Talia Alter has been promoted as AIPAC’s Northeast Deputy Political Director.

DESSERT: There’s a California chef making waves in the Mahane Yehuda district” by Jessica Ritz: “[Todd] Aarons… opened Crave Gourmet Street Food last October in a particularly buzzy pocket of Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market district. Locating it steps from the vendors inside the legendary shuk, he joined forces with three partners to bring a culinary edge to Israel, thanks to the chef’s SoCal-influenced palate and an unorthodox approach to the restaurant business… Its eclectic menu makes perfect sense to diners who are familiar with California’s food truck culture and the state’s culinary cross-pollination of Asian and Latin American influences… After all, diasporic mashups are an inherent part of Israeli cuisine and culture. And Aarons’ kosher cheeseburgers don’t hurt the appeal. “ [JewishJournal

“This Is the Orthodox Community’s Go-To Cool Sandwich Shop” by Patrick Kuh: “There are plenty of Jewish delis in L.A. that are not kosher (hello, Langer’s), but there may be only one kosher sandwich shop that isn’t a deli. Opened in March across from Pan Pacific Park by chef Eric Greenspan, Fleishik’s is where Orthodox men in black hats and schoolgirls in tartan pinafores queue up with customers who might usually opt for the pork belly at Animal. Because as Greenspan proves, rotisserie brisket layered over beet horseradish with crunchy chicken-skin gribenes and fried onions is exactly the kind of flavor-packed dish anybody would want to line up for.” [LAMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Chairman of Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise ship operator (includes Carnival, Cunard, Holland America and others), and owner of the NBA’s Miami Heat, Micky Arison turns 68… CEO of Aliya Marketing Group, a fundraising consulting group for not-for-profits, previously at JFNA (2016),  the LA Federation (2014-2016) and the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island (1996-2004), Joshua Karlin turns 58… Attorney General of Israel, Avichai Mandelblit turns 54… Screenwriter, director and producer, he has won nine Emmy Awards for his work on AMC’s “Mad Men” and HBO’s “The Sopranos,” Matthew Weiner turns 52… CEO of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Steven C. Wernick turns 50… Los Angeles-born, moved to Israel at 12 years old, political consultant, campaign strategist and former Chief of Staff to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Ari Harowturns 44… British Labour party member of Parliament, first elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2017, she has been outspoken against the rise of anti-Semitism in her own party, Ruth Smeeth turns 38… Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice movement, Shmuly Yanklowitz turns 36… Campaign finance consultant, who has raised money for Hillary and the DNC, David Wolf… Steven Kohn… Sara Sansone… Fred Gruber

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Haim Saban donates $1M to FIDF for Simon Cowell to sing ‘Go Go Power Rangers’

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