Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Israeli right thinks Bibi will go left | Netanyahu: ‘No blank check’ from Trump | Steven Cohen’s comeback fund | Franken’s Senate jokes

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Ed note: In honor of Shavuot, there will be no Daily Kickoff on Wednesday or Thursday. Chag Sameach!

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “White House faces deadline for clarity on Israel embassy move” by Michael Wilner: “Once every December and June since 1998, the White House has exercised its authority to waive an appropriations requirement that would suspend 50% of the State Department’s buildings maintenance budget until the Secretary of State verifies he has opened a Jerusalem embassy. Given that the law requires confirmation of an embassy opening – not simply of a president’s general intent – it seems likely that US President Donald Trump will issue his first of these waivers later this week. But conservative American Jewish groups and Israel advocacy organizations in favor of the move hope that he will attach an addendum to the waiver notice, outlining his plans to relocate the embassy in due time… White House officials told The Jerusalem Post they have nothing yet to announce on the matter.” [JPost]

“What Trump not signing a Jerusalem embassy waiver would really mean” by Eugene Kontorovich: “The law says nothing about “moving” the embassy. Rather, the requirement is to “officially open” an embassy, which can be done with a mere declaration upgrading the status of one of the existing consular facilities in the city… Non-waiver would be a wise tactical move for Trump. If he signs a waiver, he is certain to face deep pushback from his base at a time he needs its support the most… But if Trump simply does nothing, he gets a clear and easy win on a campaign plank at a time when his agenda seems to have gotten bogged down.” [WashPost]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner taking ‘heads down’ approach” by Betsy Klein: “The official said the two share a “healthy understanding that there’s attention on you when you’re at this level,” adding that they are “unfazed” by the scrutiny of the past week… The couple spent the weekend at Trump’s Bedminister Golf Club, where they married in 2009, for a planned trip with their three small children. Back in Washington on Sunday afternoon, Ivanka Trump was spotted outside the White House, chatting with lawyer Marc Kasowitz before boarding an SUV together.” [CNN]

“Investigation Turns to Kushner’s Motives in Meeting With a Putin Ally” by Matthew Rosenberg, Mark Mazzetti and Maggie Haberman: “[Hope] Hicks said the meetings were part of an effort by [Jared] Kushner to improve relations between the United States and Russia, and to identify areas of possible cooperation. After the first meeting with Mr. Kislyak, she said at the time, the Russian ambassador asked for a follow-up discussion to “deliver a message.” Mr. Kushner sent Avrahm Berkowitz, a longtime associate and now a White House aide. At that session, Mr. Kislyak told Mr. Berkowitz that he wanted Mr. Kushner to meet Mr. Gorkov, Ms. Hicks said…. She said then that during Mr. Kushner’s meeting with Mr. Gorkov, there was no discussion about the Kushner company’s business or about American sanctions against Russian entities.” [NYTimes]

REPUBLICANS TURNING ON KUSHNER? “John McCain fires at Jared Kushner” by Jonathan Swan: “I don’t like it, I just don’t,” McCain told ABC’s Leigh Sales… Why this matters: This is a break from the GOP line. McCain’s hawkish ally in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, said he didn’t believe the news reports about Kushner, and national security figures in the administration are unified in saying they’re not concerned about Kushner’s conduct. What’s next: The risk for the White House is that McCain could be paving the way for others to condemn Kushner… [McCain:] “I don’t think it’s standard procedure prior to the inauguration of the President of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position.” [Axios] • Republican Senator Chuck Grassley calls for probe into promotion of Kushner Cos deal [Reuters]

“The Politics of Clan: The Adventures of Jared Kushner” by David Brooks: “We tell young people to serve something beyond self, and Kushner seems to have been fiercely, almost selflessly, loyal to family. But the clannish mentality has often ill served him during his stay in government. Working in government is about teamwork, majority-building and addition — adding more and more people to your coalition. It is about working within legal frameworks and bureaucratic institutions. It’s about having a short memory and not taking things personally… We don’t know everything about his meetings with the Russians, but we know that they, like so much other clan-like behavior, went against the formal system.” [NYTimes]

ON THE HILL — Bipartisan bill introduced to bolster sanctions against Hamas — by Aaron Magid: Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced new bipartisan legislation to increase sanctions on foreign governments who assist Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Democratic Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and chairperson of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) all support the legislation. The “Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act” does not mention Fatah or the Palestinian Authority (PA) unlike the Taylor Force Act pushed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which would cut off all US assistance to the PA if they don’t quit paying terrorists and their families, that has stalled in committee. [JewishInsider• Report: After years of stagnation, Iran to resume funding Hamas [IsraelHayom

ULTIMATE DEAL UPDATE: “Israeli right convinced Netanyahu will soon swerve left” by Ben Caspit: “A popular conspiracy theory making the rounds on the right has it that the deal between Netanyahu and Trump has been finalized… Zero hour is supposed to occur after the Labor Party primaries in July. Netanyahu is supposed to push through his Cabinet controversial measures, such as handing over some West Bank territory that is now wholly under Israeli control (known as Area C) to Area B, administered by the Palestinian Authority under Israeli security control. This move, along with a declaration by Netanyahu of the resumption of talks with the Palestinians on a two-state solution, is expected to result in Bennett pulling out of the coalition. When he does, the Zionist Union will immediately take his party’s place… Knesset member Tzipi Livni, [Isaac] Herzog’s partner… will be named justice minister and tasked with responsibility for the negotiations with the Palestinians. Herzog will be appointed foreign minister.” [Al-Monitor

BEHIND THE SCENES: “American plan is to deal with northern Samaria first” by Alex Fishman: “A secret and very politically sensitive tour was scheduled to take place last Thursday, under the media’s radar. Jason Greenblatt… requested to tour an area in northern Samaria which Israel had evacuated during the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. The Trump administration has already marked northern Samaria as a possible area for an Israeli move, which would convey to the Arab world that Israel is committed to recognizing the two states… The news that the American administration had raised the idea of handing lands over to civil Palestinian responsibility was leaked to Channel 10 on Wednesday evening, and Greenblatt’s tour of Samaria was called off.” [Ynet]

KAFE KNESSET — Blank Check — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: Hearing the Right wing’s loud and vocal celebrations of Trump’s pro-Israel stance during the visit, Netanyahu used the Likud weekly faction meeting yesterday to bring his colleagues back to reality and clarify that some tough decisions may be underway. “We do not have a blank check with the Administration,” he told the MKs and ministers. “It is true that there is a warm relationship and a great understanding of our fundamental positions but we are not in a blank check reality.”

Moving on to the White House peace plans, Netanyahu stressed that “we do not have a blank check on the political level… You heard President Trump, he came here and did very important things here and touched the core of our soul, but he also said that he believes that Abbas wants peace. He said that I wanted peace and he said that he believed that an agreement could be reached and that we should reach it. We are in this situation and I am dealing with this right now. Over the years I have proven that I take care of our vital interests in a responsible and clever manner and I will continue to do so, but if anyone thinks we have a blank check – he is mistaken.”

Netanyahu’s comments come after Jason Greenblatt’s follow-up tour in the region last week, in which he continued discussions on the Israeli Palestinian issue. While many of Greenblatt’s talks on the Israeli side focused on economic initiatives and confidence building measures, a senior Israeli source told Kafe Knesset that Greenblatt stressed that the President wants to deal with the core issues of a final status agreement such as borders and security. “We are serious and we mean business,” Greenblatt said, according to that source. Another well informed source said that the Administration has already given Israel its position papers on some of the issues, but the PMO declined to confirm. Greenblatt did not reveal what the next US step is and senior Israeli officials said that, in contrast to reports about a Netanyahu-Abbas summit in the coming weeks, Jerusalem is under the impression the Administration needs more time to work out a formula that will bring the sides back to the negotiation table. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

“Ex-UN envoy Bolton to JPost: Trump has no chance at ultimate peace deal – Arab-Israeli Conflict” by Yonah Jeremy Bob: “Speaking just before he received the Guardian of Zion Award from Bar-Ilan University’s Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Bolton said Trump “is an optimistic man and can take a good shot at it, but I don’t think the conditions exist. I don’t think the two-state solution is viable anymore. It is not a question of personality or effort, it is just undoable. There has been a 70-plus year effort for the two-state solution,” which has failed, he said, adding, “You can’t put it back together again.”” [JPost

Michael Oren: ‘If we give the Palestinians a state tomorrow, it will fail in days or even hours’ — “While Oren, a member of the centrist Kulanu party, hopes and believes that Trump’s efforts could succeed in bringing Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table, he warned against expectations for an immediate positive outcome. “If we give them a state tomorrow, it will fail in days or even hours,” he said. In fact, while espousing negotiations, Oren questioned whether the Palestinians could ever be ready for a state. “I know this may be controversial,” he said, “but not every society organizes itself according to nation-states. We are seeing today the failure of European efforts to impose a nation-state on people who don’t organize themselves like that.” [ToI]

2018 WATCH: “Democrats are pushing an unlikely source — Jerry Springer — to run for governor in Ohio” by Allan Smith and Maxwell Tani: “Influential Ohio Democrats are pushing former Cincinnati mayor and daytime TV host Jerry Springer to run for Ohio governor in 2018, more than half-a-dozen Democrats familiar with the race told Business Insider… Springer’s proponents have highlighted his ability in the era of President Donald Trump to provide his own funding for a campaign, and to connect with working-class voters familiar with his television show and history in Ohio politics.” [BusinessInsider]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Steven Cohen’s Hedge-Fund Comeback Shoots for a Record Target: $20 Billion [WSJ] • Alec Litowitz’s Old School Hedge Fund Is Going Quant [WSJ] • A Kazakh dirty-money suit threatens to reach Trump’s business world [McClatchy] • Andy Rubin, the Father of Android Is Back, and He’s Built the Anti-iPhone [Wired; TechCrunch] • Germany’s Merck KGaA chooses Israeli deception technology [CNBC]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli ‘Solar-Power’ Tree Is Charging up a Small French Town” by Jack Moore: “An Israeli company is charging up a small French town with a solar-powered eTree that allows residents to power their phones, sit in the shade or enjoy free Wifi. On Sunday, the Sologic eTree, created by Israeli entrepreneur Michael Lasry and designed by Israeli artist Yoav Ben Dov, was “planted” in the central French town of Nevers for its population of 37,000 to enjoy. The project, made of solar panels shaped like leaves, is the first to be installed in Europe, with other prototypes operating in 10 Israeli and American cities.” [Newsweek]

“Rich People Don’t Want Ivanka Trump’s Fashion” by Kim Bhasin and Lindsey Rupp: “At its heart, Ivanka Trump is a celebrity brand, not a designer fashion house, industry analysts say. It’s the messy discount rack, not the gleaming glass jewelry case. Her company’s moves over the past few years reflect that. And as it turns out, targeting the masses has worked… Ivanka Trump, the fashion label, polarizes shoppers because of the same political divisions that polarize America… Nevertheless, Trump’s goods seem to be selling well since her father’s campaign began. Sales were up 21 percent in 2016, the company said in February.” [Bloomberg]

“Al Franken Has Been Sitting on Jokes for a Decade. Now He’s Ready to Tell Them” by Molly Ball: “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” is, in part, the story of how Franken became a giant phony — how he pretended to be a serious person in public even as his inner comic monologue never stopped running… Franken’s staff, as he tells it, has been his best ally in stifling his funny side, sternly responding “O.K., that’s for inside the car” to his quips, and nixing his hilariously offensive responses to constituent letters… Franken’s press secretary once threatened to write her own campaign memoir, entitled “‘Oh, C’mon!’ Said Franken.” … Being in the Senate, Franken admits, has softened his own partisanship, though not everyone is treated gently. “I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz,” Franken writes. “And I hate Ted Cruz.” [NYTimes] • Al Franken Tells You What He Really Thinks About Donald Trump’s Lying [VanityFair]

“How Stephen Miller Rode White Rage from Duke’s Campus to Trump’s West Wing” by William D. Cohan: “Despite Miller’s penchant for outrageous provocation, his family was very much like others in Santa Monica. His mother, Miriam, from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, came from a well-known Jewish family that had made a fortune in retailing. His father, Michael, a Stanford graduate, was a lawyer and real-estate mini-mogul. These days, the Millers together own Cordary Inc., a real-estate investment company, of which Michael is the president and Miriam is executive vice president… Ironically, the family would not have made it to the United States had someone like Stephen Miller been in the White House a century ago. Facing religious persecution, Miriam’s family—the Glossers—fled Belarus, arriving in New York in 1903… As a youngster, Stephen was obsessed with Star Trek. He watched the show for hours. And he and his younger brother, Jacob, used to dress up in Captain Kirk uniforms. “He really liked this kind of macho alpha-male thing that was going on with Kirk,” remembers Jason Islas, a friend of Miller’s in middle school.” [VanityFair]

“U.S. Synagogues Experience ‘Trump Bump’ as Congregants Turn to Prayer, Activism” by Debra Nussbaum Cohen: “Since the presidential election, 45 new households have joined Shir Tikvah Congregation in Minneapolis, said Rabbi Michael Adam Latz. “Trump may be bad for the world, but he’s great for shul membership,” quipped Latz… The wait list to join New York City’s Central Synagogue has more than doubled since the election, from 250 families to over 540. Friday night service attendance is also up, said Rabbi Angela Buchdahl… “We also seem to be consuming more Scotch at kiddush. That may reflect the real Trump bump.”” [Haaretz]

MAZEL TOV: Josh Kraushaar, political editor at National Journal, and Hannah Kraushaar, program manager at National Defense University, have welcomed Avi Ethan Kraushaar, who was born on Wednesday. [Pic] h/t Playbook

WEEKEND WEDDING: Joel Mowbray, founder of Fourth Factor Consulting, on Sunday married Valeria Bystritskaia, who was Miss Germany 2011. The wedding was held at the Aspen Historical Society. According to Joel, Valeria speaks five languages and shares the same immigration attorney as Melania Trump, Michael Wildes. Festivities kicked off Friday night with a Shabbat dinner at the Chabad JCC in Aspen. The couple met at a NYC synagogue over Kiddush last May. [Pic]

Spotted: Senator Ted & Heidi Cruz, David Panton, Congressman Ed & Marie Royce, Larry Mizel, Martin & Rivka Rapaport, their children Ezi & Penina, Sander & Tracy Gerber, Eric & Yvette Edidin, Arie Lipnick, RNC Deputy Finance Chair Elliott Broidy, NRA Board Member & Past President Dave Keene & wife Donna, NYT Bestselling author Rich Miniter, CA Assemblyman Travis Allen, Rabbi Mendel Mintz, Ami Horowitz, Strategy Group CEO & Founder Rex Elsass, and David & Hila Brog.
BIRTHDAYS: Long-time former member of the New York State Assembly from Queens, (1983-2011), Nettie Mayersohn turns 91… Santa Monica-based historian of Sephardic and Crypto-Jewish studies, Dolores Sloan turns 87… Philanthropist and real estate developer, landlord of the World Trade Center until 9-11, former chair of UJA-NY, Larry Silverstein turns 86… NYC attorney who represented Bernard Madoff, he is also a leader in American Friends of the Hebrew University, Ira Lee Sorkin turns 74… Agent at Creative Artists Agency, an entertainment and sports agency based in Los Angeles, he is a visiting professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Alan Louis Berger turns 67… Chief Rabbi of France (2009-2013), Gilles Uriel Bernheim turns 65… Encino, California-based business attorney, Andrew W. Hyman turns 64… Author of a novel, a memoir and collection of essays, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, contributing editor to Tablet magazine, resident of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Daphne Miriam Merkin turns 63… Former member of the US House of Representatives (2001-2017) and former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (2010-2014), Steve Israel turns 59… Science editor for BBC News and author of six books, David Shukman turns 59…

Contributing editor at The Atlantic since 2015, previously at The New Republic, The Daily Beast and Newsweek, Michelle Cottle turns 47… Member of the Knesset for the Yisrael Beiteinu party since late 2015, Oded Forer turns 40… Director of Marketing and Communications at NYC’s Jewish Community Project Downtown, Scott Hertz turns 37… Communication and marketing coordiator for the San Francisco office of AIPAC, Alina T. Katz… Press secretary for Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va), Miryam Esther Lipper turns 26… Digital news writer at CNN, Eric Levenson turns 26… Healthcare and pharmaceutical associate at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Ashley Bender (h/ts Playbook)…

WEDNESDAY: Professor emeritus at Princeton, Bernard Lewis turns 101… United States Postmaster General (1988-1992) under Presidents Reagan and Bush 41, Anthony M. Frank turns 86… Morgan Stanley’s Alfred Phillip Stern turns 84… Billionaire Ira Rennert turns 83… Food critic at Vogue magazine Jeffrey Steingarten turns 75… Founder of the Democratic Leadership Council (1985-2009), Alvin “Al” From turns 74… Bernard Richard “Bernie” Goldberg turns 72… Comedienne, actress, and TV producer, Susie Essman turns 62… Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz turns 56… Reality television personality Patti Stanger turns 56… CEO of CyberArk Software, one of Israel’s leading software companies, Alon Nisim Cohen turns 49… Toronto-born investor and entrepreneur, Andrew Rivkin turns 48… Democratic mayor of Annapolis, Maryland, Joshua Jackson “Josh” Cohen turns 44… Assistant Director of Community Outreach at the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, Melissa York turns 41… Attorney and NYT-bestselling author of the Mara Dyer Trilogy, Michelle Hodkin turns 35… Technical project manager at Twilio, Zoe Goldfarb turns 34… Senior Director of Audience Solutions at Politico, Brad E. Bosserman turns 32… Rabbi in residence at GatherDC, ordained in 2013 at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Aaron Potek turns 31… Assignment manager, coordinating producer and correspondent for i24News, Amital Isaac turns 28… Brad Goldstein… Stephanie Oreck Weiss

THURSDAY: Actress Joan Maxine Miller Copeland turns 95… Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, pianist and conductor, Yehudi Wyner turns 88… Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and Chairman of Yad Vashem, he is a Holocaust survivor who served as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel (1993-2003), Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau turns 80… NYC-based attorney, author of two books regarding the history and operations of El Al, owner of 40,000 plus pieces of memorabilia related to El Al, Marvin G. Goldman turns 78… Pediatrician in the San Francisco Bay area, long-time AIPAC activist, Elliot Charles Lepler, MD turns 69… Gail Stone turns 67… Founding editor of The American Interest, Adam M. Garfinkle turns 66… Former editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, Matthew Winkler turns 62… Former IDF officer and now a London based political scientist and journalist, Ahron Bregman turns 59… Billionaire, majority owner of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, his parents were the co-founders of Gap, Inc., chair of  Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Foundation, John J. Fisher turns 56… Founding editor and publisher of the Dayton Jewish Observer, Marshall J. Weiss turns 50… US national security editor at The Guardian, Spencer J. Ackerman turns 37… Comedienne, writer, actress and producer Amy Schumer turns 36… Executive Director of MoveOn[dot]org Political Action since 2013, Ilya Sheyman turns 31… Naomi Kadish turns 22… Indianapolis native, now a student at George Washington University, Isabel Keller… Sarah Shallmen

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