Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: June 11, 2018

Deep dive on the new Trump -- Bibi era | Report: Kushner was concerned with Embassy move | Shai Babad on meeting Warren Buffett

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White House adviser Jared Kushner speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 18, 2018.
White House adviser Jared Kushner speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 18, 2018. Credit: Susan Walsh/AP
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QUOTE OF THE DAY -- Stu Loeser on 2020 candidates fundraising in NYC: “The road to the White House runs down 57th Street.”

-- More from the piece by Shane Goldmacher: "Ronald Perelman, the billionaire donor, organized a fund-raiser for [Sen. Kamala] Harris’s PAC at the offices of his company, MacAndrews & Forbes, last December. Earlier in the year, Mr. Perelman, who contributes to both Republicans and Democrats, had another ambitious Californian, [Eric] Garcetti, for a cocktail hour among donors at his estate in the Hamptons. Mr. Garcetti, who is known to hand out his personal cellphone number to contributors and encourage them to stay in touch, was last in New York in March." [NYTimes]

"Inside Obama’s secret meetings with 2020 contenders" by Edward-Isaac Dovere: "Barack Obama has in recent months met with at least nine prospective 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Deval Patrick, pulling them in for one-on-one sessions at his Washington office." [Politico]

FIRST LOOK // MUST READ: "Donald Trump’s New World Order: How the President, Israel, and the Gulf states plan to fight Iran—and leave the Palestinians and the Obama years behind" by Adam Entous: "One of the biggest differences between the Obama and Trump Administrations on Middle East policy was their approach to, and understanding of, the Palestinian question. Kushner told aides that he thought Obama “tried to beat up on Israel and give the Palestinians everything.” This was a common view on the right. Trump’s advisers, by contrast, wanted the Palestinians to think that their stock value was declining—a strategy advocated by Netanyahu and Dermer... One senior Trump Administration official used the price of stock as an analogy: “Like in life—Oh, I wish I bought Google twenty years ago. Now I can’t. I have to pay this amount of money. It’s not that I’m being punished. I just missed the opportunity.”

"Remarkably, M.B.S. met with Jewish-American organizations in New York in March and criticized Abbas for rejecting offers of peace. “In the last several decades,” he said, “the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given. It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.”

"Netanyahu’s assumption is that Abbas, who has been counting for decades on a full-fledged final settlement and a state, will reject Kushner’s meliorist blueprint. That would put the onus on M.B.Z., M.B.S., and other Arab leaders to decide whether to follow Abbas’s lead or chart a different course. Netanyahu hopes that Gulf Arab leaders will not disapprove of the new American offer, and opt instead to deepen coöperation against Iran and other enemies. Toward the end of the Obama Administration, one of Abbas’s top aides told a U.S. official that “our worst nightmare” would be for Netanyahu to find a way to divide the Gulf states from the Palestinians. “Bibi’s greatest dream and Abbas’s worst nightmare could be coming true,” the former U.S. official told me." Worth reading the full piece [NewYorker]

-- Kushner and Dermer don't agree on everything: "The tensions and the general chaos in the White House sometimes affected the relationship between the Israelis and the Trump Administration. On February 13, 2017, the day that Michael Flynn was forced out as national-security adviser, Ron Dermer went to the White House to try to arrange for Trump to sign secret documents, as other Presidents had done, which the Israelis saw as an American commitment not to ask them to give up their undeclared nuclear arsenal. He asked to meet privately with Flynn. Aides told Dermer that he could not dictate whom he wanted to meet with. (It turned out that Flynn had urgent business to attend to: writing his resignation letter.) Later, White House officials commiserated over what they saw as Dermer’s heavy-handed tactics. “This is our f*ckin’ house,” one of them said. The feeling in the White House, a former adviser there told me, was “There is a lot of good will, but don’t take advantage of us.”

"At one point, in front of witnesses, Kushner swore at Dermer in his West Wing office, saying he wasn’t going to do his bidding just because of his Jewish background. “You’re not going to tell us how to run these things,” he told Dermer. “Don’t try to push us around. Don’t try to jam us.” When I asked Dermer about the incident, he didn’t remember Kushner using that language, and said, “I have a very good relationship with Jared, but we don’t always agree on everything.” [NewYorker]

The Art of the Foreign-Policy Deal: An Insider’s Guide to Trump’s Tactics -- by Michael Bender, Dion Nissenbaum and Michael Gordon: “Last year, Mr. Trump faced a deadline that collided with a campaign promise, his vow to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem... Six months later, Mr. Trump met again with the team... he was intent on keeping his campaign promise, even though most of his advisers, including Mr. Kushner, continued to raise concerns about the decision... Mr. Trump asked Mr. Kushner to assess what impact the embassy move would have on his diplomatic efforts... Mr. Kushner “told the president it would add uncertainty to the peace process and create short-term disruption” but “thought it would be net beneficial over the long-term.” Others in the room, including Rex Tillerson, then-secretary of state, urged the president to delay the move... Mr. Trump cut off discussion. “I hear you guys,” he told them, “but I want to do it anyway.” Mr. Tillerson told the president: “You’re making a huge mistake.” [WSJ]

DRIVING THE WEEK -- Trump to Find Out If Bet on Kim Will Pay Off in Historic Summit -- by Margaret Talev, Toluse Olorunnipa, Jennifer Jacobs and Kanga Kong: "The president said June 9 that he expected to know “within the first minute” if Kim [Jong Un] was serious about giving up his weapons. The two leaders will open their history-making summit on Tuesday in Singapore with a handshake and a walk in view of the media..."

"Wendy Sherman, the Obama administration’s undersecretary of state who led the negotiating team for the Iran deal Trump since rejected, said the “litmus test” for any deal Trump can strike with Kim is whether it includes a full accounting of the North Korea nuclear arsenal and ballistic missile program. “If there isn’t a very robust verification monitoring regime, then none of this will be worthwhile,” said Sherman, who was North Korea policy coordinator during the Clinton administration." [Bloomberg]

Escalating Clash With Canada, Trump Is Isolated Before North Korea Meeting -- by Peter Baker: "President Trump escalated a bitter clash with some of America’s closest allies on Sunday, lashing out through his advisers at Canada’s prime minister in unusually personal terms... The exchange left Mr. Trump estranged from America’s partners at the very moment he is about to stride onto the most important world stage he has assumed since taking office. Aides attributed his outburst over the weekend to his feeling undercut as he prepared to meet with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, while critics said he had stiff-armed his friends at the expense of a unified front." [NYTimes]

-- "The unraveling of the Canada summit meeting increases the North Korean leader’s incentive to “up his asks and limit his compromises and for Trump to do the opposite,” Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said on Twitter, adding, “Hardly the ideal context.” [NYT]

Nixed Iran nuclear deal looms over Trump’s North Korea talks -- by Nahal Toosi: "Democrats say Trump’s actions on Iran could undermine him as he seeks a deal with North Korea... Trump aides argue, however, that by scrapping the Iran deal, the president has demonstrated his seriousness about securing a better bargain with Kim... As they watch the Iran deal teeter, some Obama administration officials who helped craft it say they nonetheless hope Trump’s diplomatic overture to Kim succeeds. Some of them note that a treaty would be difficult to secure, but said it probably would be fine if Congress passes special legislation reviewing any agreement with Kim, just as it did for the Iran deal." [Politico]

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Summit in Jerusalem: "We know that in two days, President Trump will meet Kim Jung-Un. I think the entire world, as we do, prays for the success of this effort. Now, Imagine that President Trump would come back with some deal, and Britain, France and Germany would applaud it and South Korea and Japan would say that it endangers their existence. You’d think you’d listen to this, right? So, the same thing happened with the Iran deal. This deal was applauded by many in the international community who are not in the missile range of Iran, but Israel and Saudi Arabia and others said this deal will ultimately give Iran a nuclear arsenal." [Video]

Ron Ben-Yishai writes... "What Israel would like to achieve from Trump-Kim meeting: North Korea’s main clients at the moment are Iran and Syria, and some say Egypt is also holding secret talks with Pyongyang on nuclear knowledge and ballistic missiles. If, as a result of the Singapore summit, the North Korean leader vows to prevent the distribution of the non-conventional knowledge and weapons, it will be a great success as far as Israel is concerned." [Ynet]

Former Israeli Air Force General Amos Yadlin and INSS's Ari Heistein write... "The Four Scenarios Facing Israel as the U.S. Withdraws From the Iran Deal: Rigorously enforced U.S. sanctions during a period of economic instability in Iran, along with the credible threat of a military strike, may bring Tehran back to the negotiating table to make a “better deal.” ... If Washington succeeds in striking an agreement according to the demands it has outlined, it would be a major success by all of Israel’s national-security parameters... With or without an agreement, the U.S. and Israel will need to prepare to take on Iran on both fronts without losing sight of Israel’s primary objectives... and changing the hostile orientation of the regime toward the West, the Arabs, and Israel." [TheAtlantic]

Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro tweets: "Trump promised crippling sanctions on Iran. To be effective, we will need the cooperation of allies. When that effort fails, we will look back at these outlandish tariffs and Trump's boorishness at the G-7 in Quebec as a strategic blunder of the highest order."

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH -- Trump's Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt writes... "The Palestinians Deserve So Much More Than Saeb Erekat: While I understand that Dr. Erekat is angry about President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel... his claims were in many respects simply inaccurate... For far too long, the United States has turned a deaf ear to such words, but ignoring hateful and false words has not brought peace and it will never bring peace... The time for leadership and responsibility is now... The notion that Israel is going away – or that Jerusalem is not its capital – is a mirage. The notion that the United States is not the critical interlocutor for the peace process is a mirage." [Haaretz]

-- Erekat responds: "If this is Greenblatt’s vision of a "realistic approach," then he cannot blame Palestinians for considering the current U.S. administration as an extension of Netanyahu’s right-wing extremist government, merely propping up settler-colonialism in support of a one-state apartheid reality... In dozens of meetings we had with Mr. Greenblatt he refused to discuss substance: no borders, no settlements, and no two-state solution. Today, his role is nothing less than peddling Israeli policies to a skeptical international community, and then becomes upset when he's reminded of this." [Haaretz]

HOW IT PLAYED -- Trump envoy, Palestinian mediator trade barbs in media: “Jason Greenblatt was responding... to an earlier op-ed by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accusing American officials of acting as “spokespeople” for Israel The exchange comes shortly before the Trump administration is expected to unveil its Middle East peace plan." [AP]

David Friedman skips AJC conference to return to DC for talks on Trump's peace plan -- by Judy Maltz: "David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, had been scheduled to address the [AJC Global Summit on Sunday], but a representative of the AJC notified participants that he was unable to attend because he had been summoned to Washington D.C. “on important business related to the administration’s forthcoming peace plan.”" [Haaretz]

AJC POLL OF JEWS -- Trump's approval on handling the U.S.-Israel relationship: 77 percent of Israeli Jews compared to only 34 percent of American Jews approve Trump's handling of U.S.-Israel relations, while 57%, of U.S. Jews disapprove. On the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there, 85% of Israeli Jews, compared with 46% of U.S. Jews, support the decision, while 7% of Israelis and 47% of U.S. Jews oppose it.

On 2018: If Elections for Congress were held today, 20% would vote for the Republican candidate, 67% for the Democrat, and 3% for another party. See the full survey here [AJC]

'I must be doing something right': Billionaire George Soros faces renewed attacks with defiance -- by Michael Kranish: "For all the billions of dollars at his disposal, Soros is also being forced to reckon with limits on his political influence in the United States. He acknowledged that he did not see Trump’s election coming. “Apparently, I was living in my own bubble,” he said... In the final days of the White House race, Trump spoke in his closing television ad about sending a tough message to “global special interests” who wanted to control Washington... Soros, who describes himself as an agnostic Jew, said he considered the ad “a coded anti-Semitic message.” ... Soros said he spent months studying what went wrong in the election. He said he concluded that while Clinton would have made a “very good president,” she was not a good campaigner."

"Soros... refused to pick favorites among the emerging crop of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. But there is one prospective candidate he said he hopes does not get the nod: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. He blames Gillibrand for pushing the resignation of former senator Al Franken “whom I admire,” Soros said, “in order to improve her chances.” [WashPost]

Romney predicts Trump’s re-election -- by Steve Peoples: "Mitt Romney is now predicting that Trump will “easily” win his party’s presidential nomination in 2020 and “solidly” win a second term... He delivered the remarks on the first day of the three-day, closed-door summit in Utah’s mountains... Dignitaries on the guest list included House Speaker Paul Ryan, billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg... former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz... A handful of Trump loyalists were in attendance as well, including... Anthony Scaramucci and Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman." [AP]

INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE -- Meet the guys who tape Trump's papers back together -- by Annie Karni: "Solomon Lartey spent the first five months of the Trump administration working in the Old Executive Office Building, standing over a desk with scraps of paper spread out in front of him... Armed with rolls of clear Scotch tape, Lartey and his colleagues would sift through large piles of shredded paper and put them back together... Lartey said the papers he received included... letters from constituents or lawmakers on the Hill, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I had a letter from Schumer — he tore it up,” he said." [Politico]

BUZZ ON BALFOUR -- Ministers approve cutting Netanyahu’s taxes: ‘If we don’t he may quit’ -- by Raoul Wootliff: "Cabinet ministers on Sunday approved a bill that would exempt the prime minister from paying taxes on certain assets... According to [MK Miki] Zohar, it is “completely unacceptable” that the prime minister earns such a “pitiful and pathetic salary." Zohar added: “If we don’t take care of the prime minister’s salary, I worry, along with many citizens, that he may leave his position.” The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on whether Netanyahu was considering leaving public service in order to pursue a more lucrative career." [ToI]

** Good Monday 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: Kim Jong-un has arrived at the Marina Bay Sands — it’s a hotel owned by Sheldon Adelson [Video] Chelsea's Roman Abramovich rejects purchase offer from UK's richest man - reports [ESPN] Israel's Shai Babad on Bank of Israel Policy, Meeting Warren Buffett [Bloomberg] Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark Gives $20 Million to CUNY Journalism School [NYT]

“Um, Charlie Rose?”: One of the #MeToo Disappeared Resurfaces -- by Joe Pompeo: "In addition to hitting the Sun Valley circuit every summer, Rose has been hosting his own gathering of über-elites in the billionaire idyll of Aspen—a September event billed as “Weekend with Charlie Rose” and put together by Ari Emanuel of W.M.E., Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and others. People with knowledge of the plans told me it will carry on this year but without Rose as its host, and will be renamed “The Weekend.” W.M.E. didn't have a comment." [VanityFair]

PODCAST PLAYBACK -- David Brooks on the Conversations with Tyler podcast hosted by Mercatus Center -- Tyler Cowen: You’ve described yourself at times as religiously bisexual. What do you mean when you say that? Brooks: "I need my own bathrooms. [laughter] I grew up in a Jewish household. And when you grow up in a Jewish household and Jewish family, kept Kosher all those years, you read the Passover Seder, and you feel deeply how stories enter you and the story of Judaism. And I feel so Jewish. A lot of my friends are Jewish. My jokes are Jewish. My style is Jewish. And so you feel that you’re just deeply and irrevocably embedded in that story.

"At the same time, I went to the school that probably had the biggest influence on me was called Grace Church School, which if anybody goes to the Strand Bookstore in New York, it’s just really next door. A beautiful church on Broadway. I was in the choir, and so I sat in chapel every day. Then I went to an Episcopal camp for 15 years, and then I read Reinhold Niebuhr, and then I fell in love with Saint Augustine, and somehow you find that story settling into you. And so I feel more Jewish and more attached to the Christian story than ever. Both. So that’s why I’m bisexual." [Audio]

Seymour Hersh in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review --Elon Green: In a footnote, you mentioned that George Soros asked to meet with you after one of your 9/11 stories in The New Yorker, and you initially declined. Why? Hersh: "Because it was a story about intercepts of the Saudis. I knew he would guess correctly that there was a lot of talk about oil, so I thought his purpose was not necessarily marginal. I had never met George and I didn’t wanna go. But he then went to Morton Abramowitz, who’s a friend of mine, who had been ambassador to Thailand among other things. And Mort called up and said he’s going to give me $50,000 [for Abramowitz]. Ten people are going to come to that dinner and [Soros] is gonna to pay $5,000 each to me if you come. So how could I say no? So I said yes and fuck if they didn’t have it; they’re all brokers." Green: Stock brokers? Hersh: "Oil brokers! George is a master, man. I avoid those guys like the plague." [CJR]

TALK OF OUR NATION -- In Poland, ‘a Narrow Window to Do Justice’ for Those Robbed by Nazis -- by Joanna Berendt: "Poland — the only country in Europe that has not passed legislation to compensate owners for properties seized under Nazi and Communist rule — has long wrestled with the difficult riddle of restitution... All previous efforts failed, however, with one of the biggest obstacles being concerns among lawmakers about how much the restitution legislation could cost... The official government estimate is that the legislation would cost about $4 billion., although other estimates are much higher." [NYTimes]

TONY AWARDS -- The Band's Visit earns 10 awards -- by Joanna Walters: "The Band’s Visit, an Israel-based musical adapted from a 2007 movie, was the major winner at this year’s Tony awards, winning 10 trophies at American theatre’s biggest night of the year. Ari’el Stachel, who won the Tony for best featured actor in a musical for his role in the show, said the musical was “a small story about Arabs and Israelis getting along, at a time when we need that more than ever."" [TheGuardian]

MEDIA WATCH -- David Frum, senior editor at The Atlantic, on CNN's Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter: "You know, to your very first question about news fatigue, if your child is feverishly ill, it can be very fatiguing to sit by her bedside and take care of her but it's what you do, because that's your duty and that's -- I think your responsibility and it's also a source of satisfaction to you. If your country is ill, you have the same responsibility. You know, there may be things that newsrooms can do differently or better to help people keep better track of the stories, but it's also your responsibility as a citizen... The job of the press is to tell you the truth as it is, whether it's good news or not." [Video]

SPORTS BLINK -- Justify wins the Belmont Stakes and becomes the 13th horse in history to complete the Triple Crown -- by Keith Griffith and Jennifer Smith: "Justify has won the Belmont Stakes and become the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, days after it was revealed billionaire international financier George Soros is a 15 per cent stakeholder in the winner." [DailyMail]

SPOTTED IN DC -- Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner celebrate with Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals -- by Maegan Vazquez: "Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were photographed with Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals players Saturday amid President Donald Trump's media battle with other professional athletes and sports leagues. Trump's daughter and son-in-law were snapped at the tony Washington, D.C., restaurant Cafe Milano in the Georgetown neighborhood, posing with members of the team." [CNN]

TRANSITION -- Avi Mayer, the Spokesman to the International Media for The Jewish Agency for Israel, has been appointed as Assistant Executive Director and Managing Director of Global Communications for the American Jewish Committee (AJC). [Facebook]

REMEMBERING -- USA TODAY foreign affairs reporter Oren Dorell killed in hit-and-run -- by Sean Rossman: "Oren Dorell, a former construction contractor who became a globe-trotting foreign affairs reporter for USA TODAY, died Friday evening in Washington, D.C. He was 53. Dorell was hit by a suspected impaired driver while riding his motorcycle... Born in Canada in 1964, Dorell lived in Bolivia and Philadelphia, but considered his home to be Haifa, Israel, where he lived from ages 5 to 12." [USAToday]

DESSERT -- The magic ingredient in Silicon Valley's favorite 'bleeding' veggie burger is under fire -- by Erin Brodwin: "Today's veggie burgers can be described with a handful of delicious-sounding adjectives, but "meaty" isn't one of them. At least it wasn't — until Silicon Valley startup Impossible Foods began creating a meat-free burger that tastes disturbingly close to the real thing. The meat-like flavor can largely be attributed to an ingredient called heme — the magic spark that even allows the Impossible Burger to "bleed" like a real burger does. But that magic spark may be poised to ignite a fire." [BusinessInsider] Flashback: The Impossible Burger has new bragging rights–it’s kosher [FastCompany]

"He Built Qatar's First-Ever Vegan Cafe — and They Came" by Lina Zeldovich: "Ghanim Al-Sulaiti, the 26-year-old owner of the Evergreen Organics cafe in Doha, Qatar, sits at a table about to bite into his burger. But that charred slab of protein isn’t made from meat. The burger, forged from vegetables, beans and grains, is 100 percent vegan. So is everything else served at Sulaiti’s café, the first ever vegan eatery in this Gulf Coast country." [Ozy]

BIRTHDAYS: Heir to the British supermarket chain Sainsbury's, minister in two British governments under prime ministers Major and Thatcher (1990-1994), Sir Timothy Alan Davan Sainsbury turns 86... Executive director of NYC-based government watchdog Citizens Union, she was elected as NYC's Public Advocate in 2001 and reelected in 2005, Elisabeth A. "Betsy" Gotbaum turns 80... Columbus, Ohio-based retail mogul, chairman of American Eagle Outfitters, Value City Department Stores, DSW and others, sponsor of ArtScroll's translation of the Babylonian Talmud, Jay Schottenstein turns 64... Hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen turns 62... Israeli politician who currently serves as a member of the Knesset for the Shas party, Yoav Ben-Tzur turns 60... VP of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Duke University, based at Duke's DC center, Michael J. Schoenfeld turns 56...

President of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami turns 56... Partner in the DC office of WilmerHale, he previously served as Under Secretary of the Treasury (2011-2015) and Deputy Director of the CIA (2015-2017), David S. Cohen turns 55... VP at the DC-based crisis management firm Quadrant Strategies, he was the White House Jewish liaison from 2013 to 2016, Matt Nosanchuk turns 53... National educational director for Olami Worldwide and founder of Shabbat[dot]com, Rabbi Benzion Zvi Klatzko turns 50... Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson turns 46... Budget director at the City Council of the District of Columbia, Jennifer Budoff turns 44 (h/t Playbook)... Israeli businesswoman and philanthropist, she participated in two seasons of the Israeli reality show Me'usharot, Nicole Raidman turns 32... Actor, performance artist and filmmaker, Shia LaBeouf turns 32... Israeli attorney and manager of the legal department at the Israel Women’s Network, Dana Naor Mande’el... Jennifer Rubin...



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