Have our people email your people. Share this sign up link with your friends
HEARD LAST NIGHT on "The Legacy of Barack Obama" on CNN by Fareed Zakaria -- David Axelrod on Hillary Clinton calling Obama 'naive' for saying he was would "sit down and talk to the Iranians" during the 2008 Democratic primary: “I actually think that was the moment when he found his voice in that campaign because he realized that he was bringing a point of view that nobody else was going to bring.”
Obama at the conclusion of the segment: “What we were able to accomplish has been remarkable, and even our most severe critics cannot argue with the fact that without launching a bomb, without initiating a war, we’ve been able to remove an enormous threat.”
National Security Advisor Susan Rice says Trump ripping up the deal would be a terrible idea: “Scrap it when it’s working would put us outside of the bounds of what is a international agreement. So, it’s a win-win for Iran - our allies and partners are furious at the U.S. and their nuclear program can proceed undebated. It doesn’t serve our interest.”
HEARD ON THE HILL: “Iran hawks lay out their wish list for Trump era” by Julian Pecquet: “It’s clear we’re about to enter a new phase of Iranian sanctions,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs panel on the Middle East. “I think we have an opportunity to undo a lot of the problematic concessions that we have seen over the past few years. And. I. Can’t. Wait.” Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, warned against outright repealing the deal with Iran “Now we have to very careful when we talk about tearing up the Iranian deal,” said Engel, one of just 25 House Democrats who voted against the deal. “Because we have already provided Iran with billions and billions of dollars [and] the things we’re asking Iran to do, they would just walk away from.”
-- “FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz said at the briefing that Congress and the incoming administration should adopt legislation introduced by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., that would extend sanctions to sectors of the Iranian economy that support the missile program and would reverse Obama Treasury Department regulations to prohibit all Iranian access to the US dollar. “I think it’s wise for this administration not to abrogate the deal on day one,” he said, “but to actually use our ability under the deal [through] non-nuclear sanctions.” Former Sen. Joseph Lieberman, UANI’s chairman... said Trump has “a lot of tools in his toolkit” when it comes to strengthening the terms of the nuclear deal and pushing back on its ballistic missile program and support for US-designated terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.” [Al-Monitor; Livestream]
“Graham Urges Trump to Keep Promise to Renegotiate Iran Deal” by Jacob Kornbluh: “I would encourage President-elect Trump to follow through on his campaign promise to get a better deal with Iran regarding their nuclear ambitions,” Graham said in a statement. “Unlike the weak-kneed Obama Administration, I don’t believe President-elect Trump will back away from his promise simply because it is upsetting to the President of Iran.” Graham said he intends to introduce legislation that would impose sanctions on the Iranian regime for being the largest state sponsor of terrorism, and testing missiles in violation of United Nations resolutions in the next Congress.” [JewishInsider]
TRANSITION TOWER: "Donald Trump Goes His Own Way in Vetting Top Picks" by Peter Nicholas, Michael Bender & Carol Lee: "At the urging of Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, Mr. Trump agreed to speak to Mr. Romney in what was meant to be a show of unity, according to people familiar with the planning. But the discussion went well enough that Mr. Romney emerged as a serious candidate for secretary of state, meeting a second time with Mr. Trump at a dinner last week in Manhattan." [WSJ]
“Donald Trump Is Said to Intend to Keep a Stake in His Business” by Maggie Haberman and Jo Becker: “Under a plan now being considered by the Trump family and its lawyers, Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump’s elder daughter, would also take a leave of absence from the Trump Organization, in the surest sign that she is exploring a potential move to Washington with her husband, Jared Kushner. Mr. Kushner is discussing an as-yet undetermined role advising his father-in-law, and Ms. Trump plans on being an advocate on issues in which she has a personal interest, like child care. Before deciding how to separate from her father’s business, Ms. Trump is also assessing how to disentangle from her apparel and licensing brands, which are named for her, two people briefed on her plans said. She plans on appointing a president of her company to run the day-to-day operations.” [NYTimes]
"Ivanka Trump’s New Game Plan" by Emily Jane Fox: "Earlier this week, a source close to Ivanka told me that she is “strongly considering” a move to D.C. when her father takes office... The couple, both 35, is endlessly ambitious and hard-working, a number of sources close to each of them have told me. They are young, which means they are less stuck in a routine. Their kids are young, which means a move is easier on their family. They are, by all accounts, supremely gracious, polite, and charming, which makes them uniquely suited to take on some of the roles traditionally embodied by the First Couple—particularly if the actual First Couple is trying to figure out how they can stay in New York as much as possible. And they have now achieved proximity to the kind of real power that even the most ardent strivers in New York couldn’t imagine." [VanityFair]
“The Pros Tell Trump How to Leave the Family Business” by Caleb Melby: “A third approach would have Trump appoint an independent chief executive officer and create a list of Trump Organization executives he couldn’t speak to, said Norman Eisen, Barack Obama’s ethics czar.” [Bloomberg]
Norm Eisen in the WSJ's Notable & Quotable: "I sort of knew President Obama had taken on the company town in a real way at the end of that first year,” says Norm Eisen, the adviser who helped draft the rule. “My wife and I got a lot fewer invitations to holiday parties.” [WSJ] h/t Tevi Troy
TOP TALKER: “Billionaire Paul Singer moves to make nice with Donald Trump” by Scott Wapner: “The prominent hedge fund manager attended a fundraising breakfast that Trump held Wednesday morning at Cipriani in New York City, CNBC has learned. The two are mending fences so thoroughly that sources say Singer is giving a substantial amount of money to Trump's inauguration next month Sources tell CNBC that Singer and Trump have been in touch since the election and that Singer is encouraged by the team that Trump is putting together.” [CNBC]
TALK OF THE TOWN -- NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with Jewish Insider at a media roundtable for ethnic media in the Blue Room at City Hall. The Democratic mayor acknowledged that anti-Semitic attacks against Jews were on the rise before the 2016 presidential election, but Donald Trump’s candidacy and surprise win have exacerbated it. “There is an increase since the election, but you're right in terms of anti-Semitic activity, I've spoken to this as you know, I've seen an increase around the world, around the western world certainly,” de Blasio told us.
De Blasio believes in a carrot and stick approach to combating the spike in hate crimes: “My answer is that we will be even more aggressive in terms of arrest and prosecution of anyone who acts illegally, that we will clearly -- whenever we sense a systemic threat that we can identify -- we will proactively have a lot of NYPD presence available, that we have to do more to get people to report what they know and that we have to aggressively put forward positive examples.”
De Blasio on the cross voter - members of the Orthodox community who supported him in the 2013 elections but voted for Trump in 2016: I would say that there were a lot of people who voted for Donald Trump, whether in this city or in the rest of the country, who were expressing their anger at the status quo. I disagree with the decision to vote for Donald Trump, but I'm also angry at the status quo in this country. I've said that I thought in many ways that my party needed to have done a better job explaining what we stood for and why we would address people's real concerns, particularly their economic concerns. I want to separate immediately those among the Trump voters who may have been voting out of divisive beliefs. I think that's a smaller percentage by far."
"Let's face it, there are a lot of people who voted for Donald Trump who have previously voted for Barack Obama or for other Democrats. I think it's absolutely unfair to miss the fact that those individuals who are largely voting out of economic frustration, and valid economic frustration. In terms of this community here in the city it's not a surprise. There are some members of the Jewish community who have been friends and supporters that I disagree with on some issues, they disagree with me on some issues, but we've found a huge amount of common ground in terms of the needs of the community, in terms of working on things like affordable housing, public safety, trying to make sure that all communities are respected and their faiths are respected and their cultures are respected.” [JewishInsider]
FIRST LOOK: Excerpts of Hamodia interview with Israel's Health Minister Ya'akov Litzman -- on the relationship with his incoming counterpart in the Trump administration: "No. I met twice with Health Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell from the Obama administration. The last time was nine months ago, when I was here. I went to Washington and we signed an agreement with the Secretary of Health... I understand today that Congressman Price got the nomination [to be the next health secretary]. Sheldon Adelson told me he knows him very well and that he’s good. We’ll wait and see." [Hamodia] "Why secular Israelis love an ultra-Orthodox minister" [AlMonitor]
"Israeli Army men have one of the world’s highest life expectancies" by Aaron Steinbuch: "Israeli men enjoy one of the world’s highest life expectancies — 80.6 years — second only to San Marino, and much greater than the worldwide average of 68.5 years, according to researchers at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies, who said the age gap could be thanks to athletically grueling, mandatory 32-month service in the Israeli Defense Forces." [NYPost]
DNC WATCH -- “Keith Ellison Vows to Step Down From House if Elected DNC Chairman” by Reid Epstein: “In order to further their commitment and maximize my effectiveness, I have decided to resign as a member of Congress if I win the election for DNC chair,” Mr. Ellison said in a statement released Wednesday morning. “Whoever wins the DNC chair race faces a lot of work, travel, planning and resource raising. I will be ‘all-in’ to meet the challenge.” [WSJ; StarTribune]
“Liberals and the Alt-Right” by Jason Riley: “Chuck Schumer, the next Democratic Senate leader, has called past statements by Donald Trump’s senior counselor, Stephen Bannon, “dangerous and bigoted.” This would be the same Chuck Schumer who has endorsed Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison to be the next chairman of the DNC The media want to focus on conservatism and the alt-right, but the mainstream left has long flirted with the same fringe. That’s one reason Keith Ellison and Democrats are getting a pass that would never be given to Stephen Bannon and Republicans.” [WSJ] Karl Rove: "Keith Ellison Will Help Republicans" [WSJ]
STATE VISIT: "Antiboycott groups pay for state officials’ Israel trips" by Frank Phillips: "Governor Charlie Baker and Massachusetts lawmakers are touring Israel this month on trips financed by groups opposed to a growing anti-Israel boycott movement, which is at the center of a legislative fight on Beacon Hill. Baker, whose trip is being financed by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, is leaving Thursday for a six-day economic development tour. A dozen House members are on a separate 10-day trip paid for by the Jewish Community Relations Council." [BostonGlobe]
2018 WATCH -- “Meet the Democrats' proto-Trumps” by Gabriel Debenedetti: “In Illinois, it’s J.B. Pritzker, the businessman and philanthropist with a history of pumping cash and Chicago political support toward Hillary Clinton An heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune with a career in private equity and venture capital and an estimated net worth of over $3 billion, Pritzker — who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House against Rep. Jan Schakowsky in a 1998 primary — has been calling around to political power players to gauge support.” [Politico]
**Good Thursday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email email@example.com
STARTUP NATION: "Heavy-hitting KKR just raised a $711 million tech growth fund" by Connie Loizos: "KKR, the global investment firm, is announcing a $711 million close this morning on its KKR Next Generation Technology Growth Fund, which it plans to use to back growth-stage companies in the technology, media and telco industries in North America, Europe and Israel." [TechCrunch]
"Facebook Struggles to Put Out Online Fires in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" by Peter Baker: "In this part of the world, the debate is not just theoretical. Terrorism is an everyday reality, and the role that Facebook and other social media sites may play in inspiring it generates deep emotion. Israel has pushed to combat online provocation that it links to bloodshed. Palestinians consider a crackdown on Facebook posts just another tool of repression by an occupying power." [NYTimes]
SPOTLIGHT: “Inside a New Political Dynasty: What You Need to Know About Josh Kushner, Brother to Jared (and Boyfriend to Karlie Kloss)” by Kate Storey: “The younger Kushner mostly stays out of the spotlight, which isn't easy with a super-high-profile girlfriend and a brother who could be in the White House The Kushner brothers started a company together. Last year, the brothers launched Cadre, a company which perfectly marries their interests: real estate and tech. The venture aims to make it easier for clients to invest in real estate using technology. There's been no recent reporting on what will happen to the company if Jared gets an official role in Trump's administration.” [YahooNews]
PROFILE: "Meet Ruthie Friedlander, the ‘It’ Girl of the Digital Editorial World" by Meredith Lepore: "For anyone who keeps up with fashion writers, the name Ruthie Friedlander has become a household one. She’s not even 30 years old, and yet she’s established herself as the digital fashion content whisperer. Seamlessly shifting between iconic clothing houses like Chanel and The Row, to major editorial roles as the Deputy Editor of Elle.com and most recently as the newly appointed Site Director of InStyle.com, she has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the fashion landscape... Though the field she works in never takes a break, Friedlander insists that she must, in order to do a good job. The editor’s parents, both of whom are rabbis, reside on the West Side and she spends a lot of time with them, when she isn’t working." [Observer]
LongRead: “The ADL director and the war against hate in Trump’s America” by Eitan Arom: “Greenblatt’s background made him an unusual choice for ADL director; his ties to the White House have been used to paint him as a partisan actor, a charge he dismisses. Though he attends a Conservative synagogue and keeps a kosher home on Long Island, and served on the board of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, he didn’t have the long resume in the Jewish establishment many expected of a potential ADL chief. In any case, he certainly wasn’t another Foxman, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor long seen as a top authority on Jew hatred in media and politics If he had hoped for a honeymoon period of waiting and watching in his new role, those hopes were dashed when Trump descended the gilded escalator in Trump Tower and kicked off his run for the presidency by pronouncing that rapists and criminals were pouring over the border with Mexico Soon, under Greenblatt’s leadership, the ADL became the loudest of the nonpartisan Jewish organizations criticizing Trump.” [JewishJournal]
BIRTHDAYS: Founder and CEO of Top Rank, a boxing promotion company based in Las Vegas, Bob Arum turns 85... Israeli Chess Grandmaster, twice women's senior world champion, Tatiana Zatulovskaya turns 81... Film, stage and television actor, composer of film and theatre music, and son of concert pianist Arthur Rubinstein, John Rubinstein turns 70... Israeli folk singer, lyricist, composer and musical arranger, she has released more than 60 albums sold world-wide, winner of the Kinor David (David's Harp) Prize, Chava Alberstein turns 69... Astrophysicist and senior scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Margaret Geller turns 69... Film director, producer and screenwriter, including box office successes such as "The Parent Trap" (1998) and "What Women Want" (2000), Nancy Meyers turns 67... Professor of Human Development at Cornell University, following high ranking academic positions at the University of Wyoming, Oklahoma State, Tufts and Yale, Robert Sternberg turns 67... Controversial political science professor who has harshly criticized Israel and has been the subject of a highly publicized academic feud with Alan Dershowitz, Norman Finkelstein turns 63...
Attorney by training but in real life a social media blogger and author, she has been an editor at Huffington Post and the Daily Beast, Rachel Sklar turns 44... Writer, photographer and designer, founder of the Honey Sharp Gallery and Ganesh Café in the Berkshires, mother of our friend Daniel Lippman, Honey Sharp... Founder in 2005 and editor-in-chief of the ThinkProgress political news blog based at the Center for American Progress, Judd Legum... Senior Executive Producer of Special Events at ABC News, Marc Burstein... Venture capitalist at GE Ventures in Israel after three years at New Enterprise Associates, Alex Oppenheimer... Associate Attorney at Kaye Scholer LLP, Ali Krimmer... Doug Bohannon...
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]
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now