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- James Murdoch Pledges $1 Million to Anti-Defamation League as Trump Protest
- Widening Russia Scandal Tangles Jared Kushner in Cross Hairs
- Samantha Bee Named One of Time's 100 Most Influential People
THE TRUMP EFFECT: “James Murdoch Pledges $1 Million to Anti-Defamation League as Trump Protest” by Maggie Haberman: “James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and the son of a frequent ally of President Trump’s, condemned the president’s performance after the violence in Charlottesville, Va... In an email on Thursday Mr. Murdoch said that he and his wife, Kathryn, plan to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League, urging others to follow suit. “We hardly ever talk about our charitable giving, but in this case I wanted to tell you and encourage you to be generous too. Many of you are supporters of the Anti-Defamation League already — now is a great time to give more,” he wrote.” [NYTimes]
"It is all the more notable, however, because of Murdoch's father's relationship with the president. Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, speaks with the president several times a week... 21st Century Fox is also the parent company of Fox News, which has been aggressively pro-Trump on its most-watched shows. The younger Murdoch begins his letter by saying he was writing "in a personal capacity, as a concerned citizen and a father," but he went on to highlight how his business had tried to contribute to a diverse and tolerant society." [CNNMoney]
THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner face pressure to speak out on anti-Semitism” by David Smith: “The couple are practising Modern Orthodox Jews and have been able to separate expressions of their faith from their White House roles as advisers to the president. So far. “That’s the question swirling around the Jewish community since November 9,” said Rabbi Shira Stutman of the Sixth & I Historic synagogue in Washington. “It’s also the Jewish school they go to, it’s also the Jewish preschool they go to. The community has taken the tack of letting them be. Who knows if this is what will set people over the edge?”
"Since moving from New York, Ivanka and Jared have attended the TheSHUL of the Nation’s Capital Rabbi Levi Shemtov gave a speech before Ivanka and Jared first arrived, urging congregants to avoid political confrontations, and there have been no incidents Shemtov himself declined to comment on Thursday. “Once someone steps over the threshold of our synagogue, I’d prefer to respect their privacy,” he said. Arnold Resnicoff, a rabbi and military veteran due to give a prayer at the opening of the pro-forma session of the House of Representatives on Friday, said he thought confrontations at the TheSHUL of the Nation’s Capital were unlikely... “I think they would respect Jared and Ivanka and not put the sins of the father on them.” [TheGuardian]
"Billionaire Ally of Putin Socialized With Kushner, Ivanka Trump" by Stephanie Baker, Irina Reznik and Katya Kazakina: "In 2014, the Kushners spent four days in Russia at the invitation of [Roman] Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova. The couples sat at the same table along with a few other people during a high-powered fundraising dinner for Moscow’s Jewish Museum. Kushner also was invested in an online art business of which Zhukova is a founding partner. Ivanka Trump, Kushner and his brother, Joshua, have accompanied Zhukova to sporting events in the New York area... Kushner and Abramovich have never met one-on-one or alone with their wives, according to the person familiar with the situation... The dinner they attended with the Kushners attracted powerful Russian billionaires and leading businessmen. A spokesman for Abramovich said the billionaire hasn’t interacted with Kushner since then... This month, Abramovich and Zhukova announced they’re separating after 10 years." [Bloomberg]
“PLO: ‘It’s now or never’ for Trump’s Mideast peace push” by Josh Rogin: “Jared Kushner’s trip to the Middle East next week will be a do-or-die moment in the Trump administration’s nascent Middle East peace process initiative, according to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s representative in Washington “It’s now or never,” [Husam] Zomlot said. “This is the time and this is the opportunity we are hanging on this opportunity we want it to succeed.” Ahead of the meetings, the PLO is laying out a public position for what it wants: specifically, that the Trump administration clearly and unequivocally endorse the two-state solution. He communicated that directly to [Jason] Greenblatt in a meeting at the White House earlier this week Congress is moving forward with [the Taylor Force Act]... But that funding program is “nonnegotiable,” said Zomlot. “We are not going to get past it.””
“The White House is keeping expectations low ahead of Kushner’s trip Kushner and his team are not likely to make any big announcements next week or give the Palestinians the clarity they are seeking on the way forward On the greater question of whether a peace deal is even possible under the current conditions, Zomlot said all eyes are on Trump. “[Trump] thinks it is possible,” he said. “Even if it’s not, it’s good he thinks so.”” [WashPost]
SCENE YESTERDAY: A senior Israeli security delegation led by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen met with the U.S. National Security team led by NSA H. R. McMaster at the White House. Other participants included Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, Dina Powell, Victoria Coates, Thomas Bossert, and Israeli Amb. Ron Dermer [Pic] McMaster and his wife Katie also hosted the U.S. and Israeli delegations at their home for dinner [Pic]
"J.K. Rowling Just Pointed Out One Surprising Result of Trump's Remarks" by Raisa Bruner: "On Thursday, the Harry Potter author and prolific Twitter user shared a screen grab of a TV channel broadcast in which the chyron is nothing short of surprising: "Iran and Israel condemn Trump's comments," it reads. "Unbelievable. He actually did bring the Middle East together," Rowling dryly commented on the image in her tweet... For the two nations to agree on something — in this case, Trump's comments on the violent events in Charlottesville — is noteworthy." [TIME]
DRIVING THE CONVO: "Republican Sen. Bob Corker: Trump has not shown 'competence' needed to lead " by Michael Collins: "The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful — and our nation and our world needs for him to be successful, whether you are Republican or Democrat,” the Tennessee Republican said at a Rotary Club meeting in Chattanooga. Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he fears the nation will be in peril unless Trump makes radical changes at the White House... Corker, who often advises Trump on foreign policy, has at times been both supportive and critical of Trump." [USAToday]
-- Read Aaron Magid's profile of Corker from earlier this week -- Inside Senator Bob Corker’s Realist Doctrine: "Jared Kushner... told Jewish Insider in an emailed statement, “Senator Corker is a leading voice on some of the most serious issues facing our country and provides valuable guidance, advice and input both when he agrees and disagrees with us."" [JewishInsider]
HEARD THIS MORNING -- Rep Lee Zeldin on CNN’s New Day: “Speaking for myself for sure -- I’m Jewish -- I have zero tolerance whatsoever for any individual who associates themselves with KKK and Nazism... The President made statements that you can say are raw, rough around the edges, politically incorrect... There are parts of what the president said that you can say are factually inaccurate. There are other parts that are hard truths. But as far as the factually inaccurate piece, I don’t know of anyone who would be there, who would associate themselves with that particular protest, who are good people."
Trump’s relationship with the RJC becomes more complicated -- by Matthew Nussbaum: “Matt Brooks, executive director of the RJC, would not say whether members plan any further steps to warn the president Brooks also would not disclose any conversations with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who sits on the RJC's board but has not personally weighed in. Still, some Republican strategists are nervous about turning off a group that regularly votes, raises money and donates to candidates. "Getting this right is life and death for the Republican Party,” said Rick Tyler, a Trump critic and former communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz, who aggressively courted Republican Jews in his own 2016 presidential bid. "The Republican Jewish community provides a lot of support for the Republican Party, particularly financial support."
“Fred Zeidman, a member of the RJC board of directors and a former George W. Bush appointee to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, praised his group's leadership for taking a stand "We know the issues that evolve from remaining silent, and we can't remain silent," he told Politico on Thursday. "We know what happens when we remain silent."” [Politico]
-- “World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder, who has been one of Trump's most prominent defenders, declined to comment through a spokesman.” [AP]
A Lauder spokesman tells us "Mr. Lauder believes that President Trump should and will continue to condemn all racist and bigoted groups.”
INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Steve Bannon Detonates His Trump Survival Plan, Worrying Allies” by Adrian Carrasquillo: “Bannon, an ally said, was very angry that Cohn was telling the press about how uncomfortable he was with Trump's Tuesday comments. "Bannon felt it was the opposite, he thought it was great," the source relayed Bannon's lack of powerful allies was evident after a public feud with Jared Kushner in the spring. The former Breitbart mogul told people behind Kushner's back that "hopefully Jared will go down in things pertaining to Russia," or real estate holdings Were Bannon to go, with Kushner, Cohn, and McMaster ascendant, the first Bannon ally put it more simply. "Would we even be a movement anymore?"” [BuzzFeed]
POLLING: “American voters say 59 - 32 percent that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump should not continue to work in the White House. Republicans say 62 - 26 percent the First Family should remain, but every other group says no.” [Quinnipiac]
An Open Letter to Steve Mnuchin From Members of the Yale College Class of 1985: "We can be Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, and a number of other things and still be friends, classmates, and patriots, but we cannot be Nazis and white supremacists... We call upon you, as our friend, our classmate, and as a fellow American, to resign in protest of President Trump’s support of Nazism and white supremacy." [Letter]
EXODUS DAY 3: "Trump Abandons Plan for Council on Infrastructure" by Mark Niquette: "President Donald Trump will not move forward with a planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure... Trump had tapped New York developers Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, whom he described as friends, to lead the infrastructure panel, which he established by an executive order on July 19. But he had not announced any formal appointments to it." [Bloomberg] Members of White House presidential arts commission resign to protest Trump’s comments [WashPost]
"Three fundraising giants cancel plans for galas at Mar-a-Lago" by Drew Harwell and David Fahrenthold: "The American Friends of Magen David Adom, which raises money for Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross, also said it would not hold its 2018 gala at the club 'after considerable deliberation,' though it did not give a reason. The charity had one of Mar-a-Lago's biggest events last season, with about 600 people in attendance." [WashPost; AP]
"Ernst & Young Chairman on Advising Trump: A Balancing Act" by Michael Rapoport: "In an internal memo sent to EY employees late Wednesday, Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger said that “as much as I believe in engagement and dialogue,” it was “appropriate” for him and other CEOs to disband the Strategic and Policy Forum on which they had served... He added that “I was also disappointed by President Trump’s reaction to these events. I believe leaders should unite rather than divide people.”" [WSJ]
THE OTHER SIDE: “The Left’s Blind Spot: Anti-Semitism” by Phoebe Maltz Bovy: “And yet, despite this preponderance of evidence, there was a certain silence surrounding anti-Semitism over the weekend. “In addition to the horror of watching those hateful humans march in broad daylight without fearing any consequences,” Lily Herman wrote at Refinery29, “I found it disturbing that many people, including liberals and progressives, didn’t acknowledge the hateful anti-Semitic comments made by these Nazis. In some cases, they tried to argue that they didn’t happen.” She pointed out that Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted about the “provocative effort by Neo-Nazis to foment racism” without mentioning anti-Semitism. “This strange in-between of calling out Nazis without directly acknowledging their hate towards Jews made me heave a very, very long sigh.”” [NewRepublic]
“Trump Isn’t The Only One Lying About What Happened In Charlottesville” by Ben Shapiro: “The lack of honesty on both sides will only deepen our polarization. If the Left insists on siding with Antifa over Trump, they’ll drive more conservatives into the arms of the alt-right; if the right insists on siding with the alt-right over the non-Antifa counter-protesters, they’ll drive more Leftists into the arms of Antifa.” [Forward]
STATE-SIDE: “The only Republican in California’s Jewish Caucus quits over Trump criticism” by Eitan Arom: “The only Republican in the California Legislative Jewish Caucus has resigned after it released a statement strongly condemning President Donald Trump’s rhetoric. State Sen. Jeff Stone of Riverside County said in an Aug. 17 statement that the group “has clearly become a vehicle for a Legislative Caucus that receives state resources to merely criticize our duly elected President.” Stone said, “When I was invited to join the Jewish Caucus, I was expressly told that it was a nonpartisan Caucus, and the issues we were going to be involved with would focus on promoting the interests of the Jewish people in California and around the world. Since the election of President Trump, it seems that there has been a divergence from the Caucus’ original mission.”” [JewishJournal]
** A sponsored message from the Schusterman Foundation, OneTable and Repair the World: Come #TogetherAtTheTable this weekend for a celebration of unity and diversity in the face of fear and division. Pledge to host or attend a grassroots Shabbat dinner in your city now. Download discussion guides. Share with your networks. More than 60 partner organizations have joined and are spreading the #TogetherAtTheTable movement. [OneTable] **
COMING SOON: United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) will host its second annual Iran Summit, on September 19 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. The event will coincide with President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speeches on the opening day of the UN General Assembly. Speakers include General (Ret) David Petraeus, David Petraeus, HRH Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, Joe Lieberman, John Bolton, Dennis Ross, former Governors Jeb Bush and Bill Richardson; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former Congressman Steve Israel, and former Senator Mark Kirk.
** 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 **
BUSINESS BRIEF: IDT Corporation: Revisiting The Sum-Of-The-Parts Ahead Of The Upcoming Spin-Off [SeekingAlpha] As Buy Calls Mount, Tel Aviv-based Wix Poised to Leave Dog Days Behind [Bloomberg] A defense company put a machine gun on a drone and is currently in testing with the Israeli army [TechCrunch] Houston Mayor Turner pushing for direct flights to Israel [Chron]
“The Wall Street bigwigs joining Jeter in buying the Marlins” by Richard Johnson: “Lead investor Bruce Sherman co-founded money management firm Private Capital Management, which he sold to Legg Mason for $1.3 billion. The list includes Doug Kimmelman and Peter Labbat of Energy Capital Partners, Viking Global co-founder David Ott Others are more entrepreneurial. Chris Mettler is the founder of CompareCards, which rates credit cards, and Ari Ackerman founded Bunk1, a provider of parent-engagement software for summer camps. Ackerman sold Bunk1 to Togetherwork, which is backed by Aquiline Capital Partners LLC, in April for undisclosed terms. The price was high enough to make Ackerman a part-owner in the Marlins.” [PageSix]
“Silicon Valley billionaire Stewart Butterfield voices support for universal basic income” by Ben Chapman: “Now Slack chief executive Stewart Butterfield has thrown his weight behind the basic income movement, joining such illustrious company as Bill Gates, Tesla boss Elon Musk, and Y Combinator president Sam Altman He went on to suggest that the billions spent on university education around the world each year would be put to better use if given directly to individuals as an unconditional payment.” [Independent]
TALK OF THE TOWN: "Following months of criticism, Eva Moskowitz distances herself from Trump” by Eliza Shapiro: "Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz distanced herself from President Donald Trump on Thursday, following ten months of relentless criticism from staff, board members and colleagues “In retrospect, I should have been more outspoken so that no one would possibly think that either Success Academy or I was tacitly supporting President Trump’s policies, which are contrary to the values of respect, caring, and concern that are central to our mission,” Moskowitz wrote in Thursday’s letter “I am deeply distressed both by the hateful violence in Charlottesville and by President Trump’s refusal to clearly denounce it,” she said.” [Politico]
FIRST DAY: Aryeh Lightstone formally started his job yesterday as a senior advisor to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Friedman tweeted: "First day of work for my Senior Advisor Aryeh Lightstone. First Meeting, the legendary Natan Sharansky - What a Start!" [Pic]
KAFE KNESSET -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: As usual, the Barcelona terror attack was widely and quickly denounced by everyone in the Israeli political system. But the Prime Minister appeared to be putting in an extra effort to be part of the story. An hour after the attack occurred, Netanyahu arrived at the Foreign Ministry for a special video conference and consultation with the Israeli ambassador in Spain and his diplomatic team. Barcelona is a popular tourist destination and there are thousands of Israelis there this August weekend. This provides Israel with a special reason for concern, but there was also a PR cloud over Netanyahu’s unusual media blitz over the event. The Prime Minister’s Office issued numerous updates and statements and even a video of the PM’s special meeting. Given the criminal cloud surrounding him these days, Netanyahu is thirsty for any diplomatic security agenda he can get. It enables him to project “business as usual” in the wake of all of his legal affairs. Bibi’s diplomatic efforts emphasize his strong sense of statesmanship, which is unmatched by any of his political rivals. Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]
"Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner recovering from cancer" by Barry Svrluga: "Regardless of where the Washington Nationals sit in the standings... there has long been a night-to-night constant at Nationals Park: Mark Lerner, one of the club’s principal owners and the only son of family patriarch Ted, sitting in the first row, Nationals hat on his head, monitoring the action from the on-deck circle to the outfield seats... But over the past several months... Lerner’s front-row perch has sat empty, conspicuously vacant... Thursday night, in a letter to The Washington Post, Lerner revealed the reason for his absence: Lerner had cancer in his left leg, and though he is now cancer-free, complications following surgery and radiation treatment left doctors with little choice but to amputate the leg last week." [WashPost]
WINE OF THE WEEK -- Tzora Vineyards: Judean Hills Blanc 2016 -- by Yitz Applbaum: There are only a few wineries in Israel that have managed to foster a consistent theme across all of their wines. For Tzora Vineyards the consistent theme that I have observed across all of their offerings is that the drinker notices the strong relationship between the grape in a given wine and the taste of that wine. The wine producers are true to the grape, all the while managing to bring a friendliness to the wine. The correlation the winemakers created between the grape and the flavor creates a unique fruit experience. Each bottle is memorable.
The 2016 Judean Hills Blanc is 90% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon Blanc grapes. While the Chardonnay is dominant the Sauvignon Blanc is still noticeable. There is a dryness on the front of the palate which rings of apricots and seaweed. The mid palate experience is all Chardonnay with great melon overtones. The finish is where one notices the Sauvignon Blanc with a citrus bite and some acidity. This wine goes perfectly well with blue cheese and sharp aged cheddar. This wine will last for some time. As is the case with most Tzora Vineyard wines, they sell out quickly, so stock up on this wine. [TzoraVineyards]
BIRTHDAYS -- FRIDAY: President of Baltimore's Seabark Insurance Agency, Jerome Seaman turns 84... Former two-term mayor of San Diego (the first Jewish mayor of San Diego), now CEO of the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation in San Diego, Susan G. Golding turns 72... President at C O Benefit Connections, Raphael Schwartz turns 62... Labor law attorney representing employers, he is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, Stuart Douglas Tochner turns 58... CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, a DC-based think tank and advocacy group focused on issues of data privacy, he was previously a member of the New York State Assembly (1994-1997), Jules Polonetsky turns 52... Economist and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, previously chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration, Jason Furman turns 47... Sarah Bronson turns 45... Partner in the DC-based law firm of Covington & Burling, he was previously general counsel and deputy staff director of the US House Armed Services Committee, Roger Zakheim turns 40... Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, he made aliyah in 2008, he is now a fellow at the The Jewish People Policy Institute, Noah Slepkov turns 36...
SATURDAY: 42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton turns 71... One of the first venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, he was an early investor in Intel, Apple Computer, Scientific Data Systems and Teledyne, Arthur Rock turns 91... Member of the South Dakota House of Representatives (2001-2005) and then a member of the South Dakota Senate (2005-2007 and 2009-2013), Stanford "Stan" M. Adelstein turns 86... President of Ono Academic College in Israel, she was the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations (2008-2010), Gabriela Shalev turns 76... Co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, Marc J. Rowan turns 55... Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (2009-2013), he was a law clerk for Justices William J. Brennan Jr. and David H. Souter, now a Managing Director at the Carlyle Group, Julius Genachowski turns 55... Managing editor of The New York Times, prior to joining the Times in 1998, he was a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and the Dallas Morning News, Joseph Kahn turns 53... Partner and talent agent in the motion picture department at William Morris Endeavor, he is very active in the contemporary art world as a collector, Dan Aloni turns 53... Former member of Knesset (2003-2006), he is the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Omri Sharon turns 53... Actress and producer, best known for her starring role as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on the TNT crime drama "The Closer," Kyra Sedgwick turns 52... Borough President of Queens since 2014, she was previously a member of the New York State Assembly (1994-1999) and the New York City Council (2002-2009), Melinda R. Katz turns 52... Founder and CEO of The Friedlander Group, Ezra Friedlander turns 49... Businessman and investor, he and a partner successfully managed a hedge fund for his father Carl Icahn, Brett Icahn turns 38... Managing partner of Handmade Capital and founder of Liveset, a digital platform for streaming live concerts, Ross Hinkle turns 38... Private equity investor, Jewish communal leader Yehuda L. Neuberger... Program Associate at Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Cassandra Federbusz... Jerry Epstein...
SUNDAY: Secretary of Labor for the State of Kansas, she was a member of the Kansas House of Representatives (2001-2012), Lana Goodman Gordon turns 67... Senior director at NYC-based investment bank Maxim Group, he is also president of American Friends of Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim and a board member of ZOA, Jay Knopf turns 61... Member of Congress (D-IL-10) who first won his seat in 2012, lost it in 2014 and won the seat back in 2016, Brad Schneider turns 56... US Trade Representative (2013-2017) and other high ranking postings in Democratic administrations, now at the Council on Foreign Relations, a friend and classmate of President Obama at Harvard, Michael Froman turns 55... Moroccan-born billionaire, he is the founder and controlling shareholder of the Altice Group (one of the world's largest telecoms firms including NY-based Cablevision), Patrick Drahi turns 54... British Ambassador to Israel (2010-2015), the first Jewish UK ambassador to be posted to Tel Aviv, he is now director of cyber security and information assurance in the British Cabinet Office, Matthew Gould turns 46... VP of communications at DC-based First Focus (a nonpartisan advocacy organization for children and families), he was previously at Project On Government Oversight, Ari Goldberg turns 44... Deputy director and one of the founders of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, a summer music festival that showcases Jerusalem, Karen Brunwasser turns 41... VP managing the Iowa office of Cornerstone Government Affairs and President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, David Ryan Adelman turns 36... Real estate agent, author and television personality as an original cast member on the show Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles on the Bravo television network, Joshua Daniel "Josh" Flagg turns 32... Phoebe Bryan...
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