Daily Kickoff: President In-Law Kushner | GOP Sen. Corker says Trump will keep Iran deal | How David Mitzner made it in America | Klezmer in Mexico

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PRESIDENT IN-LAW (as dubbed by NYMag): “Jared Kushner, a Trump In-Law and Adviser, Chases a Chinese Deal” by Susanne Craig, Jo Becker and Jesse Drucker: “Mr. Trump has said that his son-in-law, an Orthodox Jew, will play a central role in dealings with Israel, describing him as so talented that he could help “do peace in the Middle East.” Mr. Kushner’s company has received multiple loans from Israel’s largest bank, Bank Hapoalim. The incoming Trump administration will inherit a Justice Department investigation into allegations that the bank helped wealthy Americans evade taxes… Indeed, despite a lack of foreign policy experience, Mr. Kushner is emerging as an important figure at a crucial moment for some of America’s most complicated diplomatic relationships. Such is his influence in the geopolitical realm that transition officials have told the Obama White House that foreign policy matters that need to be brought to Mr. Trump’s attention should be relayed through his son-in-law.”

“So when the Chinese ambassador to the United States called the White House in early December to express what one official called China’s “deep displeasure” at Mr. Trump’s break with longstanding diplomatic tradition by speaking by phone with the president of Taiwan, the White House did not call the president-elect’s national security team. Instead, it relayed that information through Mr. Kushner.” [NYTimes

“Boris Johnson meets with top Trump advisers” by Reena Flores: “British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson… met Sunday afternoon with top advisers to President-elect Donald Trump, including Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner… The meeting lasted over 90 minutes.” [CBSNews• Ivanka Trump Met with Jordan’s Queen Rania in Trump Tower [VanityFair

LongRead: “The Young Trump” by Andrew Rice: “If the campaign estranged Kushner from the privileged world he once inhabited, the election represented a conclusive break. Some of the same Manhattan liberals who ostracized him during the campaign were rattled afterward, and they sent him emails, trying to offer healing words of congratulations and conciliation. These went right in the trash. Kushner is in no mood to offer comfort — not to this town. He’s going to Washington.”

“During the campaign, Trump hired and fired many aides, but Kushner was frequently the last person he consulted before making major decisions. He so far has no official White House title, and he may never have one. But it will scarcely matter if Kushner has a formal job, so long as he maintains his position within the family. “There were three campaign managers,” says a political consultant who knows Kushner. “There was only one son-in-law.””

Other Highlights — LeFrak defends Bannon hiring: “When critics question Trump’s relationships with people like Bannon, the purported Svengali of the alt-right, Jared and Ivanka, who converted to Judaism, note that Trump wore a yarmulke at their wedding and has Jewish grandchildren. “Donald hired somebody who’s an anti-Semite, even though his son-in-law is a practicing Orthodox Jew?” developer Richard LeFrak, one of Trump’s few close friends in New York real estate, said incredulously. “A lot of his best friends are Jewish! Come on, really. What does this all stem from, this hysteria?”

“Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of the advertising conglomerate WPP and a friend of Kushner’s, recalls running into him one Saturday morning on Park Avenue as he was walking with his children to synagogue. “This was way before the election, even before the nominating process,” Sorrell says. “He said with great conviction that he thought his father-in-law would win, and at that stage there were very few people who thought that would be the case.” After the election, Sorrell ran into Kushner and Ivanka at a party and the adman told him, “Mazel tov.”” [NYMag] • See the cover [Pic

“Kushner, considering White House role, eyes business exit” by Jonathan Lemire and Julie Pace: “Mr. Kushner is committed to complying with federal ethics laws and we have been consulting with the Office of Government Ethics regarding the steps he would take,” said Jamie Gorelick, a partner at the law firm of WilmerHale, in a statement. “Although plans are not finalized, Mr. Kushner would resign from his position at Kushner Companies and divest substantial assets in accordance with federal guidelines.” [AP; Bloomberg]

Mike Allen reports: Kushner will be named “senior adviser,” and is already seeking applicants for his own staff. [Axios]

TERROR IN JERUSALEM: “Suspect may have supported ISIS, Netanyahu says” by Amy La Porte, Oren Liebermann and Michael Schwartz: “Speaking from the scene of the attack, on a promenade overlooking the walled Old City of Jerusalem, Netanyahu said authorities have identified the terrorist and “all signs show he is a supporter of the Islamic State. We know there is a sequence of terror attacks and it’s quite possible that there is a connection between them, from France, Berlin and now Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. Israel will now consider using administrative detention against suspected ISIS sympathizers and supporters, according to an official familiar with the decision.” [CNN• Jerusalem terrorist reportedly angered by plan to move US Embassy [ToI]

“United States Condemns Jerusalem Truck-ramming Attack” by Amir Tibon: “The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s horrific terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” a statement issued by the White House said. “Such cowardly acts can never be justified, and we call on all to send a clear and unequivocal message that terrorism must never be tolerated.” … On Capitol Hill, a number of leading senators spoke out in the hours after the ramming attack to express support for Israel and condemn the deadly violence in Jerusalem…” [Haaretz]

“Why didn’t Obama punish Palestinian incitement?” by David Suissa: “As I heard the horrific news Sunday… I thought about President Obama’s recent decision to not veto UNSC resolution 2334… Obama’s great sin is not that he gave Israel a hard time, but that he failed to do the same with the Palestinians. When he had a chance to make his defining statement on the conflict, he didn’t demand that Palestinians accept Israel’s offer to negotiate without preconditions, nor did he punish Palestinian leaders for promoting Jew-hatred and inciting their people by denying any Jewish connection to Jerusalem.” [JewishJournal]

“Addressing Concerns about Kerry and the U.N. Vote” by Steve Sheffey:“The Resolution is anti-settlements, but unless one equates settlements with the State of Israel, it is not anti-Israel… It undermines the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, which seeks the elimination of all of Israel, by distinguishing between the settlements and Israel.” [Medium]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR: “Netanyahu tried to negotiate good press in return for benefits-media” by Maayan Lubell: “Channel Two television said the right-wing leader had offered to limit the circulation of Israel Hayom, a free, pro-Netanyahu daily owned and published by U.S. billionaire and Republican party donor Sheldon Adelson, if Mozes’ Yedioth Ahronoth gave the prime minister more favorable coverage.” [Reuters; Haaretz

“Netanyahu Caught on Tape Negotiating Mutual Benefits With Businessman” by Gidi Weitz, Barak Ravid and Uri Blau: “Channel 10’s Raviv Drucker reported that Netanyahu had asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to assist Milchan with his visa problems. Milchan reportedly sought a 10-year visa to the United States, and Netanyahu’s intervention apparently worked, Channel 10 reported.” [Haaretz

“Meet Arnon Milchan, the Hollywood producer at the center of Netanyahu probe” by Ryan Faughnder, Jeffrey Fleishman and Batsheva Sobelman: “The latest chapter in the strange saga of Israeli billionaire and veteran film producer Arnon Milchan arose this week over accusations that he — in typical Hollywood mogul fashion — gave thousands of dollars worth of cigars and champagne to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife… Milchan, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment… Milchan has used his clout and film connections to help shape Israel’s image around the world.” [LATimes

IRAN DEAL: “Top GOP Senator: Trump administration won’t toss Iran deal” by Patricia Zengerle: “To tear it up on the front end, in my opinion, is not going to happen. Instead, we will begin to radically enforce it,” Senator Bob Corker told reporters on Friday at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “To me the prudent course of action is to make sure you enforce it, that you hold the UN Security Council accountable,” Corker said. “And in the event the agreement falls apart, it’s someone else that is causing it to fall apart, not a president coming in on day one and ripping up the agreement.”” [Reuters]

ON THE HILL: “Pro-Israel Push Stalls in Senate on Republican Infighting” by Jenna Lifhits: “Top officials from pro-Israel groups told TWS that Tennessee senator Bob Corker is endangering movement of the measure by pursuing changes that would likely drive away Democratic support. These efforts, described by one source as “poison pill” provisions, would make the Senate measure irrelevant by delaying it until after an upcoming international conference that may set up further U.N. action against Israel, officials said. Corker, the chair of the influential Foreign Relations Committee, told TWS the current measure is too weak to be effective… A senior official at Christians United for Israel, the largest pro-Israel lobby in the United States, told TWS that the organization will announce a full-scale push in support of the Senate measure next week.” [TWS

“As Paris peace summit nears, Israel makes ‘big efforts’ to prevent another UN resolution” by Herb Keinon: “The House resolution represents only one track in efforts “that we are making in order to prevent bad resolutions against Israel at the UN,” Netanyahu said. “I am also telling you that we will work — as it says in the House resolution — either to repel the resolution in the UN Security Council, or to change it in a manner so that it does not harm Israel.”” [JPost

“James Baker Defends Obama’s Move at UN” by Jacob Kornbluh: “It was former Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel who said Israel needs to make the tough decisions if it wants to avoid becoming an apartheid state,” Baker said in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday. “And so that’s why I think it was appropriate in this instance for the United States to abstain.” The former Secretary of State also expressed disapproval of Trump’s opposition to the UN vote and his plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “The President-elect has said he would like to be the president that solves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And let’s hope he can do that,” Baker said. “But you can’t think you can succeed at that if you are, in effect, so biased one way or the other. You cannot be Israel’s lawyer and expect to solve the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.” [JewishInsider

DRIVING THE WEEK: “As a general, Mattis urged action against Iran. As a defense secretary, he may be a voice of caution” by Greg Jaffe and Adam Entous: “Israeli leaders were sending mixed messages to Obama and his top advisers about how far they were willing to go to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak briefed his Pentagon counterparts on secret plans to launch a commando-style raid on Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear site. Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, in turn, privately told the Americans that the Israelis could not act against Iran alone. The White House was never certain whom to believe.”

“Mattis’s job at Central Command was to be prepared if Israel triggered a war and to signal to the Iranians that the outcome of any wider conflict with the United States would be devastating for them. It was a responsibility Mattis took seriously, sometimes too seriously… Soon after Mattis was tapped to lead U.S. forces in the Middle East in August 2010, Obama asked the general to spell out his top priorities. Mattis replied that he had three: “Number one Iran. Number two Iran. Number three Iran.” … In time, however, as secret talks with Iran got underway in summer 2012, some White House officials began to see Mattis as a potential liability.” [WashPost] • Mattis, Trump team clashed over Pentagon appointment [CNN]

TRANSITION TOWER: “Marvel executive set to join Trump’s veterans affairs staff” by Claire Atkinson: “Marvel Entertainment billionaire Ike Perlmutter is set to become a key aide on veterans affairs in the Trump administration, sources told On the Money… Perlmutter had a big meeting with the CEOs of university-associated hospitals last week, according to sources. His wife, Laura, is on the presidential inaugural committee.” [NYPost

“Trump and Iran: Yet Another Hostage Crisis” by Robin Wright: “Short of last-minute diplomacy, Donald Trump will inherit another hostage crisis with Iran on Inauguration Day-thirty-five years after the first hostage drama at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran ended… The Islamic Republic has quietly arrested more Americans since the nuclear deal went into effect, in January, 2016, which coincided with a separate U.S. payment of $1.7 billion, transferred in three planeloads of cash, to settle a legal case from the Shah’s era… At least six Americans and two green-card holders are now imprisoned or have disappeared in the Islamic Republic. One is now the longest-held civilian hostage in U.S. history.” [NewYorker

“How Trump Can Tame the U.N.” by Taylor Dinerman: “Mr. Trump could easily follow this precedent and instruct U.N. Ambassador-designate Nikki Haley to veto the renewal of all current peacekeeping operations. That would save the U.S. Treasury some of the roughly $2 billion a year it pays in assessed dues for the peacekeeping budget… Aggressive use of the veto would not only save the Treasury money; it would annoy the international bureaucrats to no end.” [WSJ

“Modern Language Association Moves to Reject Academic Boycott of Israel” by Jennifer Schuessler: “After two hours of contentious debate and procedural jockeying at its annual meeting here, the group’s delegate assembly voted 113 to 79 against a resolution endorsing a boycott… Instead, the delegate council voted 101 to 93 to support a parallel measure urging the association to “refrain from endorsing the boycott” on the grounds that it runs counter to the group’s mission of promoting teaching, research and scholarly exchange. The anti-boycott measure will be submitted to the group’s nearly 24,000 members after review by its executive council.” [NYTimes

** 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 **

SPOTLIGHT: “The Holocaust Survivor Who Built Houston’s Hot New Hotel For Super Bowl LI” by Christopher Helman: “David Mitzner survived the Warsaw ghetto and 8 years in the Soviet gulag before coming to America in 1949 and making his fortune, first in fishnet stockings, then real estate. He died in September, at age 101, just a few months before completion of his final project — the new $350 million, 1,000-room Marriott Marquis. When the NFL rolls into Houston for Super Bowl LI, Commissioner Roger Goodell will take up residence at the new joint… Mitzner had made a sober return to Poland… Partnering with Apollo, he got in early, buying up $900 million of real estate there. Mitzner’s good timing helped revitalize Warsaw, and in 2006, landed him on the front page of the Wall Street Journal at age 90. But he wasn’t investing out of nostalgic nationalism, and started selling Polish holdings while others were still piling in.” [Forbes

“How the Uber of health insurance is dealing with high costs, an Obamacare repeal, and a fraternal bond to Trump’s son-in-law” by Steven Levy: “That’s why there’s been considerable interest in the possible effect of the relationship between Charles Kushner’s two sons, one of whom co-founded a health care company and one of whom has the ear of the man who will ultimately decide what happens to American health care. Jared Kushner will not only probably be in the room where this decision happens, but he also may well be the most knowledgable person on the subject — with that knowledge gained through discussions with his brother. In fact, in Oscar’s early days, Jared Kushner, in addition to Josh, was listed as a “controlling person” in regulatory filings.”

“A White House connection, of course, was never part of Oscar’s plan, and the company certainly doesn’t use it as a talking point. When pushed, Joel Klein portrays the fraternal drama as a non-issue. “We will follow all of the rules,” he says. He admits that this unique situation might be so hazy as to preclude bright boundaries, but is nonetheless certain that the Kushner distraction is non-material to Oscar’s fate—rather, he characterizes it as an “amusing media story.” “What happens on health care is going to happen,” Klein says.” [BackChannel]

MEDIA WATCH: “Facebook Hires Campbell Brown to Lead News Partnerships Team” by Jim Rutenberg and Mike Isaac: “In the role, Ms. Brown will “help news organizations and journalists work more closely and more effectively with Facebook,” she wrote on her Facebook page on Friday afternoon… She will work as a liaison with news organizations so that Facebook can better meet their journalistic and business imperatives and lessen some of their suspicion about the social media giant… She is married to Dan Senor, a Republican foreign policy adviser and former White House adviser, who is making his own media foray with a bid to buy the Israeli financial newspaper Globes.” [NYTimes• Facebook’s New Head Of News Has Close Ties To Conservative Politics [BuzzFeed

“Ari Fleischer: I Was Nearly a Ft. Lauderdale Airport Victim” by Adam Weinstein: “Fleischer was in that Delta terminal, Terminal 2, where the shooting happened. “I had just stepped off my flight from New York and was going to head down the escalator to the baggage claim, but had to make a pit stop,” he said. “Thank God I had to make a pit stop.” Fleischer and several others had been in a restroom upstairs when the shooting happened… “I saw blood on the concrete” downstairs, Fleischer said; one of the shooting victims had fallen just outside the terminal entrance, he surmised.” [DailyBeast]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Yes, That’s Jewish Folk Music You’re Hearing—in Mexico” by Robbie Whelan:“Mr. Pérez wears a long beard and dresses in the costume of a Hasidic Jew, complete with a wide-brimmed black hat, high-collared white dress shirt and a black cardigan… His band, El Colectivo Klezmorino, a rotating cast of friends and conservatory dropouts toting violins, a bass, percussion, brass and other instruments, all of whom he recruited and trained, is devoted exclusively to playing klezmer, the raucous, up-tempo Jewish folk music common to weddings and bar mitzvahs in the Yiddish-speaking shtetls of Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. Mr. Pérez, 28 years old, isn’t Jewish, and neither is anyone else in the band.” [WSJ]

“Notes on the Upper Muddle” by Lucinda Rosenfeld: “The town I grew up in was made up of what was once known as White Ethnics (Irish-, Italian- and Jewish Americans), and pretty much everyone I knew was middle class… That all changed when, in the mid-’80s, I began attending a private high school in a nearby town, with the help of financial aid…. Not that reproducing one’s social access and class advantage is an oft-stated goal by those who send their children to such places. Instead, one tends to hear about the “small class sizes” or “amazing theater program.” But these perks constitute only half the equation. The other half goes unmentioned. For if there’s one taboo subject left in the United States, it may be the existence of a class system as closed and inflexible as the one my husband left across the Atlantic.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Former contestant on the third season of NBC’s “The Voice,”  now a contributing writer at The New Yorker, writer of many articles on Syria, Ben Taub turns 26… Romance novelist, with eight books that have been turned into mini-series, Judith Krantz turns 89… Law professor at Georgetown University, high-ranking HHS official during the Clinton Administration, a founder of New Israel Fund and board member of Americans for Peace Now, Peter Edelman turns 79… Swiss politician, member of the Swiss Federal Council (1993-2002), President of the Swiss Confederation in 1999, the first woman to ever hold this position, Ruth Dreifuss turns 77… Rabbi Emeritus of Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kansas, Herbert Jay Mandl turns 72… Vice Chairman of the private equity firm Gilbert Global Equity Partners, long-time executive at investment banks Schroder & Co. and its predecessor firm, Wertheim & Co., Steven Kotler turns 70…

Presidential historian, spokesman for the 9/11 Commission, visiting fellow or lecturer at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, GW, and Hopkins universities, Alvin S. Felzenberg turns 68… Composer, singer Yossi Toiv turns 68… Australian author of more than 40 books of children’s and young adult fiction, including a five-book series about a 10-year old Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied Poland, Morris Gleitzman turns 64… Television and film actress, starred in 2014’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” daughter of billionaire Nelson Peltz, Nicola Peltz turns 22… Program Officer at Maimonides Fund, Allison Liebman Rubin… Joel Plasco Madeline Peterson, Associate at Bluelight Strategies…

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




Daily Kickoff: Amb. Dermer to gain West Wing VIP status as US Ambs. Shapiro, Haney forced to step down | Kafe Knesset interview with MK Erel Margalit

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RENEWED VIP: “Trump restores power of Israeli ambassador” by Michael Crowley: “In November 2014, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, was a featured guest at a dinner for graduates of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton school of business. The other honoree that night: Donald J. Trump. For Dermer, it was an extra-special occasion. As the Israeli envoy explained to the crowd at a Washington hotel, according to the text of his prepared remarks, the mogul had been an inspiration for the diplomat. When Trump’s The Art of the Deal was published in 1987, a teenaged Dermer read the cutthroat manifesto and resolved to become an entrepreneur like Trump. The book even convinced him to attend Trump’s alma mater of Wharton. “Mr. Trump,” Dermer said, “the truth is, I wanted to be your apprentice.” Dermer quickly indicated that his quip about Trump’s hit reality show of the same name was lighthearted: “But seriously…” he continued. An Israeli official confirmed the accuracy of the speech text.”

“Now, Dermer is poised to become a VIP in Trump’s West Wing — giving his boss and confidante, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, powerful access to the new White House regime…Dermer… remained quietly neutral during the campaign. But he communicated with Trump’s team through the candidate’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner… “He likely is to become much more influential,” said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the conservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “now that he will be interacting with a more friendly White House, which doesn’t spend its waking moments wondering how to undermine him and his government.” Obama officials would dispute that language. But there’s little doubt that Dermer’s job is about to get easier.” [Politico] Flashback — Video of Dermer’s last interaction with President Obama at the White House in December [YouTube]

“Kerry: Nobody can predict Trump administration’s choices” by Laura Koran and Elise Labott: “Nobody can predict what choices (the Trump) administration is going to make,” Kerry told reporters Thursday. “I don’t know, and I don’t think you know.” … He defended, in particular, the international agreement he helped negotiate to curb Iran’s nuclear program. That agreement, he insisted, “has made the world and our allies safer, including Israel and the Gulf states.” To terminate it would leave the US with the same “bad choices” of accepting a nuclear Iran or getting involved in another Mideast conflict… Despite his tireless efforts to secure a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians early in his tenure, the efforts ultimately floundered. “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues,” he said, “but we are absolutely right to support a two-state solution, and to warn about the danger of actions on any side that could obstruct that possibility.” [CNN] Read Kerry’s full remarks at the State Dept. presser here [State]

NYTimes Revenue Dept: “J Street took out a full-page ad in The New York Times on Wednesday to thank President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for speaking “hard truths” to Israel. J Street called Obama and Kerry “true friends of the state of Israel” and predicted that “history will applaud your courage in addressing the conflict in both practical and moral terms.”” [Hamodia]

“Congress Probes FBI Over Top Obama National Security Advisor’s Security Clearance” by Adam Kredo: “Ben Rhodes… is under scrutiny in the wake of disclosures he was declined interim clearance status by the FBI in 2008… Lawmakers are now concerned that Rhodes’ access to the top levels of government—including its diplomacy with Iran—is inappropriate due to the FBI’s concerns about his past.” [FreeBeacon]

TRANSITION TOWER: “In Break With Precedent, Obama Envoys Are Denied Extensions Past Inauguration Day” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “Trump’s transition staff has issued a blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day, according to several American diplomats familiar with the plan, breaking with decades of precedent by declining to provide even the briefest of grace periods. The mandate — issued “without exceptions,” according to a terse State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, diplomats who saw it said — threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain… A senior Trump transition official said there was no ill will in the move, describing it as a simple matter of ensuring that Mr. Obama’s overseas appointees leave the government on schedule. They are weighing a direct appeal to Rex W. Tillerson, Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, or other top transition officials to reconsider the policy.” [NYTimes]

“In Costa Rica, Ambassador Stafford Fitzgerald Haney is hunting for a house or an apartment as his family — which includes four school-age children and his wife, who has been battling breast cancer — struggles to figure out how to avoid a move back to the United States with five months left in the school year, according to the diplomats.” [NYT]

From Amb. Haney’s bio: “Haney, a black convert to Judaism, was born in Nashville, Tennessee… Haney has served on the council of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and is an active member of Ayecha, a group that provides resources for Jews of color. He lives in Englewood, New Jersey, with his wife, Rabbi Andrea Haney.” [TicoTimes; State]

“US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to resign January 20” by Gary Willig: “Shaprio announced that he will resign his position as the top US diplomat in Israel on January 20… Leslie Tsou, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US embassy in Tel Aviv, will take over at the embassy until the Senate approves Trump’s appointment of David Friedman… Shapiro will be allowed to remain in Israel after he submits his resignation until the end of the school year.” [Arutz7]

John Podhoretz: “Re NYT story: Trump won Nov. 8. Political ambassadors have known for 2 months they’d have to vacate. Absurd to have published this nonsense.” [Twitter]

“Former CIA director James Woolsey quits Trump transition team” by Philip Rucker:“Woolsey’s resignation as a Trump senior adviser comes amid frustrations over the incoming administration’s national security plans and Trump’s public comments undermining the intelligence community. “Effective immediately, Ambassador Woolsey is no longer a Senior Advisor to President-Elect Trump or the Transition. He wishes the President-Elect and his Administration great success in their time in office,” Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for Woolsey, said in a statement… People close to Woolsey said that he had been excluded in recent weeks from discussions on intelligence matters with Trump and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the incoming White House national security adviser. They said that Woolsey had grown increasingly uncomfortable lending his name and credibility to the transition team without being consulted.” [WashPost; CNN]

“Ivanka Trump turns to Goldman Sachs partner for advice” by Annie Karni:“[Dina] Powell, an Egyptian-born, Dallas-raised, fluent Arabic speaker… has become an invaluable resource to Ivanka Trump, who wants to position herself as a national leader on women’s economic empowerment, an issue that allows her to serve as a potential bridge to some liberals and moderates troubled by her father’s election as president… And over the past few weeks, the sources said, Powell has been discussed as a top candidate to advise Ivanka Trump in a more official way.” [Politico]

ON THE HILL: “House of Representatives Officially Disapproves of U.N. Censure of Israel” by Byron Tau: “On a 342 to 80 vote, more than 100 Democrats joined with a nearly unanimous Republican caucus to back the measure — a significant margin that shows the depth of congressional support for the Jewish state… The congressional disapproval, which doesn’t carry the force of law, states that the U.S. “should oppose and veto future United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final status issues, or are one-sided and anti-Israel.” The show of support for Israel in Congress comes amid years of frosty relations between Mr. Obama and the conservative government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” [WSJ; Politico]

— “A visibly angry House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. opened debate on the resolution by saying that the Obama administration “abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most… Do not be fooled,” Ryan said. “This U.N. Security Council resolution … was about one thing and one thing only. Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state. These types of one-sided efforts are designed to isolate and delegitimize Israel. They do not advance peace, they make it more elusive.”” [FoxNews]

Mike Pence: “Great to see strong bipartisan vote in Congress opposing recent UN resolution against our most cherished ally. America stands with Israel.” [Twitter]

“Two-State Solution Divides Congress During House Debate” by Aaron Magid and Jacob Kornbluh: “I can’t vote for the resolution when we are advocating what Joel 3 say will bring judgment down upon our nation for trying to partition Israel. Can’t do it,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said in his opposition to House Resolution 11… From the other side of the aisle, David Cicilline (D-RI) told the House floor, “I am extremely fearful that the two-state solution is, if not dead, in critical condition.” Other Democrats rejected House resolution 11 because the GOP-led Rules Committee refused to allow an amendment to the measure, which would have focused additional attention on the two-state solution instead of assailing the Obama Administration for abstaining at the UNSC vote last month. Rep. David Price (NC) urged his colleagues to vote against the bill and expressed disappointment that Resolution 11 did not include adequate support for a Palestinian state.” [JewishInsider; Haaretz]

DNC WATCH: “Keith Ellison votes against GOP-backed Israel resolution” by David Weigel: “He did not give a floor speech explaining the vote, but in a statement, he said that he had hoped to vote on a compromise resolution but had to oppose a version that looked like a political swipe. “Today Republicans were more interested in attacking President Obama in his last weeks as President,” said Ellison…  Ellison was one of 77 Democrats and three Republicans who opposed the GOP resolution, which was nonbinding, and criticized by some on the right for not going further in its critical language… The Democratic votes came largely from progressives, some of them Jewish, in politically safe seats.” [WashPost]

ADL’s Marvin Nathan and Jonathan Greenblatt: “As we enter a period of one party government, it’s vital for Americans and Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to move forward in unison, building on decades of America’s bipartisan support for its vital ally and sister democracy, Israel.”

“Some Democrats relieved to bid the Obama doctrine farewell” by Michael Wilner: “While they now sit in opposition to a unified Republican government, Democrats critical of Obama’s Mideast policies may find themselves voting alongside their Hill Republican colleagues on a host of policies they now hope will earn the support of incoming president Donald Trump. On matters concerning Israel, they are likely to vote with the majority on a series of measures that Obama supported before his reelection in 2012… Should the incoming Trump administration choose to proceed with legislation targeting Iran for its non-nuclear activities… it will find in this group of Democrats potentially critical support, as 60 Senate votes are required to secure the passage of such bills.” [JPost

“Why Britain’s leader is desperate to work with Trump” by Benny Avni: “British diplomats were instrumental in pushing the UN Security Council resolution that Kerry was defending. So why is their prime minister now dumping on Obama’s top diplomat? It’s all about Brexit, those familiar with the thinking in London tell me. As relations with the continent cool off, they explain, Britain needs to forge a strong alliance with the United States. Kerry is the past. Trump, who has strongly criticized Obama’s diplomatic attack on Israel, is the future. May isn’t looking back.” [NYPost]

“Wiesenthal Center’s Hier defends decision to appear at Trump inauguration” by Eitan Arom: “I’ve done invocations for President [Bill] Clinton, both Bushes, Ronald Reagan,” he said. “I wouldn’t make any exception.” …  Hier dismissed news reports linking his inauguration appearance to $35,000 in donations made to the Simon Wiesenthal Center by the family of Jared Kushner… “They’re longtime supporters of Simon Wiesenthal,” Hier said of the Kushners, whom he considers friends. “It’s got nothing to do [with the inauguration]. They were supporters before Ivanka met Jared.” [JewishJournal]

PROFILE: “Donald Trump’s power broker” by Theodore Schleifer: “Part of the trouble was that despite Tom Barrack‘s place in the firmament of high society, sources said, he offered none of traditional fundraising relationships that Trump desperately needed. He knew nothing of the network assembled by Charles and David Koch, and though he scored a meeting with Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, he was unable to secure his confidence and a donation to his super PAC. The inauguration grants him something of a path to fundraising redemption. This time, Barrack won a $5 million check from the Adelsons, according to a person familiar with the donation.” [CNN]

2018 WATCH: “Former Bush operative Matthew Dowd mulls challenging Cruz for Senate” by Aby Livingston: “I don’t think Ted served the state well at all,” Dowd said. “He hasn’t been interested in being a U.S. senator from Texas. He’s been interested in national office since the day he got in… I think Ted is vulnerable, but I don’t think Ted’s vulnerable in the Republican primary, and I don’t think Ted is vulnerable to a Democrat in the general,” he said. “I think a Democrat can’t win in the state.” [TXTribune]

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

STARTUP NATION: “The Coolest Israeli Technologies Wowing The Crowds At CES 2017” by Einat Paz-Frankel: “Israeli company Beyond Verbal‘s cutting-edge, artificially intelligent technology deciphers people’s moods, emotional characteristics, and attitudes in real-time. Having already analyzed millions of voice samples from 170 countries, Beyond Verbal’s technology decodes human vocal intonations into their underlying emotions… Israeli startup TytoCare has developed an innovative hand-held instrument, called Tyto, which can detect and classify common diseases such as the flu or ear infections.” [NoCamels]

Michael Granoff tweets us a pic from Las Vegas:“I have no statistics, feels there are more kippot at CES every year.” [Twitter]

SPOTLIGHT: “Mark Zuckerberg shares Facebook’s secrets with all his employees, and almost none of it leaks” by Kurt Wagner: “Sources say Zuckerberg uses these weekly meetings to tell his nearly 16,000 employees details of yet-to-be-released products, like news reader app Paper or Snapchat competitor Slingshot — and M, the AI assistant. He’ll open up about the company’s product strategy, like its push into live video. And Zuckerberg will also share his personal opinions on competitors like Snapchat and Twitter, and even Facebook’s board members. Almost nothing is off limits. And almost nothing leaks to the press, even though Facebook’s entire workforce — including its interns — have access to the meetings.” [Recode]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “This Billionaire’s Plan Could Save Philadelphia Schools” by Laura Goldman: “The co-founder of Susquehanna Investment Group (SIG), Jeff Yass, presented his bold initiative at Philadelphia Magazine’s Thinkfest… “We would give every child in the city of Philadelphia a voucher… everybody $10, 000. You are free to go to any school that you want-a Catholic school, a charter school, a private school… Plus you would get $6000 that you could put in the bank… over 13 years (K-12), you could invest in the stock market, bond market, or whatever; on average you would have $109,000 when you graduated,” suggested the investor.” [HuffPost]

MEDIA WATCH: “Rupert Murdoch Is Turning Fox News Into Trump TV” by Gabriel Sherman: “Murdoch came around to backing Trump (after a détente brokered by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner). Now he seems intent on turning up Fox’s support to a new level.” [NYMag]

“Cheddar Teams Up With ‘Vanity Fair’ & Conde Nast For New Show” by Amy Mackelden: “This is an exciting collaboration for Bustle board member Jon Steinberg’s startup Cheddar, which has already been dubbed the “CNBC for Millennials.” The new series will premiere on Feb. 19, 2017, and will broadcast from the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange… According to the official press release, “VF Hive on Cheddar” will focus on the most important events in “business, politics, and technology.” The series will be available across a number of platforms, including on Cheddar and Vanity Fair’s Facebook Live, on Sling TV and Amazon.” [Bustle]

CAMPUS BEAT: “Martha Minow to Step Down as Dean From Harvard Law” by Casey Sullivan: “Through a spokeswoman, Minow, 62, released a statement on why she is stepping down: “I intended to serve five years; I’ve been Dean for eight. Following one of our strongest years ever in terms of admissions and the strongest ever for fundraising, it seemed a great moment to turn over the reins as we look to the Law School’s bicentennial year ahead.” … Minow will remain on the faculty as a professor, the school said in its announcement.” [BOL]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Painter Lisa Singer’s stormy weather at the Aspen JCC” by Andrew Travers: “More than 20 of her new paintings are now on view at the Aspen Jewish Community Center on Main Street in a show running through Feb. 26… These paintings are textured and atmospheric. They’re filled with Singer’s personal symbols of safety and hope, various shelters from the storm. There are sailboats battling rocky seas. There is a barn offering refuge on a rain-darkened plain… “That’s what interests me: finding and experiencing the centeredness and the solidness and the sense of hope within the tumult,” Singer said.” [AspenTimes]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Text to Text: Comparing Jewish Refugees of the 1930s With Syrian Refugees Today” by Laura Tavares: “Safety was also a concern. Jews were associated with a variety of acts and ideas that were seen as un-American, [Peter] Shulman said, including Communism and violence. That caused Jewish refugees to be “extraordinarily, excruciatingly vetted,” said Marion Kaplan, a professor in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University. “The State Department worried that among the Jewish refugees there would be Nazi spies,” she said. “There was hysteria about fifth columnists coming in with the refugees.”” [NYTimes]

KAFE KNESSET — Interview with MK Erel Margalit — by Tal Shalev: Yesterday, a few hours before the police arrived at the Prime Minister’s residence for a second interrogation within a week, the biggest petition in Israel’s history was submitted to the Supreme Court, demanding to investigate Netanyahu’s ship and submarine dealings, and his connection to the German company thyssenKrupp, as well as his relationship with French convicted fraudster Arnaud Mimran. The petition was initiated by Zionist union MK Erel Margalit, and Labor party activist Eldad Yaniv, and they gathered more than 19,000 signatures to support their demand. This morning, the Knesset guard ordered to step up security protection around Margalit, following an escalation in social media threats, mainly surrounding Margalit’s clear-cut objection to granting a pardon to convicted soldier Elor Azaria earlier this week.

Kafe Knesset: Netanyahu’s supporters claim this investigation is not about justice but about toppling his rule, shouldn’t that be done through the ballot?

Margalit: “Look, when it was about Netanyahu’s house, or porch, or ice cream, I said nothing, I started talking about this when two things occurred– first, about 8 months ago, when I found out his lawyers and him are involved with the European crook, Mimran, and I asked myself – what the hell is going on here? Then, regarding the vessels deal, I am a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and I was asking questions quietly during our sessions about the ship deals and why the tenders were canceled and directed to Germany, but it was behind closed doors and I didn’t have any suspicion of Netanyahu’s involvement in the manner. But when media reports came out about Shimron’s connections to ThyssenKrupp – that Netanyahu’s personal attorney and one of his closest associates is doing the work for the company – things started to look suspicious. Then I found out that one of the owners of the company is the Lebanese defense minister, which according to reports meets with Rouhani and Nasrallah. I think these are the big issues that need to be on the table. We deserve to get answers to these questions.” Read the entire interview with Margalit [JewishInsider]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Professor of Chemistry (now Emeritus) at The University of Chicago since 1957, member of the Board of Governors at Tel Aviv University, Stuart A. Rice turns 85… Canadian businessman, investor, author and philanthropist, Seymour Schulich turns 77… Billionaire, philanthropist and co-founder of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts Henry R. Kravis turns 73… Start-Up Nation Central alum, former Fulbright Scholar in Uganda, Anna Phillips… President and editor in chief of Rewire (once known as RH Reality Check), previously Director of Advocacy at American Jewish World Service, Jodi Lynn Jacobson… Founder of Pure California Beverages, past president of American Technion Society’s Western Region, Advisory Board Member of Spinal Singularity, Sarah Beth Rena Conner… Jonah Kaplan… Daniel Slatopolsky… Mel S. Coben

Co-founder and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, current owner of Men’s Journal and Us Weekly magazines, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jann Wenner turns 71… Physician, US Senator from Kentucky since 2011, son of Congressman Ron Paul and presidential candidate in 2016, Rand Paul turns 54… Jeremy Ragent… Ezra Kest… Ari Mittleman… Television, film, stage actor and comedian, Larry Storch turns 94… Moscow-born classical pianist, living in the US since 1987, Vladimir Feltsman turns 65… Lobbyist, attorney, patron of contemporary art and philanthropist, Heather Miller Podesta

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




Daily Kickoff: A month after honoring Kerry, Saban says he’s ‘deeply disturbed’ by Admin’s actions on Israel | How ‘Elites’ became a nasty epithet

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TOP TALKER: “Haim Saban Says He’s ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by Obama Administration’s Recent Actions on Israel” by Ted Johnson: “Saban, through his publicist, issued a statement, saying that “as a longstanding Democrat who has supported and defended President Obama on his treatment of Israel throughout his presidency, I am deeply disturbed by the Administration’s decision not to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and Secretary Kerry’s subsequent one-sided speech.” “These actions undermine our country’s long-standing support for Israel and harm any long-term prospects for peace, which is in our national interest,” he added.” [Variety]

“Month after awarding Kerry, Haim Saban repudiates him over Israel actions” by Michael Wilner: “Saban’s condemnation of Kerry comes shortly after he hosted the secretary at his annual forum held by the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Thank you so much for all you’ve done,” Saban said, presenting Kerry with a large inscribed award.” [JPost]

“Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s exit memo is filled with policies that Trump could undo” by Carol Morello: “He also shows his frustration that Israelis and Palestinians never resumed peace talks, which Kerry spent nine months trying to make happen. “I sincerely hope for the future of both Israelis and Palestinians alike that their leaders will make the difficult choices necessary to advance the prospects for peace,” he said. Kerry describes the security relationship between the United States and Israel “stronger than it has ever been.” There is no reference to the tension over an anti-settlement Security Council resolution passed without a U.S. veto, nor Trump’s promise “things will be different” after he is sworn in… He defends the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump called a “disaster” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.” Kerry argues that with the deal, “we took a major security threat off the table without firing a single shot.”” [WashPost]

HAPPENING TODAY: JohnKerry will hold a press conference at the State Department today at 2pm EST [Livestream]

On The Hill: The House is set to vote on a resolution objecting to the recent UNSC vote against Israel starting at around 12:00 pm est [CSPAN]

MORE DETAILS: “Ivanka Trump’s New Washington Home Once Belonged to a Putin Foe” by  Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “The house was previously owned by a Latvian-born financier with extensive investments in Russia and ties to a Russian opposition leader… Dan K. Rapoport and his wife, Irina… Vladimir Ashurkov, a top aide to Aleksei A. Navalny, a leading Russian opposition leader and critic of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, described Mr. Rapoport as a successful financier in Moscow and an investor in Soho Rooms… He recently relocated from Washington to Kiev, Ukraine, where he manages a private equity fund, Mr. Ashurkov said. It was not clear whether Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner bought the house from the Rapoports or would be renting it from a new owner.” [NYTimes]

“Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s choice of neighborhood narrows the focus on Chabad” by Julie Zauzmer January: “Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who leads TheShul, cited his policy of not discussing any of his conversations with prospective worshipers. “Our shul is a beautiful seven- to ten-minute’s walk from the address of the house they have reportedly rented,” Shemtov said. Norman Eisen… said people who work in politics at a high level, whether Democrats or Republicans, are frequently welcomed at TheShul, where he worships. “They welcome everybody of every political orientation to TheShul. Its what we call a haimish minyan: It’s a comfortable, friendly, intimate minyan,” he said.” [WashPost]

PROFILE: “Jewish Senate Candidate Tests Trump’s Model In Ohio” by JI’s Aaron Magid: “While Ohio GOP Senator Rob Portman tried avoiding the Republican Presidential nominee during his successful 2016 reelection bid, [Josh] Mandel appears to be adopting the opposite strategy of embracing Trump and his rhetoric in the hopes that this too will propel him across the finish line… After repeatedly gushing about Trump’s stances on immigration and terrorism, the Republican Senate candidate noted that he has “not seen any evidence” of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections — a stance in line with Trump’s.” When pressed if there was even one policy issue on which Mandel differed with the President-elect, Mandel would not name a single disagreement. [Herb] Weisberg emphasized that Mandel’s embracing of the next Commander in Chief’s rhetoric could have mixed results. “If Trump is successful as President, Mandel is riding that tiger into the race. If Trump isn’t successful, Mandel is stuck with him,” he noted.” [JewishInsider]

DISPATCH FROM JERUSALEM: “With Israel divided, court convicts soldier in killing of wounded Palestinian assailant” by Ruth Eglash: “Even before the verdict was read, some Israeli leaders, including senior government ministers, called for the soldier to be pardoned. “He should not sit one day in jail. We expect the defense minister to stick to his promises and initiate an immediate amnesty for Azaria,” read a statement from the far-right Jewish Home party, headed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook that he also supported a pardon for Azaria, calling the nation’s soldiers “our sons and daughters.”” [WashPost]

–“A poll by pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom found that around 70 percent of Israelis favor a pardon for Azaria.” [France24]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev: After hours of silence, the Israeli Prime Minister reacted last night to the dramatic verdict in the Elor Azaria trial, convicting the soldier of manslaughter in the shooting of a Palestinian terrorist last March in Hebron. In a short Facebook post, published just a few minutes before the main 8PM news shows, Netanyahu expressed his empathy with the soldier and his family, and called on the public to keep the IDF out of the debate. “I urge all citizens to act responsibly toward the IDF, the officers, and the IDF chief… IDF soldiers are our sons and daughters, and they must remain above all conflict,” Netanyahu wrote, responding to the various curses and statements against the IDF leadership and chief of staff – many of them coming from his own party.

It’s all about the base, as a popular pop song goes. The Azaria affair has turned into a battle over public opinion and specifically over right wing constituents. In sharp contrast to Netanyahu and Bennett, Israel Beitenu leader Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Kulanu head, Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon, are taking a different approach to the pardon issue. Kachlon released a statement last night, declaring a clemency should only be examined after the legal procedures are over, and should depend on the IDF’s position towards the move. Liberman, for his part, is emerging to be the most vocal voice against the pardon demand, and in a series of media interviews this morning he attacked Bennett and other politicians for politically interfering in the court’s decision.

Despite the wide support for Azaria’s clemency, the truth of the matter is that the political system has nothing to do with a potential clemency process. A pardon can be granted by the President or by the IDF itself. President Rivlin emphasized that yesterday in a special statement – clarifying that only the defendant himself can apply for a pardon, and that he will not make any decision until after the sentence in rendered, slated for later this month. Just last month, Rivlin rejected a petition signed by 65 parliament members, requesting a pardon for an Ethiopian man who killed his alleged rapist and abuser, and many in the political system believe he will also reject a pardon in the Azaria affair. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Why Sgt. Elor Azaria is no less a pawn than he is a villain” by Shmuel Rosner: “Early on, the military made a mistake by portraying Elor Azaria as a villain much greater than he really is. Azaria’s supporters were also irresponsible by portraying him as an innocent victim, much more than he really is. The Elor Azaria case – as a legal case – is simple and straightforward: The verdict was not surprising; Azaria’s guilt was proven beyond doubt. The Elor Azaria case – as a political storm and a public debate – is less simple. In this case, Azaria is not a player, he is a pawn.” [JewishJournal]

“Elor Azaria and Israel’s moral core” by David Horovitz:”The very fact that Azaria was tried, painstakingly tried in an unimpeachably credible Israeli court of law, represented reaffirmation of Israel’s determination to preserve its morality — its insistence on preventing our enemies, our terrorist foes, from reducing us to their cynical, murderous depths.” [ToI]

CONFIRMATION TALK: “Rex Tillerson talks tough on Russia in private Capitol Hill meetings” by Josh Rogin: “Next week, former ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson will testify for two consecutive days on every foreign policy issue under the sun. If he says the right things about Russia in public — as he has in private — Democrats likely won’t be able to prevent him from becoming the next secretary of state… “He said, ‘Look, I understand Putin and Russia is a playground bully and they only respect strength and you need to come from a position of strength to them or you are going to have a lot of problems,’” one senior Senate staffer who was not authorized to speak about the private meeting told me, paraphrasing Tillerson’s remarks… Transition sources said that Tillerson has been studying a range of issues in advance of his hearing… He doesn’t have any background, for example, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is learning the history and nuances from scratch. “ [WashPost]

“Asked Wednesday whether he could support Tillerson’s nomination, McCain told reporters, “Sure. There’s also a realistic scenario that pigs fly.”” [HoustonChronicle

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Republicans Are Readying A Push To Defund The United Nations” by Paul McLeod and Lissandra Villa: “The right-wing House Freedom Caucus will meet next Monday to decide between two proposals to bring to the House. One would be to reduce American funding to the UN. The other, more aggressive proposal is to make funding voluntary, thus leaving it to Congress every two years to decide whether to continue contributing to the organization… The Trump transition team told BuzzFeed News there was no comment on whether Trump would support measures to defund the United Nations.” [BuzzFeed

“Bipartisan Support for Rubio/Cardin Resolution Condemning UN” by Aaron Magid and Jacob Kornbluh: “The bill has received the support from over 20 Senators including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) highlightings its broad bipartisan appeal. In a statement on Wednesday, Schumer blasted the outgoing Obama Administration for not following in the path of past administrations – both Democrat and Republican – in “protecting Israel from the vagaries” of the “biased” UN… The resolution also urges the current Administration and future administrations to uphold the practice of vetoing all United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to dictate terms and a timeline for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on unilateral terms.”

— A Republican Congressional staff official told Jewish Insider… that the resolutions to cut the UN’s funding and move the Embassy to Jerusalem will likely require more time and take weeks to months… The Republican staffer noted: “We are not going to see a blanket ban on funding to the entire body. If anything happens in terms of limiting funding to the UN, you would see it to specific agencies or programs and not just US pulling our entire package from the UN.”” [JewishInsider

— “Ten Senate Democrats Break With Obama Over U.N. Censure of Israeli Settlements” by Byron Tau: “Nearly a quarter of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, signed the non-binding resolution introduced Wednesday… Support from U.S. politicians for Israel typically crosses party lines, and members of both parties distanced themselves from the action. “ [WSJ]

INBOX — “US Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced today that he is one of 12 Democrats who are an original co-sponsor of a bipartisan Senate resolution… “UN Resolution 2334 was a one-sided effort targeting the state of Israel that set back efforts to move us closer to a two-state solution and to peace. That’s why I spoke out against this resolution before the Security Council vote in December,” Sen. Booker said.”

Patrick Svitek: “Ted Cruz on U.S. embassy not being in Jerusalem: “It’d be like Israel having their embassy in Detroit.” Asked if he’s comparing Detroit to Tel Aviv, Cruz replied “Not remotely… Detroit’s a lovely city, by the way.” [Twitter

“Bibi’s Revenge at U.N. Risks Israel’s Bid for Security Council Seat” by Colum Lynch and John Hudson: “For the past year, Israel has engaged in an intensive, if quixotic, campaign to secure one of two Security Council seats reserved for Western governments for 2019-20… That effort is now in jeopardy as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Israel, and its supporters in the U.S. Congress threaten to retaliate against the United Nations and governments that supported what they view as a deeply unfair resolution. The move could alienate even potential supporters of an Israeli bid to the Security Council… “They are back to square one,” the Arab diplomat told Foreign Policy.” [FP

“In exit memo, U.S. envoy warns U.N. retreat would be harmful” by Michelle Nichols: “Power also promoted the importance of the United Nations in ensuring the success of the a deal between Iran and key world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. Trump has vowed to scrap the deal. “We must continue to fulfill our own commitments and use U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 … to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will remain exclusively peaceful,” Power said.” [Reuters] • After disparaging United Nations, Trump and new U.N. chief talk [Reuters

TRANSITION TOWER: How Christie’s top aide shook Bridgegate and won over Trump” by Josh Dawsey, Ryan Hutchins and Alex Isenstadt: “Stepien was brought into the Trump campaign in August. It was Jared Kushner, who is from New Jersey and follows the state’s politics closely, who introduced him to other members of the Trump campaign hierarchy… By winter, Kushner was quizzing other members of the Trump team on whether Stepien would make a good fit for the political director job. Kushner and Stepien have something in common: a cool relationship with Christie.” [Politico

“Democrats Gather Ammo Against Treasury Pick Steven Mnuchin” by  Gabriel Rubin: “The liberal group Allied Progress is launching a six-figure television ad campaign in Arizona and Nevada to call on Sens. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) and Dean Heller (R., Nev.) to vote against Mr. Mnuchin’s nomination… Opponents also are poring over records related to OneWest’s activities while Mr. Mnuchin was there, particularly with regard to the legality of its foreclosure practices.” [WSJ]

“How ‘Elites’ Became One of the Nastiest Epithets in American Politics” by Beverly Gage:”Our new president is a private-jet-setting billionaire Ivy League graduate, a real estate tycoon, a TV star and a son of inherited wealth. But he is no longer, by his own calculations, a member of the “elite.” Nor are the men (and the few women) now joining his inner circle — 1-percenters and corporate executives, Harvard and Yale alumni, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and Goldman Sachs bankers. The true elite apparently sits elsewhere, among those who, in Sarah Palin’s notable 2008 formulation, think “that they’re — I guess — better than anyone else.”” [NYTMag]

“Jewish groups tussle over Friedman pick” by Dan Schere: “One of Friedman’s biggest backers in the Jewish community is Mort Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America… Klein said he has called a number of senators in the last week, both Democrats and Republicans, urging them to confirm Friedman. The National Council of Young Israel sent a statement to its members urging them contact their senators and representatives in support of Friedman’s nomination. [NIF’s Daniel] Sokatch said has had conversations with center-right Jews who are opposed to Friedman’s nomination, but will not say so publicly out of fear they will be lumped in with the rest of Friedman’s opponents.” [WashJewishWeek]

DNC WATCH: “Ellison backs banning lobbyist contributions to the DNC” by Brent Griffiths:”The ban began at President Obama’s behest, but was overturned by former chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz during the 2016 presidential race… Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who officially entered the DNC race on Dec. 15, was previously noncommittal on reinstating the ban.” [Politico]

** 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 **
STARTUP NATION: “ProoV: the start-up that test-drives start-ups for the world’s largest companies” by Michael Zeff: “According to ProoV, the big corporations that are already using the platform successfully include Amazon, General Electric, AIG international and NBC’s Comcast. A start-up that wishes to sign up to prooV has to go through a validation process, since the platform is intended only to match mature and fully developed concepts with big enterprises. The platform it not a testing environment for developers of pre-released products.” [JPost] • Flush with funds, Fiverr among Israeli tech firms delaying exits [JPost]

LongRead: “Cyberwar for Sale” by Mattathias Schwartz: “A subscription-based website called Insider Surveillance lists more than a dozen companies selling so-called ethical malware, including Milan-based Hacking Team, the German firms FinFisher and Trovicor and the Israeli company Nice. Compared with conventional arms, surveillance software is subject to few trade controls; a recent attempt by the United States to regulate it under a 41-country pact called the Wassenaar Arrangement failed. “The technology is morally neutral,” says Joel Brenner, a former inspector general of the National Security Agency. “The same program that you use to monitor your babysitter might be used by Bashar Assad or Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to keep track of whomever they don’t like.”” [NYTMag]

“From Hands to Heads to Hearts” by Tom Friedman: “Seidman reminded me of a Talmudic adage: “What comes from the heart, enters the heart.” Which is why even jobs that still have a large technical component will benefit from more heart. I call these STEMpathy jobs — jobs that combine STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills with human empathy, like the doctor who can extract the best diagnosis from IBM’s Watson on cancer and then best relate it to a patient.” [NYTimes]

“How praying every day helped me heal from grief — in synagogues all over the world” by Paula Shoyer: “As a woman, I was never counted as one of the 10 participants by an Orthodox minyan, but I was never ignored. Orthodox rabbis literally ran after me after services to ask who I was and to welcome me… My minyan experiences taught me to value daily prayer… I managed to focus on others while I prayed, and by directing my energy toward others as well as my own pain, the daily experience became meaningful… And once you see the power of one single Jew to make a minyan, you show up. People do not appreciate the minyan until they have to.” [WashPost]

TRANSITION: White House Jewish Liaison Chanan Weissman emails… “In the weekly Sabbath prayer service on Friday night, we recite the words “sof ma’aseh b’machshava t’chilah – meaning, “last in deed; first in thought.” This idea remains top-of-mind as I internalize the reality that tomorrow is my last day serving as the White House liaison to the Jewish community. While this email accounts for a belated note of appreciation – for your friendship, your guidance, your leadership, your support for, and at times principled disagreement with, this Administration – the feeling of gratitude is one that has defined my daily experience since first walking into the halls of this White House not too long ago… it has been the honor of a lifetime to work for President Obama and this Administration on issues of such consequential importance – and to do so with you, the leaders and laypeople that constitute our American Jewish community.”

TALK OF THE TOWN — “De Blasio defends donations from conservatives to his nonprofit” by Jennifer Fermino: “Donald Trump used to donate to Hillary Clinton,” a frustrated de Blasio said on Wednesday. “Come on.” … Among those conservative donors was George Klein of the Park Tower Group, who gave the mayor’s nonprofit $50,000 in March 2015… A month earlier, Klein gave $125,000 to Republican Jeb Bush’s White House campaign, Politico’s analysis found… “People who give to Democratic causes, (it) does not disqualify them . . . from giving to Republicans too,” de Blasio said… “Come on, this is the real world. There’s plenty of people in business who give to both sides.” [NYDN]

“An Interview With The First Hasidic Woman Elected To Public Office In The U.S.” by Raphael Pope-Sussman: What if there’s a conflict between religious and civil law? “So there is a dictum in the Talmud, that’s dina d’malkhuta dina. Which is Aramaic for, “The law of the land is the law.” If something comes to the courtroom, it’s the law of the United States that applies. When two religious Jews have a dispute and they arbitrate in front of the beis din, then the beis din has the authority to make the decision. Because they chose arbitration. But once something comes into a court of law, it’s the law of the country that applies. It’s not even a question.” [Gothamist]

DESSERT: “Historic Designation Sets Stage for a Washington Market District’s Future” by Eugene Meyer: “The scene is now collectively known as the Union Market district, a gentrifying area of Northeast Washington where technology start-ups and an independent movie theater coexist with the old warehouses. At the heart is an indoor space, also called Union Market, with 39 artisanal vendors selling not only food to eat in or take out, but also tableware, kitchen knives and sundries… Many of the original owners were Greek, Italian and Jewish. Now, Chinese, Koreans and immigrants from African countries are also part of the mix.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Former Philadelphia mayor (1992-2000) and Pennsylvania governor (2003-2011), currently a fellow at Brookings and co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Immigration Task Force, Ed Rendell turns 73 (h/t Playbook)… Former Attorney General of the U.K. (2001-2007), now Chair of the European and Asian litigation practice at Debevoise & Plimpton, Lord Peter Goldsmith, turns 67… Chief creative officer of Sinclair Broadcasting’s Circa News, previously editor-in-chief at The Washington Times, John F. Solomon turns 50 (h/t Playbook)… CEO of Legacy Interactive / Legacy Games, founded in 1998, Ariella Lehrer, Ph.D…. Founder and principal of DC-based Mager & Associates, a boutique public policy and advocacy consulting firm, also on the board of Emily’s List, Mimi Mager… Paul Meyer

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Leslie Wexner’s Limited Brands deal in line with new Ohio State apparel contract

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Scarlet and Gray has gone Pink. The recent release of a Victoria’s Secret Pink Ohio State collection has raised questions of how the new Buckeye line fits in…

Wilf brothers work quietly behind the scenes to help Vikings turn things around

Thursday, January 3, 2013

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – For Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, leadership isn’t about doing interviews about the state of the organization. It’s about placing a symbolic…