Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: April 28, 2017

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U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by his daughter Ivanka Trump, sits in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, April 24, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by his daughter Ivanka Trump, sits in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, April 24, 2017.Credit: Susan Walsh/AP
JI Staff

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TOP TALKER: “State Department Wants to Clear Nikki Haley’s Remarks Before She Speaks” by Somini Sengupta and Gardiner Harris: “An email drafted by State Department diplomats urged Ms. Haley’s office to rely on “building blocks” written by the department to prepare her remarks. Her comments should be “re-cleared with Washington if they are substantively different from the building blocks, or if they are on a high-profile issue such as Syria, Iran, Israel-Palestine, or the D.P.R.K.,” added the email Ms. Haley has by no means replaced Mr. Tillerson as the administration’s preferred voice on foreign affairs, according to a top White House aide... Indeed, some in the White House see her as seeking a bit too much attention as the administration formulates its foreign policy, the official said.” [NYTimes

"All 100 senators sign letter asking for equal treatment of Israel at the U.N." by Anne Gearan:"The senators asked [UN Sec. General  António] Guterres, who assumed leadership of the U.N. in January, to seek such institutional changes as the removal of a standing agenda item for U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees sessions that has been used as a forum to denounce Israel... The letter praises [Amb. Nikki] Haley for that effort, which she has said is intended to show that the United States will not “put up with” the bashing of its close ally... “Since it is rare for all 100 Senators to agree on an issue, this letter sends a powerful bipartisan message to the UN that its anti-Israel bias must end,” said Marshall Wittmann, spokesman for AIPAC." [WashPost

"Israel Releases 'Trump File': The U.S. President's Little-known 1989 Visit to the Jewish State" by Ofer Aderet: "Trump, who was 43 at the time, arrived in Israel on July 29, 1989 on his private jet... The next morning Trump had breakfast with Beilin and Teddy Kollek, the mayor of Jerusalem. They then went on a tour of Jerusalem’s Old City, several museums and Bethlehem... After lunch Trump flew to the Dead Sea, accompanied by [Shimon] Peres, where the billionaire was presented with a development project... Trump started his second day with a dive at the coral reef reserve in Eilat. He then attended to business, visiting several potential sites for investment - including an airport - and examined opportunities for investing in Tel Aviv and Herzliya. After meeting with then-Prime Minister Shamir, Trump returned to the U.S. by the end of the day." [Haaretz]

“Trump complains Saudis not paying fair share for U.S. defense” by Stephen J. Adler, Jeff Mason and Steve Holland: “In an interview with Reuters, Trump confirmed his administration was in talks about possible visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel in the second half of May "Frankly, Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly, because we are losing a tremendous amount of money in defending Saudi Arabia,” he said “I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians,” he said. “There is no reason there's not peace between Israel and the Palestinians - none whatsoever.” Trump brushed aside a question of whether he might use a possible trip to Israel to declare U.S. recognition of the entire city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a reversal of longstanding U.S. foreign policy likely to draw international condemnation. "Ask me in a month on that," he said, without elaborating.” [Reuters

“Israel Believes Trump Will Not Seek to Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem for Now, Officials Say” by Barak Ravid: “Senior Israeli figures say that it is highly likely that Trump will renew the current presidential waiver, postponing a decision on the matter for at least another six months. The president is not likely to use the potential upcoming visit to change policy, the senior figures said. They added that Trump wants to try to jump-start the peace process with the Palestinians and a decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem could significantly compromise such an attempt.”

“The new American ambassador, David Friedman, is expected to arrive in Israel on May 15. A senior Israeli official said that in light of the possible presidential visit, the Americans have asked that the date of Friedman’s presentation of his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin be moved up so that he will have officially taken up his post in time for the American president’s arrival in Israel.” [Haaretz

ON THE HILL -- At an event announcing the establishment of the Congressional Israel Victory Caucus, Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL)  discussed his March visit to Jerusalem where he explored the logistics for transferring the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Florida lawmaker emphasized that Trump “promised that he was going to do it (move the Embassy to Jerusalem) and this is a guy that is very interested in keeping his promises. So, we are assuming that it’s going to happen.” [JewishInsider Full video of the event [Facebook

NEW IRAN DEAL: “US presses for Americans' release in direct talks with Iran” by Bradley Klapper: “U.S. diplomats used a meeting with their Iranian counterparts to press the release of Americans being detained in Iran, the Trump administration said Thursday. It is the first public acknowledgment of direct U.S.-Iranian discussions since President Donald Trump took office. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the talks occurred on the sidelines of a meeting in Vienna this week that focused on implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.” [USNews Bob Levinson's wife asks Trump to make a deal with Iran to free her husband [FoxNews

“The nuclear deal takes center stage as Iran’s election campaign gets underway” by Carol Morello and Erin Cunningham: “All six candidates on Friday will participate in the first of three debates, focusing on social issues. That exchange will be followed by debates on politics and the economy. The nuclear deal will probably be raised in all three, and that could hurt Rouhani, 68. “Rouhani is suffering in part from his own success,” said Cliff Kupchan, chairman of the Eurasia Group. “Expectations skyrocketed after the deal. But if you ask the average citizen the Ronald Reagan question — Is your life better than it was yesterday? — you’re going to get no. That’s his potential vulnerability.”” [WashPost]  Iran says potential deal for early jet delivery falls through [Reuters

SCENE LAST NIGHT -- Elliott Abrams and Jake Sullivan addressed a group of AIPAC's Minyan members in a panel moderated by Mike Sachs at the St. Regis in NYC [Pic]

NEXT THURSDAY -- Hear Jake Sullivan discuss America's role in Israel and the Middle East in a conversation with Jordan Hirsch, Visiting Fellow, The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University [EventDetails

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an interview with Fox News on reports Trump intervened to toughen language in Iran deal certification letter: “I understand the White House’s perspective was we cannot think about Iran in terms of the JCPOA alone, and I agree with that. And I think one of the flaws behind the entire JCPOA process is it seemed to have been carried out to the exclusion of all the other aspects of Iran’s behavior as a state sponsor of terrorism, their disruptive behavior throughout the region And I think there the concern was that issuing a 90-day statutory requirement indicating compliance on the JCPOA was going to signal that somehow everything was okay with Iran and us, and it is not okay between Iran and us.”

"‘I was all set to terminate’: Inside Trump’s sudden shift on NAFTA" by Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta and Karen DeYoung: "The president, meanwhile, was hearing a similar message from some of his own senior advisers. Ross, the commerce secretary, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, scrambled to persuade Trump to back down... In the Oval Office interview, however, Trump repeatedly insisted that he was ready to pull out of NAFTA. At one point, he turned to Kushner, who was standing near his desk, and asked, “Was I ready to terminate NAFTA?” “Yeah,” Kushner said, before explaining the case he made to the president: “I said, ‘Look, there’s plusses and minuses to doing it,’ and either way he would have ended up in a good place.”" [WashPost]

KAFE KNESSET -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein was “personally hurt” by an initiative of an MK. No, it wasn’t Oren Hazan implying that Edelstein is a drug addict (because that’s how the KGB framed Edelstein the refusenik in the 1980s) again. It’s because MK Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint (Arab) List decided to book a conference room in the Knesset to hold an event marking “50 years of the occupation.” According to a report in Yediot Aharonot today, Edelstein took the unusual move of blocking the conference, which he said was “insulting” to most Israelis and to him, personally... The strangest thing about this story is that in February, four MKs from the Zionist Union and Joint (Arab) List co-hosted a conference on the exact same topic without any trouble – it must have flown under Edelstein’s radar. Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

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SPOTLIGHT: " hit with privacy suit over alleged sale of user data" by Steven Musil: "Consumers aren't quite ready to forgive for its alleged practice of selling users' email data. The inbox cleanup service was sued Wednesday in Northern California District Court for failing to adequately disclose how it allegedly harvests valuable data from its users' accounts. The lawsuit (PDF) accuses and its parent company, Slice, of violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Stored Communications Act. "It was heartbreaking to see that some of our users were upset to learn about how we monetize our free service," CEO Jojo Hedaya said on the blog." [CNet]

"Sergey Brin's Secret Zeppelin" by Adrienne Lafrance: "Being a billionaire means sometimes having a secret side-project big enough to necessitate an actual NASA hangar. That appears to be the case for the Google co-founder Sergey Brin, anyway. Brin is building a huge airship inside of Hangar 2 at the NASA Ames Research Center, according to a report from Bloomberg, but it’s unclear whether the covert project is a business effort, a very impressive hobby, or something else." [TheAtlantic]

STARTUP NATION: "Israel FinMin says to ease path for institutions to invest in tech" by Steven Scheer: "Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said on Thursday he would work to reduce regulations that prevent Israeli institutions investing in technology companies. Hampered by regulatory constraints, as well as being harmed by the bursting of a tech bubble in 2000, Israeli pension funds and insurance companies have stayed away from high-tech, while billions of dollars have been generated from high-profile takeovers or flotations. With the public missing out and leaving most funding coming from abroad, Kahlon is under pressure from the tech sector to make it easier for institutions to invest." [Reuters]

PROFILE: "Within Israel’s cauldron of conflict, George Deek wants to redefine the future" by Danielle Berrin: "After graduating from law school, Deek began applying for jobs and for months received nothing but rejection letters. “I got replies like, ‘Thank you, but we’re not recruiting,’ ” he recalls... He performed a little experiment by sending out resumes with a “Jewish Ashkenazi name” and eliminated the note of his proficiency in Arabic. He says he heard back from about half of the law firms... The day after I first met Deek for an interview, at a Coffee Bean in Los Angeles, we coincidentally wound up on the same flight to Israel... When I next saw him, sitting a few rows behind me on the connecting flight from New York to Tel Aviv, he was reading “The Book of Aron” by Jim Shepard, a World War II story about a Jewish boy whose Polish family is driven by the Germans into the Warsaw Ghetto. “What can I say?” he says, a little embarrassed. “I’m an Ashkenazi Arab.”" [JewishJournal

"The Inside Story of How Ivanka Trump Met Her Women’s Empowerment Guru Dina Powell" by Valentina Zarya: "Powell, then head of Goldman Sachs's Impact Investing team and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, was in her office one day when she was told: "Ivanka Trump's on the phone." "She was doing a tremendous amount of research," Powell told the audience... "She is a numbers person. She had seen 10,000 Women... and some of the other programs and she said, you know, 'I want to understand how that program works. How do you measure success?' She was really thinking about, you know, how she could lend her voice." Despite the surprising start, the relationship between the two women quickly took off." [Fortune]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Some New England Jews, Wary Of U.S. Politics, Reclaim German Citizenship” by Shannon Dooling: “A small group of Jewish-American citizens from around New England reclaimed their own dual German citizenship at an understated ceremony Wednesday at the German consulate office in Boston. One of those in attendance was 59-year-old Larry Klein, of Newton, whose parents were German refugees from Nazi Germany Ralf Horlemann, the consul general of Germany in Boston, says in the first quarter of 2016, 13 people of Jewish origin reclaimed their German citizenship through the Boston consulate. That number nearly quadrupled — to 49 — in the first quarter of 2017.” [VPR

“A Face Off Between Anne Frank and Donald Trump” by Debra Nussbaum Cohen: “[Steven Goldstein] is just abusing the name. Every time I read that he says something under her banner, I feel uncomfortable,” said Abe Foxman, who was, like Anne Frank, a hidden child. He survived and went on to lead the Anti-Defamation League for 28 years. Today, Foxman, retired from the ADL, runs a center for the study of anti-Semitism in New York. “You want to engage in politics? Do so in your own name,” said Foxman, adding, “Don’t ride a Holocaust victim for your purposes.” Goldstein has “a different agenda. It wasn’t [Anne’s]. She innocently loved everybody.” [Haaretz]

SPORTS BLINK: "The one speech I wrote for Obama that I didn’t believe in: Praising the Penguins" by Stephen Krupin: "As a political speechwriter, I’m asked one question more than any other: Do you ever have to draft words with which you disagree? I’ve been fortunate. I’ve believed in every leader I wrote for in the White House, State Department and Senate, and never was asked to promote a policy that contradicted my conscience or violated my values. With one exception: Last October, I helped President Obama honor the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. And I hate the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m a lifelong Capitals fan." [WashPost]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS -- FRIDAY: Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Elena Kagan turns 57... Austrian-born, Canadian chemist, businessman, philanthropist and collector of fine art, Alfred Bader turns 93... White House Chief of Staff for Presidents Reagan and Bush 41, Secretary of the Treasury (1985-1988) and Secretary of State (1989-1992), James Baker turns 87... Businesswoman, philanthropist, art collector and co-founder of Mirage Resorts and Wynn Resorts with her former husband, Steve Wynn, Elaine Wynn turns 75... Retired four-star United States Marine Corps general, Robert Magnus turns 70... American-born Israeli writer, translator, editor of The Tower Magazine and a senior member of The Israel Project, David Hazony turns 48... Associate judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, Karen Chaya Friedman... Andrew Zucker, son of CNN’s Jeff Zucker and host of WHRB’s show “Zucker,” turns 19 (h/t Playbook)... Actress and film critic, Catherine Reitman turns 36... Israeli artist and photographer Neta Cones turns 29... Digital Content Manager at Tribe Media Corp Jeffrey Hensiek... Extra special birthday shoutout to Ahron Fragin... 

SATURDAY: Inmate #61727-054 at the Butner Federal Correctional Institute in North Carolina, Bernard Madoff turns 79... Nobel Prize-winning economist, professor at MIT, known for his analysis of Social Security policy, nominated in 2010 to the Federal Reserve by President Obama but never confirmed by the Senate, Peter Diamond turns 77... Comedian, actor, writer, producer and director, best known for playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the 180 episodes of the sitcom "Seinfeld," Jerry Seinfeld turns 63... London-born highly acclaimed actor, knighted at Buckingham Palace in 2014, Sir Daniel Day-Lewis turns 60... Sportscaster, best known as the radio and television play-by-play announcer for MLB's New York Mets, Gary Cohen turns 59... New York City Comptroller since 2014, previously Borough President of Manhattan (2006-2013), Scott M. Stringer turns 57... Co-chairman of 20th Century Fox since 2014, previously a senior executive at DreamWorks and Universal Pictures, Stacey Snider turns 56... Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight and author of many books including "Predictably Irrational," Dan Ariely turns 50... NYC-based award-winning artist who works with sound, kinetics, optics, magnetism and other materials to make sculptures and photographs, Julianne Swartz turns 50... Israeli-born, NYC resident, stand-up comedian, actor and sometimes chazzan, Modi Rosenfeld turns 47... Russian-born Israeli model and actress, has appeared in many American movies, TV shows and advertisements, Bar Paly turns 35... Real estate developer in the Mid-Atlantic region, Samuel Neuberger... Political Director at AIPAC, Rob Bassin... Marcy Smith...

SUNDAY: Social critic, political activist, author of over 20 books, philosopher, co-founder of the DC-based the progressive Institute for Policy Studies and professor of public policy at GWU, Marcus Raskin turns 83... Rabbi, scholar, associate professor at Yeshiva University, adjunct professor at Columbia University Law School, Saul J. Berman turns 78... US Ambassador to Portugal (2010-2013), distinguished professor at UMKC, former City Commissioner of Tallahassee, Allan J. Katz turns 70... Former model, now a psychologist, author of several children's books and self-help books and a philanthropist, president of the Saban Family Foundation, Cheryl Saban... Tunisian-born, Israeli Supreme Court justice since 2014, previously Attorney General of Israel (2004-2010), Menachem "Meni" Mazuz turns 62... Commissioner at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2010, previously a US Supreme Court law clerk and then a professor at Georgetown Law Center, Chai Feldblum turns 58... Professor of sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and president of Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Eva Illouz turns 56... Democratic member of the New York City Council and chair of the New York City Council Jewish Caucus, Mark D. Levine turns 48... Guitarist and DC-based senior program officer for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, David Rittberg turns 37... One of the highest earning fashion models in Israel, she has appeared in the movies as Wonder Woman and starred in the Fast and the Furious film series, Gal Gadot turns 32... Growth strategy editor at The New York Times, previously an assistant press secretary at the White House / Office of Management and Budget, Ari Isaacman Bevacqua turns 32... Manager of Digital Strategy at the Podesta Group, Daniel Wolman turns 27... Press secretary for Senator Mark R. Warner, previously deputy press secretary for Senator Barbara Boxer, Rachel Cohen... Founder of Lubin Strategies, former director of the Obama White House Office of Digital Strategy, Nathaniel (Nate) Lubin (h/ts Playbook)... Jenna Luks... Idan Megidish... Noam Aricha... 

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