Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: March 12, 2018

Trump's peace plan -- DOA? | Ben Falk, the Smartest Basketball Mind Outside the NBA | The Women's March + Farrakhan | BDay: Jake Tapper

JI Staff
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make their way to the Oval Office for a meeting at the White House, March 5, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make their way to the Oval Office for a meeting at the White House, March 5, 2018.Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP
JI Staff

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HEARD IN JERUSALEM THIS AM -- Showtime's David Nevins on President Trump's tweet attacking NYTimes reporter Maggie Haberman: "Trump said he doesn't give her access. We have conversations between them on camera. Maggie is a major character in the new documentary we're releasing soon." The documentary titled The Fourth Estate follows the New York Times' newsroom as they cover the first year of the Trump administration. [JewishInsider]

Avi Nir, the CEO of Keshet Media Group, moderated the conversation with Nevins at the INTV conference and used an ancient depiction of Jerusalem under siege as a metaphor to describe Showtime's current environment. In 2010, the network faced competition from HBO, FX and AMC [Pic] In 2018, the behemoths Netflix, Amazon and Apple have joined the fray [Pic]

Later, Nevins was interviewed by an Israeli solider with Galei Tzahal, also known as Army Radio [Pic]

MEDIA RISING STAR: "The Smartest Basketball Mind Outside the NBA: Cleaning the Glass's Ben Falk" by Chris Ballard: "When Ben Falk first conceived Cleaning the Glass, the NBA site he launched last year, he tried to balance hope and realism. Hope: that basketball fans like him might find the site interesting enough to pay for; realism regarding how many other such humans actually exist. Falk, who is 29 but looks younger, is many things—a former front office executive for the Blazers and the Hinkie-era Sixers, an observant Orthodox Jew, and someone who, in the ninth grade, designed, programmed, and launched his own fantasy basketball game, building in rewards for defense, teamwork and other traditionally overlooked elements. He is the type of person who enjoys an hour-long conversation about, say, the offensive rebounding rate and technique of Steven Adams but has little interest in a subjective, ill-defined debate such as who should win this year’s MVP award."

"As an Orthodox Jew, he observed the Sabbath every week. From sundown Friday until sundown Saturday, he couldn’t work or use electricity. No phones, no computers, no flights. In Portland, he could only accompany the team on shorter road trips. He missed the two iconic playoff games of his tenure... During both, Falk was ensconced in what peers called his “cone of silence”, often alone in his apartment, reading. Only on Saturday night, if he’d successfully avoided hearing a result at synagogue, would he finally watch the games. “It was a challenge but I think people understood how it was the core of who I am,” he says. “It was probably apparent that it was more of a self-sacrifice.” “Honestly I think it might have made him more valuable, not less,” [Sam] Hinkie says now. “During the craziest times of the years when we were working 18 hour days, he’d often come back from Shabbat with even better perspective. He wasn’t as caught up in the fog of war as the rest of us." [SportsIllustrated]

REPORT: “Josh Kushner donates $50k to March for Our Lives” by Mike Allen: “Josh Kushner — a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who founded Thrive Capital, a venture capital firm; Oscar, a health insurance company; and Cadre, a real estate investment platform (and brother of Jared) — has quietly donated $50,000 to March for Our Lives.” [Axios]

SPOTLIGHT: “‘Where is Ivanka?’ First daughter seeks control in dual role as White House aide” by Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker: “Ivanka and [Jared] Kushner have become known simply as “Javanka,” a nickname that they view as disparaging and that they speculate was coined... by rivals, such as then-chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, to undermine them. Ivanka resents that she and her husband are seen as a single unit, in part because their work portfolios are different The president himself has exacerbated the tensions between his chief of staff and his family. He has mused to [John] Kelly that he thinks Ivanka and her husband should perhaps return to New York In the president’s eyes, “Ivanka’s still his little girl,” as one confidant put it.”

“On a small table in her well-appointed office sit several pictures of her kids, a framed copy of Trump’s typed “Remarks Regarding the Capital of Israel” — signed “To Ivanka, Love Dad” in the president’s oversized Sharpie scribble — and the lyrics to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” handwritten to her by one of the songwriters Ivanka has privately said she was naive when she first came to Washington. She was unprepared for the palace infighting"

“Everybody loves and respects Ivanka,” the president said in a statement. “She works very hard and always gets the job done in a first class manner. She was crucial to our success in achieving historic tax cuts and reforms and served as my envoy in South Korea, where she was incredibly well received. Her work on behalf of American families has made a real impact.”” [WashPost]

THE DAILY KUSHNER -- “Out of Public View, Trumps and Kushners Are Talking Business” by Ben Protess, Steve Eder and Jesse Drucker: “Jared Kushner’s family company recently began construction on an oceanfront development in this Jersey Shore city The Kushners are in private discussions to have President Trump’s company manage at least one hotel at the center of the development known as Pier Village Whether or not the Trumps and Kushners reach a deal, Mr. Kushner stands to gain. He is expected to eventually own 20 percent of the hotel in Pier Village.” [NYTimes] Jersey Shore town seeks ferry to dock next to Kushner resort [AP]

HEARD THE OTHER NIGHT -- Laurent Morali, President of Kushner Companies, on the Talkline Communications Network with Zev Brenner: “We decided in January 2017 to have a new set of compliance rules to abide by to avoid the perception of any conflict of interest. [Jared Kushner] is not involved at all in anything.”

-- QATARIS CLAIM THEY HAVE DIRT: "Qatari officials gathered evidence of what they claim is illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner and other Trump associates, including details of secret meetings, but decided not to give the information to Special Counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump administration, say three sources familiar with the Qatari discussions." [NBCNews]

'THE ULTIMATE DEAL' -- "The Mideast Peace Plan Is Nearly Finished. Is It Dead on Arrival?" by Mark Landler: "The Trump administration is putting the finishing touches on its long-awaited Middle East peace plan, three senior officials said on Sunday, and President Trump is likely to present it soon... The most immediate challenge for the White House is how to roll it out so that it is not proclaimed dead on arrival. But the quickening pace of activity inside the White House suggests that, regardless of the political headwinds, Mr. Trump will soon unveil a detailed blueprint that one of his senior aides said was intended to help Israelis and Palestinians get around traps and bottlenecks to an agreement. The aide likened it to Waze, the navigation software, developed by Israelis, that helps drivers bypass traffic jams... For example, the plan will not call for a two-state solution as one of its goals, though it will prescribe pathways for the creation of two states."

"To lay the groundwork in the Middle East, the White House is convening a conference on Tuesday to discuss ways to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. But the Palestinian Authority said on Saturday that it would boycott the meeting... The Gaza conference, which will be led by Kushner and [Jason] Greenblatt, is designed to give momentum to efforts to stabilize the Palestinian territory." [NYTimes]

REPORT -- Netanyahu said to tell cabinet still no ‘concrete’ US peace plan: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told cabinet ministers on Sunday that there is still no “concrete” US peace plan. “At the moment, there is no concrete American peace plan on the table. I’m not saying there won’t be, but at the moment there isn’t,” Channel 10 quoted him as saying.” [ToI; Axios]

"Trump administration backs PLO in terror lawsuit, angering conservatives" by Ron Kampeas: "The Trump administration sided with the Palestine Liberation Organization in a terrorism lawsuit the Supreme Court may soon consider, drawing an angry rebuke from conservatives, including one of its most steadfast Jewish community defenders, the Zionist Organization of America. In 2015, a federal jury in Manhattan ruled in favor of American victims injured in six terror attacks that occurred in Israel in 2002-2004, handing down a $656 million decision against the PLO. An appellate court overturned that decision a year later. Solicitor General Noel Francisco supported the appellate court’s finding in a Supreme Court filing last month, mostly on technical grounds." [JTA]

THE KOREA EFFECT ON IRAN -- “Trump-Kim Meeting Could Have Negative Implications for Iranian Nuclear Deal, Officials Say” by Laurence Norman: “Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. negotiator on the Iran deal said “the logic is that if the United States leaves” the Iran deal, it would undermine Washington’s credibility. “However the president may, because of the way he operates, believe that somehow, tearing it up, will say that he won’t negotiate what he calls a ‘bad deal.’ That would be a disaster because he would then have two nuclear crises on his hands at the same time,” she said. Another senior western diplomat said the Kim talks are likely bad news for the Iran agreement “There’s a risk that he says this was a bad agreement and we’ll show you how to do business,” the person said James Carafano, vice president of the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, who worked on the Trump transition team, said “Kim is going to learn that if he thinks he is going to cut a deal, it’s going to have to be way more ironclad than the JCPOA,” he said.” [WSJ]

“Trump told Netanyahu U.S. will pull out of Iran deal if big changes not made” by Barak Ravid: “President Trump told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in their meeting at the White House last Monday that he won't show flexibility in the negotiations with France, Germany and the U.K. on amending the Iran nuclear deal The officials say Trump told Netanyahu that until now the three European powers only proposed "cosmetic changes" that he doesn't find satisfactory Trump stressed that if his demands are not met, the U.S. will withdraw from the deal.” [Axios] Netanyahu told Trump he's concerned about U.S.-Saudi nuclear deal [Axios]

HEARD YESTERDAY -- CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Face the Nation: “My critique of the Obama administration's JCPOA commitment was that they left the Iranians with a breakout capacity And North Korea's human capital and enrichment capacity continues to remain in place. Those are all things that present risk to the world and President Trump is determined to prevent that from happening in North Korea.”

Pompeo on Iranian threat in Syria: “In fact. the JCPOA and the negotiations prevented a United States response. The previous administration, Ben Rhodes and Obama's team, didn't want to upset the apple cart. This administration has taken a much stronger approach, a much more aggressive posture with respect to countering Iran We're working closely with the Israelis to develop a full intelligence picture of what's taking place there so that the president has options to counter that threat.” [CBSNews]

PALACE INTRIGUE -- "'Trump Is Red-Hot' -- A Fuming President Prepares to Go Full MAGA" by Gabriel Sherman: "Sources said that the first officials to go will be Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster... Trump met with John Bolton in the Oval Office. When he plans to visit Mar-a-Lago next weekend, Trump is expected to interview more candidates for both positions... [Gary] Cohn had been lobbying to replace Kelly as chief, two sources said, and quit when he didn’t get the job. “Trump laughed at Gary when he brought it up,” one outside adviser to the White House said." [VanityFair] Christopher Liddell Is Front-Runner to Become Trump’s Top Economic Adviser [NYTimes]

“Trump finally losing patience with VA Sec. Shulkin” by Jonathan Swan: “Trump has been telling associates he doesn't know what's happened at the VA, but he doesn't like what he's hearing and he may have to fire [David] Shulkin if the situation further deteriorates.” [Axios]

Bret Stephens writes... "In Praise of Globalists: I grew up in Mexico City and remember vividly the things that impressed me most as a child whenever I visited the United States... Since then, I have lived in Chicago, London, Brussels, Jerusalem, New York and Hamburg. I suppose this makes me a “globalist” in certain eyes, though I’ve never seen myself that way... Oh, and I’m Jewish. Which, some say, is what happens to globalism after it’s been circumcised." [NYTimes]

FIRST LOOK: "Reddit and the Quest to Detoxify the Internet: The trolls are winning. How do we fix life online without limiting free speech?" [NewYorker]

TALK OF OUR NATION -- “Putin condemned for saying Jews may have manipulated U.S. election” by Avi Selk: “Maybe they’re not even Russians,” Putin told Megyn Kelly, referring to who might have been behind the election interference. “Maybe they’re Ukrainian, Tatars, Jews — just with Russian citizenship.” The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Trump has previously been reluctant to criticize Putin “President Putin bizarrely has resorted to the blame game by pointing the finger at Jews and other minorities in his country,” Anti-Defamation League chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement The American Jewish Committee also compared Putin’s comments to the “Elders of Zion.”” [WashPost] 'Why Is Trump Silent?' U.S. Lawmakers Ask After Putin Says 'Jews' May Be Behind Election Meddling [Haaretz]

"Is Vladimir Putin an anti-Semite or philo-Semite? Depends on His Agenda" by Anshel Pfeffer: "While Putin often goes to unusual lengths to show his friendship to the Jews – including donating a month’s salary to the main Jewish community center in Moscow, and periodically visiting it – the use of anti-Semitism by those linked to the Kremlin has continued under his presidency..." [Haaretz]

LongRead: "The Women's March Has a Farrakhan Problem" by John-Paul Pagano: "Understanding the controversy requires the context of more than a century of relations between Jews and African Americans. The two minorities are linked by histories of extreme and prolonged oppression, but the differences in their experiences are more meaningful than the similarities. The seminal one is that of origin: Jews found asylum and assimilation in the United States, a path denied to African Americans..."

"For many in the African American community, Farrakhan’s specific theological or historical claims are of secondary importance. The Nation rebuilds and uplifts the neighborhoods it dwells in, and this has won it deep respect and gratitude—especially during the horror and anomie of the crack epidemic. Consequently, there is little Farrakhan might say that could threaten his standing among many of his admirers—his pronouncements may be crazy and hateful, but the Nation can really clean up a street corner."

"In reality, just like everyone else, people on the contemporary left pick and choose when to be practical and when to be idealistic. That there appears to be no desire on the part of Women’s March to confront Jew-hatred specifically and substantively, even as most religious hate crimes target Jews and anti-Semitism stats rise, is something that should trouble anyone of genuine antiracist sentiment. That the group refuses to be accountable for a high-level alliance with an open anti-Semite disqualifies it from ranking among today’s movements for social justice." [TheAtlantic]

"Why Tamika Mallory Won’t Condemn Farrakhan" by Adam Serwer: "From the perspective of her critics, Mallory’s refusal to denounce Farrakhan or the Nation appears as a condemnable silence in the face of bigotry. For her supporters, Mallory’s refusal to condemn the Nation shows an admirable loyalty towards people who guided her through an unfathomable loss. But watching Farrakhan bask in the media attention, as yet another generation of black leadership faces public immolation on his behalf, it is impossible to see him as worthy of her loyalty." [TheAtlantic]

"Pol who warned of bigoted rhetoric justifies ties with Louis Farrakhan, lashes out at Jewish group" by Elizabeth Llorente: "A defiant Rep. Andre Carson told FOX 59 that the Jewish coalition “doesn’t have any credibility with [him]” and that it’s all part of their political agenda. “The Congressional Black Caucus is asking that organization to condemn (Israeli Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu and the (Israeli) government for discriminating against Africans who are migrating, who are fleeing dictatorships, who are fleeing oppression,” he added." [FoxNews]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Keshet Media Turns 25: Israel-Based Juggernaut Shows No Signs of Slowing Down [Variety] Discovery CEO David Zaslav finds new home for Manhattan headquarters [NYPost] Facebook Releases, Then Quickly Pulls, an App by Israeli Startup Onavo [Calcalist] Atomwise, which uses AI to improve drug discovery, raises $45M Series A [TechCrunch] Boeing says Israel may opt for Chinooks over Sikorsky choppers [Reuters]

TRANSITION: “Lloyd Blankfein Prepares to Exit Goldman Sachs as Soon as Year’s End” by Liz Hoffman and Joann S. Lublin: “Goldman is likely to follow an announcement of Mr. Blankfein’s departure with a quick transfer of power and isn’t looking beyond Goldman’s two co-presidents, Harvey Schwartz and David Solomon, to replace him Mr. Blankfein has often joked he will die at his desk, and his enthusiasm for the job has led many within the firm to believe he might outlast another set of would-be successors At a Goldman board meeting in February, Mr. Blankfein briefed the bank’s fellow directors on what he considers the strengths and weaknesses of his two likely successors, but he hasn’t shared his preference” [WSJ]

PROFILE: "The Man Who’s Helped Elon Musk, Tom Brady, and Ari Emanuel Get Dressed" by Sheila Marikar: "Andrew Weitz’s clients are men who sit behind desks. They include Michael Lombardo, the former HBO executive; Bruce Rosenblum, the head of Disney and ABC’s business operations; Howard Gordon, Homeland’s executive producer (“It’s still half embarrassing to me,” he says)—and plenty of men who aren’t eager for the world to know that they need another man to help them get dressed. Weitz, who is forty-four, comes from their world. He spent eleven years as an agent with William Morris Endeavor before leaving to start his company... Weitz travelled to Israel and had what he describes as an epiphany at the Western Wall. “I told myself, ‘This is who you are, and these are the gifts you have.’ ” The following February, he quit the agency." [NewYorker]

“Fastest woman in Israel is religious US-born mother of five” by Amy Spiro: “Beatie Deutsch, a religious immigrant from the United States who lives in Jerusalem, clocked a time of 3:09:50 on Friday – making her the fastest Israeli woman, the fifth-fastest woman and the 25th quickest runner overall to finish the race Deutsch is a mother of five young kids with a full-time job at a nonprofit, but she always found time to train. Last month, she ran the Tel Aviv half-marathon and finished with an impressive 1:30:21. Last year, she raised eyebrows when she finished the full Tel Aviv Marathon while seven months pregnant.” [JPost]

"Aviva Drescher would return to the ‘Real Housewives’" by Christine Burroni: "Aviva Drescher wouldn’t say “no” if she was ever asked back to “The Real Housewives of New York.” “If they needed somebody and I worked in the mix, I would go back,” she recently told Page Six... However, the mom of four, who appeared on the franchise’s fifth and sixth seasons, says her lifestyle is a bit different from the ladies who are currently on the Bravo show." [PageSix]

"Michelle Fields Is Shopping a TV Show Based on Her Dinner Parties" by Amanda Whiting: "Since 2012, [Jamie] Weinstein has hosted a series of dinners between reporters and Washington insiders at his million-dollar corner-unit at the Ritz... According to sources close to the couple, Fields and Weinstein were approached by a talent agent last fall and are shopping the dinners as a television series... In total, Weinstein says he’s hosted about 30 dinners, including serving Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Podesta, and Peter Thiel. ... The dinners won’t be off-the-record anymore, but it’s easy to see how the promise of a home audience will lure “bigger and better guests” to the dinner table." [Washingtonian]

BIRTHDAYS: Chief Washington correspondent for CNN and anchor of the Sunday morning program "State of the Union," Jacob Paul "Jake" Tapper turns 49... Sportscaster for ESPN since 1993, host of SportsCenter best known for his work broadcasting NHL hockey, Steve Levy turns 53... Attorney, real estate developer and former President of AIPAC, Robert A. Cohen... Born in Venezuela, raised in Israel, now residing in Lakewood, NJ, Rabbi Yitzchak Abadi turns 85... Sam Cohen turns 85... Photographer, author of 15 children's books and musician, married to Alan Alda since 1957, Arlene Weiss Alda turns 85... Carol Margolis turns 73... Director, producer and screenwriter of movies and television including "The Fast and the Furious" film franchise, Rob Cohen turns 69... Born in Bombay, British sculptor who in 2017 won the $1 million Genesis Prize for "commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and the State of Israel," Sir Anish Kapoor turns 64... Member of the Knesset for the Likud party, he is from the Israeli Druze community and serves as Israel's Minister of Communications, Ayoob Kara turns 63... Lynne Blumenthal turns 60...

Chief Marketing Officer at Consensus Systems, better known as ConsenSys, a blockchain software technology company, Amanda Gutterman... Founder of, and designer for, a NYC-based eponymous clothing line that uses CEOs and other successful women as its fashion models ("role models not runway models"), Carrie Hammer... Principal of the Ryan Advocacy group, part of the Dallas-based global tax services firm, previously campaign manager for Rick Perry’s presidential campaign and an advisor for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Jeff Miller... Democratic communications director for the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Brian T. Weiss turns 42 (h/t Playbook)... Congressional reporter Aaron Magid turns 29... Israeli figure skater who won the 2016 World Junior championship, he competed for Israel at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Daniel Samohin turns 20...



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