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FIRST LOOK -- Catching up with Eric Cantor: “If You’ve Got That Anger Working for You, You’re Gonna Let It Be” by Elaina Plott: "The 54-year-old now sits on several boards and is a Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Moelis & Company, a boutique investment firm in New York. His work takes him to Davos and Dubai and Tokyo, often just about anywhere but Washington or his old district... But Cantor is still painstakingly abreast of what’s going on in the Capitol, texting often with members such as Kevin McCarthy, his successor, and Patrick McHenry, chief deputy whip, to offer advice and then popping up on cable news to reassure Republicans that the party is just going through “growing pains.”
"While he won’t go so far as to say Trump’s presidency has been a “disaster,” as Boehner recently put it, Cantor admits he’s less than charmed by the state of the West Wing: “The lack of humility right now in the system is striking to me. I’m worried about Trump’s rhetoric. . . . If things keep going like they are now without any real progress, it’s a problem for electoral victories for our party.”" [Washingtonian]
IRAN DEAL -- Trump hints at abandoning the Iran nuclear deal when certification comes up again in an interview with the WSJ: “We’ve been extremely nice to them in saying they were compliant,” Mr. Trump said. “Personally, I have great respect for my people, but if it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago.” He added: “We’ll talk about the subject in 90 days but I would be surprised if they were in compliance.” [WSJ] President [Rouhani] says Iran will ‘respond’ if US missile law passes [AP]
HEARD YESTERDAY - Trump talks Iran at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio: "If that deal doesn’t conform to what it’s supposed to conform to, it's going to be big, big problems for them. That I can tell you. Believe me. You would have thought they would have said 'Thank you, United States. We really love you very much.' Instead, they've become emboldened. That won’t take place much longer."
“U.S. Navy ship fires warning shots near Iranian vessel” by Idrees Ali: “In a statement, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said the patrol craft, named Thunderbolt, fired the warning shots in front of the Iranian vessel after it ignored radio calls, flares and the ship's whistle A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Iranian boat was armed but that the weapons were unmanned.” [Reuters]
ON THE HILL -- After weeks of uncertainty, the House overwhelmingly passed sanctions legislation against Russia, Iran and North Korea yesterday. The bipartisan vote (419-3) is similar to the bill that won support in the Senate to target Moscow and Tehran. The White House had lobbied against parts of the measure due to fears that this would weaken his authority and impede on relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The three votes opposing the measure all came from Republicans: Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Tom Massie (R-KY), and John Duncan (R-TN). "This is a strong, bipartisan bill that will increase the United States' economic and political leverage," Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) said.
The White House made no commitment about signing the bill into law. WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement: “While the President supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the President’s desk.”
"House passes Russia sanctions bill, setting up veto dilemma for Trump" by Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian: "Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters Monday that he expects the House bill to pass the Senate, with “minor details” about procedure still to be worked out. Corker said he was exploring ways to ensure the bill would be sent to Trump before the end of the week, when House members are set to leave Washington for a five-week recess. “We’d like to get this thing passed and into law,” he said." [WashPost]
Congressional hearing highlights the plight of Americans jailed in Iran -- by Aaron Magid: Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) chaired yesterday an emotional hearing at the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee which included testimonies by Doug Levinson, the son of Bob Levinson along with Omar Zakka, the brother of detained American Nizzar Zakka. “We are desperate. We have endured the turnover of three administrations,” pleaded Levinson whose father is the longest held civilian hostage in American history. “We have met with anybody and everybody that will listen. We don’t know what else we can possibly do.” Doug Levinson currently works as a Congressional staffer for Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). “Year after year, we’ve witnessed U.S. administration officials fail to make my father the priority that he needs to be,” noted Levinson. “We are hopeful with this new administration, but we’ve heard these promises before. We need action.”
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL): "Iran’s outrageous disregard for international law should give every country, every company – especially every American company, pause as to whether this is a country they should welcome back into the community of nations." [JewishInsider]
“Metal Detectors Vanish, but Tensions in East Jerusalem Remain” by Isabel Kershner: “President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority said the suspension of ties and security coordination with Israel would also continue until Israel removed all additional security measures from the area and pending an examination of the situation.” [NYTimes]
White House statement: "Israel has removed the recently installed magnetometers and cameras, despite the demonstrated need to enhance security at the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif in the wake of the murder of two Israeli police officers at the site on July 14. The United States applauds the efforts of Israel to maintain security while reducing tensions in the region."
BEHIND THE SCENES: "Jared Kushner Called Jordanian King at Height of Embassy Crisis With Israel and Asked Him to Help" by Barak Ravid: "Netanyahu had tried unsuccessfully Sunday night to reach Jordan's King Abdullah, who was on the American west coast at the time, to ask him to intervene in resolving the crisis. Netanyahu also called Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer and asked him to seek help from the highest level at the White House Dermer called... Jared Kushner, and America's special peace process envoy Jason Greenblatt and asked them for help. A senior Israeli official said that Kushner and Greenblatt updated Trump about the developing crisis in Jordan... Trump instructed the two to intervene with the Jordanians and prevent the crisis from escalating Kushner contacted high-level officials in the Jordanian government and during the night between Sunday and Monday (Israel time) managed to reach Abdullah.” [Haaretz]
"A crisis in the Middle East? Trump would rather play golf” by Yoav Fromer: “Israeli officials used to call Obama nave and Secretary of State Kerry messianic. I wonder what they would say about Kerry’s successor, Rex Tillerson, who is pleading the Fifth when it comes to Israel. If anyone can remember the last time Tillerson said anything about Israel or showed an interest, they had better update the guys at the Foreign Ministry, because as far as they’re concerned, he has gone AWOL Netanyahu was so happy when Obama left the White House, but at least he had someone to call during moments of crisis like this. It’s possible he did pick up the phone and call Trump on Sunday, but I’m not sure he had anyone to talk to this time.” [Ynet]
REXATION: "Tillerson ‘taking a little time off’ amid exit rumors" by Chris Perez: "State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday refused to say whether Tillerson was happy in his position, but she did reveal that he had been on vacation this week — despite there being numerous foreign policy issues to deal with." [NYPost]
“Rexit? Don't quit yet, Secretary Tillerson” by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “As ineffectual, at times, as Tillerson has been, it cannot be assumed that things couldn't get any worse under new management. For all his stumbles, the Secretary of State has gotten a few big things right He has moderated some of Trump's worst instincts, such as walking away from the nuclear deal with Iran For all those who hope to wish Tillerson an early and happy retirement, be careful what you wish for, especially if his successor is more ideological and combative and less pragmatic than the more even-keeled Tillerson.” [CNN]
"Trump erroneously says Lebanon is ‘on the front lines’ fighting Hezbollah, a partner in the Lebanese government" by Anne Gearan: "President Trump lumped the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah among militants and terrorists he praised the government of Lebanon for fighting... The only problem? Hezbollah is a political partner of the man standing next to Trump, visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri... “Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah," [Trump said at a news conference]... Speaking to reporters later Tuesday, Hariri said that Trump had been well-informed about Hezbollah during their meeting. He stepped carefully around the question of whether Trump did not understand the group's political role and power." [WashPost]
"Shockingly, Trump Doesn’t Know Who Hezbollah Are Or What They Do" by Benjamin Hart: "Coming amid the other typical madness of a day in the Trump administration – plus that health care vote – Trump’s not-really-excusable mistake barely caused a ripple." [NYMag]
"Trump, Lebanese leader pledge solidarity against terrorism" by Darlene Superville: "When asked, Trump declined to offer a position on possible tighter sanctions against Hezbollah, but U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley took a hard line against the group on Tuesday. Haley urged the U.N. Security Council to acknowledge that Hezbollah... "is a destructive terrorist force" and "a major obstacle to peace" that is "dedicated to the destruction of Israel." She said the council must get serious about enforcing its resolutions that have been routinely violated by Hezbollah and its backer Iran." [AP]
PALACE INTRIGUE: Trump again criticizes Sessions, downplays West Wing feuds -- by Gerard Baker, Peter Nicholas and Michael C. Bender: “During the interview, Mr. Trump appeared relaxed in the company of close aides, which included his daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, Hope Hicks, the White House director of strategic communications, and Mr. [Gary] Cohn. Mr. Trump praised the arrival of Mr. Scaramucci suggesting that he would help settle internal unrest and backbiting that has characterized the West Wing. He quipped that this type of palace intrigue was “White House stuff, where they’re fighting over who loves me the most.” Mr. Trump said he has no other immediate changes planned for his senior staff.” [WSJ] Kushner’s Interest in Drug-Sentencing Limits Is at Odds With Attorney General [WSJ]
David Horowitz, who has been described as Trump’s intellectual godfather, tweets: “I have to confess, I'm really distressed by Trump's shabby treatment of Sessions He made the decision because he's a by the book conservative. It was a mistake. But so is humiliating him publicly.” [Twitter]
"For America, It Looks Like Chaos. For Trump, It’s Just Tuesday" by Michael Kruse: “Chaos creates drama, and drama gets ink,” former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg told me Tuesday. “This is a new kind of presidency. He’s followed the tabloid model, and it got him to where he is, and it’s the model that will be followed until it doesn’t work. And it has worked. He’s sitting in the Oval Office.” [Politico]
FROM TRUMP'S WSJ INTERVIEW: "You know, I was with Bob Kraft the other night. He came to have dinner with me. He’s a friend of mine. And as he left, he said, Donald, don’t worry about the rich people. Tax the rich people. You got to take care of the people in the country. It was a very interesting statement. I feel the same way." [WSJ]
2018 WATCH: "Lawyer Who May or May Not Challenge Pascrell Has Raised $750K" by Alyana Alfaro: “Michael Wildes, an immigration lawyer from Englewood... seems to be gearing up for another run at [Rep. Bill] Pascrell in the 9th District. Exactly when he plans to mount that campaign — if ever — remains unclear. But Wildes has nearly $758,000 amassed in a campaign account, according to Federal Election Commission records Last year, Wildes represented First Lady Melania Trump when claims emerged that she had illegally worked in the United States without a visa when she was a young model.” [Observer]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Tel Aviv-based startup Prospera, which uses AI and computer vision to guide farmers, harvests $15M [TC] Digital market analytics firm SimilarWeb raises $47 million [Reuters] Maniv Mobility Announces Close of First Mobility-only Fund, in excess of $40 million, in Israel [Yahoo; Globes] Vega to launch two Earth Observation Satellites for Italy, Israel and France [SpaceDaily] Israeli professor settles Mobileye insider trading case in U.S. [Reuters]
“Trump Says Cohn and Yellen Are Contenders to Lead the Fed” by Kate Davidson: “Mr. Trump reiterated that he thinks [Janet] Yellen is doing a good job and he has “a lot of respect for her,” and said she is still in the running to serve a second four-year term as leader of the central bank. But he said he also is considering replacing Ms. Yellen with [Gary] Cohn, who became Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council director “He doesn’t know this, but yes he is,” he said, when asked if Mr. Cohn, who was present during the interview, was a candidate for the job. “I actually think he likes what he’s doing right now.” As for Ms. Yellen, Mr. Trump said, “She is in the running, absolutely.” “I like her; I like her demeanor. I think she’s done a good job,” he said.” [WSJ]
MEDIA WATCH: "ABC News teams up with ATTN: to produce original news videos for social media" by Sarah Perez: "ABC News announced today it’s teaming up with digital media company ATTN: to develop original news videos that will be distributed across social media sites. The partnership aims to produce videos targeting audiences who no longer tune in to traditional news broadcasts aired on television. ATTN: was started in 2014 by Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno. The company is backed by over $22 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, including from Evolution Media Partners, Cash Warren, Main Street Advisors, Apollo Global Management co-founder Marc Rowan, Paul Watcher, RTS Ventures, Ryan Seacrest’s Seacrest Global Group, Troy Carter, and Ross Levinsohn." [TechCrunch]
KAFE KNESSET -- Yisrael Hayom says “Bye, Bibi.” -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: Readers of Yisrael Hayom were shocked this morning to see the following headline: “Removing the metal detectors shows Netanyahu’s helplessness. Israel’s response to the terrorist attack on the Temple Mount was weak and panicked, and the step the Prime Minister took goes against his base of supporters.” Yisrael Hayom, in case you forgot, is the Sheldon Adelson-owned free daily newspaper. So, what is going on? The prevailing theory is that the paper is trying to distance itself from Netanyahu because of “Case 2000,” one of the many corruption cases relating to the PM. Case 2000 is the one in which the publisher of competing paper Yediot Aharonoth, Noni Mozes, offered Netanyahu positive coverage in exchange for support for a bill that would make Yisrael Hayom’s business model illegal. If there is proof that Adelson and Yisrael Hayom are in Netanyahu’s pocket, there might be some campaign finance issues added to the mix. So the solution is to try to prove to Attorney-General Avihai Mandelblit that they are not Netanyahu’s newspaper after all. Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]
"A young Palestinian vowed to die a martyr, then stabbed 3 members of an Israeli family to death” by William Booth: “Now into this volatile mix President Trump sends his untested Middle East team to make peace, led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, special envoy Jason Greenblatt and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, all Jewish men with long histories of supporting Israel. This is what they will hear. “I blame Netanyahu for what my son has done. I blame him and the Israeli army for all the blood,” said Abdul Jaleel al-Abed, the knife attacker’s father, who gathered with neighbors at his home, which is now slated for demolition by Israel “All of us would gladly die for al-Aqsa,” he said He asked, “What about the Palestinians killed?” Around him, men began to scroll their mobile phones and point to videos showing an Israeli soldier kicking a Muslim worshiper or an Israeli security guard at a settlement firing his rifle at Palestinian protesters.” [WashPost]
ANTI BOYCOTT ACT: "Why an Effort to Thwart Some Boycotts of Israel Fails the Free-Speech Test" by Conor Friedersdorf: "The bill strikes me as constitutionally suspect even if [Ben] Cardin and [Rob] Portman are correct that only companies, not individuals, will be targeted for participating in some boycotts. If a U.S. citizen owns a chain of Mediterranean restaurants, or a plastic-widget factory, or a freight-forwarding service, and declines to do company business with a foreign country, in support of a UN-led boycott against what she regards as human-rights abuses there, it would be an outrage to punish her as a felon." [TheAtlantic]
“Israeli David Grossman’s Play Opens Lincoln Center; No BDS Protesters Show Up” by Taly Krupkin: “In recent weeks, more than 70 artists have called on organizers of this month's Lincoln Center Festival to cancel the performance of “To the End of the Land,” based on a book by award-winning Israeli author David Grossman. Local police were gearing up for protesters at the debut, on Monday night But as the cast, crew, guests and audience arrived, the space allocated for the demonstration remained empty: Not one BDS supporter showed up to protest the performance... Among those attending the premiere were Miri Regev, Israel’s culture minister, who in the past has advocated cessation of funding to productions that are critical of the State of Israel “BDS helped us sell tickets,” said Dani Dayan, consul general of Israel in New York, who was also on hand. “As soon as they heard about calls to boycott, supporters of Israel bought all the tickets.” “We made lemonade out of lemons!” laughed Regev.” [Haaretz]
“Margaret Bergmann Lambert, Jewish High Jumper Excluded From Berlin Olympics, Dies at 103” by Ira Berkow: “Margarethe Minnie Bergmann was an outstanding all-around athlete, excelling in the shot-put, the discus and other events as well as the high jump. “I was ‘The Great Jewish Hope,’ ” she often said. With anti-Semitism on the rise in Germany... she left home at 19 and moved to England, where she won the British high-jump championship in 1935. But when the Nazis pressured her father to bring her home, she returned to Germany to seek a position on the Olympic team. Shortly after winning that June meet, held at Adolf Hitler Stadium in Stuttgart, she received a letter from Nazi officials informing her that she had not qualified.. Her accomplishment was removed from the record book Her German national high jump record was restored in 2009.” [NYTimes]
DESSERT: "Israel Looks to Food Tourism to Attract a Different Kind of Visitor" by Dan Peltier: "Israel and Chef Solomonov launched a partnership last week to bring American journalists to the country for a taste of its various dishes during two press trips guided by Solomonov. The trips will show journalists a behind-the-scenes look at the many of Solomonov’s favorite restaurants around the country and that also highlight ways Israel’s food culture has changed in recent years. The tourism board hopes these freebie press trips turn into positive articles about the country’s food culture." [Skift]
TRANSITION: Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) elected Dorothy Tananbaum to be its chairperson of the Board of Directors. Tananbaum is also a member of the Jewish Agency for Israel Board of Governors and is the past chair of the Jewish Education Project of New York. She succeeds Stacy Schusterman.
Congrats to Tiffany Harris on being named to The Hill's 2017 50 Most Beautiful List: "There are 195 countries in the world. Tiffany Harris has been to 67 of them — so far. But there’s one in particular that she can’t get enough of. “I keep finding myself going back to Israel,” Harris says, noting her Jewish roots. “It touches on all the things I really like about traveling and life.” The desk officer for Peace Corps headquarters says she stays active with CrossFit, yoga and biking." [TheHill]
BIRTHDAYS: Photographer and documentary film maker, Elliott Erwitt turns 89... Member of the British House of Lords, Baroness Sally Oppenheim-Barnes turns 89... Mayor of Las Vegas (1999-2011), Oscar Goodman turns 78... Administrator at the University of Illinois and the University of Houston (1972-1982), chancellor of the California State University system (1991-1998) and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust (1998-2006), Barry Munitz turns 76... Member of the Florida House of Representatives since 2012, representing southern Broward County, Richard Stark turns 65... Sports columnist, author, television and radio personality, he works for ESPN's Charlotte-based SEC Network since 2014, Paul Finebaum turns 61... Chief Medical Officer at Minnesota-based Medica (an insurer for 1.7 million members) and SVP and Chief Medical Officer of Blue Health Intelligence, Alan H. Spiro, MD, MBA turns 65... Israeli born classical music composer, Gilad Hochman turns 35... Israeli born R&B singer and songwriter, Hila Bronstein turns 34... Kafe Knesset correspondent and self-described "political junkie," Tal Shalev...
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