DRIVING THE CONVO — Jon Jacobson’s Highfields Capital Hedge Fund To Return Money to Clients — by Juliet Chung: “Boston hedge fund Highfields Capital Management is returning billions in client money and converting into a family office, founder Jonathon Jacobson told investors in a letter Wednesday. “The simple reality is that, after three-and-a-half decades of sitting in front of a screen, I realized I am ready for a change,” Jacobson, 57, wrote in the two-page letter.”
“Mr. Jacobson started the $12.1 billion investment firm in 1998 after he left his post trading stocks for Harvard University’s endowment. About $2.7 billion of Highfields assets belong to Jacobson and other insiders. In an industry rife with big personalities, Mr. Jacobson and co-founder Richard Grubman, who retired in 2010, kept relatively low profiles.”
“I have no idea what the next act will entail,” Jacobson wrote toward the end of his letter. “Many of my long-time mentors and some of the people I admire most are still going strong in their 70s and 80s, and, God willing, I intend to do the same,” Mr. Jacobson wrote. [WSJ; Bloomberg]
— Jacobson is one of the featured guests this week at Baltimore Homecoming, a gathering organized by Nate Loewentheil and JM Schapiro to bring back accomplished Baltimore natives to become more involved in the city. Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken addressed the group last night.
TRANSITION — Josh Raffel, who served as deputy communications director in the Trump White House, is joining the e-cigarette company Juul Labs as VP of corporate communications. He will be based in New York and report to chief communications officer Matt David. [Playbook]
DRIVING THE WEEK — The Senate is expected to vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court this weekend after the FBI completed a limited investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh and turned over their findings to the Senate.
Republican Congressional Candidate: Brett Kavanaugh’s Treatment Like Lynchings of ‘Innocent Jewish and Black Men’ — by Tim Marcin: “Congressional candidate Seth Grossman—a New Jersey Republican—recently said the treatment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was akin to the lynchings of innocent black and Jewish men… “100 years ago based on unsubstantiated accusations of a single woman.” [Newsweek]
INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE ― As the Kavanaugh Drama Unfolds, Ivanka and Jared Hunker Down — by Emily Jane Fox: “In private… Ivanka has aligned herself with the position of her father and Kellyanne Conway—that while Ford deserved to be heard, Kavanaugh seems to be a good man… Sure, the Kavanaugh contretemps on Capitol Hill has Democrats and Republicans at each other’s throats… But Ivanka had panels to attend. Kushner met with Netanyahu and plugged away at trade negotiations… and Ivanka welcomed a rabbi at the White House to perform some of the customs to celebrate the Jewish holiday Sukkot.” [VanityFair]
Bret Stephens writes… “For Once, I’m Grateful for Trump: For the first time since Donald Trump entered the political fray, I find myself grateful that he’s in it. I’m reluctant to admit it and astonished to say it, especially since the president mocked Christine Blasey Ford in his ugly and gratuitous way at a rally on Tuesday… I’m grateful because Trump has not backed down in the face of the slipperiness, hypocrisy and dangerous standard-setting deployed by opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”[NYTimes]
MIDTERMS — Conservative Group Wants You to Believe Iran’s President Endorsed Beto O’Rourke — by Gideon Resnick: “A neoconservative foreign policy group appeared to try and get audio recorded claiming erroneously that Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-TX) Senate campaign was endorsed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The campaign appears to have not made it into production, and maybe never will, as the site where the group posted a call for voice actors took down the solicitation on the grounds that the script was clearly false…” [DailyBeast]
Joe Biden In Los Angeles To Campaign For Dianne Feinstein, OC Democratic Challengers: “
TRUMP DIPLOMACY — U.S. terminates 1955 treaty with Iran, calling it an ‘absolute absurdity’ — by Carol Morello: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the United States is terminating the Treaty of Amity reached with Iran in pre-revolutionary days, calling it an “absolute absurdity” given the tensions between the two countries. The impetus for the United States tearing up the treaty was a decision earlier Wednesday in the International Court of Justice, which ordered the Trump administration to lift some sanctions on Iran.” [WashPost; CNN]
White House national security adviser John Bolton says Palestine is ‘not a state’ — by Hunter Walker: “John Bolton, dismissed the Palestinian territories as a “so-called state” during an appearance in the White House press briefing on Wednesday… “The president has decided that the United States will withdraw from the optional protocol and dispute resolution to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. This is in connection with a case brought by the so-called state of Palestine naming the United States as a defendant challenging our move of our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Bolton said. [YahooNews]
— Bolton defended using the phrase “so-called state of Palestine” to refer to the Palestinian governing authority, rejecting suggestions that such language might undermine America’s long-standing policy goal of a two-state solution to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict… “It is not a state now,” Bolton said. “It does not meet the customary international law test of statehood. It doesn’t control defined boundaries.” [USAToday; Video]
Bolton on Trump’s peace plan — Reporter: When the President came out in support of a two-state solution at the U.N. last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu responded that he’s confident Israel would retain security control of the West Bank under any White House plan. Is that correct? Or are you open to a Palestinian state with no security presence from Israel inside their borders?
Bolton: “We’ve been working, as you well know, on a peace plan involving Israel and the Palestinians. We’ll be rolling it out in due course when we decide it’s the most appropriate time to do it. And I’m sure that will answer your question then.”
— “Robert Malley, a former White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf during the Obama administration, said Mr. Bolton’s statement underscored “why the Trump administration is increasingly isolated on the world stage.” [NYTimes]
VIEW FROM JERUSALEM — While US dithers on peace plan, Israeli right shores up support — by Mazal Mualem: “Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is taking advantage of the nebulous American attitude toward the diplomatic process with the Palestinians to benefit his own election campaign. “I don’t know how to react to a plan I haven’t seen yet and that no one had put on the table yet. What I can say is that I believe in a Jewish State,” he said during an Oct. 2nd visit to the hills of the Givat Menachem neighborhood of the settlement of Karnei Shomron. He was responding to journalists who asked what he thought about President Donald Trump’s statement, “I like two-state solution.” [Al-Monitor]
NEXT STOP — Former PLO representative to DC, Husam Zomlot has been appointed as the chief Palestinian diplomat in the U.K. after the U.S. closed the PLO mission in Washington DC and revoked Zomlot’s visa.
In an interview with Sky News, Zomlot called on Britain to “fill the vacuum” and replace the U.S. as the leading mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. “I firmly believe that Britain can help at this point in time avoid the chaos that the Trump administration is creating,” he said. Zomlot also urged the British government to recognize Palestinian statehood four years after the parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of doing so.
— Also in the UK… Theresa May attacks Jeremy Corbyn over Labour anti-Semitism in conference speech: “The Prime Minister used her Conservative Party conference keynote speech to hit out at Mr. Corbyn and his allies, highlighting the bitter row over anti-Semitism… Comparing Mr. Corbyn to his predecessors, [May] said… “Would Clement Attlee, Churchill’s trusted deputy during the Second World War, have told British Jews they didn’t know the meaning of anti-Semitism?” She added: “What has it come to when Jewish families today seriously discuss where they should go if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister?” [JewishNews]
Merkel: Germany Making Efforts to Advance Israel-Gaza Deal — by Noa Landau: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that Germany is “making efforts” to advance an Israel-Gaza deal… Merkel, who is on a snap visit to Israel, spoke shortly after visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum on Thursday…” [Haaretz]
ON THE HILL — Leaders of Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS), a network of 300 retired Israeli generals, briefed some 70 House and Senate staffers about a new CIS study on Israeli-Palestinian peace. Nimrod Novik, a Fellow at Israel Policy Forum and former advisor to Shimon Peres, Col. (Ret.) Shaul Arieli and Maj. Gen. (Res.) Avi Mizrahi presented the document which details the security and diplomatic ramifications of implementing a plan or allowing a process that runs counter to the vision of a Jewish and democratic state of Israel, according to the organizers at the Israel Policy Forum. [Pic]
ON THE GROUND — Israel seen behind WhatsApp warning to Beirut residents about Hezbollah facility: “Thousands of residents in Beirut’s southern suburbs received WhatsApp messages overnight Tuesday-Wednesday, believed to have been sent by Israel, warning them that their homes are in close proximity to a Hezbollah weapons facility, Israel’s Channel 10 news reported…” [ToI; Nana]
Hamas leader gave rare interview to Israeli newspaper. Then said he was duped — by Ruth Eglash and Hazem Balousha: “A small excerpt from the interview published Thursday on the news website of the popular Yedioth Ahronoth appears to ask Sinwar why he decided to give an interview to an Israeli newspaper, to which he answers: “Because now I see a true opportunity for change.” He also says, “A new war is in no one’s interest, certainly not our interest,” and “I don’t want any more wars.” But within hours of the excerpt appearing online, Sinwar’s office released a statement saying the journalist had interviewed him under false pretenses.” [WashPost]
** 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 [email protected] **
BUSINESS BRIEFS: World Trade Center Builder Larry Silverstein Expands Into Real Estate Lending [Bloomberg] • Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop treated two sides of Kushner family unequally, lawsuit says[JerseyJournal] • Goldman Joins George Soros, Steve Cohen in Backing Argentine Bank-App Venture [Bloomberg] • How Michael Ovitz and Sumner Redstone changed Hollywood forever [FinancialTimes] • Billionaire Barry Diller tells David Rubenstein that he never had a goal [BloombergTV]
Remember President Trump’s infrastructure council? The White House says it never actually existed — by Will Parker: “Days before his January 2017 inauguration, President Trump announced that New York City real estate developers Richard LeFrak and Steve Roth would head a new “infrastructure council.” … But by October 2017, the White House took the official position that the infrastructure council never actually existed. The claim came in response to a federal lawsuit brought by nonprofit group Food & Water Watch in July 2017.” [TheRealDeal]
TALK OF OUR NATION — Chaplain helps Jewish Soldiers celebrate their faith, holidays while in Afghanistan ― by Jon Micheal Connor: “Army Chaplain (Capt.) David Becker is on a special six-week temporary duty, or TDY, to Afghanistan to minister to Soldiers of Jewish faith and to celebrate the many Jewish holidays… “They sent a rabbi to theater to travel around this country to be specifically catering to Jewish Soldiers, which I’ve had the opportunity to do,” Becker said, adding he has ministered here at Bagram Airfield, Kandahar Airfield, and in Kabul. Becker estimates there are less than a dozen rabbis on active duty in the Army. His selection was an honor, he said.” [Army]
French court orders return of looted painting to Jewish family — by Kim Willsher: “A Paris court has decreed that a Pissarro painting stolen from a French Jewish family during the German occupation must be returned to them. The painting’s American owners had appealed against an earlier ruling ordering them to hand over the work, called La Cueillette des pois (Pea Picking), saying they had bought it in good faith in 1995.” [TheGuardian]
Einstein’s ‘God letter’ to go on sale for $1mn: “A handwritten letter from Albert Einstein about his thoughts on God, religion and his search for meaning is to go on sale in New York, valued at up to $1.5 million, Christie’s said Wednesday.” [Yahoo]
Canary Mission funding was ‘one-time grant,’ says S.F. Federation ― by Dan Pine: “In response to the revelation that the Helen Diller Family Foundation had provided major funding to a controversial pro-Israel organization, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation asserted that the donation was a “one-time grant made in 2016” and that no more support would be forthcoming… An Oct. 3 story on the Forward website revealed that the S.F.-based Diller Foundation had given $100,000 to Canary Mission, a 3-year-old entity that identifies alleged anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist individuals and organizations as part of its mission to combat anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate in North America.” [JWeekly; Forward]
MEDIA WATCH — CNN Will Test Foray Into Live Events With ‘Citizen by CNN’ Conference — by Brian Steinberg: “The AT&T-owned cable-news network is set to launch “Citizen by CNN,” a day-long conference slated to be held Monday, October 22, at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan… The wider intent is for the conference to burnish CNN’s ability to present non-partisan coverage of politics and issues that matter to viewers.”
“Jared Kushner… and Van Jones will take part in a discussion about prison reform and working across party lines. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is expected to talk about the coming midterm elections and the fight to control the house with CNN’s Dana Bash. Gloria Borger will moderate a discussion called” The President, the Presidency and the Law”… Fareed Zakaria will discuss the state of current politics with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Jamie Gangel will moderate a conversation with investigative reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. John King will give a preview of the election landscape with his signature “Magic Wall.” And former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will deliver closing remarks.” [Variety]
COMING SOON — The World Jewish Congress will honor the Rothschild family with its annual Theodor Herzl Award on November 7 at The Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. WJC President Ronald Lauder will present the award to Lord Rothschild in the presence of Baron David and Eric de Rothschild, according to a news release. Robert Kraft, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Kraft Group, will receive the Teddy Kollek Award at the event.
The Israeli-American Council (IAC) will hold its 5th annual conference on November 29-December 2 at the Diplomat Beach Resort in South Florida. Featured speakers include Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, as well as philanthropists Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban, the IAC announced yesterday.
HAPPENING TODAY — The premiere of a new film “Hadar – The Freedom to Create,” the life of the Goldin family a year after their son Hadar was killed and captured by Hamas in Gaza and produced by Dr. Leah Goldin, will take place at the Park East Synagogue at 7 PM EDT. Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan will host a reception with Hadar’s parents Dr. Leah and Prof. Simcha Goldin and his twin brother Tzur ahead of the screening.
REMEMBERING — Leon Lederman, 96, Explorer (and Explainer) of the Subatomic World, Dies — by George Johnson: “Leon Lederman, whose ingenious experiments with particle accelerators deepened science’s understanding of the subatomic world, died early Wednesday in Rexburg, Idaho… Leon Max Lederman was born on July 15, 1922, in Manhattan, where his parents, Morris and Minna (Rosenberg) Lederman, Jewish immigrants from Russia, ran a laundry business.” [NYTimes]
Special Forces ‘icon’ who survived a Nazi concentration camp in WWII dies at 83 — by Charles Duncan: “The man who would go on to become an icon for U.S. Army Special Forces and lead American forces in Berlin as the Berlin Wall came down also spent three years as a child in a Nazi concentration camp. Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow died Friday at his home in Southern Pines, North Carolina…” [CharlotteObserver]
SPORTS BLINK ― Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had fans guessing after he wore a brimless Panthers hat at his weekly press conference yesterday. Some fans speculated Newton was unveiling a Panthers yarmulke. “When you have a press conference at 4 and a bar mitzvah at 5,” another fan posted on Facebook. [Pic]
HOLLYWOOD — Talent agent and tech investor Guy Oseary announced a new philanthropic initiative he’s launching called Good Today. Formerly known as Good Street, the daily newsletter allows recipients to donate 25¢ to one of two featured charitable causes.
DESSERT — Why Bagel Snobs Shouldn’t Kvetch About the New Bagel Emoji — by Heather Schwedel: “If the recent hullaballoo over Cynthia Nixon’s bagel order proved anything, it’s that for many people, bagels serve as important signifiers of taste, which is what at least some of this emoji outcry is really about. People want to demonstrate that they, unlike those emoji rubes, know from good bagels.” [Slate; GrubStreet]
Cabrito al Pastor Is the Product of Northern Mexico’s 16th-Century Jewish Roots — by Duncan Tucker: “To find out how this iconic dish came about, I sought out Juan Ramón Cárdenas, the owner of Don Artemio, an upscale restaurant in the nearby city of Saltillo… Consumption of goat in Mexico dates back to around the 16th century, Cárdenas explains, when Spanish and Portuguese settlers first introduced the animal to these shores… Back then, Cárdenas says, “the Spanish Crown didn’t allow anyone to practice any other religion than Catholicism. Some Jewish people were allowed to come to colonize northern Mexico as long as they converted to Catholicism, but if you didn’t convert and you continued practicing Judaism you would face the death penalty.” To avoid detection, the Sephardi Jewish shepherds who settled in the north stopped eating their traditional Paschal lamb and substituted it with goat kid.” [ViceMunchies]
BIRTHDAYS: Lieutenant Governor of Maryland (1987-1995) after 20 years in the Maryland Senate, Melvin A. “Mickey” Steinberg turns 85… Senior Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, his father served as a rabbi in Brooklyn for 35 years, Judge Robert David Sack turns 79… Executive editor of the Los Angeles Times since mid-2018, he held key positions at Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and served as Chief Content Officer of Time Inc., Norman Pearlstine turns 76… Israeli attorney and businessman who was Israel’s negotiator in the Middle East peace process during the term of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Dov Weissglass turns 72… Israeli journalist, author and news manager, he is currently the Director of the Israeli Government Press Office and has served as Chairman of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, Nitzan Chen turns 55… Canadian businessman, producer, impresario and philanthropist, Aubrey Dan turns 55… Film, television and stage actress, Alicia Silverstone turns 42… Akiva Gerstein… Adam Curtis… Gefen Kabik…