Daily Kickoff: James Murdoch pledges $1M to ADL | J.K. Rowling on Trump: ‘He actually did bring Mideast together’ | Meet the Miami Marlins’ new owners

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THE TRUMP EFFECT: “James Murdoch Pledges $1 Million to Anti-Defamation League as Trump Protest” by Maggie Haberman: “James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and the son of a frequent ally of President Trump’s, condemned the president’s performance after the violence in Charlottesville, Va… In an email on Thursday… Mr. Murdoch said that he and his wife, Kathryn, plan to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League, urging others to follow suit. “We hardly ever talk about our charitable giving, but in this case I wanted to tell you and encourage you to be generous too. Many of you are supporters of the Anti-Defamation League already — now is a great time to give more,” he wrote.” [NYTimes

“It is all the more notable, however, because of Murdoch’s father’s relationship with the president. Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, speaks with the president several times a week… 21st Century Fox is also the parent company of Fox News, which has been aggressively pro-Trump on its most-watched shows. The younger Murdoch begins his letter by saying he was writing “in a personal capacity, as a concerned citizen and a father,” but he went on to highlight how his business had tried to contribute to a diverse and tolerant society.” [CNNMoney]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner face pressure to speak out on anti-Semitism” by David Smith: “The couple are practising Modern Orthodox Jews and have been able to separate expressions of their faith from their White House roles as advisers to the president. So far. “That’s the question swirling around the Jewish community since November 9,” said Rabbi Shira Stutman of the Sixth & I Historic synagogue in Washington. “It’s also the Jewish school they go to, it’s also the Jewish preschool they go to. The community has taken the tack of letting them be. Who knows if this is what will set people over the edge?”

“Since moving from New York, Ivanka and Jared have attended the TheSHUL of the Nation’s Capital… Rabbi Levi Shemtov gave a speech before Ivanka and Jared first arrived, urging congregants to avoid political confrontations, and there have been no incidents… Shemtov himself declined to comment on Thursday. “Once someone steps over the threshold of our synagogue, I’d prefer to respect their privacy,” he said. Arnold Resnicoff, a rabbi and military veteran due to give a prayer at the opening of the pro-forma session of the House of Representatives on Friday, said he thought confrontations at the TheSHUL of the Nation’s Capital were unlikely… “I think they would respect Jared and Ivanka and not put the sins of the father on them.” [TheGuardian]

“Billionaire Ally of Putin Socialized With Kushner, Ivanka Trump” by Stephanie Baker, Irina Reznik and  Katya Kazakina: “In 2014, the Kushners spent four days in Russia at the invitation of [Roman] Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova. The couples sat at the same table along with a few other people during a high-powered fundraising dinner for Moscow’s Jewish Museum. Kushner also was invested in an online art business of which Zhukova is a founding partner. Ivanka Trump, Kushner and his brother, Joshua, have accompanied Zhukova to sporting events in the New York area… Kushner and Abramovich have never met one-on-one or alone with their wives, according to the person familiar with the situation… The dinner they attended with the Kushners attracted powerful Russian billionaires and leading businessmen. A spokesman for Abramovich said the billionaire hasn’t interacted with Kushner since then… This month, Abramovich and Zhukova announced they’re separating after 10 years.” [Bloomberg]

“PLO: ‘It’s now or never’ for Trump’s Mideast peace push” by Josh Rogin: “Jared Kushner’s trip to the Middle East next week will be a do-or-die moment in the Trump administration’s nascent Middle East peace process initiative, according to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s representative in Washington… “It’s now or never,” [Husam] Zomlot said. “This is the time and this is the opportunity … we are hanging on this opportunity … we want it to succeed.” … Ahead of the meetings, the PLO is laying out a public position for what it wants: specifically, that the Trump administration clearly and unequivocally endorse the two-state solution. He communicated that directly to [Jason] Greenblatt in a meeting at the White House earlier this week… Congress is moving forward with [the Taylor Force Act]… But that funding program is “nonnegotiable,” said Zomlot. “We are not going to get past it.””

“The White House is keeping expectations low ahead of Kushner’s trip… Kushner and his team are not likely to make any big announcements next week or give the Palestinians the clarity they are seeking on the way forward… On the greater question of whether a peace deal is even possible under the current conditions, Zomlot said all eyes are on Trump. “[Trump] thinks it is possible,” he said. “Even if it’s not, it’s good he thinks so.””[WashPost]

SCENE YESTERDAY: A senior Israeli security delegation led by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen met with the U.S. National Security team led by NSA H. R. McMaster at the White House. Other participants included Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, Dina Powell, Victoria Coates, Thomas Bossert, and Israeli Amb. Ron Dermer [PicMcMaster and his wife Katie also hosted the U.S. and Israeli delegations at their home for dinner [Pic]

“J.K. Rowling Just Pointed Out One Surprising Result of Trump’s Remarks” by Raisa Bruner: On Thursday, the Harry Potter author and prolific Twitter user shared a screen grab of a TV channel broadcast in which the chyron is nothing short of surprising: “Iran and Israel condemn Trump’s comments,” it reads. “Unbelievable. He actually did bring the Middle East together,” Rowling dryly commented on the image in her tweet… For the two nations to agree on something — in this case, Trump’s comments on the violent events in Charlottesville — is noteworthy.” [TIME]

DRIVING THE CONVO: “Republican Sen. Bob Corker: Trump has not shown ‘competence’ needed to lead ” by Michael Collins: “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful — and our nation and our world needs for him to be successful, whether you are Republican or Democrat,” the Tennessee Republican said at a Rotary Club meeting in Chattanooga. Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he fears the nation will be in peril unless Trump makes radical changes at the White House… Corker, who often advises Trump on foreign policy, has at times been both supportive and critical of Trump.” [USAToday]

— Read Aaron Magid’s profile of Corker from earlier this week — Inside Senator Bob Corker’s Realist Doctrine: “Jared Kushner… told Jewish Insider in an emailed statement, “Senator Corker is a leading voice on some of the most serious issues facing our country and provides valuable guidance, advice and input both when he agrees and disagrees with us.”” [JewishInsider]

HEARD THIS MORNING — Rep Lee Zeldin on CNN’s New Day: “Speaking for myself for sure — I’m Jewish — I have zero tolerance whatsoever for any individual who associates themselves with KKK and Nazism… The President made statements that you can say are raw, rough around the edges, politically incorrect… There are parts of what the president said that you can say are factually inaccurate. There are other parts that are hard truths. But as far as the factually inaccurate piece, I don’t know of anyone who would be there, who would associate themselves with that particular protest, who are good people.”

Trump’s relationship with the RJC becomes more complicated — by Matthew Nussbaum: “Matt Brooks, executive director of the RJC, would not say whether members plan any further steps to warn the president… Brooks also would not disclose any conversations with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who sits on the RJC’s board but has not personally weighed in. Still, some Republican strategists are nervous about turning off a group that regularly votes, raises money and donates to candidates. “Getting this right is life and death for the Republican Party,” said Rick Tyler, a Trump critic and former communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz, who aggressively courted Republican Jews in his own 2016 presidential bid. “The Republican Jewish community provides a lot of support for the Republican Party, particularly financial support.”

“Fred Zeidman, a member of the RJC board of directors and a former George W. Bush appointee to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, praised his group’s leadership for taking a stand… “We know the issues that evolve from remaining silent, and we can’t remain silent,” he told Politico on Thursday. “We know what happens when we remain silent.”” [Politico

— “World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder, who has been one of Trump’s most prominent defenders, declined to comment through a spokesman.” [AP]

A Lauder spokesman tells us… “Mr. Lauder believes that President Trump should and will continue to condemn all racist and bigoted groups.”

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Steve Bannon Detonates His Trump Survival Plan, Worrying Allies” by Adrian Carrasquillo: “Bannon, an ally said, was very angry that Cohn was telling the press about how uncomfortable he was with Trump’s Tuesday comments. “Bannon felt it was the opposite, he thought it was great,” the source relayed… Bannon’s lack of powerful allies was evident after a public feud with Jared Kushner in the spring. The former Breitbart mogul… told people behind Kushner’s back that “hopefully Jared will go down in things pertaining to Russia,” or real estate holdings… Were Bannon to go, with Kushner, Cohn, and McMaster ascendant, the first Bannon ally put it more simply. “Would we even be a movement anymore?”” [BuzzFeed

POLLING: “American voters say 59 – 32 percent that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump should not continue to work in the White House. Republicans say 62 – 26 percent the First Family should remain, but every other group says no.” [Quinnipiac]

An Open Letter to Steve Mnuchin From Members of the Yale College Class of 1985: “We can be Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, and a number of other things and still be friends, classmates, and patriots, but we cannot be Nazis and white supremacists… We call upon you, as our friend, our classmate, and as a fellow American, to resign in protest of President Trump’s support of Nazism and white supremacy.” [Letter]

EXODUS DAY 3: “Trump Abandons Plan for Council on Infrastructure” by Mark Niquette: “President Donald Trump will not move forward with a planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure… Trump had tapped New York developers Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, whom he described as friends, to lead the infrastructure panel, which he established by an executive order on July 19. But he had not announced any formal appointments to it.” [Bloomberg] • Members of White House presidential arts commission resign to protest Trump’s comments [WashPost]

“Three fundraising giants cancel plans for galas at Mar-a-Lago” by Drew Harwell and David Fahrenthold: “The American Friends of Magen David Adom, which raises money for Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross, also said it would not hold its 2018 gala at the club ‘after considerable deliberation,’ though it did not give a reason. The charity had one of Mar-a-Lago’s biggest events last season, with about 600 people in attendance.” [WashPostAP

“Ernst & Young Chairman on Advising Trump: A Balancing Act” by Michael Rapoport: “In an internal memo sent to EY employees late Wednesday, Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger said that “as much as I believe in engagement and dialogue,” it was “appropriate” for him and other CEOs to disband the Strategic and Policy Forum on which they had served… He added that “I was also disappointed by President Trump’s reaction to these events. I believe leaders should unite rather than divide people.”” [WSJ]

THE OTHER SIDE: “The Left’s Blind Spot: Anti-Semitism” by Phoebe Maltz Bovy: “And yet, despite this preponderance of evidence, there was a certain silence surrounding anti-Semitism over the weekend. “In addition to the horror of watching those hateful humans march in broad daylight without fearing any consequences,” Lily Herman wrote at Refinery29, “I found it disturbing that many people, including liberals and progressives, didn’t acknowledge the hateful anti-Semitic comments made by these Nazis. In some cases, they tried to argue that they didn’t happen.” She pointed out that Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted about the “provocative effort by Neo-Nazis to foment racism” without mentioning anti-Semitism. “This strange in-between of calling out Nazis without directly acknowledging their hate towards Jews made me heave a very, very long sigh.”” [NewRepublic

“Trump Isn’t The Only One Lying About What Happened In Charlottesville” by Ben Shapiro: “The lack of honesty on both sides will only deepen our polarization. If the Left insists on siding with Antifa over Trump, they’ll drive more conservatives into the arms of the alt-right; if the right insists on siding with the alt-right over the non-Antifa counter-protesters, they’ll drive more Leftists into the arms of Antifa.” [Forward

STATE-SIDE: “The only Republican in California’s Jewish Caucus quits over Trump criticism” by Eitan Arom: “The only Republican in the California Legislative Jewish Caucus has resigned after it released a statement strongly condemning President Donald Trump’s rhetoric. State Sen. Jeff Stone of Riverside County said in an Aug. 17 statement that the group “has clearly become a vehicle for a Legislative Caucus that receives state resources to merely criticize our duly elected President.” … Stone said, “When I was invited to join the Jewish Caucus, I was expressly told that it was a nonpartisan Caucus, and the issues we were going to be involved with would focus on promoting the interests of the Jewish people in California and around the world. Since the election of President Trump, it seems that there has been a divergence from the Caucus’ original mission.”” [JewishJournal

** A sponsored message from the Schusterman Foundation, OneTable and Repair the World: Come #TogetherAtTheTable this weekend for a celebration of unity and diversity in the face of fear and division. Pledge to host or attend a grassroots Shabbat dinner in your city now. Download discussion guides. Share with your networks. More than 60 partner organizations have joined and are spreading the #TogetherAtTheTable movement. [OneTable] **

COMING SOON: United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) will host its second annual Iran Summit, on September 19 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. The event will coincide with President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speeches on the opening day of the UN General Assembly. Speakers include General (Ret) David Petraeus, David Petraeus, HRH Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, Joe Lieberman, John Bolton, Dennis Ross, former Governors Jeb Bush and Bill Richardson; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former Congressman Steve Israel, and former Senator Mark Kirk.

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEF: IDT Corporation: Revisiting The Sum-Of-The-Parts Ahead Of The Upcoming Spin-Off [SeekingAlpha] • As Buy Calls Mount, Tel Aviv-based Wix Poised to Leave Dog Days Behind [Bloomberg] • A defense company put a machine gun on a drone and is currently in testing with the Israeli army [TechCrunch• Houston Mayor Turner pushing for direct flights to Israel [Chron]

“The Wall Street bigwigs joining Jeter in buying the Marlins” by Richard Johnson: “Lead investor Bruce Sherman co-founded money management firm Private Capital Management, which he sold to Legg Mason for $1.3 billion. The list includes Doug Kimmelman and Peter Labbat of Energy Capital Partners, Viking Global co-founder David Ott… Others are more entrepreneurial. Chris Mettler is the founder of CompareCards, which rates credit cards, and Ari Ackerman founded Bunk1, a provider of parent-engagement software for summer camps. Ackerman sold Bunk1 to Togetherwork, which is backed by Aquiline Capital Partners LLC, in April for undisclosed terms. The price was high enough to make Ackerman a part-owner in the Marlins.” [PageSix

“Silicon Valley billionaire Stewart Butterfield voices support for universal basic income” by Ben Chapman: “Now Slack chief executive Stewart Butterfield has thrown his weight behind the basic income movement, joining such illustrious company as Bill Gates, Tesla boss Elon Musk, and Y Combinator president Sam Altman… He went on to suggest that the billions spent on university education around the world each year would be put to better use if given directly to individuals as an unconditional payment.” [Independent

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Following months of criticism, Eva Moskowitz distances herself from Trump” by Eliza Shapiro: “Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz distanced herself from President Donald Trump on Thursday, following ten months of relentless criticism from staff, board members and colleagues… “In retrospect, I should have been more outspoken so that no one would possibly think that either Success Academy or I was tacitly supporting President Trump’s policies, which are contrary to the values of respect, caring, and concern that are central to our mission,” Moskowitz wrote in Thursday’s letter… “I am deeply distressed both by the hateful violence in Charlottesville and by President Trump’s refusal to clearly denounce it,” she said.” [Politico]

FIRST DAY: Aryeh Lightstone formally started his job yesterday as a senior advisor to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Friedman tweeted: “First day of work for my Senior Advisor Aryeh Lightstone. First Meeting, the legendary Natan Sharansky – What a Start!” [Pic]

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: As usual, the Barcelona terror attack was widely and quickly denounced by everyone in the Israeli political system. But the Prime Minister appeared to be putting in an extra effort to be part of the story. An hour after the attack occurred, Netanyahu arrived at the Foreign Ministry for a special video conference and consultation with the Israeli ambassador in Spain and his diplomatic team. Barcelona is a popular tourist destination and there are thousands of Israelis there this August weekend. This provides Israel with a special reason for concern, but there was also a PR cloud over Netanyahu’s unusual media blitz over the event. The Prime Minister’s Office issued numerous updates and statements and even a video of the PM’s special meeting. Given the criminal cloud surrounding him these days, Netanyahu is thirsty for any diplomatic security agenda he can get. It enables him to project “business as usual” in the wake of all of his legal affairs. Bibi’s diplomatic efforts emphasize his strong sense of statesmanship, which is unmatched by any of his political rivals. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner recovering from cancer” by Barry Svrluga: “Regardless of where the Washington Nationals sit in the standings… there has long been a night-to-night constant at Nationals Park: Mark Lerner, one of the club’s principal owners and the only son of family patriarch Ted, sitting in the first row, Nationals hat on his head, monitoring the action from the on-deck circle to the outfield seats… But over the past several months… Lerner’s front-row perch has sat empty, conspicuously vacant… Thursday night, in a letter to The Washington Post, Lerner revealed the reason for his absence: Lerner had cancer in his left leg, and though he is now cancer-free, complications following surgery and radiation treatment left doctors with little choice but to amputate the leg last week.” [WashPost]

WINE OF THE WEEK — Tzora Vineyards: Judean Hills Blanc 2016 — by Yitz Applbaum: There are only a few wineries in Israel that have managed to foster a consistent theme across all of their wines. For Tzora Vineyards the consistent theme that I have observed across all of their offerings is that the drinker notices the strong relationship between the grape in a given wine and the taste of that wine. The wine producers are true to the grape, all the while managing to bring a friendliness to the wine. The correlation the winemakers created between the grape and the flavor creates a unique fruit experience. Each bottle is memorable.

The 2016 Judean Hills Blanc is 90% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc grapes. While the Chardonnay is dominant the Sauvignon Blanc is still noticeable. There is a dryness on the front of the palate which rings of apricots and seaweed. The mid palate experience is all Chardonnay with great melon overtones. The finish is where one notices the Sauvignon Blanc with a citrus bite and some acidity. This wine goes perfectly well with blue cheese and sharp aged cheddar. This wine will last for some time. As is the case with most Tzora Vineyard wines, they sell out quickly, so stock up on this wine. [TzoraVineyards

BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAYPresident of Baltimore’s Seabark Insurance Agency, Jerome Seaman turns 84…  Former two-term mayor of San Diego (the first Jewish mayor of San Diego), now CEO of the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation in San Diego, Susan G. Golding turns 72… President at C O Benefit Connections, Raphael Schwartz turns 62… Labor law attorney representing employers, he is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, Stuart Douglas Tochner turns 58… CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, a DC-based think tank and advocacy group focused on issues of data privacy, he was previously a member of the New York State Assembly (1994-1997), Jules Polonetsky turns 52… Economist and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, previously chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration, Jason Furman turns 47… Sarah Bronson turns 45… Partner in the DC-based law firm of Covington & Burling, he was previously general counsel and deputy staff director of the US House Armed Services Committee, Roger Zakheim turns 40… Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, he made aliyah in 2008, he is now a fellow at the The Jewish People Policy Institute, Noah Slepkov turns 36…

SATURDAY: 42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton turns 71… One of the first venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, he was an early investor in Intel, Apple Computer, Scientific Data Systems and Teledyne, Arthur Rock turns 91… Member of the South Dakota House of Representatives (2001-2005) and then a member of the South Dakota Senate (2005-2007 and 2009-2013), Stanford “Stan” M. Adelstein turns 86… President of Ono Academic College in Israel, she was the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations (2008-2010), Gabriela Shalev turns 76… Co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, Marc J. Rowan turns 55… Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (2009-2013), he was a law clerk for Justices William J. Brennan Jr. and David H. Souter, now a Managing Director at the Carlyle Group, Julius Genachowski turns 55… Managing editor of The New York Times, prior to joining the Times in 1998, he was a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and the Dallas Morning News, Joseph Kahn turns 53… Partner and talent agent in the motion picture department at William Morris Endeavor, he is very active in the contemporary art world as a collector, Dan Aloni turns 53… Former member of Knesset (2003-2006), he is the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Omri Sharon turns 53… Actress and producer, best known for her starring role as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on the TNT crime drama “The Closer,” Kyra Sedgwick turns 52… Borough President of Queens since 2014, she was previously a member of the New York State Assembly (1994-1999) and the New York City Council (2002-2009), Melinda R. Katz turns 52… Founder and CEO of The Friedlander Group, Ezra Friedlander turns 49… Businessman and investor, he and a partner successfully managed a hedge fund for his father Carl Icahn, Brett Icahn turns 38… Managing partner of Handmade Capital and founder of Liveset, a digital platform for streaming live concerts, Ross Hinkle turns 38… Private equity investor, Jewish communal leader Yehuda L. Neuberger… Program Associate at Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Cassandra Federbusz… Jerry Epstein

SUNDAYSecretary of Labor for the State of Kansas, she was a member of the Kansas House of Representatives (2001-2012), Lana Goodman Gordon turns 67… Senior director at NYC-based investment bank Maxim Group, he is also president of American Friends of Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim and a board member of ZOA, Jay Knopf turns 61… Member of Congress (D-IL-10) who first won his seat in 2012, lost it in 2014 and won the seat back in 2016, Brad Schneider turns 56… US Trade Representative (2013-2017) and other high ranking postings in Democratic administrations, now at the Council on Foreign Relations, a friend and classmate of President Obama at Harvard, Michael Froman turns 55… Moroccan-born billionaire, he is the founder and controlling shareholder of the Altice Group (one of the world’s largest telecoms firms including NY-based Cablevision), Patrick Drahi turns 54… British Ambassador to Israel (2010-2015), the first Jewish UK ambassador to be posted to Tel Aviv, he is now director of cyber security and information assurance in the British Cabinet Office, Matthew Gould turns 46… VP of communications at DC-based First Focus (a nonpartisan advocacy organization for children and families), he was previously at Project On Government Oversight, Ari Goldberg turns 44… Deputy director and one of the founders of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, a summer music festival that showcases Jerusalem, Karen Brunwasser turns 41… VP managing the Iowa office of Cornerstone Government Affairs and President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, David Ryan Adelman turns 36… Real estate agent, author and television personality as an original cast member on the show Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles on the Bravo television network, Joshua Daniel “Josh” Flagg turns 32… Phoebe Bryan

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Daily Kickoff: Republican Jewish Coalition calls for “greater moral clarity” | Mort Klein won’t end campaign against McMaster | Cuban’s new venture

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EXODUS: “After Trump Hedges His Condemnation of Hate, C.E.O.s Organize a Mass Defection” by David Gelles, Landon Thomas Jr., Andrew Ross Sorkin and Kate Kelly: “As the group disintegrated, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group, was kept in the loop. Mr. Schwarzman was one of Mr. Trump’s closest business confidants and the chairman of the policy forum, but he was also outraged by the president’s remarks. On Tuesday evening, he called Jared Kushner… to inform him that the policy forum was falling apart. At the same time, Mr. Schwarzman began drafting a statement about disbanding the group… During the 40-minute phone call (on Wed.), Mr. Schwarzman did not press for continued allegiance to the president…. After the decision was final, Mr. Schwarzman called the White House to let Mr. Trump know… Shortly thereafter, the president claimed on Twitter that he was disbanding the advisory groups.” [NYTimesCNNMoney]

C-SUITE REACTION: “Apple CEO Tim Cook Shares Tech Giant’s Plan to Fight Racism after Trump’s Charlottesville Remarks” by Sofia Lotto Persio: “Cook pledged $1 million each in donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit legal advocacy organization for civil rights, and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an NGO fighting against anti-Semitism. “We will also match two-for-one our employees’ donations to these and several other human rights groups, between now and September 30,” Cook wrote.” [NewsweekBuzzFeed]

Mark Zuckerberg writes on Facebook… “The last few days have been hard to process. I know a lot of us have been asking where this hate comes from. As a Jew, it’s something I’ve wondered much of my life. It’s a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong — as if this is somehow not obvious… There may always be some evil in the world, and maybe we can’t do anything about that. But there’s too much polarization in our culture, and we can do something about that.” [Facebook

Starbucks’ Howard Schultz at a company wide forum: “I come to you as an American, as a Jew, as a parent, as a grandparent, as an almost 40-year partner of this company,” Schultz said to open the event. “I come to you with profound, profound concern about the lack of character, morality, humanity and what this might mean for young children and young generations.” [BusinessInsider]

REACTION FROM JEWISH LEADERS: “Rabbi That Oversaw Ivanka Trump’s Conversion to Judaism Slams Trump on Charlottesville Response” by Yashar Ali: “In a letter sent to members of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun this evening, Rabbi Emeritus Haskel Lookstein (who oversaw Ivanka’s conversion), along with his successors Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz and Rabbi Elie Weinstock, said… “While we avoid politics, we are deeply troubled by the moral equivalency and equivocation President Trump has offered in his response to this act of violence.”” [NYMag]

Rabbi David Wolpe: “The week has been painful and dispiriting. The single, simple truth is that seeing one’s President hesitate, even for an instant, to condemn, anathematize and revile Nazis is soul crushing… For the simple truth is that anyone, left or right, who equivocates, who “on the other hands” this question, has debased themselves. If you love our country, if you are Jewish and love your people, if you care for the decency of our flag and its integrity, if you cherish the remarkable, scarred history of this nation, you have to say “this is wrong.” And you have to call on the President to do what Jews call teshuva — repentance.” [Facebook]

RJC, Orthodox Groups Reject Trump’s ‘Both Sides’ Remarks: In a rare statement issued yesterday, the Republican Jewish Coalition leadership, RJC National Chairman Senator Norm Coleman and Executive Director Matt Brooks, implored Trump “to provide greater moral clarity in rejecting racism, bigotry, and antisemitism.” The Rabbinical Council of America, a leading organization of Orthodox Jewish rabbis in North America, called the failure to unequivocally reject hatred and racism “a failing of moral leadership.”

Appearing on i24News, Orthodox Union (OU) President Moshe Bane said he was “a bit confused” by Trump’s response to the weekend events in Charlottesville, Virginia. “It seems very inconsistent with his general sensitivities to bias crimes, hatred and terrorism,” Bane noted. “We are assuming – for our purposes – that he really didn’t mean the moral equivalency that he suggested because if he did, that would be totally unacceptable and abhorrent to us.”

Rabbi Avi Shafran, a spokesperson for Agudath Israel, tells us… “While, as the president said, there were violent individuals in both camps, there is obviously no comparison between a group of people who gather to espouse a philosophy of hatred and exclusion and a group that gathered to oppose that odious message. Had the president ended his addressing of the Charlottesville issue with his second set of remarks, it would have been a much clearer message than the one he left us with on Tuesday night. I don’t think he is either a racist or an anti-Semite, but it’s important to not give comfort, intentionally or inadvertently, to such lowly elements of society.” [JewishInsiderWashPost]

POLLING: “Nearly two-thirds of Americans consider the attack that led to loss of life in Charlottesville an act of “domestic terrorism,” a view that spans partisan lines. But President Trump’s response to Charlottesville finds more division. He gets majority disapproval overall for his response to the events, while 67% of Republicans approve.” [CBSNews]

WHERE’S JAVANKA? — “Trump helicopter seen landing at Twin Farms in Barnard” by Anne Galloway: “The 1989 Sikorsky S-76B was sighted on Monday by neighbors in the small Windsor County town as it hovered over Twin Farms. The Trump helicopter was captured in a cellphone photograph and posted on Instagram on Monday. The blurry image is identical to a photograph of the aircraft at the West Lebanon, New Hampshire, airport that appeared in the Valley News the same day… The timing coincides with reports that the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner were visiting Vermont… An employee who answered the phone at Twin Farms said no one by the name of Trump or Kushner was staying at the resort. “I wouldn’t be able to tell you anyway,” he said.” [VTDigger] • Ivanka Trump silent after her father causes outrage at press conference [CNN

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Trump Comments on Race Open Breach with C.E.O.s, Military and G.O.P.” by Michael Shear, Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman: “Most incensed among Mr. Trump’s top advisers… was Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, who told people around him that he was offended, as a Jew and as an American, by the president’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville. The relationship between the president and Mr. Cohn, who stood next to Mr. Trump during the news conference, seems to have suffered a serious blow. Although White House aides denied that he was planning to quit, they acknowledged that Mr. Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, was upset with the president’s lack of discipline… Steven Mnuchin, the secretary of the Treasury, who is also Jewish, stood silently behind Mr. Trump… Mr. Mnuchin has not said anything publicly about the president’s remarks… Michael D. Cohen, the president’s longtime personal lawyer, who is Jewish, defended Mr. Trump in response to a reporter’s question on Wednesday.” [NYTimes

“Trump Aides Agonize Over Future in White House Reeling on Race” by Saleha Mohsin, Justin Sink and Margaret Talev: “As Treasury Department aides filtered in for a routine meeting on Wednesday, there was one main issue to be discussed: Secretary Steven Mnuchin does not stand with Donald Trump on the topic of neo-Nazis.” [Bloomberg]

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin at a press briefing yesterday in Bedminster, NJ: “It is a dishonor to our country’s veterans to allow the Nazis and the white supremacists to go unchallenged. And I am strongly against them, and I believe that we have to all speak up as Americans… I think the president has done a good job of speaking for himself. He’s made clear his comments. He’s denounced bigotry, hatred, violence, Nazis, white supremacists, and I think that he can speak for himself.” [Video]

“White House aides wrestle with Trump’s race comments” by Josh Dawsey: “Trump… was in “good spirits” on Tuesday night, according to a White House adviser who spoke to him. The adviser said the president felt the news conference went much better than his statement on Monday… Chief strategist Steve Bannon… was thrilled with the remarks, according to a friend of Bannon… In an attempt to shore up support for Trump, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller was planning to hold a call with surrogates later on Wednesday.” [PoliticoAxios]

“Steve Bannon, Unrepentant” by Robert Kuttner: “Bannon was in high spirits… and minced no words describing his efforts to neutralize his rivals at the Departments of Defense, State, and Treasury… “That’s a fight I fight every day here,” he said. “We’re still fighting. There’s Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying.” … He dismissed the far right as irrelevant and sidestepped his own role in cultivating it: “Ethno-nationalism—it’s losers. It’s a fringe element… These guys are a collection of clowns,” he added… “The Democrats,” he said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”” [AmericanProspect] • Steve Bannon thought he wasn’t giving an interview [Axios]

Trump chimes in: “The public is learning (even more so) how dishonest the Fake News is. They totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry etc. Shame!” [Twitter

VIEW FROM JERUSALEM — Rivlin urges US Jews to ‘be strong’ after deadly Charlottesville rally: “At this difficult time I want to express my support and solidarity, and that of all the Israeli people, with you and your communities,” the president (Reuven Rivlin) [said] in a letter to Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “The very idea that in our time we would see a Nazi flag — perhaps the most vicious symbol of anti-Semitism — paraded in the streets of the world’s greatest democracy, and Israel’s most cherished and greatest ally is almost beyond belief.” [ToI]

“Netanyahu criticized for response to Charlottesville” by Ilan Ben Zion: “A growing chorus of opposition politicians, commentators and even coalition partners has urged Netanyahu to take a stronger stance, even at the risk of antagonizing the president… But Netanyahu’s reluctance to speak out on such an important issue has set him apart from the growing ranks of Israeli leaders who have been outspoken in their anger, and risks alienating Jewish American leaders already estranged by certain Israeli policies.” [AP]

KAFE KNESSET — Alternative Realities — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: The front pages of the two biggest Israeli newspapers – Noni Mozes’s Yediot Aharonot and Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Hayom, are many times mirror images of each other. The two newspapers present two alternative depictions of the same reality with the structure reversed as in a mirror. Typically, this comes into focus on things that have to do with Bibi, as Yedioth tends to present a more critical account of the PM, and Israel Hayom is usually much more supportive.

This morning, however, the striking differences between the two popular newspapers had to do with President Trump, and the ongoing criticism of his reaction to the Charlottesville demonstrations. “Shame” read the headline of Yediot, which spread a photo of the president on the whole front page accompanied by two editorials headlined “Horror show,” and “Who is maintaining silence,” which criticized Netanyahu for not denouncing the President. At the same time, on the front page of Israel Hayom there was no mention of the US drama and the backlash that the President’s “both sides” comments have elicited this week. Instead Israel Israel Hayom’s report about POTUS was placed modestly on page 24, as a side column accompanying news of Hope Hick’s appointment as the new White House communications manager.

Following a raucous Twitter uproar, Israel Hayom’s editor, Boaz Bismuth went on Army Radio to explain and said “it is unfair that papers are making up stories about Trump, and it is not right and unjust that Israeli papers are turning this friend into an enemy.” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here[JewishInsider]

ON THE HILL — Democratic House Members Pramila Jayapal (WA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), and Jerrold Nadler (NY) introduced a censure resolution yesterday against President Donald Trump for “his failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism.”

“Donald Trump’s attempt to create a moral equivalency between white supremacist, KKK, neo-Nazi groups and those counter-protesting the ‘Unite the Right’ rally is morally repugnant and completely unacceptable,” Nadler told JI’s Aaron Magid. “Congressional leaders from both sides of the political aisle have decried the President for failing to provide adequate condemnation, and with President Trump’s re-assertion that “both sides” were to blame, Congress must publicly censure and condemn the President for his conduct.”

“Charlottesville and the Gasps of Weak Fascism” by Eli Lake: “So far, though, there is little evidence to show Trump’s tolerance for these thugs has made white supremacism any more tolerable in our politics… It’s frightening to see these reptiles crawl out from under their rocks and march. But we should never lose sight of how much ground they have lost… The Tiki-torch bearing bigots who marched with swastikas and rebel flags are indeed fascists. But they are weak fascists. Much like Hamas in Gaza or the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia, if the white supremacists had real political power, they would use it to eliminate their rivals. But they don’t.” [BloombergView

DRIVING THE DAY: A senior Israeli security delegation – led by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen – will meet with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell, and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt in Washington, DC.

SCENE YESTERDAY: Jason Greenblatt welcomed 12 students from Gaza who are participating in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program to the White House. Greenblatt thanked the Israeli government for helping him get travel permits for these students. [Pic

“PA officials expect Kushner to present confidence-building measures” by Daniel Siryoti: “Officials in the Trump administration have hinted that… Jared Kushner, will provide Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with certain guarantees or pledges when he visits the region later this month, a senior Palestinian official close to Abbas told Israel Hayom… Some Palestinian officials assume they include confidence-building measures.”[IsraleHayom]

TOP TALKER — ZOA’s Klein Vows Not to Stop Campaign Against McMaster — by Jacob Kornbluh: Klein, who is on a speaking tour in Europe, insisted in a phone conversation yesterday that he did not consult with Adelson before launching his aggressive campaign against McMaster and that “Sheldon never said he endorsed McMaster. He’s made it clear that he does not take a position about McMaster. Sheldon simply said that he did not ask ZOA to do a campaign against him, that this had nothing to do with him,” said Klein. “He did not ask us to do this campaign. I haven’t even spoken to Sheldon about this. We do many projects without asking our donors.” He also insisted that he did not coordinate his attacks against McMaster with White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

Klein also said that he “knows for a fact that Adelson did not ask that Bannon be fired.” Asked if he would stop his campaign against McMaster if Bannon called him to do so, Klein said he would only oblige if he’s provided with “new information that showed that he is a friend of Israel and wants to fight Iran.” [JewishInsider] • Right-Wing War Against McMaster Spills Over Into Israel [FP

“As Leak Probes Abound, Tillerson Promotes Diplomat Who Passed Classified Info To AIPAC” by John Hudson: “David Satterfield, a long time Middle East hand with extensive experience in the region, has been named Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, a State Department official told BuzzFeed News. In 2005, federal prosecutors said Satterfield provided classified national security secrets to a top lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee… Advocates of Satterfield note that he was never charged in the incident and that interacting with AIPAC officials was a normal part of being a diplomat given the lobby’s outsize influence in shaping US policy…. “I wouldn’t describe him as an ardent Israel booster but I’d say he certainly believes it’s in American national interest to be a friend with Israel,” [Steven] Rosen told BuzzFeed News in an interview.” [BuzzFeed]

REPORT: “Iran building long-range rocket factory in Syria: Israeli TV” by Ori Lewis: “An Israeli television report said on Tuesday that Iran is building a facility in northwest Syria to manufacture long-range rockets… The Channel 2 television news report showed images it said were taken by an Israeli satellite showing a site in northwest Syria near the Mediterranean coastal town of Baniyas, saying some of the construction indicated explosives would be stored there.” [Reuters]

SPOTLIGHT: “Rahm Emanuel rehabs his national profile” by Natasha Korecki and Kristen East: “18 months after fighting off resignation calls and protests in the streets, the Chicago mayor has rediscovered his national voice… He’s on CNN. He’s on The New York Times’ op-ed pages. He’s dispensing advice to top House Democrats on national campaign strategy. He’s jetting off to Milan and London to forge mayoral alliances while brashly picking fights with New York. The biggest headlines have come from Emanuel’s decision to become the first big-city mayor to legally challenge Trump’s immigration policies… And on Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions fueled the feud by repeatedly calling out Emanuel during a 30-minute speech in Miami on sanctuary cities… Emanuel shot back… “In a week in which the Trump administration is being forced to answer questions about neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK, they could not have picked a worse time to resume their attack on the immigrants who see America as a beacon of hope,” Emanuel said.” [Politico]

2020 WATCH: “LA Mayor Garcetti headed to NH to campaign for Joyce Craig in Manchester” by John DiStaso and Adam Sexton:“Amid speculation that he may run for president in 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will visit New Hampshire on Aug. 28 to help Manchester mayoral candidate Joyce Craig… In July 2016, he received national exposure by speaking at the Democratic National Convention. At the convention, Garcetti introduced himself by saying, “I am just your average Mexican-American, Jewish-Italian.” … A Twitter group has set up an account hoping to draft Garcetti to run for president. But he has said that he is not currently focused on a presidential candidacy.” [WMURLATimes]  

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEF: “Goldman Sachs Banker Claims Race Discrimination in Lawsuit” by Chris Dolmetsch and Jordyn Holman: “Rebecca Allen, a 32-year-old wealth manager at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., sued the bank and one of its managers, claiming she was discriminated against because she is black and Jewish.” [Bloomberg]

“Mark Cuban Wants to Buy Back Name for New Chat Venture” by Kevin McLaughlin: “Cuban wants to build a Twitter-like conversational platform for people to use cryptocurrency tokens to pay to talk with public figures and other influential people. For example, a person could ask Mr. Cuban for his view on President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville this weekend, “pay” for his attention, and then engage him in a one-on-one conversation, said the person.”[TheInformation(behind a paywall)

“The Void CEO: Star Wars can make VR accessible” by Dean Takahashi: “I interviewed [Cliff] Plumer… as he was finishing up a visit to Israel for the Beyond Reality event, which took VR leaders on a tour of Israel’s VR and augmented reality research centers… Plumer: “One, I’ve always been interested in visiting Israel. I’ve seen a lot of amazing technology come out of this country. It was an opportunity to come over here and meet some people, meet some companies, and just see the country and the culture. It was hard to pass up. It worked out well. I haven’t been disappointed.” There’s a lot of AR and VR technology in development in Israel. Plumer: “It’s impressive. I hadn’t known the depth of the support that the tech community gets here, both privately and from the government.”” [VentureBeat]

MEDIA WATCH: Cloudflare CEO on Terminating Service to Neo-Nazi Site — by Kate Conger: “This was my decision. This is not Cloudflare’s general policy now, going forward,” Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince told Gizmodo… “I realized there was no way we were going to have that conversation with people calling us Nazis,” Prince said. “The Daily Stormer site was bragging on their bulletin boards about how Cloudflare was one of them and that is the opposite of everything we believe. That was the tipping point for me.” [Gizmodo]

“Apple Pay Is Cutting Off White Supremacists” by Ryan Mac and Blake Montgomery: “Uber, Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp, and WordPress have all taken varying levels of action against white supremacists on their platforms in the wake of Charlottesville. Airbnb banned people tied to white supremacist groups who attempted to use its site to book lodging for the rally last week… Apple removed Apple Pay capabilities from little-known sites… Discover said in a statement to BuzzFeed News, “In light of recent events, we are terminating merchant agreements with hate groups, given the violence incited by their extremist views.”” [BuzzFeed]

“Charlottesville White Supremacists Missed the Jewish Connection to Their Polos” by Chavie Lieber: “Jewish immigrants in the United States often entered the garment trade, and in the late 1800s, Jewish designers in New England began perpetuating the preppy style, as the aesthetic had become sought-after… Following World War II, when the production of French fashion houses like Chanel and Dior was halted, American designers began rising to prominence. By the mid-1960s, Jewish-Americans like Hannah Golofski of Anne Klein and Ralph Lauren were building powerful empires predicated on the preppy look. They helped prep trickle down from the wealthy elites to mainstream consumers… That the polo shirt has become the uniform of white supremacy is jarring not only because it gives this group a look of polished normalcy, but also because the preppy aesthetic is tied up in the complicated history of what it means to be Jewish in America.” [Racked]

“The ‘last Jewish gangster’ speaks about his 60 years in the mob” by Michael Levin: “His name is Myron Sugerman, and he is the last Jewish gangster from the era of the world of his fathers, from Meyer to Myron… He’s written a memoir titled “The Chronicles of the Last Jewish Gangster from Meyer to Myron.” The book tells the story of a man who grew up at the feet of some of the most famous Jewish, Italian and Irish gangsters, and understood the traditions of that world… Sugerman today is in big demand by synagogues and Jewish federations throughout the United States. He speaks on the history of the Jewish Mob (with help from Italians and Irish) and their remarkable contributions for the betterment of the welfare of the Jewish people both here in the United States during the 1930s — fighting anti-Semitism and the American Nazi Party, and in the 1940s after WWII securing illegal weapons and providing cash for both the Haganah and the Irgun in Palestine, pre-state Israel in the struggle for Jewish statehood.” [NYDailyNews]

“After the Hobby Lobby scandal, a spotlight on antiquities sales in Israel” by Religion News Service: “Israel is the only country in the Middle East that permits state-licensed antiquities dealers to sell ancient artifacts. This, critics say, encourages unscrupulous people around the region to loot and smuggle valuable items via licensed Israeli dealers… Amir Ganor, head of the Antiquities Authority’s looting prevention division, believes the recently tightened Antiquities Law is having a significant effect on illegal sales. “In 2000 there were 120 licensed dealers; today there are only 37,” Ganor said, pointing to Antique-Net, a new system through which they must list and upload photographs of every item in their inventory. Only after the Antiquities Authority approves a sale will it be transferred to the buyer’s inventory list.”[USAToday]

“Go Netanyahu, Go – For Your Sake and Israel’s” by Gil Troy: “Clearly, [Bill] Clinton’s strategy – and now Trump’s – shaped Netanyahu’s performance last week, rousing Likud partisans. From Netanyahu’s perspective, these tactics worked for others, they should work for him, too… But here’s the key: Clinton survived but his scandal hurt America. Trump won but he sullied democracy. Netanyahu may now subject Israel to months of political paralysis, leaving years of increased cynicism as his legacy. If he is innocent, it’s a valuable battle to fight. But Netanyahu knows if he is guilty or innocent. And if he is guilty, this man who has repeatedly warned the world about the threats Israel faces must avoid threatening his country’s democratic legitimacy and national security.” [HuffPost

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Queens Museum accepts deal after backlash from UN ambassador” by Yoav Gonen: “Facing an uproar over its decision to renege on a deal to rent out the city-owned Queens Museum building for a celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary, the institution on Wednesday said it will allow the event to proceed. Danny Danon, Israel’s UN ambassador, said the Israeli Mission had reached a deal with the museum in June for the Nov. 29 event and all was fine until it became public… On Monday, museum Director Laura Raicovich had notified the Israelis that she was yanking the deal because the museum board didn’t want to host a “political event,” Danon said.” [NYPost]

TRANSITION: Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro, former United States Ambassador to Israel, will join Columbia/Barnard Hillel, the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life, as a visiting scholar in residence for the 2017-18 academic year. Shapiro will spend time on campus in the fall and spring semesters and will meet with groups of students who visit Israel over winter and spring break. [BarnardHillel]

BIRTHDAYS: Co-founder of Oracle Corporation, he was its CEO from its founding until September 2014 and was recently listed by Forbes as the fifth-wealthiest person in the US with a fortune of $60.6 billion, Larry Ellison turns 73… Former CEO and current Chairman of J.Crew Group, he was previously the CEO of Gap Inc. and a director at Apple Inc. (1999 to 2015), Millard “Mickey” S. Drexler turns 73… US Senator from Minnesota from 2003 until 2009, losing his 2008 reelection bid to Al Franken by 312 votes (out of over 3 million cast), Norm Coleman (family name was originally Goldman) turns 68… Chairman, president and CEO of Continental Airlines at the time of its merger into United Airlines in 2010, he then held those same three roles at United until 2015, Jeffery Alan “Jeff” Smisek turns 63… Founder and managing partner of SBNY, a first and second stage venture capital firm, he is a past president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, Jordan Levy turns 62… Communications coordinator at Temple Beth El in Longmeadow, Massachusetts since 2013, Deborah Peskin turns 56… Member of Knesset since 2015 for the Zionist Union party, prior to her Knesset service she was a leading Israeli criminal defense attorney, Revital Swid turns 50… Israeli journalist who serves as the Arab affairs correspondent and head of the Arab desk at Israeli News Channel 10, he also anchors a program on Channel 20 related to Judaism and spirituality, Zvi Yehezkeli turns 47… Program coordinator in AIPAC’s NYC office, Amanda Horwitz turns 25… Deputy regional political director at AIPAC for the Southern Pacific region, Aaron Taxy… Sonya Culler… Eli Diamond… Gabriel Berger… John Kohan

BIRTHWEEK: CEO of digital marketing agency 360i (an award-winning agency with offices in NYC, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Tokyo and São Paulo), Sarah Hofstetter turns 43…

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Daily Kickoff: Eric Cantor blasts Trump’s remarks: “there’s no moral equivalence” | Abe Foxman: This is Javanka’s ‘Mordechai and Esther’ moment

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DRIVING THE CONVO: “Trump Gives White Supremacists an Unequivocal Boost“ by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman: “President Trump buoyed the white nationalist movement on Tuesday as no president has done in generations — equating activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend… Members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably… No sooner had he delivered the Monday statement than he began railing privately to his staff about the press. He fumed to aides about how unfairly he was being treated… He felt he had already given too much ground to his opponents, the official said.”

“Eric Cantor, a former Republican congressman from Virginia… said the president needed to have spoken out earlier. “It really did demand a statement at the very beginning,” said Mr. Cantor, who is Jewish. He added that efforts by the president to equate the actions of the counter-protesters… with the neo-Nazis and the driver of the car that murdered a protester were “unacceptable.” “There’s no moral equivalence,” Mr. Cantor said.” [NYTimesDailyBeast] • Read the full text of Trump’s comments[Politico]

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY): “These two sides are not equal. They are different. I would add, though, that it is not right to suggest that President Trump is wrong for acknowledging the fact that criminals on both sides showed up for the purpose of being violent. That particular observation is completely true.”[Newsday]

HOW IT PLAYED: “With New Remarks on Charlottesville, Trump Leaves Himself Isolated” by Gerald F. Seib: “Even Candidate Trump may never have left himself quite so isolated as President Trump did with a remarkable news conference inside Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon.” [WSJ

RJC STATEMENT: “We regret that we continue to be faced with these issues, but the RJC will never shy away from our role of standing up to racists, fascists, and Nazis.”

Norm Eisen: “Trump’s comments just now were the single most disgraceful by an American president in my lifetime.” [Twitter]

Martin Sweet, who served as Marco Rubio’s Director of Jewish Outreach in 2016, emails us… “The moral equivalence that we all roundly reject when it rears its ugly head regarding Israel (“we urge restraint on both sides…”) is wrong there and it is wrong regarding Charlottesville. Those on the side of moral clarity are on the right side of history.”

HEARD YESTERDAY — Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s Situation Room: “My parents came to this country after the Holocaust. All four of my grandparents were murdered during the Holocaust. And what I don’t understand is — the President of the U.S. has a daughter who is Jewish, a son-in-law who is Jewish, grandchildren who are Jewish. His son-in-law, his grandparents were Holocaust survivors. I don’t understand how [Trump] isn’t moved by that to simply condemn this group shouting out ‘Jews will not replace us.’”[YouTube] h/t Brian Stelter

Abe Foxman: Now is Jared and Ivanka’s ‘Mordechai and Esther’ Moment — by Jacob Kornbluh: “This is a dark moment for those of us who remember what hatred can do. As a Holocaust survivor, I never thought that I would witness the day that a president of the United States would rationalize away Nazism, its hatred, its violence, and find excuses for it,” said Foxman, who now serves as Director of Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. “For him to have seen the torch parade and the epithets against his daughter, his grandchildren, his son-in-law, and stand up and say both sides are equal? Shame, shame, shame.”

Recognizing that Trump has a tendency of doubling down on irrational behavior when being pushed into a corner, Foxman said now might be the time for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to take matters into their own hands and step into the roles of Mordechai and Esther. “Trump loves his daughter. She is the apple of his eye, and I saw him, he likes his son-in-law, but he certainly loves his grandchildren,” Foxman explained. “They need to sit down with him, and say to him, face-to-face, ‘Do you understand what message you’re sending to your grandchildren? That it’s okay for people to march down and yell get rid of the Jews, we don’t want the Jews. And you say this is nothing..’ People have said, ‘Well maybe Jared …’ Jared’s grandparents are Holocaust survivors. People say, ‘Well, maybe they were put there to be Esther or Mordechai.’ Well, maybe they have.” [JewishInsider

WHERE IS JAVANKA? — by Annie Karni: “A White House official said the couple are currently on a long-planned, two-day trip to Vermont and are expected back in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday, when they will rejoin the president.” [Politico

“Leon Wieseltier on Charlottesville: ‘The Darkness Is Now in the Light’” by Marilyn Cooper: “This man (Trump) is either amoral or immoral, it’s hard to decide which… It’s hard for me to think of a question that would be easier to get right than that, but somehow he just can’t. He screws it up every time… Those Jews who supported Trump should welcome the season of introspection that the month of Elul inaugurates. They made a terrible mistake. Jews should respond by offering and displaying our solidarity to those groups in this country who really are threatened by the Trump presidency—meaning immigrants, refugees, Muslims and Mexicans.” [MomentMag

Washington Post editorial… “The nation can only weep: Tuesday was a great day for David Duke and racists everywhere. The president of the United States all but declared that he has their backs.” [WashPost

“Why the Charlottesville Marchers Were Obsessed With Jews” by Emma Green: “In the world sketched by white supremacists, Jews hover malevolently in the background, pulling strings, controlling events, acting as an all-powerful force backing and enabling the other targets of their hate. That’s clear in statements made by people like Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who proudly marched with other white supremacists in Charlottesville. Jewish Zionists, he complained to a gathered crowd, control the media and American political system.” [TheAtlantic

KAFE KNESSET — View from Israel: Just one side — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: POTUS’ blaming “both sides” drew strong criticism in Israel. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked – displaying a misunderstanding of American Constitutional law – said “neo Nazis in the US must be put on trial. This was not the intention of the American Constitution. A democratic state cannot show tolerance towards such phenomena.” Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid took issue with the idea of creating moral equivalence between the neo-Nazis and counter-protesters, saying “There are not two sides. When neo Nazis march in Charlottesville and scream slogans against Jews and in support of white supremacy, the condemnation has to be unambiguous.” Similarly, former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said “with racism, anti-Semitism and Nazism there are no two sides. There is good, and there is bad. Period. The battle against anti-Semitism must be a joint one, with Israel as the state of the Jewish People, and leaders in places in which it raises its ugly head.”

Livni didn’t miss an opportunity to criticize Netanyahu for waiting three days to come out against the neo Nazis, saying: “We must stand up against such phenomena immediately, and without hesitation.” But someone else in the Netanyahu home had a different view. Yair Netanyahu wrote on his newly-active Facebook account that “the neo Nazis scums (sic) in Virginia hate me and my country. But they belong to the past… However the thugs of Antifa and BLM who hate my country (and America too in my view) just as much are getting stronger and stronger.” And Likud firebrand Oren Hazan, who never misses a chance to declare his undying love for Trump, said POTUS was right and “extremism and violence on all sides are prohibited and should be denounced!” Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Jared and Ivanka Aren’t Pushing Bannon Out—Yet” by Emily Jane Fox: “Back then, it was no secret that [Jared and Ivanka] wanted Bannon out of the West Wing. Now, however, they are not actively pushing him out the door, one person familiar with the situation told me. Bannon’s current influence within the West Wing doesn’t amount to much, and those kinds of staffing decisions are now made by Kelly, whose appointment they fully supported… The episode in Charlottesville underscores most profoundly not only how Trump keeps his uneasy coalition in fragile condition, but also how Ivanka and Kushner are able to balance their support of the president, and their boss, with their other beliefs and interests. “[VanityFair

“Banish Bannon? Trump weighs his options as top aides feud” by John Walcott and Jeff Mason: “A source close to the ZOA bristled at the suggestion that Bannon was influencing its approach and said it would not tone down the campaign against McMaster, despite entreaties by Bannon to do so. “We find it remarkably offensive that anyone would suggest that Steve Bannon or anyone else tells us what to say or what not to say,” the source said. “It makes me feel awful that he’s getting blamed for this, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”” [Reuters

“Firing Steve Bannon Won’t Change Donald Trump” by Ryan Lizza:“Despite showing it off to a few other reporters and me, Bannon tried to keep the whiteboard’s contents secret. That plan was blown in [May], when a visitor posted a picture of himself and Bannon in front of the whiteboard, and the board became a sensation online and among late-night comedians, generating dozens of memes and jokes. Trump was furious at the leak, perhaps because the writing was so messy, and the whiteboard was subsequently erased and redrawn with a cleaner and more professional look.” [NewYorker]

UN WATCH: “Israel Seeks UN’s Respect in Campaign for Security Council Seat” by Kambiz Foroohar: “Israel is working to rally enough votes in the 193-member General Assembly to defeat either Germany or Belgium in a three-way race for two spots on the UN’s most powerful body… One Israeli official said the election may become a political landmine for Netanyahu domestically amid his legal troubles. Failure to win the UN seat would let rivals call him foolish for seeking acceptance in a club he has long denounced as hostile to Israel, according to the official… Don’t count Israel out, said Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations. One potential twist: With the balloting conducted in secret, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni neighbors might cast their ballots for Israel on the bet it would take a tough stand against their common archenemy Iran.” [Bloomberg

IRAN DEAL: “U.S. envoy says Iran cannot ‘hold world hostage’ with nuclear deal” by Michelle Nichols: “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday Iran must be held responsible for “its missile launches, support for terrorism, disregard for human rights, and violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions… Iran cannot be allowed to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage … The nuclear deal must not become ‘too big to fail’,” Haley said in a statement, adding that new U.S. sanctions were unrelated to the Iran nuclear deal.” [Reuters]

“Trump Reminded Threats Work Differently in Diplomacy Than in Real Estate” by David Sanger: “Mr. Trump has made clear he would like to exit from the Iran deal as fast as he can… Some in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps would also like to see the deal collapse, so they can resume their nuclear activities. [Hassan] Rouhani has no interest in watching the agreement dissolve… But Mr. Rouhani’s statements to Iranian lawmakers were driven by a domestic imperative not to be seen giving in to American threats to pull out of the deal or renegotiate or widen it… Several other Iranian officials have recently threatened to restart industrial-scale uranium enrichment. Ali Akbar Salehi, the president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and a key negotiator of the deal, said the country could go up to 20 percent enrichment of uranium to “surprise the Americans and their supporters.”” [NYTimes]

FOGGY BOTTOM POLICY: State Dept annual report critiques Israeli actions in West Bank — by Aaron Magid: In a move likely to upset conservative supporters of President Donald Trump, a new State Department report released yesterday criticized both Israeli and Palestinian policies in what they referred to as “Israel and the Occupied Territories.” “In some cases the Palestinians killed reportedly did not pose a threat to life at the time they were shot, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) published reports saying that Israeli security forces committed unlawful killings,” the State Department noted in its annual International Religious Freedom report.  While pointing out numerous cases of Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians, the State Department also faulted the Israeli government for not prosecuting Jewish assailants who strike Palestinian targets. “Many “price tag” attacks reportedly continued to go unprosecuted.” [JewishInsider]

“Abbas sends greeting to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un” by Elior Levy: “In an official letter to Kim Jong-un, Abbas said the Korean people “sacrificed the most precious sacrifices for its freedom and honor” and expressed his appreciation to the support North Korea has shown the Palestinian people in their fight for freed.” [Ynet]

Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt met with PLO Representative to DC Husam Zomlot at the White House yesterday ahead of the U.S. delegation’s trip to the region. Zomlot “reaffirmed the full readiness of the Palestinian leadership to support President Trump’s efforts to reach a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli issue,” the PLO delegation said in a readout. [Facebook]

“Is Trump’s Middle East Peace Effort Dead in the Water?” by Daniel Shapiro: “Trump and his team have essentially three options: First, keep up the usual diplomatic dance: visits, shuttle talks, speaking about achieving the “ultimate deal,” and capitalizing on the alignment of Israeli and Sunni Arab states’ interests to achieve a regional political opening. The problem? No one buys it. Such efforts, even well-intentioned, will soon look phony and worn, like they are just buying time. Second, walk away. Trump could argue that there is nothing to be done, that the United States has more urgent business to attend to, that circumstances are not favorable for renewed talks… This approach might be the most honest. It also might kill the two-state solution once and for all. Third, refocus their work on taking steps to manage the conflict and keep a two-state solution alive for when better leadership circumstances emerge in the future.” [FP

ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: “Another Democratic Congressman Drops Support for Controversial anti-BDS Bill” by Amir Tibon: “Speaking at a town hall meeting, Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington, said that he intends to withdraw his support because the bill is “more complicated” than how it was originally presented to him. “I do not support a boycott and divestment campaign against Israel,” he clarified, stating that the change in his position… is a result of its “very complicated” language, which comes “very close” to punishing American citizens for choosing to boycott Israel.”[Haaretz

SCENE YESTERDAY: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens And Israeli Ambassador Participate In Business Roundtable — by Jill Enders: “Greitens hosted the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer during his visit to the St. Louis area. They participated in a business roundtable at the Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Couer… “Missouri is one of the leaders in agriculture technology today as is the state of Israel. So part of the discussion is how we can enhance those relationships in agriculture technology.” said Greitens… “I frankly did not know how important agriculture and ag tech is to this economy. I think if we’re not the best in the world, we’re one of the best in the world in that area.” said Dermer “I think Israel is going to be a great resource.” Dermer added.” [STL

COMING SOON: Registration open for governor-led trade mission to Jordan and Israel: “World Trade Center Utah is currently accepting registrants for a governor-led trade mission to Jordan and Israel Oct. 22 through 26. “The trade mission to Jordan and Israel presents a unique opportunity for companies to explore business opportunities in the Middle East,” Derek B. Miller, president and CEO of the organization, said in a statement.” [DeseretNews

** 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: Westfield hits Milan as it upgrades its shopping centre portfolio [SMH] • LionTree CEO Aryeh Bourkoff Expects More Cross-Border Telecom Deals [Bloomberg] • Blue Apron jumps after Gary Rosenstein’s Jana Partners, that pushed Whole Foods into Amazon’s arms, buys a stake[CNBC] • Kushner Cos faces lawsuit claiming rent overcharging in New York[Reuters] • Alice Rogoff borrowed, but it wasn’t enough to save newspaper[MRA

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Eva Moskowitz sends letter calling Success board chair’s comments ‘indefensible’ — but also defending his record” by Monica Disare: “In the letter, Moskowitz used strong language to condemn Daniel Loeb’s comments… Moskowitz called the comments “indefensible,” “insensitive” and “hurtful,” a more aggressive rebuke than her previous statement. Yet she also defended Loeb’s track record in the letter, pointing out his commitment to Success and various social causes. A spokeswoman for Success Academy confirmed that Loeb remains the board’s chairman. ” [Chalkbeat]

MEDIA WATCH: “Down the Breitbart Hole” by Wil Hylton: “Breitbart often disparages its political opponents as ‘‘globalists’’ and ‘‘corporatists,’’ which is easy to interpret as an anti-Semitic dog whistle… When a Breitbart article appeared two weeks ago linking McMaster to a foundation financed by George Soros, the website Slate quickly posted a response arguing that it ‘‘makes sense’’ for Breitbart to think ‘‘the worst thing it could possibly reveal about H. R. McMaster is that he has a thirdhand connection to a Jewish guy.’’ No criticism of Breitbart irritates its leadership more than the charge of anti-Semitism. That’s partly because many of the top figures at Breitbart, including Andrew Breitbart, Larry Solov and the entire editorial team when the site relaunched in 2012 — Joel Pollak, Ben Shapiro and Alex Marlow — were all of Jewish descent, but also because a fundamental commitment on the site is to a borderline fanatical advocacy for Israel.” [NYTimes]

“David Steinberg celebrates birthday with wife and head honchos” by Ian Mohr: “Comic David Steinberg and his producer wife, Robyn Todd, were seen celebrating Steinberg’s birthday at Primola on the Upper East Side with good friends… A spy said of the birthday boy — a director on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and executive producer with Todd of Discovery’s revived “Cash Cab” — “David was still glowing over the attendance at his performance at the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival” in and around Jamestown, NY, this month.” [PageSix

BIRTHDAYS: Former member of Congress (1991-1997) and both houses of the New Jersey Legislature (NJ General Assembly 1982-1987 and NJ Senate 1987-1991), Richard Alan “Dick” Zimmer turns 73… Sportscaster who is known as the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys,” he has broadcast the Cowboys since 1976, Brad Sham turns 68… Co-founder and managing director of Rock Creek Global Advisors, previously White House Chief of Staff (2006-2009) following three years as OMB Director (2003-2006), Joshua Brewster “Josh” Bolten turns 63… Gerald Platt turns 63… Commander of the Israeli Air Force (2004-2008) and CEO of El Al (2010-2014), General Eliezer Shkediturns 60… Senior partner in the Denver office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and an AIPAC board member, Steven C. Demby turns 59… Sports journalist and executive, she spent 17 years on-air at ESPN/ABC and CBS covering everything from Super Bowls to NBA and MLB playoffs, now she is a VP at Campus Insiders, Bonnie Bernstein turns 47… Senior staff writer for Politico Magazine and editor-at-large of The Agenda, Miami Beach resident, Michael Grunwald turns 47…

Senior editor of Kol HaBirah (a Jewish newspaper that serves the Washington and Baltimore Jewish communities), Kami Troy turns 43 (h/t Tevi)… Co-founder and co-CEO of The Creative Counsel, South Africa’s largest advertising agency, in 2014 he was named by GQ as one of the Best Dressed Men of the Year, Gil Oved turns 42… Events Director for the Republican Governors Association, Patricia W. “Tricia” Moffatt turns 39… Producer for CBS’s Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show “The Talk,” Matthew Silversteinturns 36… Executive assistant to the ambassador at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, Galit Tassi… Analyst on the brand strategy team at Blackrock, he was the founder of the University of Michigan program Music Matters and served as an intern at the White House National Economic Council, Phillip Schermer… Staffer in the New England office of J Street, after interning there for 3 semesters while he was at Brandeis University, Cooper Boyar… Ellen Weissfeld

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