Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: April 23, 2018

Mnuchin to lead delegation for Jerusalem Embassy opening | Inside Koch's funding of Stephen Walt | Madoff's surprise contribution

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FILE PHOTO: Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon, at a shopping mall in Bangalore, India, September 28, 2014.
FILE PHOTO: Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon, at a shopping mall in Bangalore, India, September 28, 2014. Credit: Abhishek Chinnappa/Reuters
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BEZOS CREDITS MADOFF -- "Inside Jeff Bezos’s DC Life" by Ben Wofford: "Ted Leonsis would go on to become a sounding board for Bezos, who later relayed one of the reasons he’d left Wall Street: “He said, ‘I had a competitor who was kicking my ass,’ ” Leonsis remembers. The prodigious rival: Bernie Madoff. “So,” Bezos cracked to Leonsis, “no Bernie Madoff, no Amazon.”

"Leonsis wasn’t the only large persona from Washington who met with Bezos early on. Around 1995, David Rubenstein, cofounder of the Carlyle Group, one of the country’s largest private-equity firms, read about Amazon in the newspaper and booked a flight to Seattle. When he arrived, Rubenstein was struck by the rundown headquarters, where doors were repurposed as work desks—and more startled by Bezos himself, who greeted his guests just as he was preparing to drive a boxful of orders to the local FedEx. Still, a Carlyle-owned firm acquired Amazon stock worth about $4 million. Before he left, Rubenstein told Bezos, “By my calculations, you’ll be worth $300 million at the IPO.” Bezos said he doubted he’d ever be that rich. The firm eventually sold its shares for about $65 million—a stake that Rubenstein says would be worth about $2.5 billion today. “We were happy to get the cash. And obviously,” he recalls, “had we held on for 20 years, we’d probably be happier.” [Washingtonian]

DRIVING THE WEEK -- "As Macron arrives to meet Trump, fate of Iran nuclear deal is front and center" by Karen DeYoung: "French President Emmanuel Macron arrives here Monday, on the first official state visit Trump has hosted for any leader, with a clear agenda. Iran is at the top of a to-do list... After his midday Monday arrival, Macron and his wife will travel by helicopter with the Trumps to Mount Vernon for dinner... On Tuesday morning, Trump and Macron will hold a one-on-one meeting, followed by expanded talks with their delegations... Macron will attend a State Department lunch hosted by [Mike] Pence and a state dinner at the White House on Tuesday. He addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday morning..." [WashPostMacron Takes a Risk in Courting Trump, but Has Little to Show for It [NYTimes

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Macron cautioned Trump on Iran, urging him to stick with the Iran nuclear deal. “I’m not satisfied with the situation with Iran but don’t leave the deal without a better option,” said Macron. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is expected to meet with Trump on Friday, defended the nuclear deal in an interview with an Israeli TV channel, saying an imperfect deal is better than no deal and that her country will “watch very closely” to ensure it is being fulfilled.  

"The Scramble to Salvage the Iran Nuclear Deal" by Robin Wright: "[Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad] Zarif said any compromise that adds new conditions or interpretations was a non-starter. “We don’t condone it, and we don’t believe it’s useful or fruitful or conducive to a better implementation of the [deal], and they know that to be our position,” Zarif said. “The only scenario that we can deal with is for the Europeans to talk to the Trump Administration to start, once and for all, complying with the deal.” ... I asked Zarif if there was a prospect, if the deal dies, that Iran would negotiate again with the United States. “Diplomacy never dies,” he told me." [NewYorker

Iranian FM Zarif, PM Netanyahu trade barbs over Iran's actions in the region: "I do not believe that we are headed towards regional war," Zarif told CBS's Face the Nation... He did, however, qualify his statement by saying that "Israel has continued its violations with international law, hoping to be able to do it with impunity because of US support and trying to find smokescreens to hide behind." ... In a ceremony at the General Staff in honor of Israel's 70th Independence Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu countered Zarif's remarks. "This is the foreign minister of a country that sends armed UAVs (drones) against Israel and missiles at Saudi Arabia," the premier said at the event... "I am not impressed by words." [Ynet; Reuters

RISE AND...? "Palestinian Engineer, Gunned Down in Malaysia, Published Drone Research" by Rory Jones: "Palestinian electrical engineer Fadi al-Batsh was on his way to a mosque outside Malaysia’s capital for dawn prayers when he was shot dead by a helmeted attacker on a motorcycle. Hamas, the Palestinian militant and political organization that governs the Gaza Strip, blamed Israel for Mr. Batsh’s death on Saturday, calling it an assassination. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Mr. Batsh was a member of the group, with “an honorable reputation in science.” An Israeli government spokesman declined to comment." [WSJ

JERUSALEM EMBASSY -- ”Mnuchin to lead U.S. delegation to Jerusalem embassy opening” by Barak Ravid: “Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is expected to lead the United States' delegation to the inauguration ceremony of the new American embassy in Jerusalem on May 14th. Another interesting member of the U.S. delegation will be Jared Kushner While Israeli officials believe that Ivanka Trump will also be there, Axios' Jonathan Swan says that her attendance is not yet guaranteed. According to the Israeli officials, around 250 guests will travel from the U.S. to the embassy's inauguration. They will include around 40 senators and members of the House of Representatives. Other members of the delegation will include Jason Greenblatt, the U.S. special envoy for the peace process.” [Axios]  

-- "Others on the invite list are all former U.S. Ambassadors to Israel. The Foreign Affairs Ministry plans to host all of the American officials at a special, festive reception held in its Jerusalem offices.  As for the opening ceremony itself, all of Israel's most senior officials have been invited to attend." [Ynet

"Netanyahu Struggles to Get European Nations to Follow Trump and Relocate Embassies to Jerusalem" by Noa Landau: "Israel has been pressuring Romania and the Czech Republic over the past few months to... move their embassies to Jerusalem... But domestic pressures in those countries are preventing this step..." [Haaretz; JPost

"State Department strikes ‘Occupied Territories’ from human rights report" by Carol Morello: "The State Department’s annual human rights report released Friday... stops using the phrase “Occupied Territories” to describe Israel’s presence in Gaza and the West Bank... This year, the section is titled “Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza.” ... State Department officials said reports issued by other parts of the government no longer refer to the West Bank and Gaza as the Occupied Territories and that the human rights report is simply catching up to what is now standard practice in the administration." [WashPost

REPORT -- "Trump asked Netanyahu if he genuinely cares about peace" by Jonathan Swan: "In a phone call last year with Bibi Netanyahu... Trump asked Bibi bluntly if he actually cares about peace or not... He'd read news reports about Bibi planning to build additional settlements to please his conservative base in Israel. Trump thought Bibi was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians. So, in the course of a longer conversation that was mostly friendly and complimentary, he bluntly asked Bibi whether or not he genuinely wants peace..."

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders: "The President has great relationships with a number of foreign leaders but that doesn’t mean he can’t be aggressive when it comes to negotiating what’s best for America." [Axios]

DRIVING THE CONVO -- Natalie Portman explains boycott of Israeli award ceremony -- by Isabel Kershner and Megan Specia: “My decision not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been mischaracterized by others,” Ms. Portman said. “Let me speak for myself. I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu.” Ms. Portman, who is Jewish and was born in Israel, has starred in such hit movies as “Black Swan” and the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy." 

In her statement Friday, Ms. Portman said: “I am not part of the B.D.S. movement and do not endorse it. Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can be critical of the leadership in Israel without wanting to boycott the entire nation.” “Israel,” she said, “was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values..." [NYTimes] Read Portman's full statement here [JI]

“Israeli Minister Says Natalie Portman Bordering on Anti-Semitism as Actor Defends Awards Boycott” by Tom Porter: “Natalie Portman has played into the hands of the worst of our haters and of the worst of the anti-Semites in the Middle East,” Steinitz said in an interview on Sunday... Portman had made a serious mistake and owes Israel an apology, the energy minister said. “Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism. Boycotting Israel has elements of anti-Semitism.” [Newsweek

IPF’s Michael Koplow writes “Natalie Portman Speaks Loudly For Young American Jews With Snub Of Israel: Portman’s connections to Judaism and to Israel are as strong as any American Jew’s That she is willing to make such a high profile statement in very publicly refusing to lend her credibility to a Genesis Prize shindig in Israel should terrify the Israeli government and stand as the ultimate cautionary tale. It demonstrates in the strongest possible way why Israel is making a serious error in judgment by dismissing Diaspora Jewish concerns as if they will soon disperse in the wind.” [Forward

Mayim Bialik tweets on Friday: "How about this as we head into Shabbat: my family just booked our tickets to go to Israel this summer. I know; I was just there. Why again? Because... #Israel. Forever. Always. Shabbat Shalom, Israel." 

ISRAEL AT 70 -- Bret Stephens writes... "Jewish Power at 70 Years: Some Diaspora complaints, especially with respect to religion and refugees, are valid and should be heeded by Jerusalem. But to the extent that the Diaspora’s objections are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless... For Jews, it’s a painful, useful reminder that Israel is not their vanity. It’s their safeguard." [NYTimes

“Israeli minister vows to help Ethiopian Jews move to Israel” by Michael Atsbeha: “[Ayelet] Shaked, on what is reported to be her first official visit to Africa, said she came to find out more about the situation of Ethiopia’s estimated 8,000 remaining Jews. Members of the Ethiopian Jews who attended the meeting told her that they want to move to Israel, where many family members moved years ago “We know aliyah for Jews that are descendants in other countries happened so swiftly that sometimes even their dogs were also included as they moved to Israel. Are we less important than these dogs?” asked Meles Sidisto, the community head of Ethiopia’s Jews in Addis Ababa.” [AP

ON THE HILL -- "Senate Panel Poised to Vote Against Backing Pompeo Nomination" by Rebecca Ballhaus: "The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote on [Mike] Pompeo’s nomination on Monday evening. All of the panel’s Democrats have said they would oppose the former congressman’s nomination, and they have been joined by one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky." [WSJ

“Inside the Looming Bolton-Pompeo Showdown" by Abigail Tracy: "Pompeo’s entanglement with the Senate may give [John] Bolton an opening to take over interagency coordination on North Korea, if he can get the N.S.C. under control." [VanityFair

TURTLE BAY -- "Haley’s pushback draws fans, rattles White House" by Jonathan Lemire and Meg Kinnard: “I feel sorry for Nikki Haley,” said former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. “She has been very tough up there making points. She makes very clear that she’s representing the President. And all of a sudden she’s put into this ridiculous situation of looking as though she is out there by herself on something.” Trump has vented to confidants about the media attention the dustup has received, but he hasn’t given any signal that he wants to dismiss his ambassador... All the attention has restarted some wary West Wing whispers about Haley’s ultimate goals..." 

"And on Tuesday, her office mistakenly blasted an email containing a series of press clippings that mention Haley — a message meant for the ambassador herself — to a number of journalists. Among the headlines highlighted, one cited MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough and read, “Scarborough: Nikki Haley would beat Donald Trump if she ran in 2020 GOP primary.” [AP]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT "Michael Cohen, once at pinnacle of Trump’s world, now poses threat to it" by Michael Kranish, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman: "At one point, Cohen topped a list of five candidates for White House counsel... He suggested to some Trump allies that he might make a good chief of staff... Among those opposed, the associates said, were Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. For his part, Cohen had warned Trump against giving Ivanka Trump and Kushner White House jobs, saying the president would be hammered by complaints of nepotism... The rebuff wounded Cohen." 

"Cohen hardly seemed headed for life as a tough-talking “fixer” growing up in an upper-middle-class town on Long Island. He attended a yeshiva day school, and then elite Lawrence Woodmere Academy. His father, a physician, was a Polish-born Holocaust survivor; his mother was a nurse. Cohen described himself as an “agnostic Jew.” As a teenager in the 1980s, he dated Ukrainian emigre Laura Shusterman. Cohen often visited her home in Queens, and he also visited friends in Brooklyn, where Soviet refugees had settled in Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay." [WashPost]

Alan Dershowitz says Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is subject of 'epic battle' by prosecutors for his cooperation: "Alan Dershowitz said prosecutors are engaged in "an epic battle for the soul and cooperation of Michael Cohen." ... There is "a sword of Damocles hanging over his head," said Dershowitz, who appeared on a "This Week" panel of lawyers “After those raids, how serious is the threat to Cohen and Trump?” Stephanopoulos asked. “Oh, it’s a very serious threat,” Dershowitz said. “They have enormous abilities to really put pressure" on a witness.” [ABCNews

TRUMP VS. MAGGIE -- “Trump Criticizes Times Report About His Longtime Lawyer” by Emily Cochrane: “Mr. Trump, in a series of tweets on Saturday morning, accused The Times and one of the reporters who wrote the article, Maggie Haberman, of “going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will ‘flip.’” Mr. Trump accused The Times of using “non-existent ‘sources,’” though he did not assert that the article was false. He also said that “I don’t speak to” Ms. Haberman and “have nothing to do” with her. In fact, she has interviewed the president twice in the Oval Office and three times by telephone.” [NYTimes

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Brian Stelter on CNN's Reliable Sources: "You know, sometimes covering the President is difficult to determine what is actually a lie, but this one is crystal clear. Trump said, quote, 'I don't speak to her, and I have nothing to do with her.' And here they are in the Oval Office together. Haberman has interviewed Trump on the record more than a dozen times in 2015... I know she takes these attacks in stride, but I don't want to. Lying is disrespectful. It's not disrespectful to Haberman or the journalists, but to the public. We all know the President uses Twitter to deliver talking points to his base, it's very effective for him. But it's also disrespectful." [Video]

2020 WATCH -- "Why LA's Mexican-American-Jewish-Italian mayor is spending time in Iowa and South Carolina" by Maeve Reston and Gabe Ramirez: "In interviews with dozens of voters while traveling with [Eric] Garcetti across the early presidential contest states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa, his potential to become a major contender was apparent. Voters often said they liked how Garcetti used the story of his grandfather, the Mexican immigrant to the US who fought in World War II and opened his own barbershop, as a touchstone to explain his family's values and their American story... The joke about Garcetti's background at City Hall is that the mayor is "1/8 everything." He grew up eating menudo, a traditional Mexican soup, on weekends in his grandmother's kitchen. On the Jewish side, it was bagels on Saturday and hanging out with his cousins." [CNN

"Michael Bloomberg on a 2020 run: "At the moment I'm not running for president"" by Emily Tillett: "Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg... says that while running for president would be a "great challenge," he's not considering a run in the 2020 election "at the moment." "Well if God said I'd appoint you -- I think it's a great challenge and you'd have to think long and hard, and you know, you're physically able to do it..." Asked by CBS' "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan what his odds were for a potential run, Bloomberg responded: "Not very high." [CBSNews Why 2020 may be Michael Bloomberg's best shot at the presidency [CNN

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Gary Gensler was one of the top financial regulators in the Obama administration. Now, like many other big names from business and government, he is plunging into the world of the blockchain, the data-tracking technology introduced by Bitcoin. [NYTimes]  Los Angeles toy mogul Isaac Larian is abandoning efforts to buy the Canadian stores of Toys R Us and instead plans to sweeten his rejected bid for more than 200 U.S. outlets of the bankrupt retailer [LATimes]  Kushner Companies offers $250M for Park Ave. co-op [NYPost]

PROFILE -- "The Rise, Reign, and Fall of W.P.P.’s Martin Sorrell" by Ken Auletta: "A professional obituary for Sorrell, seventy-three, seems in order. Sorrell’s Jewish grandparents immigrated to London from Ukraine, Poland, and Romania. In the poorer East End of London, his grandparents and parents felt the lash of anti-Semitism, a reason that they changed the family name from Spitzberg to Sorrell. To help support his family, his father, Jack, dropped out of school, at thirteen, abandoning the scholarship offered by the Royal College of Music, and eventually went to work as a manager for the brothers Max and Francis Stone, Russian Jews who owned appliance stores. By the time Martin was born, in February, 1945, Jack was the managing director of their seven hundred and fifty stores, and the Sorrells enjoyed a measure of comfort." 

"The historian Simon Schama described Martin as “exuberantly tough” and “full of a kind of cuddly warmth” that is often camouflaged. They were “brotherly close,” he said, with sterling grades, when together they entered Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1963. On Fridays, Martin’s mother would wrap a roast chicken in silver foil and plastic and put it on the train to Cambridge. “I would pick it up,” Martin recalled. “The chicken was still warm.” Schama would make risotto to accompany the chicken. The chicken was kosher, as was all their food. “We were slightly left-wing Zionists” living a semi-bohemian life style, Schama said. Together, they edited and published a glossy magazine, Cambridge Opinion, appearing six times a year, each edition devoted to a single subject." [NewYorker]

“‘Troubled kid’ turned his life around, then changed how events are planned” by Thomas Heath: “You couldn’t make up a better tale about a wayward kid who makes good than Dan Berger’s story. Grows up in Israel. Moves to the United States at age 9 with his parents. Thrown into a strange school. Doesn’t speak the language. Doesn’t fit in. Plays on his computer until dawn, nearly flunking him out of the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. Sells drugs. Takes drugs. Berger eventually righted his life. He graduated from New York’s Hunter College with a bachelor’s in political science. He followed that up as a point man for former U.S. representative Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), and then received a master’s in business from Georgetown University. He now runs a D.C. technology/hospitality company he invented called Social Tables. It has 102 full-timers, a band of prestigious investors, and gross revenue that I would place between $15 million and $20 million” [WashPost] h/t Howard Mortman

MEDIA WATCH -- "Is Facebook’s Campbell Brown a Force to Be Reckoned With? Or Is She Fake News?" by Nellie Bowles: "Once those shows get started, Ms. Brown wants to use Facebook’s existing Watch product — a service introduced in 2017 as a premium product with more curation that has nonetheless been flooded with far-right conspiracy programming like “Palestinians Pay $400 million Pensions For Terrorist Families” — to be a breaking news destination. The result would be something akin to an online competitor to cable news. Ms. Brown is also pushing paywalls for publishers on the social network, another first for a company that has long avoided circulating any content that users would have to pay for." 

"At Facebook, Ms. Brown became part of an informal cadre on the company’s business side known as the FOSSes, or “Friends of Sheryl Sandberg.” But close association with a powerful figure within the company does not assure her of success. When it comes to decisions related to publishers, the power at Facebook has traditionally been more with the product staff, who tend to be aligned more with [Mark] Zuckerberg and cloistered from meetings with partners... While Ms. Brown has helped Facebook mount its charm offensives at industry events, her efforts to remake Facebook’s relationships with publishers has meant cutting back her visibility to the broader public." [NYTimes

-- "The New York Times dismisses news of Palestinian payments to terrorists as a ‘far-right conspiracy’" by Liel Leibovitz: "As those of us who are in the reality based community know, the Palestinian Authority’s financial support of terrorists and their families is very, very far from a conspiracy, far-right or otherwise... Read the real news, and you’ll learn that, in 2017, the PA doled out more than $347 million to families of terrorists who had murdered Jews, increasing the amount to $403 million this year... This information, of course, was available to Bowles and to anyone else with Internet access, and only she and her editors may know whether it was malice or sheer incompetence that stopped her from looking up a simple fact before presenting it as an ideologically tainted conspiracy theory... We need journalistic institutions like the Times precisely because we trust them to be more discerning, to sift through the stream of falsehoods for the few glittering nuggets of hard truth. Bowles and her editors did nothing of the sort." [Tablet

SCENE SATURDAY NIGHT -- Campbell Brown celebrated her 50th birthday party at a rooftop loft in Chelsea. "The evening began with live musical performances by Campbell's sons, Eli and Asher, and ended with a jam session by Jon Batiste. In between, there were toasts and video sketches by Anne Kornblut, Frank Bruni, Lester Holt, Amy Chiaro, Alexandra Pelosi and Dan Senor."

SPOTTED: Joel Klein, Nicole Seligman, John Podhoretz, John Heilemann and Diana Rhoten, Dina Powell and Dave McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Allison Williams, Matt Negrin, Lee Woodruff, Romy Drucker, Tal Keinan, Ricky Van Veen, Seth Siegel, Chris Licht, Marc Sternberg, Steven Rubenstein, John Avlon and Margaret Hoover, Andrew Morris-Singer, Corey Morris-Singer, Paul Singer, Terry Kassel, Bari Weiss, Boykin Curry, Bret Stephens, Bruce Feiler, Linda Rottenberg, Chris Altchek, Charlotte Morgan, Dafna Linzer and Bart Gellman, Dan and Margaret Loeb, Jacob Weisberg and Deborah Needleman, Jared Cohen, Jay and Elena Lefkowitz, Bill Kristol, Steve Rattner and Maureen White, Katie Couric and John Milner, Kevin Delaney, Ben Smith, Tali and Boaz Weinstein, Michael Barbaro and Jake Kastan. [Playbook]

A conversation between New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet and Politico editor-in-chief John Harris: "Bennet... has faced a succession of social media uproars over the past year as he revamps and modernizes the Times opinion section. Even as the page has retained its historically liberal bearings, and regularly lacerates President Donald Trump, it is now regarded with suspicion by some loud voices on the left. There was a backlash to Bennet’s hiring of conservative columnist Bret Stephens (who wrote skeptically about the evidence for manmade climate change), as well as to his abortive attempt to bring on tech writer Quinn Norton (the hiring was quickly reversed after Twitter posters exposed a friendship with a neo-Nazi)." [Politico]  

DEEP DIVE -- "Koch Dark Money Funds Anti-Israel Darlings: How Stephen Walt became the new foreign policy gatekeeper for the right" by Armin Rosen: "The idea that the Koch brothers... are teaming up with the author of The Israel Lobby to re-align American foreign policy might confuse observers who are used to seeing debates around interventionism or US support for Israel as a simple contest between the right and the left. Yet in 2018, isolationist sentiment and anti-Israel conspiracy theories have found homes on both ends of the ideological spectrum. As Charles Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia who has spoken at Charles Koch Institute-sponsored events and is known for his denunciations of Israeli influence in Washington, commented: “In general I’m pretty much appalled by what those guys do but in this case it seems in the foreign policy realm they’re a useful antidote to militarism in Washington.” [Tablet

TALK OF THE TOWN -- “ Under fire for Farrakhan donation, D.C. lawmaker Trayon White says he’s ‘not backing down’” by Fenit Nirappil and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel: “In a Facebook Live video, [White said he was done apologizing and stood by his donation to the Nation of Islam. “I am not resigning, I’m not backing down, I’m not discouraged, I’m not depressed, so run all the media stories you want because my people are going to support me,” White said" [WashPost]  

"‘Anti-Semitic’ firefighter assigned to Orthodox Jewish community" by Susan Edelman: "A former FDNY commissioner’s son who once tweeted “I like Jews about as much as hitler” will join a firehouse in the middle of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn... “For him to be assigned to Borough Park, where you have an incredible number of Holocaust survivors, is an insult to our community,” fumed Assemblyman Dov Hikind." [NYPost]

"Man Claims He Was Beaten in NYC Because He's Jewish" by Ida Siegal: "Menachem Moskowitz suffered a black eye and broken rib after he was beaten by a man on a sidealk near Rutland Road and Schenectady Avenue in Crown Heights as he was walking home from a prayer service. Moskowitz said he told the attacker hello, but the greeting apparently set the man off and the suspect began hitting Moskowitz. “He was punching me, tried to put me into a hold and tried to choke me,” Moskowitz said." [NBCNewYork]

CAMPUS BEAT -- Barnard President President Sian Leah Beilock published a letter to the Barnard community today: "I am forwarding a letter I have sent to the Student Government Association (SGA) representative council regarding the results of its recent referendum on whether the College should be asked to divest any holdings from certain companies doing business with Israel... While a majority of students who voted support the referendum, this is less than 30% of Barnard’s student body. Thousands of alumnae have also voiced their opposition to the referendum. For these reasons, Barnard will not take action in response to this referendum.” [Barnard]

No boycott fear, say organisers of 'Giro' in Israel: “Organisers of an initial Israeli phase of the next Giro d'Italia cycling contest said on Sunday that they do not fear the event will be boycotted. "We are happy to say that, for the moment, there is full participation by all the teams, and we anticipate no problems," Daniel Benaim, a Giro official, told a news conference in Tel Aviv "Thousands of the world's cyclists" were gathering for what is the "second most important" competition after the Tour de France, said Sylvan Adams, one of the event's organisers in Israel.” [YahooNews

Ivana Trump talks to Page Six about the Trump family -- by Dana Schuster: “Ivana also worries about her daughter Ivanka, who works as assistant to the president, losing her agency in the White House. In fact, she wishes Ivanka would give up any DC political aspirations and focus on her own companies, including her fashion lines. “I would prefer if she would [move back to] New York. Politics is a very dirty business,” she said. “In [fashion], she would be her own boss.” [PageSix

PIC OF THE DAY -- Karlie Kloss visiting Israel:

MAZEL TOV -- Over the weekend, Daniel Schwarz, Director of Strategic Communications for the House Judiciary Committee Democrats and Communications Director for Rep. Jerry Nadler, (D-NY) proposed to Jamie Geller, Senior Advisor and Communications Director for Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and alum of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “There was a trip to Israel that Rep. Engel was leading. Jerry asked Eliot for his staffer’s information and was able to get Jamie’s cell phone number. The rest is history.” Daniel is the son of Rabbi Sid Schwarz and Sandy Perlstein of Rockville, MD and Jamie is the daughter of Norm and Mary Geller of Chicago, IL. The couple celebrated with family and friends from near and far over the weekend. [Pic]

REMEMBERING -- "Avicii’s Ex-Girlfriend Emily Goldberg Reacts to His Death: ‘I Don’t Want It to Be Real’" by Karla Rodriguez: "Goldberg shared 10 personal photos of herself and the musician on Instagram along with a heartfelt message about him. “‘Come on babe, don’t give up on us. Choose me, and I’ll show you love.’ Those are lyrics from a song Tim wrote for me. I wish I could have lived up to them,” she captioned the post on Friday... Goldberg also shared what appeared to be a screenshot of a text exchange between herself and Avicii (real name Tim Bergling) expressing their love for each other." [USMagazine]

"The monks, the Dachau survivors and the concert that heralded freedom" by Rosie Whitehouse: "On the anniversary of the camp’s liberation, the forgotten story of escaped prisoners who set up a Jewish hospital in a Bavarian monastery has been championed by one Benedictine monk." [TheGuardian

DESSERT -- "Miznon Secures Pita Primacy at Chelsea Market" by Hannah Goldfield: "In 2016, Michael Solomonov, the Israeli-American chef and owner of Zahav, an acclaimed “modern Israeli” restaurant in Philadelphia, opened a stand in Chelsea Market called Dizengoff, specializing in hummus and pita... Two years later, both are still exceptionally good. But it’s lucky for Solomonov that Miznon—the first U.S. outpost of a small, beloved international chain started by the Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani, which opened a few months ago, also in Chelsea Market—doesn’t offer hummus, because when it comes to pita primacy Dizengoff has been knocked off the podium." [NewYorker

BIRTHDAYS: Literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, Holocaust scholar and educator, George Steiner turns 89... Stage, television and film actor Alan Oppenheimer turns 88... Marim Weissman turns 79... Oberlin, Ohio resident Patricia Ann Haumann turns 74... Terry Pullan turns 68... Retail industry analyst, he is the former president of JCPenney Credit Services and VP of credit at Macy's, Steve Kernkraut turns 68... Health services researcher focused on smoking cessation programs for women, maternal health and child health, Judith Katzburg, PhD, MPH, RN, turns 65... Deputy Director of NCSEJ, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, Lesley L. Weiss turns 64... Gary Pickholz turns 60... Uruguayan-born author, software developer and entrepreneur, co-founder of Gryphon Software, Gabriel Wilensky turns 54...

CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, he is the primary proponent world-wide of the Magnitsky Act, Bill Browder turns 54... DC-based Executive Director of the Orthodox Union's Advocacy Center, Nathan J. Diament turns 51... Russian Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics (1988), Yelena Shushunova turns 49... Businesswoman, daughter of Ronald Lauder, style and image director for the Estée Lauder Companies, Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer turns 48... Director General of Aish HaTorah, previously Eastern Director at the Wiesenthal Center, managing director of OU and international director of NCSY, Rabbi Steven Burg turns 46... SVP of government relations at the Council on Foundations, previously director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Hadar Susskind turns 45... Program officer at Maimonides Fund, she was previously the Israel Program Officer for the Helmsley Charitable Trust, Ariella Saperstein turns 35... Co-founder of Edgeline Films, he co-directed and co-produced Weiner, a documentary about Anthony Weiner's campaign for Mayor of NYC in 2013, Joshua Kriegman turns 38... Digital director at Republican Jewish Coalition, Neil Boylan Strauss turns 33... Former University of Michigan quarterback, now an investor, Alex Swieca turns 26... Editor of the technology section at Mic since 2015, Alexis Kleinman (h/ts Playbook)... Former CEO of the Jerusalem-based non-profit New Spirit, now CEO at Khan Theatre Elisheva Mazya... VP of marketing for Israel365 and the editorial director for Breaking Israel News, Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman...