Daily Kickoff: The Trumpification of Bibi | How Facebook uses Israeli tech to squash startups | NBA visits Jerusalem | Patrick Drahi eyes Charter

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DEEP DIVE: WSJ A1 — How Israeli Company Onavo Helps Facebook Squash Competition From Startups — by Betsy Morris and Deepa Seetharaman: “Tech startups live by the rule that speed is paramount. Houseparty, creator of a hot video app, has an extra reason for urgency. Facebook, a dominant force in Silicon Valley, is stalking the company, part of the social network’s aggressive mimicking of smaller rivals. Facebook is being aided by an internal “early bird” warning system that identifies potential threats, according to people familiar with the technology.

Houseparty, formally known as Life on Air Inc., was one of the first startups to go all-in on video chat, with an app that lets small groups of friends drop into a video conversation as if hanging out in a dorm room. Two of Houseparty’s founders—Sima Sistani, 38, and Ben Rubin, 29—have been on the verge of success before. They previously led one of the first live-video-streaming apps, Meerkat. Facebook delivered the death blow to Meerkat by deciding to go full force into live video.”

Facebook uses an internal database to track rivals, including young startups performing unusually well, people familiar with the system say. The database stems from Facebook’s 2013 acquisition of a Tel Aviv-based startup, Onavo, which had built an app that secures users’ privacy by routing their traffic through private servers. The app gives Facebook an unusually detailed look at what users collectively do on their phones, these people say. The tool shaped Facebook’s decision to buy WhatsApp and informed its live-video strategy, they say.” [WSJ]

KAFE KNESSET — The Trumpification of Bibi — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: It appears that Netanyahu is more emboldened in the Trump era. He seems to be asking himself, ‘If Trump can get away with these things, why can’t I?’ Last night’s rally of thousands of Likudniks in support of Netanyahu, who is facing multiple corruption probes, was peak Trumpification. The Kafe Knesset team hasn’t been to any Trump rallies, but from our observation from afar, this seemed a lot like one.

Enemy number one for Netanyahu and his supporters, was, of course, none other than the fake news media. “The Left and the media — which are one and the same — are on an obsessive, unprecedented witch hunt against me and my family,” Netanyahu said, calling the media the “thought police.” Sound familiar, American readers? “And the ‘fake news media’ doesn’t talk about all the charity work Sarah does all the time for Holocaust survivors and kids with cancer,” Bibi lamented.

The crowd booed whenever Netanyahu mentioned the media, and a name-check of Ha’aretz warranted the loudest jeers. Someone held a large sign saying “It’s not fake news, it’s f***ing news” (which probably doesn’t mean what he thinks it means) and a Netanyahu supporter was spotted in a “CNN is fake news” t-shirt. Likudniks shouted in the faces of some of the more famous reporters present. Of course Netanyahu has long blamed the media for his problems. He didn’t need POTUS to get that idea. But the style seems to be imported from Trump Tower.

Spotted at the Likud rally: It’s August, so people like Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan were out of the country but Tourism Minister Yariv Levin went straight from the airport to Tel Aviv’s Fairgrounds in order to make it to the rally; firebrand MK Oren Hazan taking selfie after selfie after selfie, swarmed by Likudniks; Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who recently joined the party and is trying to curry favor with the grassroots; Bayit Yehudi MK Motti Yogev, who said that he thinks Netanyahu is being treated unfairly. Bayit Yehudi sources told Kafe Knesset that the party is not happy with Yogev’s stunt; former MK Shmuel Flatto-Sharon, builder of Dizengoff Center, who ran for Knesset even though he barely spoke any Hebrew, in order to get parliamentary immunity so he wouldn’t be extradited to France. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

HOW IT PLAYED: “Supporters Rally Around Netanyahu Amid Police Probes” by Rory Jones: “Mr. Netanyahu has remained popular among his right-wing base because they view attacks against the leader as politically motivated attempts to force him from power, according to Mitchell Barak, a political analyst and director at Jerusalem-based Keevoon Global Research.” [WSJNYTimes]

“Netanyahu faces the political crisis of his life” by Aaron David Miller: “The end of Netanyahu does not mean the beginning of a serious peace process… Indeed it’s hard to see anyone in the Likud or right-wing universe that has the willingness and ability to lead boldly on the peace process… To identify the peace process as a key issue in an election, should Netanyahu meet his political demise, you’d need some real drama; a clear choice before the Israeli public of a popular candidate Israelis trust on security and a Palestinian or Arab partners offer of real peace and security. And that’s a stretch.” [CNN

Bibi’s distraction — NBA visits Jerusalem: President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met today with a delegation of leading figures from the National Basketball Association. The group was led by NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum, and featured owners including Joe Lacob, of the Champion Golden State Warriors, Larry Tanenbaum of the Toronto Raptors and Alexander Lasry of the Milwaukee Bucks, along with NBA Hall of Fame members David Robinson and Wayne Embry.[PicYouTube] • Also spotted in Israel with the NBA delegation: Israeli Amb. Ron Dermer

“Aging and ailing, who will succeed current Palestinian leaders?” by Miriam Berger and Luke Baker: “”The situation is ripe for a power vacuum,” said Grant Rumley, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington and co-author of a biography of Abbas. “If (the Palestinians) rally behind one figure, I think there’s a chance of a peaceful transition. That looks less and less likely as it goes on.” … Currently, two names are most often mentioned as successors: Majid Faraj, 55, the head of intelligence, who often joins [Saeb] Erekat in negotiations; and Mahmoud Aloul, 67, the chief deputy to Abbas in Fatah and a former governor of Nablus.” [Reuters

“Meet The Jewish Hedge Fund Manager Behind The Taylor Force Act” by Hannah Dreyfus: “[Sander] Gerber showed the PA’s laws to Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Graham early in 2017. Graham immediately reintroduced legislation to cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority until it ceased incentivizing terror… Philanthropist Haim Saban and Sen. Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.) were “instrumental” in gaining bipartisan support for the bill, said Gerber… “Without Sander Gerber, this wouldn’t have happened,” said [a DC] insider, who added that Gerber stepped down from the AIPAC national board because of its hesitancy to support the legislation due to security concerns.” “Sander was really the key figure in all of this,” said Noah Pollak, a political consultant who worked closely with Gerber to help bring the bill to national prominence. “He was the one who was willing to make this a relentless focus.”” [JewishWeek]

“Anti-Defamation League Supports Controversial anti-BDS Bill: Act ‘Won’t Limit Free Speech'” by Amir Tibon: “The ADL explained in a statement that the legislation “is not intended to limit the First Amendment rights of U.S. individuals and companies who want to criticize Israel or penalize those who want to refuse to do business with Israel based on their own personal convictions.” … According to the ADL, “this narrowly-tailored legislation is designed simply to prevent boycott actions from being taken against Israel in compliance with major international bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union.” [Haaretz

INBOX — ZOA report on Top NSC Adviser Lt. General H.R. McMaster“General McMaster’s record during these past few months can only lead to the conclusion that McMaster is opposed to President Trump’s basic policy positions on Israel, Iran, and Islamist terror. General McMaster is not the appropriate person to serve the Trump White House as top national security adviser. The ZOA strongly recommends that General McMaster be reassigned to a different role in this administration, unrelated to these critical issues.”

Dan Shapiro tweets: “ZOA claims, on the flimsiest of pretexts, that McMaster has “animus toward Israel” and “opposes Trump’s pro-Israel policies.” Nonsense. Every Israeli official who met McMaster has found him to be deeply sympathetic, friendly, consistent with longstanding US support for Israel… The ZOA rant dresses up normal policy differences on the Iran deal, the fight vs ISIS, etc. as some kind of betrayal of Israel. That baloney is really just a cover for taking sides in the White House personnel wars.” [Twitter]

TOP TALKER: “U.S. Ambassador Haley Loses Two Key Aides at United Nations” by Kambiz Foroohar: “[Nikki] Haley’s Chief of Staff Steven Groves resigned, as did her communications director Jonathan Wachtel. Haley said on Twitter Wednesday it was because of “family concerns.” The departures also come ahead of Haley’s trip to Vienna to review Iran’s nuclear activities with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. Groves, an adviser who had arrived from the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation had argued for the U.S. to “sever relations” with UN’s Human Rights Council for criticizing Israel.” [Bloomberg]

IRAN DEAL: Ambassador Nikki Haley heading to Vienna to review Iran nuclear activities — by Michelle Nichols: “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will travel to Vienna later this month to… meet with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials and the U.S. delegation in Vienna to further explore the extent of Iran’s nuclear activities… “Ambassador Haley has consistently voiced her and the administration’s concerns about Iran’s illegal missile testing and other harmful actions,” said [a] U.S. official.” [Reuters

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Another country with nuclear aspirations is watching the North Korean stand-off very closely” by Jason Gewirtz: “The concern, some say, is that Tehran will see that if North Korea can get away with building a nuclear weapon in spite of U.S. protests, then it can too. Matt Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said he believes North Korean progress may lead Iran to try to become the next nuclear power. “It’s a human and emotional response, but also logical,” he said of Tehran’s possible goals.” [CNBC]

HEARD YESTERDAY — Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes on MSNBC: “This is the most dangerous flashpoint in the world, so every word that a president speaks about North Korea is usually carefully crafted and vetted with the secretary of defense, with the secretary of state. Frankly, we would preview any new language with our allies. And clearly, it seems, in this case, that none of that happened… Frankly, we’ve seen him make extreme statements and false statements about all manner of things,” Rhodes said. “It’s more concerning when you’re talking about nuclear weapons.”

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “As Trump Unnerves Asia, China Sees an Opening” by Jane Perlez: “There may also be a scheduling reason for the mildness of China’s response. Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, the White House adviser Jared Kushner, are scheduled to visit China next month with their children. Mr. Kushner is a primary White House contact for China, and Beijing is putting considerable effort into ensuring that the visit goes smoothly. The visit is also seen as a planning operation for Mr. Trump’s own trip to China in November. Images of Mr. Kushner, his wife and their children at a family dinner with Mr. Xi at his Beijing estate, Zhongnanhai, would fit well into Mr. Xi’s playbook of appearing to have “the world in its proper orbit, around him,” said Douglas Paal, vice president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.” [NYTimes]

ON THE HILL: “Blowback from staffer scandal burns Wasserman Schultz” by Marc Caputo: “The chatter about a House leadership post is gone. So is talk of statewide office. After Hillary Clinton’s defeat, there’s no prospect of an administration job for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. One year after the Florida congresswoman’s resignation as national party chair at the Democratic National Convention… the once-rising star’s political fortunes continue to fade, beset by critics on all sides. Wasserman Schultz is again on defense after steadfastly refusing to explain why she continued to employ Imran Awan, an IT staffer who was under a federal investigation for alleged equipment and data scam in the U.S. House since February… Florida’s first Jewish woman to serve in Congress, Wasserman Schultz remains relatively popular in her heavily Jewish district. U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, a West Palm Beach Democrat who has known Wasserman Schultz for two decades, credited her work ethic and “brilliance.”” [Politico

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: “A French Israeli entrepreneur is intent on a multi-billion dollar dealmaking spree in the US” by Graham Rapier: “Patrick Drahi, the billionaire founder of Dutch telecoms company Altice, is back on the acquisition trail. The communications giant, which raised $1.9 billion in an IPO of its US arm earlier this summer, is reportedly weighing a bid for Charter Communications. After buying Cablevision for $17.7 billion last year to become the 4th largest cable provider in the country, Altice USA could rise to number 3 with an acquisition of Charter, only behind Time Warner and Comcast… Drahi was born in 1963 in Casablanca, Morocco to a two math teachers, both Moroccan Jews.” [BusinessInsiderCNBC]

BRIEFS: Is Aby Rosen’s New Four Seasons a Success? [Town&CountryMag] • Russian Entrepreneur Launches BitCoen, ‘The First Kosher Cryptocurrency’ — a tenth of the company’s earnings will be made available as interest-free loans [HaaretzCNews• Leviathan Partners in Talks to Pipe Gas to Egypt Via Jordan [Bloomberg] • Mobileye Calling the Shots from Israel After Intel Acquisition [Driverless] • A German-Israeli artist who accused Twitter of failing to tackle anti-Semitic and racist hate speech has taken revenge by stenciling offending tweets outside the company’s office in Hamburg [IBTimes]

Iranian blogger says she feels ‘safe’ after reaching Israel: “An Iranian blogger who wrote for an Israeli news website and who left her country for life in exile says she feels “safe now” after finally reaching Israel. Neda Amin spoke at a press conference with David Horovitz, editor of the Times Of Israel, where her work has appeared… The 32-year-old has been living in Turkey since 2014… Amin says Turkish authorities recently told her she would be deported to Iran and that she was in “such danger.” Horovitz says he felt an obligation to Amin and that he persuaded Israeli authorities to help bring her to Israel.” [AP]

Can One Rabbi Disrupt the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Industry?” by Rabbi Yonah Bookstein: “Rabbi Moshe Cohen, of LA’s Community Shul, started a program recently called the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Experience… The project consists of six one-hour Sunday sessions. “Through our program,” observed Rabbi Cohen, “a teenager comes away with a clear understanding of what it means to be a Jew, what is a mitzvah, what is the Torah, and what is the land of Israel.” … Rob Eshman, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Journal… points out that, “Jewish institutions…have found ways to make it easier for Jews to afford practicing Judaism.”” [HuffPost]

“Town response to Jewish community stirs anti-Semitism fears” by Jessica Li: “While arguing over the expansion of Monsey, New York’s “eruv” …  the town of Mahwah is also reconsidering a new law limiting its parks and playgrounds to New Jersey residents. The law came after residents complained of families with New York license plates using a park near the border, but the county’s prosecutor ordered the police not to enforce it after Mahwah’s police chief raised concerns that people reporting violations were targeting Jews. “What’s your real target and agenda here?” said Rabbi Moses Witriol, a frequent liaison between Mahwah’s police force and the Hasidic Jewish community, who questioned the motives of the councilmembers who backed the measure.” [AP]

“Losing Side Wants Review in Fight Over Oldest US Synagogue” by Michelle Smith: “Worshippers at the nation’s oldest synagogue plan to ask for a rehearing following an appeals court decision that gave ownership of their Rhode Island house of worship and bells worth millions of dollars to a New York congregation, according to a filing this week with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals… Lou Solomon, who represents the New York congregation and heads its board of trustees, said he agreed to a two-week extension for the other side to petition for a rehearing as a professional courtesy.” [AP]

TOP-OP: “I did not march for hate” by Ann Lewis: “I marched (in Women’s March) because I believe, as Hillary Clinton told the United Nations Conference on Women in 1995, that women’s rights are human rights. I believe that America is stronger with allies who share our democratic values, including women’s rights. I did not march to show support for hateful, divisive language that tries to expel Zionists like myself and my friends from the women’s movement by defining feminism as available only to those who deny Israel the right to exist… I did not march because I agree with the expulsion of women holding Star of David flags from a march for LGBT rights, on the astounding claim that this historic symbol of the Jewish people is threatening to some people.” [WashJewishWeek]

HOLLYWOOD: “Conservative Koch Brothers Are Secret Investors in ‘Wonder Woman’” by Tatiana Siegel: “Sources say Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch… took a significant stake valued at tens of millions of dollars in RatPac-Dune Entertainment. Now-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin brought the brothers in as investors as part of a $450 million deal struck in 2013 — a move that was never disclosed because RatPac-Dune is a private company. Though Mnuchin is no longer involved with the slate financing facility… the Koch brothers continue to be stakeholders in such films as Wonder Woman, Dunkirk and Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Ready Player One.” [THR

DESSERT: “An Iraqi-Kurdish-Israeli Dumpling Soup Makes Its Way To America” by Devra Ferst: “In the U.S., “there’s no restaurant where someone from the MTA and Barack Obama would sit back to back,” says Naama Shefi, who founded the Jewish Food Society. “But in Israel, at Azura, you could definitely see someone like Bibi [Netanyahu] next to a bus driver,” eating the restaurant’s famed kubeh and hummus. The soup has woven itself into Israeli culture. “It became the culinary term most identified with Mizrachi cookery,” or the food of the Jews who settled in the Middle East, Gil Marks noted in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. It’s “the equivalent of the Ashkenazi gefilte fish.”” [NPR

“The Rise Of Israeli Food In London” by Suze Olbrich: “The vibrancy of the Israeli dining scene in London at the moment gives an authentic insight into eating out in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Populated by a mosaic of immigrant communities, the tiny nation gives curious chefs the chance to learn from dozens of inherent and adopted traditions… And this ambitious, omnivorous and, above all, convivial spirit is becoming increasingly palpable in London. In the 15 years since Mr Yotam Ottolenghi and Mr Sami Tamimi first turned Brits on to the Levant’s remarkable bounty, heady blends of Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean flavours have also been plated up at the likes of The Palomar, Berber & Q, Honey & Co. and The Good Egg.” [MrPorter]

“What Is Kosher Salt, and Why Is it 100% Better Than Iodized Table Salt?” by Alex Delany: “OK, but other than not having iodine in it, what is kosher salt, anyways? Is it blessed by a rabbi? Is it actually kosher? Well, it can be. But really, kosher salt is called kosher salt because the size of its crystals is ideal for drawing out moisture from meat, making it perfect for use in the koshering process. That’s also why we love to use it for cooking almost everything. Kosher salt is the MVP of our breakfast, lunch, and dinner seasoning game.” [BonAppétit]

BIRTHDAYS: Maverick US District Court judge in the Eastern District of New York since 1967, he also served as chief judge of the district (1980-1988) and took senior status in 1993, Judge Jack B. Weinstein turns 96… NYC-based real estate developer, he is the founder and principal of Clipper Equity focused on the conversion of non-residential buildings to residential uses, David Bistricer turns 68… Born in Johannesburg, she was elected to Parliament in 1994 and then served as the ninth Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (2009-2014), the first woman to hold that position, Gill Marcus turns 68… Conservative Rabbi who serves as the Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance since January 2015, he is a former director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Rabbi Jack Moline turns 65… Austrian journalist, writer and the current director of the Jewish Museum of Vienna, she was a founder of the German language magazine “Nu” devoted to Jewish politics and culture, Danielle Spera turns 60… Winner of a special election in 2015 to the California State Senate, he was previously the mayor of Orinda and an advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, Steven Mitchell Glazer turns 60… Early employee of Yahoo in the early 1990s, then a member of the Florida State Senate (2006-2016), Jeremy Ring turns 47… Senior development officer of the NYC-based Tikvah Fund, Eytan Sosnovich turns 34… Jason Reyes… Robert Feldman… Eliza Daddario… Ella Raevskaya

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Daily Kickoff: How Sheryl Sandberg, Natalie Portman & Howard Schultz cope with imposter syndrome | Intel completes Mobileye purchase | New Air-Krafts

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TOP TALKER: “Israel Held Secret Talks With Russia, U.S. Over Cease-fire in Southern Syria” by Barak Ravid: “Israel, the United States and Russia held a series of secret meetings early last month in Amman and in a European capital regarding the cease-fire in southern Syria… The Israeli team included top representatives of the Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, Mossad and the Israel Defense Forces. The American team was led by President Donald Trump’s special envoys on Syria, Michael Ratney and Brett McGurk… The Israelis told the Russians and the Americans that they had to demand from the Iranians that the Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah and the Shi’ite militias in Syria must leave the country.” [Haaretz]

“Facing Palestinian criticism, White House says closeness to Israel is an asset” by Michael Willner, Adam Rasgon and Herb Keinon:“This is a way for the Palestinians to try and message the administration: We have to see some sign that you in fact take our interests into account,” said Dennis Ross. White House officials say that Abbas takes the Trump team more seriously knowing that Kushner and Greenblatt are personally close with the Israelis – a distinction from members of the Obama administration. “What they mean to say is that, ‘because we’re close to the Israelis, we have the ability to influence Israeli behavior,’” Ross said. “And that indeed could benefit the Palestinians, to an extent.” [JPost] • Abbas issues new demands of Israel, but is quietly still arresting terror suspects [ToI]

JARED INSIDER: “Behind The Jared And Ivanka PR Machine” by Steven Perlberg: “On a Thursday late last month… Jared Kushner paused in the West Wing to chat with ABC’s Jonathan Karl and his daughter, who worked as a CNN summer intern. Kushner told Karl’s daughter that it must be interesting to be a reporter, because you always have to figure out who is going to lie to you… When Kushner thought he noticed another reporter, New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi, recording the exchange, he was startled and said it was off the record. He then uncomfortably asked Nuzzi to delete the recording, which she did not do. A few minutes later, after Kushner had left, a Secret Service agent and a press assistant approached Nuzzi and told her she was not permitted to record (she is).”

“A product of the ruthless New York corporate arena, [Josh] Raffel conducts the “blocking and tackling” for Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, routinely making the couple available for off-the-record chats, sources say. He’s smart and good-humored, and reporters who’ve battled with him say he comfortably oscillates between friendly chatter and aggressiveness. One White House reporter said he’s the most competent staffer in the West Wing… Sources say Raffel is intensely loyal to the couple… The couple trusts Raffel, whom Kushner has known for years, more than the White House communications department, and, according to sources close to them, they want him to be their press steward.” [BuzzFeed

DRIVING THE CONVO: “Elizabeth Warren Comes Out Against Senate’s Anti-BDS Bill” by David Colon: “Warren, who was never a sponsor of the bill, was asked about it by a constituent at a town hall last night. In response, she said that while she disagreed with BDS, she also said that ‘outlawing free speech-protected activity violates our basic constitution.'” [Gothamist]

NY Post editorial… Democrats’ latest anti-Israel turn: “The White House hopefuls may be responding to the shift by the party’s base against Israel… Then again, [Chuck] Schumer is 66 and [Steny] Hoyer 78, while [Cory] Booker’s 48 and [Kirsten] Gillibrand 50. In the Democratic Party, reliable support for Israel looks to be a thing of the past.” [NYPost]

An NJDC spokesman emails us… “Saying that the Democratic Party is anti-Israel is both detached from reality and an easy way to kill bipartisan pro-Israel support. We must work to keep fighting for the US-Israel relationship as a bipartisan issue, especially during the erratic Trump administration. This is too important of an issue to fall victim to increasing partisanship.”

ON THE HILL — Four Democratic Senators advocate for Palestinian Issa Amro — by Aaron Magid: Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) recently wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson advocating for Palestinian activist Issa Amro who has been charged by the Israeli military court system, a Congressional staffer told Jewish Insider. A similar petition was submitted in the House and backed by 34 Democrats.

“It was a private letter raising the case of Issa Amro asking him to monitor the case citing the State Department’s own human rights report, which had mentioned Amro’s case,” the Senate staffer explained. Ha’aretz reported that Amro’s charges are for “spitting at a settler, obstructing soldiers and insulting them.” … “We fear that Israeli military courts deliberating over Mr. Amro’s charges will be unlikely to render a fair and impartial verdict given that the conviction rate within that system is 99.74 percent,” the House letter noted.

Eugene Kontorovich, Professor of Law at Northwestern University, blasted the Democratic House letter and told us last month, “Just as Israel does not seek to politicize the treatment of U.S. security detainees, U.S. Congressmen should not meddle in this matter.”

DRIVING THE DAY — Trump Threatens ‘Fire and Fury’ Against North Korea if It Endangers U.S.” by Peter Baker and Choe Sang-Hun: “This is a more dangerous moment than faced by Trump’s predecessors,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonprofit group in Washington. “The normal nuanced diplomatic rhetoric coming out of Washington hasn’t worked in persuading the Kim regime of American resolve. This language underscores that the most powerful country in the world has its own escalatory and retaliatory options.”[NYTimes]

HEARD YESTERDAY – Former Senator Joe Lieberman on i24News’ Crossroads: “I know that a lot of people will criticize President Trump for the language he used towards North Korea today, but as far as I am concerned, we have tried just about everything else and it hasn’t worked… So, I don’t mind the strong language. The question is: what next? Because this is an unstable, unpredictable leader of North Korea.. [Prompting China to act] could be the most immediate the most positive response to what President Trump has said. The Chinese may worry that they don’t know exactly what President Trump would do. He might take military action, which would destabilize the entire area, probably create massive refugees flows from North Korea into China, which the Chinese don’t want.”

Eliot A. Cohen: “America Is Not Ready for a War in North Korea” [TheAtlantic]

MORE ON TRUMP’S PLATE — “Iranian drone comes close to U.S. fighter jet: U.S. official” by Idrees Ali: “An unarmed Iranian drone came within 100 feet (31 meters) of a U.S. Navy warplane as it prepared to land on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf, a U.S. official said on Tuesday… This appears to be the first time an Iranian drone has come dangerously close to a U.S. fighter plane in the Gulf.” [Reuters

“Getting Trump Out of My Brain” by David Brooks: “If Trump falls in disgrace or defeat, and people’s partisan pride is no longer at stake, I hope that even his supporters will have enough moral memory to acknowledge that character really does matter… But where are people going to go for a new standard of decency? They’re not going to go back to the old WASP ideal. That’s dead. Trump revealed the vacuum, but who is going to fill it and with what? I could describe a similar vacuum when it comes to domestic policy thinking, to American identity, to America’s role in the world. Trump exposes the void but doesn’t fill it. That’s why the reaction against Trump is now more important than the man himself.” [NYTimes]

WSJ editorial… McMaster and the Commander: “Mr. Trump may worry about the damage Mr. Bannon and his allies could do to his Administration if he is no longer part of the White House team. But if his minions continue to vilify his colleagues inside the White House, how can anyone tell the difference?” [WSJ]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “Investigations Intensifying, Israel Imagines Life After Netanyahu” by Isabel Kershner: “There is, as yet, no clear contender to replace Mr. Netanyahu… An Israel without Mr. Netanyahu at the helm would, in any case, be an unfamiliar place for its inhabitants, the Middle East and the world… The Israeli leader has also become a fixture at the annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, showcasing a combative, theatrical style of diplomacy…. His tenure has been one of impasse in the Palestinian peace process. But inside Israel, he is credited with having maintained stability as Arab neighbors descended into chaos. A departure would leave Israel, its allies and its enemies in uncharted terrain… The notion that there is nobody to replace Mr. Netanyahu holds “until it happens,” Professor [Gadi] Wolfsfeld said. “They said nobody could replace Ben-Gurion.”” [NYTimesLATimes]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Thousands of Likudniks are expected to gather this evening in Tel Aviv for a mass rally and demonstration of support for Netanyahu. The rally was scheduled in the wake of all of the PM’s legal troubles and the Likud has been preparing quite a buildup for the event. Bibi himself is the keynote speaker and everyone is waiting for his speech, in which he is likely to address the latest developments in his investigations. A senior Likud figure told Kafe Knesset that he believes Netanyahu will be putting on quite a show. “It will be a declaration of war – on everyone – from the media to the Left – and even on law enforcement authorities.”

Not in the bag anymore? As if Netanyahu doesn’t have enough to worry about, senior United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni referred to an interesting letter in a talk to yeshiva students this week, according to a Walla! News report. Gafni recounted that Rabbi Elazar Menachem Shach, who was the undisputed head of the Lithuanian Haredi community while he was alive, wrote a letter to former Prime Minister Menachem Begin while he was negotiating peace with Egypt that it is permissible to evacuate settlements for peace. “Concessions made only for peace are not considered concessions, and when God has mercy on us and the time comes, the ceded land will all be returned to us,” Rabbi Shach wrote… Haredi parties have long been reliable members of any right-wing government. Is Gafni hinting to Netanyahu that they aren’t his natural partners anymore anymore? Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

2020 WATCH — “Fundraising slows at pro-Trump super PACs” by Megan Wilson: “Future45, which collected $20 million of its $25 million in donations from Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson during the 2016 campaign, had zero donors so far this year… Of all the pro-Trump super PACs, Future45 had the least left in its coffers and also the smallest amount of operating costs in the first half of the year— spending just over $19,000, which could indicate it is shutting down or going on hiatus.” [TheHill

“Mark Zuckerberg’s Political Ambitions Are Grander Than You Think” by Nick Bilton: “The reaction to the rumors, though, were sometimes stranger than the potential of a Zuckerberg presidency. On the left, a lot of people applauded the notion of a tech genius running for office… Some in the alt-right reduced the prospect of Zuckerberg, who is of Jewish heritage, in the White House to horrifying racist screeds… One person who interacts with Zuckerberg on a regular basis theorized that maybe Zuckerberg is leaving open the option to run for office one day in the very distant future, or that he could try running for lesser office to better understand how government works.” [VanityFair

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: After A Comeback, Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe Faces Its Next Test [FastCompany] • By Buying Israeli Mobileye, Intel Jumps Firmly Into Driverless Car Race [NYTimes• Nielsen buys AI sports marketing co vBrand [Globes] • WeWork grows Seattle footprint with biggest deal yet in a project developed by Martin Selig [ConstructionDive] • With $5.3 million in funding, Yinon Weiss’ CarDash wants to change how you get your car serviced [TechCrunch]

SPOTLIGHT: “It’s Not Just You: These Super Successful People Suffer From Imposter Syndrome” by Stephanie Vozza: “You might be surprised at the people who admit to feeling like an imposter. While a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society at Harvard University, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg felt she didn’t deserve to be there. “Every time I was called on in class, I was sure that I was about to embarrass myself,” she writes in her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. “Every time I took a test, I was sure that it had gone badly. And every time I didn’t embarrass myself — or even excelled — I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again. One day soon, the jig would be up.”

“Actress and fellow Harvard alum Natalie Portman shared her continued feelings of inadequacy with the school’s 2015 graduating class in a commencement speech. “Today I feel much like I did when I came to Harvard Yard as a freshman in 1999,” she said. “I felt like there had been some mistake, that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company, and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove that I wasn’t just a dumb actress.”

“Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz admitted to being insecure: “Very few people, whether you’ve been in that job before or not, get into the seat and believe today that they are now qualified to be the CEO. They’re not going to tell you that, but it’s true.” Schultz says a CEO’s willingness to feel insecure is not a weakness, but only when used properly. “I would say one of the underlying strengths of a great leader and a great CEO—not all the time but when appropriate—is to demonstrate vulnerability, because that will bring people closer to you and show people the human side of you.” [FastCompany]

PROFILE: “The Hotelier Who Reinvigorated a New York Neighborhood Heads to Vegas” by Nikki Ekstein: “With his next project, New York’s NoMad, Andrew Zobler put himself in charge of the whole thing, including operations. “I wanted to prove to myself and to the world that I could create a hotel,” he says… With the opening next year of the Park MGM in Las Vegas, which he’s undertaking with the namesake casino giant, Zobler is looking beyond boutique hotels to megaproperties with mega social scenes… Convention hotels, Zobler says, don’t have to be as boring as they usually are: “To me, that’s the next chapter.”” [Bloomberg]

“Despite his reluctance, when Zobler does talk about his background, it’s very telling. He starts with his two larger-than-life grandmothers. He inherited his ambition from his Holocaust-survivor paternal grandmother. “She had the idea that we survived for a reason,” he says. “That we should do something of importance.” He attributes his aesthetic sense to his maternal grandmother, Sydell, for whom the company is named.” [Surface]

“El Chapo Gives Up Public Defenders and Hires a Private Lawyer” by Alan Feuer: “While traveling in Israel on Tuesday, [Jeffrey] Lichtman confirmed in an email that he had been retained by Mr. Guzmán, whom he will now defend against a sprawling international conspiracy indictment that was filed against him in January by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.” [NYTimes]

“FBI: Teen Sold Bomb Threats Against Schools, Jewish Centers on the Dark Web” by Kelly Weill: “Michael Kadar, 19, was arrested in Israel in March, under suspicion that he was behind a wave of bomb threats targeting U.S. institutions. When Israeli police raided the Kadar’s bedroom, they found a flash drive containing the teen’s personal records on his alleged bomb threats… U.S. officials allege in newly unsealed court documents… that he was running a bomb threat business on the dark web marketplace AlphaBay… The post offered refunds for unsuccessful bomb threats, and tiered pricing ranging from $30 for a single threat, to $90 for “emailed bomb threat to a school districts\multiple schools + framing someone for it.”” [DailyBeastNYTimes

MEDIA WATCH: “When Silicon Valley Took Over Journalism” by Franklin Foer: “Makers of magazines and newspapers used to think of their product as a coherent package—an issue, an edition, an institution. They did not see themselves as the publishers of dozens of discrete pieces to be trafficked each day on Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Thinking about bundling articles into something larger was intellectually liberating… Journalism has performed so admirably in the aftermath of Trump’s victory that it has grown harder to see the profession’s underlying rot. Now each assignment is subjected to a cost-benefit analysis—will the article earn enough traffic to justify the investment? Sometimes the analysis is explicit and conscious, though in most cases it’s subconscious and embedded in euphemism.” [TheAtlantic]

TRANSITION — Hadas Gold tweets: “I’m starting a new chapter and a new beat! I’m joining CNN to cover European politics, media, & global business. This is a bittersweet moment – I LOVE Politico and the people here. I am forever indebted to Politico, my editors and colleagues. I joined Politico 5 years ago — my first real journalism job. There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude to for giving me a chance. I’m excited for this new opportunity CNN covering Europe’s changing dynamics and how it deals with U.S.” [Twitter]

“Welcoming Gretchen Hammond to Tablet” by Alana Newhouse: “Starting this month, Gretchen Rachel Hammond will be writing full-time for Tablet, as part of a year-long fellowship at the magazine… On June 24, Hammond broke the news that three women flying Pride flags festooned with the Star of David were forced by organizers to leave Chicago’s Dyke March—setting off a massive news story and a national conversation about anti-Semitism on the left. One week later, Gretchen was reassigned to nonjournalistic duties at the paper.” [Tablet

“Remembering Arlene Gottfried: Legendary New York City Street Photographer” by Paul Moakley: “Gottfried, who died at 66 on Aug. 8 of complications from cancer, according to her family, was born and raised in Brooklyn with her sister, Karen, who became a muse for much of her work, and a surprisingly camera shy brother, the comedian Gilbert Gottfried… As a shy, young Jewish girl with a head of curly hair, her identity was ambiguous and could fit in anywhere. She always carried a camera and as she got older, she carried a point-and-shoot in her purse. Over the span of three decades, Gottfried published five books that taken together can serve as photo albums of her life.” [TIME

SPORTS BLINK: “Blatt remaining patient as he waits for another NBA opportunity” by Allon Sinai: “I have an end game and that end game is that I would really like to go back to the NBA,” Blatt told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “There were no changes in the NBA this year from a coaching standpoint and my real goal is to try next year to get back into the league as a head coach. It may happen and it may not happen. But I wanted to leave that door open for myself if the opportunity arises.” [JPost]

“The New Moneyball, With Lots and Lots of Money” by Jared Diamond: “Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi took over the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office before the 2015 season and quickly drew the ire of a city built on the power of stardom. Inheriting a record payroll and massive expectations, they began running the Dodgers less like baseball’s wealthiest organization and more like the small-market teams they came from: They shunned the most expensive free agents and headline-grabbing trades in favor of protecting the farm system and adding complementary pieces of the puzzle.” [WSJ]

‘NEW AIR-KRAFTS’ — Patriots Become 1st NFL Franchise to Buy a Team Plane: “They only figuratively own the New York Jets, but the defending champions now own two wide-body jets. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the Patriots bought a pair of 767 Boeing aircrafts.” [BleacherReportESPN]

DESSERT: “At Nur, an Open-Armed Approach to Middle Eastern Flavors’ by Pete Wells: “For long commutes, few chefs can top the one that Meir Adoni has been making since he opened a Middle Eastern restaurant called Nur on East 20th Street in April. He splits his time between Manhattan; Tel Aviv, the site of his two other restaurants; and his home outside Jerusalem… The plates have energy. At times, in fact, they don’t know when to quit. The sauces and powders and garnishes proliferate so quickly that it’s hard to keep count… Nur’s menu embraces Morocco and Libya in North Africa, in addition to Israel, Yemen and Syria; again, it’s hard to keep count. His vision of his part of the globe is pluralistic.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Physicist and venture capitalist, co-founder and general partner of New Markets Venture Partners, Donald M. “Don” Spero, Ph.D. turns 78… Emmy Award-winning correspondent for ABC News for more than 20 years, then a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Carl Robert Zelnick turns 77… Host of Showtime’s “Inside Comedy,” son of a Rabbi, he has appeared 130 times on Johnny Carson, David Steinberg turns 75… Romance novelist with 19 books on the NYT bestseller lists, Barbara Delinsky (born Barbara Ruth Greenberg) turns 72… Author of 36 Jewish themed books, founder of Rossel Books, he lectures on Israel, the Holocaust, Bible, archaeology, spirituality, Jewish history and Jewish education, Seymour Rossel turns 72… Psychologist and bestselling suspense novelist, Jonathan Kellerman turns 68… Southern California resident, Faith Schames turns 66… Member of the Minnesota Senate since 2007, following four years in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Ronald Steven “Ron” Latz turns 54… Chief of Staff for Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Amy B. Rutkinturns 48…

Kiev-born, member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 2007 from Montgomery County, Kirill Reznik turns 43… Reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times since 2017, previously Chief Investigative Reporter for Politico (2007-2017), Kenneth P. Vogel turns 42… Executive Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition, Jacob Baime turns 32… South Pasadena, California resident, Giovanna Fradkin… Senior counselor at at Dezenhall Resources since April 2017, previously communications director for the Republican Jewish Coalition and an RNC alum, Fred Brown… Partner at Hilltop Public Solutions, who served as Special Advisor to NYC Mayor de Blasio, Rebecca Kirszner Katz… Researcher at the London School of Economics, previously a public affairs / political intern in the DC office of SKDKnickerbocker, Isaac Lederman… Amanda Isaacson… Elise Aronson (h/ts Playbook)… Dan Zimerman Mark Shapiro

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Daily Kickoff: Dore, Dov and Dan discuss McMaster | JI trivia winners | Meet Rep. Jack Bergman | Thiel turning on Trump? | Wilf joins Nashville soccer

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KAFE KNESSET — When it rains, it pours — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Trouble just continues to pile up on PM Netanyahu’s desk. Against the backdrop of the numerous investigations, the Supreme Court ordered the PM to reveal the dates and length of his phone calls with Sheldon Adelson and the former editor in chief of Israel Hayom Amos Regev. In a dramatic decision in an ongoing case, initiated by Channel 10 journalist Raviv Drucker, the Supreme Court overturned a previous decision made by the Tel Aviv District Court. The lower court had accepted Adelson’s and Regev’s claim that publishing the information would be a breach of their privacy. The Supreme Court, however, stated that there is a “heavy public interest in exposing the information.” Now, Netanuahu is forced to publish the dates of the phone conversations between him, Adelson and Regev in the years 2012-2015, and everyone is waiting to see if there is any connection between the details and various news headlines in Israel Hayom. This data could strengthen the argument that Bibi acted as the de facto editor in chief of the freebie newspaper.

Last night more bad news emerged for the Netanyahus as Channel 2 reported that Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit is expected to announce an indictment against Sara Netanyahu in the “Residence Affair” in the upcoming weeks. The PM’s wife will first be granted a hearing, and only after that will a final decision be made. However, a clear-cut statement from the AG accusing her of fraud and using public funds for private expenses, is likely to exacerbate already existing tensions in the Netanyahu household.

Rallying the Likud troops: Tomorrow, however, Netanyahu has a special treat scheduled: a mass Likud Rally in Tel Aviv. Coalition chairman David Bitan, who is emerging as the biggest Bibi loyalist in recent weeks, announced the demonstration earlier this week, and is pressuring ministers, MKs, and activists to arrive and show support for the PM. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset today [JewishInsider]

BIPARTISANSHIP IN JERUSALEM: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer held a press conference at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem to display strong bipartisan support for Israel as the Democratic congressional delegation concludes its week-long visit to Israel and the Republican delegation kicks off its tour. The summer trip is sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation affiliated with AIPAC. [Pic]

Hoyer: “All of us together support Israel and there is no residual impact [from Netanyahu’s 2015 speech to Congress], whether you were pleased or not pleased,” said Hoyer. “This is not about Prime Minister Netanyahu or President Obama or President Trump. This is about a relationship between two great democracies, Israel and America. This is about a consensus that Israel’s security is critical for the security of the United States. This is not about personalities. This is about shared values. And our two countries are partners for peace and security… Democrats are very supportive of Israel and that is our focus and continues to be our focus.”

McCarthy: “We have made a point to make sure we have an overlapping time here in Israel together, Republicans and Democrats. Because this is not a partisan issue. This is a bipartisan issue… I don’t think any other country has this large a bipartisan delegation. I think this is an example of the respect for our relationship with Israel.” [ToIJPost]

JI TRIVIA — congrats to JI readers Aylon Berger, Zach Eckstein, Dan Marrow, Aaron Biel, Eli Schechner, Adam Rubenstein, Elie Pieprz, and Ari Mittelman who identified at least 15 individuals in the photo of Democratic members of Congress with Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday including…

Lillian Pinkus, Bob Cohen, Howard Friedman, Jimmy Panetta, Carrie McIntyre Panetta, Josh Gottheimer, Steny Hoyer, Ben Ray Lujan, Matt Cartwright, Nanette Barragan, Carmen Walker Brown, Anthony Brown, Salud Carbajal, Gene Green, Frank Pallone, Brad Schneider, Julie Schneider, Thomas Suozzi, Tom O’Halleran, Stephanie Murphy, Jose “Lou” Correa, Charlie Crist, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Val Demings, Darren Soto, Hilary Smith Kapner, Daniel Silverberg.

JI INTERVIEW — Meet Jack Bergman: The Former Pilot Now in Congress: Rep. Bergman (R-MI) discussed his military experience and 2010 visit to Israel in an interview with JI’s Aaron Magid. Bergman, a retired U.S. Marine, visited Israel in 2010 with JINSA as part of its special Generals and Admirals program and is planning to tour the Jewish state this week as part of a congressional delegation, a trip sponsored by AIPAC’s AIEF affiliate.

Bergman on the two state solution: “It’s complex. If you can get both [sides] to actually agree to negotiate in good faith and then go back and honor what they negotiated, the two state solution will have a chance. If you don’t have that, the two state solution is not a good alternative. You have to look at the history and how those negotiations have gone. It doesn’t relieve us from the responsibility to try and solve problems because if you quit trying to solve the problems, then usually the problems end up being one of armed conflict because people quit trying. I don’t quit.” Read the entire interview here[JewishInsider

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “Top Trump aides clashing over direction of US foreign policy” by Jonathan Lemire and Bradley Klapper: “In recent days, conservative groups and a website tied to Trump adviser Steve Bannon have targeted [H. R.] McMaster as insufficiently supportive of Israel and insufficiently tough toward Iran… The Zionist Organization of America on Monday announced it has undertaken a review of McMaster’s views on Israel. Dozens of conservative and alt-right social media stars have hammered the national security adviser on Twitter… The Iran nuclear deal also has been a source of disagreement. That Obama-era pact is opposed by Israel and prominent GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, who backs the Zionist Organization of America group that attacked McMaster.” [AP

“Former Pentagon Official: Israeli Right, Bannon Allies Trying To Oust McMaster” by Nathan Guttman: “I’ve spoken to [H.R. McMaster] and I’ve heard him talk in small groups that had nothing to do with Israel, and I heard his views on the Middle East and on Iran,” [Dov] Zakheim told the Forward. “His views are mainstream pro-Israel… You have an unholy alliance between the Bannon supporters and the extreme pro-Israel right,” Zakheim said. He claimed that those supporters of Israel joining the American far-right in criticizing McMaster believe that “if you’re not 1000 percent committed to the extreme settler point of view, then you’re already a suspect.” [Forward]

Dore Gold, former Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, emails us… “With Tehran unveiling new centrifuges for enriching uranium, like the IR-8 that operates 15 times more efficiently than the old IR-1, I cannot imagine that a serious senior officer like McMaster is not disturbed about Iran. Moreover, I cannot imagine that a former CENTCOM planner would be oblivious to Iranian troops creating a corridor for themselves from their border with Iraq to the Mediterranean in order to dominate the Middle East. Today being concerned about this doesn’t make him pro-Israeli alone, it would make him pro-Saudi, pro-UAE, pro-Egyptian etc. Since we are all Washington’s allies, it would make him pro-American as well. Thus my sense is that these charges are baseless and we need to sit down and deal with more serious matters.”

Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro tells us… “I think the country is fortunate to have someone of his quality and stature in the NSA position under the present circumstances. The person they are attacking is a caricature, not the real McMaster. And the charge of his unfriendliness to Israel is absurd — there is not a scintilla of evidence to support it.”

“You want McMaster out over Iran? That’s fine. Over Israel? Senseless” by Shmuel Rosner: “For a horde of reasons, all related to his understanding of the American interest, he seems reluctant to clash with the Iranians. This is not something he does to spite Israel, or annoy it, or put it in danger. He is not anti-Israel – he disagrees with Israel on some issues.”[JewishJournal]

“The Alt-Right and Glenn Greenwald Versus H.R. McMaster” by Jonathan Chait: “Greenwald has depicted the conflict, much like the nationalists themselves have, as the machinations of the deep state to prevent the authentic, democratically legitimate populist representatives of Trumpism from exerting their rightful authority. The episode has revealed a left-winger’s idiosyncratic sympathy for the most odious characters on the right.” [NYMag]

DRIVING THE WEEK — “A Trump Vacation Formula: Work Hard, Play Hard, Tweet Hard” by Peter Baker: “With driving rain on Mondaymaking golf unappealing, it remained unclear what the president did to enjoy himself… All told, Mr. Trump blasted out 13 Twitter posts before dinner… Mr. Trump complained that the “Fake News Media” was not paying enough attention to the United Nations Security Council vote to add more sanctions against North Korea, and he grumbled that he was not getting sufficient credit for the accomplishments of his 200-day-old presidency. He seemed particularly intent on making the case that he still has his base behind him despite overall low poll numbers.” [NYTimes] • In attacking Blumenthal, Trump opens himself to criticism over the military. Again [WashPost]

“Trump’s big win at the United Nations” by Aaron Blake: “President Trump is often accused of using Twitter to distract us from stories he doesn’t like. But on Monday, his petty, putdown-fueled tweetstorm likely distracted from a very good story for him… Saturday’s vote to go along with the sanctions, particularly by North Korea’s ally China, had even Trump skeptics in the foreign policy community hailing the work of the administration and, specifically, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. And it’s actually the second big foreign policy achievement to be announced in recent days, along with major progress against ISIS.” [WashPost]

IRAN DEAL — “How Trump’s Iran Threats Could Backfire—in North Korea” by Aaron David Miller, Richard Sokolsky and Robert Malley: “If the U.S. thrusts aside the nuclear deal with Iran—and uses contrived evidence to do so—the message to North Korea and others will be that America’s word is disposable and the U.S. cannot be trusted to honor its commitments. This would deal a possibly fatal blow to any chance of a diplomatic effort to, if not halt or reverse, at a minimum slow down North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs… The administration’s too-clever-by-half strategy of messing around with the Iranian nuclear accord… almost certainly would undermine its credibility with nations whose cooperation it desperately needs to deal with the North Korean nuclear challenge.” [PoliticoMag]

“Iran Is Using Syria to Advance Toward the Mediterranean” by Naftali Bennett: “Iran must be made to pay a price every day its soldiers remain on Syrian soil helping the Assad regime kill its own people. Tehran’s leaders must know that every violation of the nuclear deal will trigger harsh sanctions… There are many possible courses of action against Iran. Yet the free world—led by the U.S.—has yet to take the first and most important step: declaring that it cannot abide an Iranian empire from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.” [WSJ]

PREET REPLACEMENT: “Trump May Nominate a Giuliani Law Partner as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan” by Alan Feuer: “The Trump administration is considering naming Geoffrey S. Berman, a law partner of the former New York City mayor and ally of the president — Rudolph W. Giuliani, to assume the powerful position of United States attorney in Manhattan… Mr. Berman emerged as the White House’s top choice for the job in a “proposed nominee” document that has been circulating between New York’s two Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, for their approval.” [NYTimesBuzzFeed

FOGGY BOTTOM APPOINTMENT: “Veteran Diplomat David Satterfield Named New State Department Middle East Director” by Amir Tibon: “David Satterfield, a veteran American diplomat who has served in a number of key Middle East postings, will become the new acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs starting September… Satterfield has also dealt extensively with Israeli-Arab relations over the years, most recently in 2009 when he was appointed to be director general of the multi-national force in the Sinai, which helps maintain the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. After that role, he returned to the State Department in 2014 to be a special adviser on Libya… Satterfield will replace Stu Jones, another veteran diplomat who has worked extensively on the Middle East.” [Haaretz

TOP-OP: “Israel Boycott Backlash: ‘This Is Not the DSA I Founded’” by Ronald Radosh: “By signing on to BDS and joining a movement that’s swept college campuses here, DSA is embracing the agenda of the far left in Europe. It is taking the same approach toward Israel as Jeremy Corbyn is taking in Britain’s Labour Party… Were the Democratic Party to follow Corbyn’s lead, it risks becoming as weak and isolated as Labour is poised to become in Britain… Turning against Israel is also a major departure from where the founders of the DSA stood. Both Michael Harrington and Irving Howe were critical of aspects of Israeli policy, and friendly to the old socialist leadership of Israel’s earliest years. Yet they unreservedly supported the existence of the state of Israel, and favored a two-state solution. I suspect that Howe and Harrington, its founding intellectuals, as the saying goes, are turning over in their graves.” [DailyBeast]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Mexichem to take over Israeli irrigation firm Netafim in $1.5 billion deal [Reuters] • Africa-Israel sale in trouble [Globes] • Ackman’s Pershing Square Nominates Three to ADP’s Board [WSJ] • Struggling to Survive, Congregations Look to Sell Houses of Worship [NYTimes] • Israeli company teaches tourists terror defense [CNN] • Israel’s Oryx Vision raises $50 million to develop new lidar for autonomous vehicles [VentureBeat]

STARTUP NATION: “CommonSense Robotics pulls in $6 mln seed” by Iris Dorbian: “CommonSense Robotics, a leader in on-demand fulfillment technology, announced [yesterday] that it has raised $6 million in seed funding from Aleph VC and Innovation Endeavors… CommonSense Robotics merges the convenience of online purchasing with the immediacy of in-store shopping, empowering retailers to improve speed in the fulfillment and delivery processes and offer economically sustainable on-demand delivery… Innovation Endeavors has offices in Silicon Valley and Tel-Aviv, and is solely backed by Eric Schmidt.” [PEHubCalcalist]

SPOTLIGHT: “Michael Rothman’s Millennial Dad Site Fatherly Raises $4 Million to Expand Into Video and Events” by Erin Griffith: “The company plans to use the money to expand the scope of its content, launch a podcast, develop original video series, and expand internationally in the next 18 months. The company has created franchises like 940 Weekends, a reference to the number of weekends dads have to spend with their kids between birth and age 18; My Father The…, a series of interviews with children of famous men, and the Father of the Year awards, which it hopes will lead to more events. Michael Rothman, the company’s CEO, says the strategic expertise from UTA and BDMI will be key to accomplishing Fatherly’s goals.” [Fortune• Flashback: ARQ interviewed Rothman last year [ThisIsArq]

“Trump’s Friend Tom Barrack Talks Gary Cohn and Polo in the Hamptons” by Amanda L Gordon: “In the Hamptons on Sundayevening, Tom Barrack… weighed in on Gary Cohn’s prospects to run the Federal Reserve. “Will he get it? Absolutely, if he wanted it, he will absolutely have it,” Barrack said at a polo match and asado benefiting the Robin Hood Foundation. “Honestly, he’s certainly capable and qualified for that job. But I think there’s other things that he can do that are even more important.”[Bloomberg

“Tim Kaine hitting Hamptons for re-election fundraising” by Richard Johnson: “The Virginia Democrat will press the flesh on Aug. 20 at the Bridgehampton home of Lizzie and Jon Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels and co-owner of the NY Giants. Co-hosts for former vice-presidential hopeful Kaine’s cocktail reception will include Liz Robbins and Doug Johnson, Ophelia and Bill Rudin, and Tracy and Jay Snyder.” [NYPost]

“Peter Thiel Has Been Hedging His Bet On Donald Trump” by Ryan Mac: “At one event with friends in January 2017, Thiel said of Trump’s presidency that “there is a 50% chance this whole thing ends in disaster,” according to two people who were in attendance. In other conversations, he questioned the president’s ability to be reelected… At an event in May in San Francisco, he was described by one guest who was in attendance as “annoyed” with the first months of Trump’s presidency. With little policy being established by the White House, Thiel worried that the the next four years would be defined by stagnation.” [BuzzFeed]

TALK OF THIS TOWN: “Stephen Miller blasted a reporter as ‘cosmopolitan.’ But he lives in a $1 million CityCenter condo” by Emily Heil: “Miller bought the two-bedroom CityCenter condo in 2014 for $973,000, according to property records. The unit comes with a hefty condo fee of nearly $1,800 a month. At the time, he was a 28-year-old Senate staffer with a $129,000 salary — not too shabby for a public servant… The buyer for the property is listed as “Stephen Miller Cordary, Inc.,” a company whose address is the same as that of Cordary Inc., the Los Angeles-based real estate company that his father, Michael Miller, owns.” [WashPost

“The Real History of American Immigration” by Joshua Zeitz: “Even the most model of “model minority” groups—Eastern European Jews who arrived in the United States between the 1880s and early 1920s—were principally engaged in the unskilled needle trades or as small business owners. Stereotypes notwithstanding, in the 1940s just 24 percent of Jewish men in New York—first and second generation, alike—claimed a college- or graduate-level education. In 1957, that figure climbed to 28.5 percent, and, by 1970, it was 36.4 percent… While 75 percent of Jewish men in that decade qualified as “white collar,” most were small business owners; only 14 percent worked in licensed professions like law, medicine or insurance.” [Politico]

“Allen Ginsberg Was Once a Bob Dylan Bootleg Taper” by Andy Cush: “The [Allen] Ginsberg tapes evidently came from the Stanford University library’s department of special collections… Though the library has digitized over 2,000 recordings from the Ginsberg papers, the [Bob] Dylan shows still aren’t officially available online–until last week, you had to physically travel to the library to hear them. The new YouTube videos mark the first time the tapes have become available for the wide listening public. Keith Gubitz, the California-based Dylan collector who uploaded the videos… told SPIN that word about Ginsberg tapes began circulating online amongst a community of fellow Dylan enthusiasts in July, but he’s not sure exactly how they made it out from Stanford’s listening room.” [SPIN

SPORTS BLINK: “Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, joins Nashville’s MLS ownership group” by Joey Garrison: “Mark Wilf, his brother Zygi, and cousin Leonard, in their 13th season as majority owners and of the Minnesota Vikings, have signed on as a minority owner of Nashville Soccer Holdings, the business enterprise led by billionaire Nashville businessman John Ingram. Though terms of the arrangement, including financial details, are not being disclosed, Ingram will remain the lead owner of Nashville’s MLS expansion team.” [TennesseanESPN]

BIRTHDAYS: US Ambassador to Israel since May 15, 2017, previously a NYC-based bankruptcy attorney whose clients included Donald Trump, Ambassador David Melech Friedman turns 59… Professor Emerita at the Graduate School of the City University of New York and mother of Bill Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb turns 95… Actor and director, with a career in film, television, and theatre, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1980 for Kramer vs. Kramer and in 1989 for Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman turns 80… Dutch diplomat and politician, he served at the Dutch mission to the UN (1970-1977), then a member of the Dutch House of Representatives (1982-2006) including the last four years as Speaker, Frans Weisglas turns 71… Vancouver, Washington resident, Juliana E. Miles Bagherpour turns 60… CEO of BusinessGhost, a ghostwriting firm that has written and published 550 books, including 18 national best sellers, he has completed more than a dozen triathlons since 2002, Michael Graubart Levin turns 59… Attorney and White House aide who served as Chief of Staff to both VP Al Gore (1995-1999) and VP Joe Biden (2009-2011), in 2014-2015 he served as Ebola “Czar,” Ron Klain turns 56… Film director whose works include 9 Disney films, Jon Turteltaub turns 54… Founder in 1994 and CEO ever since of DC-based Connections Media, Jonah Seiger turns 46… Orthodox Jewish blogger (Torahmusings) who serves as the book editor and a member of the the editorial committee of the Orthodox Union’s “Jewish Action” magazine, Rabbi Gil Ofer Student turns 45… MLB pitcher since 2005, he attended Yale University and majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, he pitched during the qualifying round for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Craig Breslow turns 37… Peoria, Illinois native, now at West End Strategy Team, Sarah Garfinkel turns 28… Campaign coordinator at Los Angeles-based fundraising firm Omaze, Morgan Furlong turns 25… Internet celebrity and fitness model, Jennifer Leigh “Jen” Selter turns 24… Skokie, Illinois native, now an Associate Director at AIPAC’s Chicago office, Zachary Pellish… Jack Baum… Rob Schwartz… Elizabeth Gordon

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New book by former Bush 43 aide and Jewish liaison Tevi Troy

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dallas News reports on a new book on 200 years of popular culture in the White House written by former George W. Bush aide Tevi Troy. To be blunt,…

Nachama Soloveichik to launch new super PAC

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Politico reports that Nachama Soloveichik, a former senior aide to Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and a onetime spokesperson for the conservative Club for Growth, will be launching a…

Atlantic Magazine: Casino Jack’s New Game

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mariah Blake of The Atlantic Magazine profiles Jack Abramoff. Jack Abramoff, the infamous lobbyist, was slumped over a table in a dimly lit Clear Channel studio on a recent Sunday…

An Israeli lollipop that helps you lose weight

Thursday, March 21, 2013

“Willy Wonka may have the secret recipe for the Everlasting Gobstopper, but it’s an Israeli candy company that is taking the confectionery and health food world by storm…

NYTIMES: Jailed Unjustly in the Death of a Rabbi, Man Nears Freedom

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On today’s front page, the NYTimes reports that a Brooklyn prosecutor plans to seek freedom of man convicted in 1990 killing of Rabbi.

Orthodox Jewish groups endorse Christie in Lakewood

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 reports Governor Christie visited Lakewood Tuesday to accept the endorsement of the town’s elected leadership and the Orthodox Jewish community, after he held a town hall-style meeting at…