Dec
26

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Daily Kickoff: Who is the biggest longterm loser from Friday’s UN action? | Foxman ‘sad’ over Obama’s ‘vindictive payback’ | Snap buys Israeli Startup

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MUST SEE VIDEO — UNSC clapping and cheering after adopting the resolution condemning Israel [CSPAN

FEEL FREE TO WEIGH IN — The question we’ll be posing to a variety of thought leaders today is who will be the biggest longterm loser from Friday’s action at the UNSC? 1. Israel — will Friday add fuel and legitimacy to the BDS movement? 2. The Palestinians — does this make the prospect for peace harder and the odds of a State lower? 3. Obama’s legacy — he delivered Israel its largest MOU but will the pro-Israel community ever look past their anger over his final month? 4. The UN — will Congress and Trump cut their funding? 5. The Israeli Left — Have Obama and Kerry empowered the Israeli Right? 6. Netanyahu — will his reaction cause even more damage to him and the country he leads? 7. Obama’s future fundraising and speaking opportunities — does he risk becoming as toxic in certain circles as former President Jimmy Carter currently is? Send us your thoughts by replying to this newsletter and we may feature your response tomorrow. 

Another Question On Our Mind — Watching Amb. Samantha Power’s speech at the UN Friday, did you get the sense that behind-the-scenes she was actually in favor of vetoing the resolution but the President decided otherwise? [CSPAN]

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, explains to PBS Newshour why the U.S. didn’t veto the UN’s vote against Israel: “The fact of the matter is, we can’t just have a peace process or a two-state solution as an empty talking point. If we really want to be able to have a prospect for peace, we have to be clear about what we’re against and that includes the type of settlements… that have been obstacles to peace… At a certain point, we all just have to stop and look at the map and look at the facts and say, if these settlements continue, is the two-state solution impossible? And that clearly is the trend line.” [PBS] • Read full transcript of the WH press call from Friday [WhiteHouse]

TOP TALKER: Abe Foxman ‘Sad’ Over Obama’s ‘Vindictive Payback’ at UN — by Jacob Kornbluh: “I think it’s payback because it doesn’t accomplish anything else,” Foxman told Jewish Insider. “It doesn’t bring peace closer, it brings it further. There is nothing productive about it. There is nothing constructive about it. So, at the end of the day, it’s vindictive payback.” Foxman said that he feels ‘sad’ over the issue. “I think what’s so sad about it, is that this is a President’s empty, vindictive gesture, which undermines any hope for a legacy of a man that seriously tried to bring the parties together for peace,” Foxman said regarding Obama. “He knows the UN. He knows why for 50 years the U.S. stood to defend Israel against the bias and bigotry. He knows what (outgoing UN Secretary General) Ban Ki-moon said last week that it is a biased organization. He knows that there were no peace negotiations without settlements before 1967. He knows about Gaza. He knows all these things and still instructed, in such a callous manner, not even to inform the Israelis before the vote how he will vote.” [JewishInsider• Outraged US Jewish leaders: UN vote tarnishes Obama’s legacy [ToI]

HOW IT PLAYED: U.S. declines to veto U.N. Security Council resolution for Israel to stop Jewish settlement activity [WashPost] • Rebuffing Israel, U.S. Allows Censure Over Settlements [NYTimes] • Condemnations and Commendation for Obama at UN [JewishInsider] • Schumer Blasts Obama Admin., U.N. After Resolution Accuses Israel of Violating International Law [NY1] • Obama faces blowback on UN-Israel vote [NYPost] • UNSC Resolution on Israeli Settlements Sends Shockwaves Through U.S. Jewish Community [Haaretz• Hebrew Media Review: Barack bids Bibi a nasty farewell [ToI] Gil Hoffman: Obama flunks Israeli politics 101 [JPost]

DISPATCH FROM JERUSALEM — “Netanyahu blasts U.N., Obama over West Bank settlements resolution” by Ruth Eglash and Carol Morello: “Netanyahu compared Obama to former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, whom he called hostile to Israel and the last president to break with U.S. commitments to support the state… Netanyahu balanced his harsh words about Obama with his most explicit statement yet in enthusiastic anticipation of Obama’s successor, Donald Trump… For the first time since the U.S. election, Netanyahu stated clearly that he looked forward to working with Trump, “to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”” [WashPost; Haaretz]  

“Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu Summons U.S. Ambassador in Protest at U.N. Resolution” by Rory Jones: “Israel expressed its consternation to U.S. ambassador Daniel Shapiro at a meeting in the prime minister’s office, insisting the resolution wouldn’t help to bring Israelis and Palestinians together for talks, according to an Israeli official… “Acts such as these hinder peace and [do] not promote it. That was the message,” said another Israeli official… A spokesman for the prime minister’s office declined to comment further on the content of the discussion between Messrs. Netanyahu and Shapiro.” [WSJ• Netanyahu seeks to rally Israelis around him in anti-Obama assault [Reuters

PM’s spokesman David Keyes on Fox News: “I think what we’re seeing is an abandonment of Israel, and an abandonment of a long-standing American policy… We have rather ironclad information from sources in both the Arab world and internationally that this was a deliberate push by the United States and in fact they helped create the resolution in the first place.” [FoxNews]

HEARD THIS MORNING — Ambassador Ron Dermer on CNN’s New Day: “What is outrageous is that the U.S. was actually behind that gang up. I think it was a very sad day and really a shameful chapter in the U.S.-Israel relations… We will present this evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels. If they want to share it with the American people they are welcome to do it.” [Facebook]

THIS IS FAR FROM OVER: “Jerusalem worried Obama may take other problematic steps” by Herb Keinon: “Among the concerns is that US Secretary of State John Kerry will deliver a final speech on the Mideast, laying down the Obama administration’s parameters for reaching a two-state solution, which may then be translated into an additional resolution being brought to the UN Security Council… Another possible place… will be at a scheduled Mideast peace conference that France is now scheduling for January 15 in Paris, just five days before Obama leaves office… Jerusalem, meanwhile, is in contact with US President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, in an apparent effort to fend off further moves from the Obama administration in its final days in power. This effort is being spearheaded by Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer.” [JPost; ToI

— “It was such a fear about the foreign ministers’ meeting in Paris that led Netanyahu to instruct his ministers to avoid public statements to the media about launching a wave of settlement construction or annexing parts of the West Bank in response to Friday’s Security Council resolution. “The effort now is to see how to prevent such a move at the Paris conference,” the senior official said.” [Haaretz]

David Horovitz: “Netanyahu goes to war with the world: We rightly condemn boycotts. Now Netanyahu is instituting them. For all his fury at the perfidy of the international community, his sense of grievance and injustice, the question he must be asked is whether this is going to work.” [ToI]

“Israel Wonders How Long Netanyahu Can Back Settlements and Two-State Solution” by Isabel Kershner: “Now, with the stinging United Nations Security Council resolution on Friday condemning Israeli settlement construction as lacking any legal validity, Israeli politicians and analysts on the right, on the left and in the political center say Mr. Netanyahu’s game may soon be up… But some Israelis were skeptical that Mr. Netanyahu, in his third consecutive term in office, and fourth over all, would choose one side over the other.” [NYTimes]

BIPARTISAN REACTION TO OBAMA — Democrats scorch Obama over UN vote condemning Israeli settlements” by Jeremy Berke: “Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it was “extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding” that the Obama administration failed to veto the UN’s vote… Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, called the US’s abstention from the vote “unconscionable.” … Rep. Eliot L. Engel, a Democrat from New York and the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was “very disappointed” by the US’s “acquiescence to a one-sided, biased resolution.”” [BI; TheHill

WEEKEND EDITORIALS — WSJ: “Obama’s Anti-Israel Tantrum” [WSJ] • Daily News: “Obama shafts Israel… What a nice Chanukah gift from Obama to the people of Israel.” [NYDN] • WashPost: “The Obama administration fires a dangerous parting shot” [WashPost] • NYPost: “Obama’s appalling UN betrayal… What a profoundly sad — and dangerous — legacy” [NYPost]

— ALTERNATIVE EDITORIAL — Haaretz: “Saving Israel From Itself… Even Netanyahu’s reliance on President-elect Donald Trump will not save Israel from the abyss.” [Haaretz

Dennis Ross: “President Obama has been against Israel settlements since taking office: If there is one issue on which the President has been consistent vis-à-vis Israel, it has been settlement construction in the territories that Israel occupied after the 1967 war… Perhaps, President Obama felt this resolution was more balanced. Truth be told, resolutions in international forum about Israel are rarely, if ever, balanced… Making the concept of blocs and swaps harder to implement is probably not the legacy President Obama wants, and yet it may be one he has just made more likely.” [NYDN

David Greenfield: “This is in large part why so many pro-Israel voters abandoned the Democratic party and voted Republican this year. As a Democrat, I’m appalled by his actions but take comfort in knowing that we still have many friends in the Democratic party.” [Facebook] • Eli Lake: “A lot of Jewish Democrats telling me privately that they are disgusted and ashamed of POTUS and John Kerry” [Twitter]

Jewish Journal’s David Suissa: “Obama throws Israel to the wolves: That’s quite a double whammy for his legacy—he harms the peace process, and he harms Israel. For Jews who love Israel and who love Obama, that’s a lot to swallow.” [JewishJournal

VIEW FROM TRUMP TOWER — Trump Tweets: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th… The big loss yesterday for Israel in the United Nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. Too bad, but we will get it done anyway!” [Twitter

“Humbled Netanyahu Places Hopes in Trump” by Josef Federman: “It remains unclear what Trump might be able to do. While he will be able to wield the U.S. veto to prevent further action against Israel in the council, mustering enough votes to overturn Friday’s decision appears to be impossible.” [AP

“U.S. Transition Puts Israeli Focus Back on Palestinians” by Peter Baker: “Israeli leaders have used American pressure as an excuse to avoid doing something they really don’t want to do but are being pressured to do by coalition members,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former American ambassador to Israel teaching at Princeton University. If Mr. Trump advances views to the right of Mr. Netanyahu, “this will put the Prime Minister in an awkward position with no excuses for not doing what right-wingers want him to do,” Mr. Kurtzer said… “Others suggested that nuanced diplomacy by Mr. Trump could help Mr. Netanyahu. While the right may press for more settlement construction, the Trump administration could endorse keeping any new housing within established blocs, said Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “That would be a major victory for Netanyahu,” Mr. Satloff said. “And if linked to real suspension of growth outside the blocs, it may even advance Israeli ties with Sunnis.” [NYTimes

Alan Dershowitz: “Trump was right to try to stop Obama: Had the lame duck president not tried to tie the incoming president’s hands, Trump would not have intervened at this time. But if he had not urged the Egyptians to withdraw the resolution, he would have made it far more difficult for himself to try to bring about a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” [JPost] • Dershowitz on Fox & Friends this morning: “It’s the most undemocratic thing a president can do, to tie the hands of his successor” [Video]

Alon Pinkas: “Netanyahu’s self-righteousness that this resolution is going to be changed or reversed by Trump is totally unfounded. If he really thinks this can happen, then either he is panicking or plainly misleading.” [WashPost

Michael Eisenberg: “In Bibi’s Kindergarten: Israelis should not be sanguine about this. This is a large misstep, one born of government hubris and ministerial infantile behavior. You cannot taunt the President of the United States while he is still in the White House just like you can’t lecture him in the Oval Office.” [Medium]

Elliott Abrams and Michael Singh: “Peace in the Middle East will not be accomplished through a U.N. vote. Rather, it will require renewed U.S. leadership in the region and the rebuilding of relationships of trust with all of our partners there. This is where the next administration should start.” [WashPost

ON THE HILL — “Graham: Defund UN after Israeli settlement vote” by Elise Labott and Eugene Scott: “It’s that important to me,” he told CNN. “This is a road we haven’t gone down before. If you can’t show the American people that international organizations can be more responsible, there is going to be a break. And I am going to lead that break.” “I will do everything in my power, working with the new administration and Congress, to leave no doubt about where America stands when it comes to the peace process and where we stand with the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel,” Graham added… Graham traveled to New York last week to discuss the resolution with António Guterres, the next UN Secretary General, and he spent the past week lobbying members of the Security Council not to support the UN vote. The South Carolina Republican also talked to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Trump’s pick for ambassador to the United Nations, about the resolution. “The settlement issue is no doubt an issue,” Graham told CNN. “But this is not the way. We abandoned Israel.”

— “He hopes to create leverage for Trump to deal with the United Nations on the issue when the President-elect takes office. “Trump is a good negotiator. Let’s see if this give him some leverage,” he said, adding if the world body overturned the measure, the UN “has got a chance to reset and let the new administration restart the peace process.” [CNN]  

Ted Cruz: “Spoke with Israeli PM Netanyahu tonight to wish him Happy Chanukah & assure him of strong support in Congress. No US $ for UN until reversed.” [Twitter

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev: The fallout from Resolution 2443 took over the Knesset today, as various party leaders used their weekly faction meetings to share their opinions on the UNSC decision and the Prime Minister’s harsh diplomatic reaction. Fearing future repercussions, Netanyahu resisted the loud calls from his right wing base to immediately announce a massive wave of building in the settlements and promote legislation that would apply Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank, and is trying to postpone any declarative moves until after the Trump inauguration. Instead, he launched a diplomatic blitz on the US and other Security Council members, summoning their ambassadors for reprimands (on Christmas Day!) and announcing a temporary reduction in diplomatic ties. The idea is to emphasize that Israel is angry. Very angry. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

TRANSITION TOWER — “Trump Names Jason Greenblatt Representative for International Negotiations” by Peter Grant: “Mr. Greenblatt, who has worked for the Trump Organization for two decades, served during the campaign as one of Mr. Trump’s top advisers on U.S.-Israel relations. He spent most of his career as a lawyer and doesn’t have extensive experience in foreign policy.” [WSJ; JI

— “A source familiar with the appointment told CNN that Greenblatt will primarily will be working on Israel-Palestinian peace process, the American relationship with Cuba and trade agreements.” [CNN]

“Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel has all sides on edge” by Josh Lederman:“The bankruptcy lawyer and son of an Orthodox rabbi is everything Obama is not: a fervent supporter of Israeli settlements, opponent of Palestinian statehood and unrelenting defender of Israel’s government. So far to the right is Friedman that even many Israel supporters worry he could push Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be more extreme, scuttling prospects for peace with Palestinians in the process.” [AP]

“Trump taps aide Stephen Miller to write inaugural address” by Shane Goldmacher: “Trump and his top advisers have begun mapping out the themes for his inaugural address next month, as the president-elect has tapped Stephen Miller, his incoming senior White House adviser for policy, to write the historic speech… The choice of Miller, the 31-year-old who wrote most of Trump’s major prepared speeches in 2016, including his Republican national convention address that was criticized as overly dark, is of no surprise to Trump insiders. Miller played an unusually multi-faceted role on the campaign: a behind-the-scenes policy adviser, Trump’s chief speechwriter and a speech-giver himself, becoming a skinny-tie-wearing fixture over the summer at Trump rallies as a warm-up act.” [Politico]

“Kissinger, a longtime Putin confidant, sidles up to Trump” by Nahal Toosi and Isaac Arnsdorf: “Sources familiar with the transition effort say the Manhattan real estate mogul is fascinated by Kissinger… Associates of Kissinger also are in touch with others in the Trump orbit. One top Kissinger aide, Thomas Graham, is being floated among lower-level transition interlocutors as a potential ambassador to Russia, according to a source familiar with the conversations… A person familiar with the Trump team’s national security planning warned against reading too much into the Trump-Kissinger relationship.” [Politico]

2018 WATCH — “Is he good for the Jews? Md. Gov. Larry Hogan sure is trying to convince them” by Robert McCartney: “On Friday, before the dinner, he lunched with Jewish leaders in Rockville and visited a Jewish school there. On Sunday, the governor was to host a Hanukkah party at his Annapolis residence. Joked the rabbi: “And on Monday, I’m taking him to the mikvah,” the ritual bath used for, among other purposes, conversions to the Jewish faith. Hogan, a Roman Catholic, won’t be switching religions. But he is seeking to capitalize on a trade and cultural mission to Israel in September with a series of events that could help him win over traditionally Democratic Jewish voters and strengthen his chances of reelection in 2018. Analysts say the governor, whose approval rating halfway through his first term in office is about 70 percent, has an especially good opportunity to pick up support in Montgomery’s Jewish electorate.” [WashPost

** 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 **

STARTUP NATION: “Snap reportedly acquired augmented reality startup Cimagine Media for up to $40 million” by Ken Yeung: “Snap has reportedly made an investment in augmented reality, purchasing the Israeli-based startup Cimagine Media… Founded four years ago, Cimagine specializes in computer vision, real-time image processing, mobile development, international marketing, and more. All of these are obviously compelling for Snap, whose app Snapchat is heavily reliant on augmented reality and the like. But what Cimagine brings to the table is a focus on commerce and as Snap looks towards going public perhaps some time next year, it’s quite possible that doing facilitating shopping through Snapchat might open up additional revenue opportunities.” [VB

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Armed protest planned for Whitefish” by David Winter: “ABC Fox Montana has learned that the racist website, The Daily Stormer, is organizing an armed protest through the streets of Whitefish. This is in response to the controversy surrounding white nationalist Richard Spencer, his mother, and human rights advocates in the area.” [ABCFoxMontana]

SPORTS BLINK: “Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Court” by John Branch: “I remember when the Camp David accords happened,” Kerr said, recalling the 1978 peace talks between Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt, shepherded by President Jimmy Carter. Kerr had just entered his teens… “One of my best friends was a guy named David Zuckerman, a Jewish guy, and his father was an English professor,” Kerr said. Mr. Zuckerman’s name was Marvin, and my dad said: ‘Marvin, Marvin! Did you see the picture today of Begin and Sadat?’ It was the biggest thing. It would have been the equivalent of the Dodgers winning the World Series. He was so excited for that moment because that is what he really hoped for: Middle East peace. That was his dream. That day, I’ll never forget it.”” [NYTimes]

“NBA’s Adam Silver advises against a player boycott of Trump White House” by Mike Wise: “The head of North America’s most racially-conscious league listened as NBA players and coaches vented publicly about the election of Donald Trump and a possible boycott by an entire team. Now, he weighs in: “To me, if a player were to choose not to go to the White House, whether they were choosing not to go to the current White House or a future White House, my response would be: ‘That’s a lost opportunity,’ ” Silver said. “Because that’s an opportunity that most citizens who have a political point of view would kill for — the opportunity to directly tell the president of the United States how they feel about an issue.” [TheUndefeated]

MEDIA WATCH — “Jewish media must be an integral part of strong local and national Jewish life” by Alan Abbey: “A quick review I did of major Jewish media in the weeks since the 2016 US Presidential election found numerous probing articles about Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson, Ambassador-to-Israel selection David Friedman, and others, questioning Trump’s actual policies… Jewish Insider, Shmuel Rosner of Jewish Journal, JTA, Forward, The Jewish Week, and others have reported on concerns about Tillerson and the policy implications of naming Friedman… New ideas, support, and funding are needed if Jewish media are to rise to the occasion and take on the issues pinpointed in Kampeas’ essay and to have the energy to cover both the entertaining “fluff” of where Ivanka and Jared will go on Shabbat, as well as the numerous challenges facing America.” [Medium]

“Ivanka Trump and husband celebrate Hanukkah in Hawaii” by Daniel Halper: “Future first daughter Ivanka Trump is celebrating Hanukkah in Hawaii with her family. Trump shared a picture of herself, with husband Jared Kushner and their three kids, celebrating the first night of the Jewish holiday from their vacationing spot in Hawaii… “This year is one of the rare and special occasions where Hanukkah and Christmas coincide. Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah! #happyholidays, she said on Twitter.” [NYPost; Pic

BIRTHDAYS: French singer and night-club impresaria, whose chain of eponymous night clubs, Chez Régine, once reached 25 clubs across three continents, Régine Zylberberg turns 87… Chief Parliamentarian of the United States Senate for 18 years (out of a total of 35 years in the Senate Parliamentarian’s Office), Alan Frumin turns 70… Senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, previously Chief Economist to VPOTUS Joe Biden (2009-2011), Jared Bernstein turns 61… Manager of New School Development at Hebrew Public, a national movement of  public charter schools that teach Modern Hebrew, Kay Lodge… AIPAC’s Associate Director for Westchester County (NY) and Riverdale, Zoe Bernstein… Eli Schechner … Fred Heim

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Dec
23

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Daily Kickoff: Israel accuses Kerry, Obama of ‘abandoning Israel’ | Kushner, Bannon ‘worked all night’ on UN | How would US act at UN had Hillary won?

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BREAKING: New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela will call for a vote at the UN Security Council on Friday afternoon at 3PM on a draft resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements. [Reuters]

“Israel Slams Obama, Kerry Over UN Resolution: A senior Israeli official said, “President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN. President Obama could declare his willingness to veto this resolution in an instant but instead is pushing it. This is an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN and undermines the prospects of working with the next administration of advancing peace.” [Twitter]

Jay Solomon: “Israel believed US & Palestinians were “coordinating” in preparing new UN resolution on Mideast peace process, says an Israeli official.” [Twitter]

David Horovitz: “If — and as of this writing, we are still in “if” territory — the administration was, perhaps still is, ready to forgo its UN veto and let a Palestinian-designed resolution gain passage in the UN Security Council, condemning all settlements and potentially inviting new international diplomatic and financial pressure against Israel, it will instead have chosen a course of action that could sabotage its admirable two-term history of defending Israel’s against those international players that wish it ill. It will have essentially sided against Israel with those negative forces. It will have reversed and made a mockery of its own previous pledges and positions — notably when it vetoed a similar resolution five years ago with the explanation that the Security Council was not the right venue for tackling issues that need to be resolved by the parties themselves.” [ToI]

Brent Sasley: “At this point of Obama presidency likely only consequence would be to tar Obama’s name among many Jewish-Israelis & US Jews.” [Twitter]

Mark Dubowitz: “As Aleppo burns, 500,000 dead Syrians, global chaos, Obama spends last 27 days cementing legacy as most anti-Israel president ever.” [Twitter]

BEHIND THE SCENES — “In a day of tweets, Trump suggests major change on national security issues” by Karen DeYoung: “Once it became clear late Wednesday that the settlements vote was scheduled for Thursday afternoon, Trump officials said the transition gave the administration a “heads-up” that the president-elect was going to publicly call for a U.S. veto… After initial hesitation on whether Trump should weigh in, the statement was written late Wednesday by Jared Kushner… and Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, according to two people briefed on the deliberation who were not authorized to speak publicly. They said that Kushner and Bannon consulted with several allies in Israel and the United States but declined to name them. The effort represented perhaps Kushner’s most significant foray to date into foreign policy and the Middle East, where Trump has said he would welcome his son-in-law’s involvement.” [WashPost

Robert Costa: “Kushner and Bannon worked together all night Wednesday on the UN Israel issue, per several people familiar with the discussions.” [Twitter]

“Israelis called Trump to weigh in ahead of UN Security Council vote” by Elise Labott, Oren Liebermann and Nicole Gaouette: “The Israeli official told CNN that his country also approached the Trump campaign after it felt that it had failed to persuade the Obama administration to veto the planned vote. The official said that Israel “implored the White House not to go ahead and told them that if they did, we would have no choice but to reach out to President-elect Trump. We did reach out to the President-elect and are deeply appreciative that he weighed in, which was not a simple thing to do,” the official said.” [CNN; Haaretz

“Trump discussed Mideast peace in call with Egypt’s Sisi” by Emily Stephenson: “Trump discussed laying the groundwork for peace in the Middle East in a phone call on Thursdaywith Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a Trump transition official said. The official did not know whether Trump and Sisi talked specifically about Egypt’s decision to postpone a vote… on a resolution demanding that Israel end settlement building.” [Reuters

— “In a statement, Mr Sisi’s office said the two leaders had agreed the new US administration should be given a chance to deal with the issue. However, four other members of the security council warned that if Egypt did not press ahead with its resolution before the end of Thursday, other member states would do so. New Zealand, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal said they reserved the right to move ahead with the vote.” [BBC]

— “Asked about Mr. Trump’s comments, a visibly upset Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said, “He is acting on behalf of Netanyahu.”” [NYTimes

Ambassador Dermer: “Israel deeply appreciates the clear and unequivocal call of President-elect Donald Trump to veto anti-Israel resolution at the UN.” [Twitter]

Jerusalem’s view of the White House: “Israeli officials believed the Obama administration had planned its abstention for some time, and was angered by Egypt’s decision to suddenly change course. The goal of the White House, according to the Israeli government’s assessment, was to let off a parting shot at a prime minister with whom it has fought for years and to bind the incoming administration with new international language.” [JPost]

“Pressure Mounting on Obama with UN Resolution’s Fate Unclear” by JI’s Aaron Magid: “Remember you have all of these allies and adversaries out there trying to figure out what is Trump going to do when he actually becomes President,” explained Aaron David Miller… “I am not sure (Egyptian President) Sisi wants to put himself in a position as one of the opening acts of the administration to be on the wrong side of Mr. Trump on this issue.” FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer credited “the deepening strategic ties between Egypt and Israel” in an interview with Jewish Insider… Since the Obama Administration’s likely intended for the settlement resolution to pass, Miller cited Obama’s personal ideological commitment to the Palestinian cause motivating him to abstain.  “Frustration and real resentment that the Israelis weren’t listening combined with the fact that the administration was running out of time propelled them either to abstain or to vote in favor,” he explained.”

— WHAT IF Hillary had won? What would have happened yesterday? “A lot of Democrats would like for him to veto. The party is in bad shape, not only did they lose the presidential election but they also lost… both houses of Congress,” CFR’s Elliott Abrams told Jewish Insider. “They don’t need things that weaken the party further yet Obama is willing to see that happen. Had Clinton won, he would have had even less reason to be concerned about the condition of the Democratic Party,” Abrams added.”

Jonathan Schanzer: “I could imagine that Hillary would have said, ‘Don’t do this to me right now.’ She probably wouldn’t have done it publicly, she probably would have done it privately saying. ‘You are going to tie my hands as the next president you are going to make my life more difficult because it will appear as if I gave my blessing to this Security Council resolution.’ It would have complicated her relationship with Netanyahu and the Israeli government at a time when she had been promising a lot of her supporters that things were going to change and they were going to get demonstrably better after a very rocky 8 years with Obama.”

Aaron David Miller: “If she would have won, they would have consulted with her. She would have had to make a judgment that she was pretty hard over on settlements but not nearly as intensely as the President. In fact, if you look closely at her memoir, she didn’t want to box the Israelis in. They would have gone to her and said, ‘We don’t want to box you in, are you ok with it?’ I don’t know what she would have said. Part of her would have said I don’t want to be in a fight with the Israelis as my first foreign policy challenge. She might have basically cautioned. But we don’t know.” [JewishInsider

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump, Obama on possible collision course over Israeli settlement vote” by Karen DeYoung: “The resolution, promoted by liberal Jewish groups in the United States, has been the subject of intense debate in recent days within the Obama administration. Secretary of State John F. Kerry has pushed for a clear statement of position before the administration leaves office. A Kerry speech outlining the U.S. stance that was tentatively scheduled for Thursday morning appeared to have been canceled within two hours of its planned delivery, according to U.S. officials, who said the matter remained unsettled within the administration.” [WashPost

HEARD LAST NIGHT – Malcolm Hoenlein on David Greenfield’s weekly radio show: “I spoke to people in the administration, including Secretary Kerry’s office, this morning, and they themselves did not know… The administration played its cards very close to the vest, did not indicate at any time. I met with the US Ambassador (Samantha Power) and she said that at that point she did not know. It’s a little strange that we had no indication from them, but there’s broad speculation that there might not have been a veto… It would be a terrible way for them to go out of office, as well as I think with broader implications for the Democratic party…  [Trump’s statement] had an impact in the region and certainly with the Egyptians, who are aware of it. He has challenged the role of the United Nations and the bias against Israel there. I think for countries, including Egypt, looking forward the next four years, you have to take that very seriously. It was a message.”

“Trump’s Ambassador Could (Accidentally) Benefit Israel” by Daniel Gordis: “Netanyahu and Abbas may both realize that time is actually not on their side. Could this be the moment for them to compromise and to try to negotiate a real deal? Friedman would not like it, but he would not be able to overrule an Israeli electorate in favor. Abbas could go down in history as something other than a failure. Netanyahu claims to want such a deal. If Israelis and Palestinians would broker the deal without American intervention, the American Jewish right could not stop the accord in Washington or in the Israeli government.” [Bloomberg

Jewish Journal’s David Suissa: “Why J Street should welcome Trump and Friedman: “Donald Trump is that high energy electric shock to the heart; Friedman and others are there to follow his voltage. If Prime Minister Netanyahu is serious about his talks without preconditions, Trump will help him get there. You may have a nasty taste in your mouth for outspoken types like Trump, but you can’t deny two things. One, he is not ruling out a two-state solution, and two, he will bring a defibrillator to the operation.” [JewishJournal

Ivanka Trump Accosted by Passenger on JetBlue Flight: “Ivanka was on a JetBlue flight leaving JFK Thursday morning with her family when a passenger started screaming, “Your father is ruining the country.” The guy went on, “Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private.” A passenger on the flight tells TMZ Ivanka ignored the guy and tried distracting her kids with crayons. JetBlue personnel escorted the unruly passenger off the flight. As he was removed he screamed, “You’re kicking me off for expressing my opinion?!!” The husband of the unruly passenger tweeted an hour before the plane took off, “Ivanka and Jared at JFK T5, flying commercial. My husband chasing them down to harass them.”” [TMZ] • “What actually occurred is unclear, and Lasner’s entire Twitter account has since gone down.” [CNN]

Account by the man seated in front of Ivanka: “When he got on and saw her, sitting behind me, he said “oh my god. This is a nightmare” and was visibly shaking. He said “they ruin the country now they ruin our flight!” He did not yell. He was also not what I would describe as calm. Agitated maybe… When the JetBlue staff went back to speak to the man I overheard Ivanka say to them “I don’t want to make this a thing.”” [Instagram

TRANSITION TOWER:  “Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn Is a Rising Power in Trumpworld” by Gabriel Sherman: “Cohn, one source said, has “walk-in” privileges that allow him to pop into Trump’s office whenever he wants… Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is particularly close with Cohn. One former Goldman executive told me that if Kushner can’t take a West Wing post for legal reasons, Cohn will be his proxy inside the administration… But conservatives around Trump are skeptical of Cohn, who’s donated to both Republicans and Democrats. According to sources, Cohn has upset right-wing members of the White House economic team by attempting to block the appointment of CNBC commentator and avowed supply-sider Larry Kudlow to chair the Council of Economic Advisers.” [NYMag

“Trump Rewards Kellyanne Conway With a Top White House Staff Slot” by Michael Shear and Maggie Haberman: “Mr. Trump is deeply fond of Ms. Conway, whose job as counselor will give her frequent access to the president… She has reportedly clashed at times with Mr. Priebus and Mr. Kushner. Both men were frustrated when she gave a series of interviews in which she criticized Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, who was being considered for secretary of state.” [NYTimes

“Trump’s New White House Social Media Director Loves To Block People” by Emma Loop: “Adam Serwer, senior editor at The Atlantic and a former BuzzFeed employee, said on Twitter that Scavino blocked him because he once pointed out the difference between two Jewish observances. “Dan Scavino, who blocked me because I pointed out Shabbat is more important than Hanukkah, will be a WH press aide.”” [BuzzFeed

Tevi Troy: “A Presidential Getaway Is No Vacation: In the modern era, presidents can go just about anywhere and remain in contact. But world events now happen faster than they used to, and Americans expect a response from their president, vacationing or not. As Mr. Trump prepares to take his first break since winning the election last month, he should be mindful of his predecessors’ experiences and stay alert even when away from Washington.” [WSJ

DNC WATCH — “Keith Ellison in letter to Conservative rabbis ‘regrets’ past ties with Farrakhan” by Ron Kampeas: “At the time, I did not grasp [Louis] Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism,” he wrote, referring to the movement’s leader… “When I became aware that he made hateful statements about other groups, including the Jewish community with whom I was so close, I knew that I must reject his teachings. And I rejected them completely.” Ellison, who has routinely voted for defense assistance to Israel, also for the first time regretted his exceptional vote against additional missile defense assistance for Israel during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas… “I cast a vote reflecting my commitment to restoring calm and quiet at a moment of violence,” he said… “My voice was not being heard and I felt in the moment that casting my vote was a vital way to amplify my message. It was the wrong way to speak out and it was the wrong way to vote. I regret it deeply.” [JTA

“Reid: DNC was ‘worthless’ under Wasserman Schultz” by Jessia Hellmann: “I believe one of the failures of Democratic Party has been the Democratic National Committee, the DNC, has been worthless,” Reid told Nevada Public Radio in an interview published Wednesday… Reid said he hopes the DNC picks a chair who is “full-time,” unlike “that congresswoman from Florida,” refusing to say the name of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz… “We need a full time DNC chair and what they should do — they can take my model if they want — it’s not rocket science.” [TheHill]

“In Emanuel emails, players ask favors big and small” by Rick Pearson, David Heinzmann and Jeff Coen: “Amid the thousands of emails released by Emanuel’s attorneys this week to settle a lawsuit with the Better Government Association are myriad requests sent to the mayor’s personal accounts from corporate heavyweights, campaign supporters and the politically connected aimed not only at helping their businesses but also their lifestyles.” [ChicagoTribune• New emails reveal how Marc Andreessen courted Rahm Emanuel on Airbnb’s behalf [TheVerge]

** 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 **

SPOTLIGHT: “Teva Settles Foreign Corruption Probe for $519 Million” by Samuel Rubenfeld: “Teva entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement that charges the company with violating the antibribery provisions of the FCPA, and it agreed to pay a $283.2 million criminal fine, continue to cooperate with a U.S. investigation and retain a compliance monitor. The Russian subsidiary pleaded guilty. The parent company also agreed to pay $236 million in disgorgement and interest to the SEC… Erez Vigodman, Teva’s president and chief executive, said in a statement Thursday that the conduct leading to the investigation had ended years ago, calling the behavior “regrettable and unacceptable.”” [WSJ

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev: Suspicion regarding Arab lawmaker Basel Ghattas, who allegedly smuggled cellphones and passed information to numerous Fatah prisoners sitting in Israeli security prisons, continued to captivate the Knesset this week. On Thursday, hours after having his immunity revoked, Ghattas was arrested by Israeli police. While Ghattas continues to dismiss the allegations as political persecution, the Knesset is confronting an unprecedented situation, raising various legal complexities and question marks. This is the first time in history a sitting MK has been arrested: Is he allowed to vote in the plenum? Will he still earn a salary? Can he even come to the Knesset?

According to the law, Ghattas could even demand to attend Knesset votes while he is under arrest, and can be suspended only after he is indicted. Next week, the parliament’s ethics committee will convene to discuss various petitions–such as one calling for the annulment of Ghattas’ right to participate in parliamentary activity. The coalition – and mainly members of the Likud party – are pushing to exercise the newly legislated impeachment bill, and since early this week Likud minister Zeev Elkin has been gathering signatures to initiate the process with a hearing. Elkin reached 60 signatures, but is missing the required 10 opposition MKs, who so far are adamantly refusing to join the initiative.

After Ghattas’s arrest, Elkin is continuing his push, targeting Yair Lapid and his centrist party Yesh Atid as the main obstacle to his move, accusing him of protecting Ghattas. “Yair Lapid should wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and tell himself that he is the reason Ghattas is still an MK,” he said this week. Lapid, for his part, has also vowed that he “will not rest until Ghattas is out of the Knesset,” but has been objecting to the suggested Knesset intervention, claiming it could drag on for years and that the criminal procedure will be much more quick and effective. Earlier this week, even Netanyahu threw himself into the political firestorm surrounding Elkin’s petition, accusing Lapid of being “a leftist who stands at the head of a leftist party.” Lapid, currently perceived as Netanyahu’s biggest challenger in the next election, has been trying to brand himself as a center-right leader, so the tactic is aimed at pressuring him to join the call. However, the direct confrontation from Netanyahu actually encouraged Lapid, as it also positions him as the PM’s main rival.

TALK OF THE TOWN — “No, A Jewish Family Didn’t “Flee” Town After Being Blamed For Christmas Play Cancellation” by Jim Dalrymple II: “The story seemingly escalated further when local news website Lancaster Online reported that a Jewish family “fled the county in fear because it’s being blamed for the cancellation.” The newspaper’s story did not name the family, but claimed to have spoken to them and reported that the parents became fearful and left town after seeing reaction to the Breitbart and Fox stories… However, the Anti-Defamation League tracked down the family and discovered that they did not, in fact, flee. According to a statement released Thursday evening, “ADL investigated, and found that in actuality, the family left on vacation for winter break.” The statement goes on to call reports that the family fled “untrue and damaging.”” [BuzzFeed; JTA]

Weekend LongRead: “Inside Ivanka and Tiffany Trump’s Complicated Sister Act” by Sarah Ellison: “Years later, when an interviewer asked Ivanka whether she understood the consternation in the Jewish community after her father’s campaign tweeted an accusatory picture of Hillary Clinton next to the Star of David, Ivanka shot back that she thought the outcry was “ridiculous” because her father clearly did not think that the symbol was a Star of David. (Ivanka has told friends that her father wore a yarmulke at her wedding, and that “if my father had an anti-Semitic bone in his body, I would know about it.”)

“This past spring, as her father was preparing for the Republican convention, Ivanka asked Rabbi Lookstein, one of the most prominent rabbis in the country, if he would deliver an opening invocation. He agreed. But when the Ramaz alumni heard that their rabbi would be appearing on a stage with Trump… they circulated a blistering petition to protest his participation… Rabbi Lookstein backed down. One member of the Ramaz alumni group told me that the incident isolated Ivanka in the school community. “You are dropping off your daughter at Ramaz every day,” this person said, “where the alumni association says that your father is so despicable that the rabbi’s mere presence for three minutes is too much?” … That member added that negative feelings about her father do not extend to Ivanka. Whatever the reality, the episode has left scars.” [VanityFair

Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week — Alexander the Great – Amarolo: On certain rare occasions an encounter with even the greatest of wines can be overshadowed by the larger experience itself. This week in Paris was just such an occasion. I was sitting in an overstuffed leather chair, smoking Cuban cigars with my eldest son and a new friend (a great leader of the Moroccan Jewish Community), in the private smoking room of the new Peninsula Hotel. Steak, foie gras and cold cuts were staring us in the face.

Out comes the Alexander the Great Amarolo 2011. This is a wine so robust and present that in most situations it would not be overshadowed. There is an early impression of fermentation still going on the front palate. By mid-palate the wine drinker comes to terms, and has even accepted, the repercussions of a 40-month barrel-aging process. By the finish, the deep purple liquid becomes a soft silk and the taste comes through the heavy oak. The wine is comprised of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Shiraz and 3% Grenache. This can be a bit confusing to the palate at first, but it brilliantly comes together at the finish. Since I drank this wine with almost every cut of meat I can name, I would suggest loading up on cured meats to enjoy the ride. [AlexanderWinery]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Television producer, best known for his work on the 1980’s television series “Cagney & Lacey,” Barney Rosenzweig turns 79… Electrical engineer, who with Vint Cerf, invented the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), the fundamental techniques at the heart of the Internet, Robert Elliot “Bob” Kahn turns 78… Emmy Award-winning actor, voice actor, comedian, writer, musician, author, radio host, director and producer, currently artist in residence at Loyola University, New Orleans, Harry Shearer turns 73… Russian-born mathematician, living in France, known for important contributions in many different areas of mathematics, including geometry, analysis and group theory, Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov turns 73… Documentary filmmaker, finishing the DVD for her 2015 film “Rosenwald” and working on her next film about Moe Berg, the Jewish catcher and spy, Aviva Kempner turns 7-0… Political analyst, commentator, founder and editor at large of the political magazine “The Weekly Standard,” William “Bill” Kristol turns 64… Israeli singer, songwriter, musician, and composer of the genre known as Mizrahi music, Dudu Aharon turns 32… Israeli fashion model who has appeared in major international campaigns for Armani, Ralph Lauren, Maybelline, L’Oreal and on many magazine covers, Shlomit Malka turns 23…

Professor of Education and Liturgy at Gratz College, Saul Philip Wachs turns 85… Pulitzer Prize-winning national security reporter for The Washington Post (1975-2015), now teaching a seminar at Stanford University’s Stanford-in-Washington program, Walter Pincus turns 84… Former Director of the National Economic Council under both Presidents Clinton and Obama, Gene Sperling turns 58… Member of the UK Parliament since 2005, Leader of the Labour Party as well as Leader of the Opposition (2010-2015), Edward Samuel Miliband turns 47… Professor of Internet law and computer science at Harvard’s Law School, Harvard’s Kennedy School and Harvard’s School of Engineering, Jonathan Zittrain turns 47… Pianist, singer, composer, songwriter, actor and musician, at 9 years old he became the youngest artist to have his own hour-long National PBS Concert Special, Ethan Jordan Bortnick turns 16… Co-founder, co-CEO and Rabbi of Ohr HaTorah in Venice, California and on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, Mordecai Finley… Founder and chief investment officer of BlueStar Global Investors LLC, Steven Schoenfeld… Founder in 2010 of Ochstein Strategies, a firm to provide PR and digital strategy for startups, Jodi L. Ochstein

Sociologist, author, fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal, Kay Hymowitz turns 68… Israeli singer, songwriter, musician and painter, Yehuda Poliker turns 66… Partner in Definers Public Affairs, a DC-based consulting firm that applies political campaign communications techniques to the corporate world, former Jeb 2016 Communications Director, Tim Miller turns 35… Attorney in the regulatory and government affairs group at global law firm DLA Piper, Irene Jefferson Sherman turns 32… Executive Director at The America-Israel Friendship League, Daniella Rilov… Enterprise editor for CNN Politics Digital, previously deputy White House editor for Politico and Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post, Hilary Leila Krieger

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]

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Daily Kickoff: After Trump releases statement, Sisi delays UN action | Report: Kerry told PA that US wouldn’t veto | Tom Perez calls Jewish leaders

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BREAKING — “Egypt seeks delay of UN security council vote on Israeli settlements -diplomat: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has instructed Egypt’s U.N. mission to postpone a Security Council vote on a draft resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, a western diplomat told Reuters on Thursday.” [Reuters]

Question on everyone’s mind: What effect, if any, did Trump’s statement have on Sisi’s decision? Did Trump call Sisi and tell him to back down?

Barak Ravid: “Western Diplomats: Netanyahu pressured the Egyptians & made them postpone the vote until another Arab league meeting convenes” [Twitter]

AP’s Bradley Klapper: “Kerry statement will apparently be put off, dovetailing with suggestions UNSC vote has been postponed” [Twitter]

(WHAT WAS) DRIVING THE DAY — “U.N. council to vote Thursday on end to Israeli settlements” by Michelle Nichols: “Egypt circulated the draft on Wednesday evening and the 15-member council is due to vote at 3 p.m. on Thursday, diplomats said. They said it was unclear how the United States, which has protected Israel from U.N. action, would vote. The White House declined to comment… In a post on Twitter, Netanyahu said the United States “should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday.” The tweet gave no indication whether Israel had been informed of how Washington planned to vote.” [Reuters

“Proposed UN resolution demands end to Israeli settlements” by Edith Lederer: “Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said the resolution “will do nothing to promote a diplomatic process, and will only reward the Palestinian policy of incitement and terror. We expect our greatest ally not to allow this one-sided and anti-Israel resolution to be adopted by the council,” he said.” [AP; France24]

Israeli Consul General to New York, Dani Dayan: “Barely days after Ban Ki-moon conceded UN is biased against Israel, UNSC about to prove Thursday the bias persists.” [Twitter

— Just yesterday, Ambassador Danon wrote the following in a NYT Op-Ed: “Israel Is Ready for a Reset at the U.N.: Once it is treated as an equal, Israel wants nothing more than to build on the successful areas of cooperation it has established at the United Nations… More than this, Israel stands ready to contribute to the core areas of United Nations operations: peace and security… We look forward to a day when even more lives can be saved if Israel’s capabilities are incorporated regularly into United Nations missions.” [NYTimes]

“Israel: Obama’s Failure to Veto UN Resolution on Settlements Would Breach U.S. Commitment” by Barak Ravid: “Kerry is set to give a dramatic speech shortly before the vote… A decision not to veto the UN resolution would embody U.S. President Barack Obama’s final attempt to “do something” against the settlements, the official said, noting that it would constitute the abandonment of traditional U.S. policy a moment before a new administration takes over.” [Haaretz]

President-elect Trump statement: “The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed. As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

KAFE KNESSET — by Tal Shalev: Netanyahu was supposed to sleep well last night, as the Knesset passed the double year budget and his premiership was basically granted two years of stability. But as the news about the Palestinian UNSC resolution arrived in from Turtle Bay, his chambers entered emergency mode. The Prime Minister called off his schedule for today, to try and deal with the burning question of whether the US would stand by its traditional policy of imposing a veto. After tweeting from Netanyahu’s account in the middle of night, senior officials in the PMO released a statement calling on President Obama to stand by its longstanding policy calling for direct negotiations and accusing the administration of disavowing commitments and understandings if the resolution is not vetoed. “It will be abandoning traditional policy, a minute before the administration changes”, the officials said.

A senior source told Kafe Knesset today that Jerusalem has learned that Secretary of State Kerry told a Palestinian delegation visiting DC earlier this month that the US will not veto the resolution. According to the source, the delegation – headed by Saeb Erekat and including the head of Palestinian intelligence Majid Faraj – also tried to reach out to the President-elect’s team, but did not succeed to meet them. Erekat himself denied the report speaking to the Palestinian news agency Maan, but according to the source, Israel is now pressuring Obama not follow Kerry’s alleged commitment.

The Palestinian move sparked intense reactions all across the political spectrum: Jewish home leader Naftali Bennett filmed a special video message in English against the backdrop of Jerusalem’s old city calling the resolution “A Guinness world record in hypocrisy. Just half an hour from here, in Aleppo there is a genocide going on, yet the UN Security Council is going to convene to tell us not to build houses in Jerusalem or pave a road or open a kindergarten,” Bennett said, preaching that “Whoever supports the UNSC resolution against Israel is in effect is raising his hand for the bad guys, the terrorists, the forces of evil.” Yesh Atid head, Yair Lapid called on the incoming UN secretary general and the outgoing one Ban Ki-moon too publicly reject “this outrageous proposal”, reminding that Ban admitted last week that the UN has a biased approach towards Israel. So far, Zionist Union leaders, Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, considered the heads of the Israeli peace camp, have yet to comment.

DNC WATCH — “Tom Perez Reaches Out To Jewish Leaders” by Jacob Kornbluh:“This is really what I call one of those ‘where were you’ moments,” Perez told some 50 U.S. Jewish leaders [on the conference call]. “What I have learned throughout my life, as a lifelong Democrat, is that the Jewish community has always had an invaluable place in our party, ever since Harry Truman, and that must never change.” The Secretary also shared his experience meeting the late Shimon Peres during his recent visit to Israel, saying he considered the former Israeli president as one of his heroes – “Uncle Shimon, to me.”

“Norman Eisen, former White House ethics czar, told Jewish Insider that he left the call impressed by Perez’s “mastery of the full spectrum of concerns that he would need to tackle as DNC Chair.” Eisen, a longtime friend of Perez, said he supports his candidacy due to his “strong support for social justice, for Israel, and for peace and stability in the Middle-East and around the world,” and his experience in managing large, complex organizations “which is essential for the DNC in this challenging time… And as a retired ethics czar, I love that he is not taking contributions from lobbyists,” Eisen added.” [JewishInsider

Ann Lewis tells us: “I’m a former political director of the DNC, so have some idea of what the job requires. I thought Tom’s discussion of his values, his experience, and skill set was right on – from local organizing at the county level, to working for Senator Kennedy and working with coalitions; and then leading a large national organization that includes some very different components… I thought I knew Tom’s background – especially on issues I care deeply about, like voting rights, fighting hate crimes, equal pay, and family leave. But until this afternoon, I didn’t know about his travels to Israel. He talked about support for the US-Israel relationship as a core Democratic value.”

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — “EU warns Trump not to destroy Iran nuclear deal” by Geoff Dyer:“European officials have told the Trump team and Republicans in Congress that there would be little appetite within the EU for a new campaign of international pressure on Iran if the US took steps that precipitated the end of the agreement… “If there is some sort of major provocation from the Iranians, then we might be able to get behind new sanctions,” said one senior European official. “But if new American sanctions cause the deal to collapse, then most people in Europe will say it is the Americans’ fault.”” [FT] • U.N. nuclear chief set for re-election as rival steps aside: diplomats [Reuters

“Obama administration, allies try to buy time for Iran nuclear deal” by Laura Rozen: “In its final weeks, the outgoing Obama administration is trying to leave the Iran deal in healthy condition. It is working to resolve any technical ambiguities, mostly resulting from differing interpretations of the text of the landmark deal, a senior US official said… The new Trump administration may feel pressure to “fix” the deal or signal that it will be strictly “enforcing” the deal “for the first time.” But he considers the “tear up scenario highly unlikely,” the US official said, with the caveat, “unless the Iranians do something so provocative, it creates a firestorm and pushes the administration into a massive snapback.”” [Al-Monitor

DRIVING THE WEEK — “Moving US embassy to Jerusalem could provoke violent ‘chaos’, experts warn” by Peter Beaumont: “We were told by US officials that Kushner and Friedman are the ones who are advising Trump on the Israel-Palestinian issue,” said one Palestinian official… “If the move does occur, however, other Palestinian officials have warned they will fight the move in the UN, including the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour… “If they do that, nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the UN to defend ourselves, and we have a lot of weapons in the UN.” [Guardian] • Palestinians ‘don’t care’ if US Embassy moves to Jerusalem [JPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY – WJC’s Ron Lauder on MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “I was shocked during the time of the election when people were talking about [Trump] being anti-Semitic… There is not an anti-Semitic bone in his body. He is a man who believes strongly in Jewish values and he’s a man who believes strongly in Israel, and that did not come out in the campaign.. He’s a man who I must tell you the people in Israel will appreciate and I think you will find that he will push very, very strongly those values… At the same time, Donald Trump is somebody who has a world view. I must tell you in the Middle East he’s respected.” [MSNBC

“The perils of partisanship: J Street’s uphill battle against David Friedman” by Michael Wilner: “Ben-Ami has secured the support of several Jewish Democrats in Congress who have issued statements against Friedman’s nomination… Republicans in Congress have seen no reason to oppose his appointment. Indeed, J Street’s opposition has only fueled support for Friedman on the Right. “The measure of power in Washington is not convincing someone to vote for something they would have already supported,” said one veteran Jewish Democratic activist. “That’s pushing against an open door.”” [JPost

“The left is melting down over Trump’s pro-Israel ambassador” by Seth Mandel: “He shouldn’t have said it. But a person close to Friedman tells me he recognizes this, and that it was said in the heat of a vicious campaign in which people he knew were accused of anti-Semitism. He wouldn’t, I’m told, use such language again.” [NYPost

“David Friedman Is A Symptom, Not A Cause” by Michael Koplow: “The truth, however, is that Friedman’s ambassadorial appointment is not particularly consequential… The ambassador’s job is to relay policy, not to make it. While Friedman may have had prime access to Trump during the campaign, his own priorities and preferences are now going to be filtered through Reince Priebus, Mike Flynn, Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and others. Furthermore, Tillerson and Mattis in particular likely do not share Friedman’s policy inclinations of blowing up the two-state agenda or encouraging Israel to annex the West Bank.” [IPForum]

TRANSITION TOWER — “Looking for Clues to Donald Trump’s Ambassador Picks” by Maggie Haberman: “The nomination of Mr. Friedman… has roiled large sections of the foreign policy establishment — just the kind of disruption Mr. Trump liked to emphasize in his campaign…. Mr. Trump’s aides are sifting through a broad list of recommendations from people involved in the transition process, including the president-elect’s daughter Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. As a result, the suggestions have included people who did not immediately support the Trump ticket, such as Ronald J. Gidwitz, who backed Jeb Bush in the primaries… And there are a raft of donors and longtime Republicans angling for appointments who could expect particularly close scrutiny by Democrats during confirmation hearings. “I think confirmation is always problematic,” said Mel Sembler… Lewis M. Eisenberg, the Republican National Committee finance chairman who raised money with Mr. Trump’s choice for Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is seen as a possible choice for Italy.” [NYTimes

“Trump Names Carl Icahn as Adviser on Regulatory Overhaul” by David Benoit: “Mr. Icahn…  is playing a central role in selecting the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, people familiar with the matter said. Interested candidates have reached out to him, and he is interviewing others at the request of Mr. Trump, the people said. The 80-year-old has played a similar role in identifying Mr. Trump’s choices for other important posts… He weighed in enthusiastically as Mr. Trump considered whether to nominate Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross to run the Treasury and Commerce departments, respectively. Both men were picked for the jobs… The position isn’t an official government job; Mr. Icahn won’t get paid and won’t have to give up his current business dealings… “I’m involved with Donald where he wants me to be—I believe he respects my views and I think he listens to me,” Mr. Icahn said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.” [WSJ

Bill Kristol: “Trump transition update: Hill conservatives increasingly alarmed about likely influence of NEC head Gary Cohn, a Goldman Sachs Democrat.” [Twitter

“Donald Trump is holding a government casting call. He’s seeking ‘the look’” by Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty: “Several of Trump’s associates said they thought that John R. Bolton’s brush-like mustache was one of the factors that handicapped the bombastic former United Nations ambassador in the sweepstakes for secretary of state. “Donald was not going to like that mustache,” said one associate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly. “I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes.”” [WashPost

Yair Rosenberg: “Be right back, drawing a fake mustache onto Stephen Bannon while he sleeps.” [Twitter]

“Why Did the New York Times Publish Fake News About Trump, Zionism, and Alan Dershowitz?” by Yair Rosenberg: “As you might suspect, the quote attributed here to Dershowitz at the ZOA did not actually appear in his speech at the ZOA. (It is a truncated line from an earlier TV interview wrenched from the context of Dershowitz’s broader arguments to completely misrepresent his position.) This mistake matters not just for what it says about the intellectual integrity of the author and the editorial standards of this section of the New York Times—nothing good—but because it reveals the sleight-of-hand necessary to make the article’s entire argument work.” [TabletMag]

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

BUSINESS BRIEFS: IDC Herzliya welcomed Sam Zell yesterday during their annual Zell Alumni Event in Tel Aviv [Facebook• Wenner Media head interested in selling Us Weekly [NYPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN — “In lawsuit settlement, Emanuel admits using personal email for public business” by Bill Ruthhart, Hal Dardick and Jeff Coen: “In settling the BGA lawsuit, Emanuel agreed to turn over about 2,700 pages of emails that his personal attorney determined were government-related in nature. An initial review of the thousands of emails to and from Emanuel showed the mayor communicating on a range of topics, from reaching out to business leaders and fielding complaints about crime to defending his policies and pitching what he deemed success stories of his administration to national media outlets.” [ChicagoTribune] • Emails reveal how Emanuel works the media — and vice versa [RobertFeder]

MEDIA WATCH: “Sources: Jared Kushner Quietly Tries to Sell New York Observer” by Alexandra Steigrad: “A potential suitor for the media property had been rumored to be National Enquirer-parent company American Media Inc… The Observer Media chairman and chief executive Joseph Meyer (who, notably, is also Kushner’s brother-in-law) did not deny the speculation, saying only: “As one of the fastest-growing businesses in all of digital media, we are constantly being approached by potential investors and partners.” Insiders surmised that Kushner wants to unload the Observer… so that he can focus on his budding political career.” [WWD

PROFILE: “Meet Henry Orenstein, the man who changed how the world plays” by Abigail Jones: “Half the town was Jewish, yet as a young boy he remembers looking out the window each morning and seeing signs like, “Jews to Palestine” and “Beat the Jews!” … In his freshman year of high school, he was the only straight-A student in his class, but at the end-of-year ceremony, the director announced that not a single freshman had earned the top academic prize. Henry was gutted. The school, he realized, would not give this award to a Jew… Henry remembers begging his father to move the family to America… Orenstein had always been a tinkerer and sculptor—and he’d never been content to work for someone else—so when he came up with an idea in the mid-1950s to fill empty grocery store shelves with beautifully packaged dolls, his uncle loaned him startup capital… “Ideas don’t come in little pieces. It’s in; it’s out. It’s there, or it’s not. It’s like a sparkle,” he says.” [Newsweek

BIRTHDAYS: Former President of the World Bank, US Ambassador to Indonesia, US Deputy Secretary of Defense and Dean of JHU’s Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Paul Wolfowitz turns 73… NYC-based political consultant since 1969, ordained as a Rabbi by Chabad in 2011, his early career included stints as a policeman, taxi driver and bounty hunter, Hank Sheinkopf turns 67… Executive Director of Big Tent Judaism (formerly known as the Jewish Outreach Institute), previously VP of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, Kerry Olitzky turns 62… Senior managing director in the DC office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Lisa Benjamin turns 57… Junior US Senator from Texas since 2013, Ted Cruz turns 46… Reporter, columnist and fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative, whose work has appeared in the NYTimes, WSJ, LATimes, Haaretz and many others, James Kirchick turns 33…

Head of philanthropy and impact investment for EJF Philanthropies, previously founder of Metrics Group, an analytics company, Simone Friedman… NPR correspondent covering the State Department and Washington’s diplomatic corps, formerly NPR’s Moscow bureau chief, Michele Kelemen… Interim CEO of ACYPL, which promotes travel of future US leaders to foreign countries and reciprocal visits to the US by future foreign leaders, Libby Rosenbaum… David Novak… Mary Rose Francini

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