Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: June 7, 2018

Bolton takes back seat, but remains looming North Korea summit presence | Europe under pressure as Iran 'nears nuclear red line' | Netanyahu offered Syria four-way land exchange deal in 2009, former aide says

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Activists wearing masks in the likeness of Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron during a protest ahead of the Group of Seven Leaders' summit in Canada on June 7, 2018.
Activists wearing masks in the likeness of Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron during a protest ahead of the Group of Seven Leaders' summit in Canada on June 7, 2018. Credit: Bloomberg
JI Staff

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WORN OUT? -- "Chuck Todd touts mock 'cure' for Trump news fatigue" by Joe Concha: "NBC and MSNBC host Chuck Todd touted a mock cure for news fatigue on "Meet the Press Daily" on Wednesday by offering up a fake pharma commercial for a faux drug Oblivia that warns against taking if suffering from "POTUS." The sketch comes as Pew Research found in a poll released Tuesday that nearly 7 in 10 Americans "feel worn out by the amount of news there is these days." "The Trump presidency has just consumed the news cycle as well as all of the oxygen in the room," Todd said." [TheHill; Video]

WHERE'S JOHN? -- "Bolton takes back seat, but remains looming North Korea summit presence" by Matt Spetalnick and David Brunnstrom: "While the hawkish [John] Bolton – who has adopted a lower-key approach in recent days - is expected to be in Singapore for the talks on Tuesday, Pompeo has taken the lead as the administration assumes a softer tone towards Pyongyang ahead of the summit... Trump... has not frozen Bolton out on North Korea and he remains a key player... Bolton... has “taken the hint” to assume a lower profile and is mindful that his earlier clashes with Pyongyang could cause problems that should be avoided." [Reuters]

"National Security Adviser John Bolton has yet to convene a Cabinet-level meeting to discuss President Donald Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korea next week, a striking break from past practice that suggests the Trump White House is largely improvising its approach to the unprecedented nuclear talks." [Politico]

"With rival camps in his inner circle, Trump's ideas on North Korea have evolved" by Tracy Wilkinson: "Inside the Trump administration, a camp opposing Bolton had been gaining traction. Some advisors worried the president had set unattainable goals, and that he might agree to a deal in Singapore... that could be potentially dangerous to U.S. interests. Senior State Department officials feared Bolton was setting Trump up for failure." [LATimes]

TOP TALKER -- "Three European allies ask U.S. not to enforce secondary sanctions over Iran trade" by Karen DeYoung: "France, Britain and Germany warned the Trump administration in a letter released Wednesday that “as close allies,” they expect the United States not to enforce secondary sanctions against their companies doing business with Iran... The letter sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, comes as Trump prepares to meet with leaders of the three European governments... at the Group of Seven summit on Friday... Senior European officials have acknowledged that they are not optimistic about receiving such U.S. waivers." [WashPost]

"Foreign leaders who embraced Trump now feel burned" by Matthew Nussbaum: "Foreign leaders are learning that hand-holding, golf games, military parades and other efforts to personally woo President Donald Trump do not guarantee that Trump won’t burn them on key policy issues... Some world leaders are reaping the benefits of flattery. Saudi Arabia rolled out the red carpet for Trump during his spring 2017 visit and has seen unprecedented support from the U.S. The same largely goes for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What makes the difference, [a] former official said, is that those regimes take a transactional approach... And Trump was already largely in agreement with those countries before his election." [Politico]

"Europe under pressure as Iran 'nears nuclear red line'" by Clare Byrne and Eric Randolph: "French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Iran on Wednesday that its plan to increase its uranium enrichment capacity took it close to a "red line." ... "The Iranians must realize that if they violate the accord they will face new sanctions," he told Europe 1 radio. A spokesman for the German foreign ministry also described the plan as "not helpful at this time" saying it did not "contribute to the building of trust, in which Iran should also have an interest."" [YahooNews]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweets: "We’re watching reports that Iran plans to increase its enrichment capacity. We won’t allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran is aware of our resolve. It’s another example of Iran foolishly squandering its resources. It should surprise no one if protests in Iran continue."

BIBI ON THE BBC -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is not seeking to persuade European powers to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran because it is already "dead" adding "because of the force of the economic sanctions of the United States" that would be reinstated in the coming months. [BBC]

HEARD THIS MORNING -- Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu touting the American economy as leverage at the Policy Exchange think tank in London: “If you are a European company or an Asian company or any company and you have to choose whether to do business with Iran or forgo doing business with the United States, you have to choose an economy that is about 3% the size of the American economy or you forgo an economy with 21 trillion dollars GDP, that’s a no brainer... My impression is that everybody understands the economic realities.”

"I've done very well with U.S. presidents, those I agree with and those I disagreed with. The main disagreement with Obama was on Iran and I was quite forthright about it. There is no disagreement between President Trump and me on Iran, and I appreciate that very much." [ITV; Video]

-- "Netanyahu on Gaza Protesters: Israel Tried Non-lethal Methods, but Hamas Wants Them to Die" by Noa Landau: "We tried water cannon, we tried tear gas and none worked... Given our record, we probably will figure out something. The last thing we want is violence [or] confrontation." When an audience member pressed Netanyahu on this issue, the premier said: "We tried other ways, it doesn't work. Hamas wants them to die." [Haaretz]

Israeli official says European leaders agree Iran troops must be removed from Syria: "A senior diplomatic official on Wednesday told Israeli reporters the leaders of France, Britain, and Germany have reached a “general agreement” regarding the removal of Iranian forces from Syria... Netanyahu also spoke to journalists in London, telling them “my main goal was to bring international agreement that Iran would leave Syria."" [ToI]

REPORT -- Netanyahu Offered Syria Four-way Land Exchange Deal in 2009, Former Aide Says" by Jonathan Lis: "According to [Uzi] Arad, Netanyahu offered in talks mediated by the United States an international land swap that would have allowed most of the Jewish towns in the Heights to remain in place... The plan... would have had Jordan give Syria land along their shared border that would be equivalent in area to land Israel would retain in the Golan Heights. Saudi Arabia would give Jordan a 10-kilometer strip of land south of Aqaba and would get a similar area of land from Jordan along their shared border. Jordan endorsed the idea, but it was never presented to the Saudi government." [Haaretz]

"Schachter steps down as PM’s foreign policy advisor" by Herb Keinon: "Jonathan Schachter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign policy adviser, will be stepping down after serving nearly seven years in the Prime Minister Office... Schachter, who immigrated from Chicago, took over as Netanyahu’s top foreign policy adviser after Ron Dermer was appointed as ambassador to the US in 2013... No replacement has yet been named." [JPost]

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer at the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago: In the first two decades since Israel’s establishment, “we didn’t have any kind of strategic relationship with the United States. On the contrary, we had the moral support of some political leaders like Harry Truman, like Sen. [Robert] Wagner, Hubert Humphrey. It was different figures But we did have the support of Jewish communities in this country, and those were very difficult times for Israel You supported us with money, you supported us with money to buy arms to defend ourselves. In those two decades when no one else was here for Israel, and we were literally fighting for our lives, you were here for Israel, and your parents and grandparents were here, and the first thing I want to tell you is thank you; thank you for that. And now we are in a different place in the world, we are a rising power It’s a remarkable story, and you were there when this story didn’t exist and you helped make that story happen.”

Dermer on the Iran deal debate in 2015: “I don’t think people were on the other side of that issue -- no one here in this room wants any harm to come to Israel. I hundred percent believe that. I believe that when President Obama said that he thought that deal made America safer and made Israel safer, I think he was being sincere, and I will say it now even when he is not President of the United States. I just believed then and believe now that he was wrong. We saw this deal then - and we see this deal - as a threat to the survival on the State of Israel. Not the security of the State of Israel, but the survival the State of Israel, which was why it was so important to the Prime Minister to come and speak about an issue that touches on the survival of the State of Israel. Remember that 75 years ago Jewish people did not have a voice, and now we do, and one of the things about having a voice is to use it on critical, existential issues for your country, and we did."

-- Dermer tossed the first pitch at Chicago's Wrigley Field yesterday: After last month's pitch at Nationals Park, Dermer quipped "2 Balls, 0 Strikes, Who’s Next?" [Video]

SPOTTED IN JERUSALEM -- "Rudy Giuliani... found some time to visit Mahane Yehuda, an open-air marketplace in the center of Jerusalem. At a restaurant there, he was filmed on camera dancing to the Major Lazer song "Watch Out For This" with a few female patrons, and whipping a cloth napkin over his head." [Video; BusinessInsider]

-- Asawin Suebsaeng tweets: "Just had Giuliani on the phone for something completely unrelated, and asked him about the video; he laughed and said “yea that was great” lol."

MUELLER WATCH -- "Ivanka Trump Was In Contact With A Russian Who Offered A Trump-Putin Meeting" by Anthony Cormier, Jason Leopold and Emma Loop: "During the campaign, [Ivanka] connected her father’s personal lawyer with a Russian athlete who offered to introduce Donald Trump to Putin to facilitate a 100-story Trump tower in Moscow... There is no evidence that Ivanka Trump’s contact with the athlete — the former Olympic weightlifter Dmitry Klokov — was illegal or that it had anything to do with the election... But congressional investigators have reviewed emails and questioned witnesses about the interaction... and so has special counsel Robert Mueller’s team." [BuzzFeed]

"Israeli firm under FBI scrutiny in Trump probe allegedly targeted BDS activists" by Simona Weinglass, David Horovitz and Raphel Ahren: "Psy-Group, a mysterious Israeli company that is reportedly being investigated by the FBI in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe... was also involved in covert anti-BDS efforts, according to a lawsuit against the company... It briefly asserts that the Psy-Group operative who registered the outlawbds website went on to hire one “Amin Razvi (‘Razvi’), an individual residing in India,” to carry out work related to" [ToI]

THIS WEEK'S PRIMARY RESULTS -- "The year’s biggest day of primaries left Jewish incumbents (mostly) safe" by Ron Kampeas: "The Wednesday snapshot for Jewish voters: Jewish incumbents appear safe for the most part, and the fretting about a far-right incursion into Republican precincts is overstated — but not entirely put to rest... The one Jewish incumbent who could face difficulties is Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat in northern New Jersey’s 5th District, who unseated a seven-term Republican in 2016. Gottheimer, who was uncontested in the primary, is a freshman in a district that could well swing right again." [JTA]

"Sara Jacobs Hopeful Mail Ballots Will Put Her in 49th District Runoff" by Chris Jennewein: "Congressional candidate Sara Jacobs told supporters Wednesday morning that she remains hopeful of being in a runoff as “tens of thousands” of mail ballots remain to be counted in San Diego and Orange counties... The winner of the runoff in the 49th District will succeed Rep. Darrell Issa, who announced his retirement from Congress earlier this year." [TimesofSanDiego]

"Democrats Luz Rivas and Jesse Gabriel elected to Assembly from San Fernando Valley" by Kevin Modesti: "Gabriel, an attorney, outdistanced Justin Clark, a 19-year-old Cal State Northridge student, with 63.9 percent of the vote to 36.1 percent in the other runoff in the 45th District to complete the term of Matt Dababneh, who also stepped aside in late 2017." [DailyNews]

Big spending by George Soros, liberal groups fails to sway D.A. races in California: "California voters appeared to reject liberal challengers in three closely watched district attorney races... Incumbent district attorneys in Sacramento, San Diego and Alameda counties led by large margins... The elections... garnered national attention this year after a consortium of wealthy liberal donors, headlined by New York billionaire George Soros, pumped millions of dollars into the races." [LATimes]

"Menendez’s Grip on Senate Seat Loosens After Punishing New Jersey Primary" by Elise Young:"[Lisa] McCormick... was an underfunded political unknown yet managed to draw 38 percent of the vote Tuesday... The narrower-than-expected margin of Menendez’s win suggests that some Democratic voters aren’t happy with the senator." [Bloomberg]

** 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 **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: How WeWork became the most hyped startup in the world [Wired] Marcus, Casper, Oscar: Why Startups Are Obsessed With Human Names [Bloomberg] Bill Ackman can thank ADP, Chipotle for his comeback [NYPost] Sam Zell Uses Vulgarity While Saying He Promotes Women on Merit [Bloomberg] Israel’s Zebra raises $30m from billionaires Nacht, Kahn for x-ray reads [ToI] Israeli firm Gazit-Globe invests about $40M in Brooklyn shopping center [TheRealDeal] NBCUniversal’s Ron Meyer and wife list Malibu home for $125M amid split [NYPost] Joshua Steiner, head of industry verticals at Bloomberg, is leaving the company at the end of June [TBN]

STARTUP NATION: "The Hybrid and Gaza Sky Geeks are helping Arab-Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs overcome adversity" by Jonathan Shieber: "The billions of capital and transformational opportunity that building startups affords to economies has largely been denied entrepreneurs in Israel’s Arab community and in Palestine. However, two organizations in the country and in the violence-stricken Gaza strip are working to provide access. One is The Hybrid, an Israeli government-backed initiative out of Nazareth that is trying to bring the benefits of the tech economy to Israel’s Arab population. The other is Gaza Sky Geeks, an Alphabet-backed initiative based in Gaza..." [TechCrunch]

SPOTLIGHT: "In Brilliant New Play, Bernard-Henri Lévy Takes On the Follies of Brexit" by David Patrikarakos: "One of the world’s greatest philosophers lies soaking wet. The famous open necked white shirt—as ever unbuttoned almost to the waist—is plastered to his chest. Bernard-Henri Lévy is splayed out in a freestanding white bathtub on a stage surrounded by just under 1,000 people who have just gasped in shock. The perennially elegant Lévy has—for the briefest of moments—stepped out of character. Last Exit Before Brexit is many things: a play, a monologue, a piece of performance art, but above all it is a cri de coeur from a deeply European man to a recalcitrant Britain. And it is a powerful one. For Lévy, Brexit—the UK’s decision, taken in a referendum last year, to exit the European Union—was a colossal mistake, one that will damage not just Britain but the EU itself." [TabletMag]

"The surprising history of “God Bless America,” the patriotic hymn Trump might have forgotten" by Julie Zauzmer: "The song was written by an immigrant. Irving Berlin arrived in New York at age 5 as Israel Baline, the son of a cantor fleeing persecution of the Jews of Russia. During World War I, Berlin wrote “God Bless America.” The title was a phrase his immigrant mother fervently repeated during Berlin’s childhood, his daughter later said. Berlin decided to cut the song from the revue he wrote it for initially. It did not debut on the radio for another 20 years. When it did, the backlash began almost immediately. A Jewish immigrant, critics said, should not get to celebrate this country as his." [WashPost]

SPORTS BLINK -- "NBA commissioner encourages players to keep “speaking out for their values”" by Haley Britzky: "NBA Commissioner Adam Silver voiced support for players to continue "speaking out on issues that are important to them," before Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Earlier this week the leaders from each team, Steph Curry and LeBron James respectively, explained that they would not attend the traditional White House celebration to honor the championship team if invited." [Axios] Dan Gilbert appears to tweet and delete shot at NBA referees with box score [YahooSports]

"Argentina match cancellation leaves Israeli fans frustrated" by Ania Bessonov and Ruty Korotaev: "Thousands of Israeli soccer fans were left disappointed after the Argentinian national soccer team announced on Tuesday that they are canceling their scheduled exhibition match against Israel... “We knew the Palestinian opposition to hosting the game in Jerusalem would happen,” said 21-year-old IDF soldier, Liron Artuz. “But we didn’t think it would actually affect them enough to cancel because so much money was put into it. People are actually really surprised and very disappointed... People love the Argentinian national team and Messi is one of the biggest names – not just as an athlete, but one of the biggest names in Israel... Every kid in Israel goes to school with a Messi backpack.”" [JPost]

View from Argentina: "In the streets of Argentina’s capital some people... focused their ire on the management of the national soccer team. “Not that we needed it but it again showed how the management of Argentine football is a huge mafia,” said Lorena Quiroga, a 40-year-old small business owner. “All they care about is money, not the players.” There was also concern the matter would upset the psyche of players ahead of the World Cup... “This will really bring down the team’s enthusiasm at a time when they should be focused on the game,” said Gustavo Taboada, a 25-year-old electrician." [NYT]

TALK OF THE TOWN -- "Councilman wants to host gender-segregated beach days" by Rich Calder and Nolan Hicks: "A Brooklyn lawmaker is renting a government-owned beach to host two gender-segregated swim days this summer for his Jewish and Muslim constituents. But since the beach would normally be closed those two days, City Councilman Chaim Deutsch says he’s hopeful of avoiding a fight over the separation of church and state at tax-funded facilities. “I have a lot of Orthodox Jewish and Muslim constituents in my district who have never been able to go to the beach before,” the Brooklyn Democrat told The Post." [NYPost; DailyNews]

TRANSITION -- American Jewish University names Dr. Jeffrey Herbst as President: In a statement released Jun 6, AJU said that Herbst’s appointment was unanimous. The decision came 10 months after Robert Wexler stepped down from the position last September. [JewishJournal]

DESSERT: "Israelis Play Tourists in a Bedouin Town in the Negev" by Isabel Kershner: "For $28, the six-hour Ramadan Nights trip promised a guided bus tour of “the secrets” of Rahat, as well as traditional debka dancing and sweets-making workshops, shopping in the no-frills market and home hospitality for iftar... Amit Larom, 41, deals in American real estate and came from a village between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with his wife, Hadas, and their 5-year-old son. He said he had taken the tour “to experience a bit of Ramadan.”" [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Prominent Chicago-based businessman, reported to own large stakes in General Dynamics, Maytag, Hilton Hotels, the New York Yankees and the Chicago Bulls, among many other companies, Lester Crown turns 93... Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence turns 59... Developer of the cardiac defibrillator and other cardiovascular innovations, he also won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in nuclear disarmament, Bernard Lown MD turns 97... Former five-term Democratic Congressman from California (1983-1993), he now serves as President of the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners, Mel Levine turns 75... Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group, previously Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (2011-2015) and lead negotiator of the Iran nuclear agreement, Wendy Ruth Sherman turns 69... Senior Advisor in the Office of Inspector General at the US State Department, he earned a Ph.D. in political science in 1981 from Yale, Hillel N. Weinberg turns 66... Director of voice, creativity and culture at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Isaac Luria (born Isaac Goldstein) turns 35... Managing editor of The New Yorker, Emily S. Greenhouse turns 32... Actress and model, Emily Ratajkowski turns 27... Andrea Gonzales...



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