Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: August 13, 2018

Where Kissinger and Kushner first met | Stephen Miller's uncle calls nephew a 'hypocrite' | Barry Diller and the 'sitzfleisch' advice

Counter-protesters during the Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington, D.C., August 12, 2018.
Bloomberg

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TOP TALKER: A Couple Dozen Neo-Nazis Got The Red Carpet Treatment From DC Law Enforcement — by Jessica Schulberg, Travis Waldron, and Doha Madani: "When the small band of neo-Nazis approached a park in front of the White House, there were several hundred counterprotesters awaiting them. In some ways, the scene was a victory for anti-racist organizers. Unlike last year, when racists overwhelmed the city of Charlottesville, white supremacist organizer Jason Kessler could scarcely pull together enough racists this year to fill a train car."[HuffPost

-- "Kessler had tried to book former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and neo-Nazi Patrick Little as speakers, but they didn’t come." [DailyBeast

Anti-hate protesters far outnumber white supremacists as groups rally near White House — by Joe Heim, Reis Thebault, Peter Jamison and Marissa Lang: "At the Vienna Metro station, VJ Hyde, a 38-year-old music teacher from Fairfax County, pulled a new stack of posters and a roll of tape from his Whole Foods shopping bag and doled them out to his wife and two daughters... to post the “Hate Free Zone” and “Hate Has No Home Here” fliers. “We’re here because this is a very messed up time in our country and our community is front and center,” Hyde said. He and his family are Jewish and their friends are Asian American." [WashPost

Ron Halber, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, tell us... "The big lesson of [yesterday] was that hate didn't win. I think people should take comfort in that. The white supremacists failed miserably. They were dwarfed by the counter-protesters. But even more important were the over 200 congregations, representing over a dozen states, that signed a declaration of unity. The protesters came here to inspire hate and they only became the stimulus to love, unity and for equality. This is a wonderful day of rejecting hate in America, and it makes it even more significant because that rejection took place in our nation's capital." 

"But this cannot be the end," Halber continued. "I would hope that the bringing together of people might translate into a lowering of the rhetoric in U.S. political discourse on both sides. Our elected officials, in general, have to do a better job in setting a tone of bipartisanship and compromise, and not hurling political bombs at each other. There must be constant vigilance in all sectors of society — and I don't mean just the White House. I mean Governors and members of Congress, clergy, community leaders, business and labor leaders — to reject polarization. We need to bring back civil discourse that used to be a hallmark of American politics. We used to able to disagree without being disagreeable. Today, we disagree and are disagreeable. And there clearly has to be immediate and unequivocal condemnation of racism, bigotry against any group by both sides of the aisle whenever it rears its ugly head." 

Rabbi Aaron Alexander of Adas Israel, who spoke at the United to Love rally on the National Mall yesterday, emails us... “I sounded the shofar — just feet from the Capital Building — for a large and diverse crowd of faith leaders and followers, those who united to share how the power of expansive love brings joy and light in God’s world. That potency of sight and sound reaffirmed for me the narrative of this great country that is one of its core value—we are in this together—all of us. It is because of our diversity that we generate opportunities for human thriving, not despite them...”

ADL's Jonathan Greenblatt writes... "Five lessons of Charlottesville one year later: White supremacist hate groups are not going away any time soon. The reports of their demise are premature. We see signs of this all around us. There are nine white supremacists running for elected office this year and we’ve seen a big increase in their use of fliers to deliver their messages on college campuses... Confronting this resurgence of hate will require our best community building and coalition efforts." [USAToday]

Ivanka Trump tweeted on Saturday night: "While Americans are blessed to live in a nation that protects liberty, freedom of speech and diversity of opinion, there is no place for white supremacy, racism and neo-nazism in our great country. Rather than tearing each other down with hatred, racism and violence, we can lift one another up, strengthen our communities and strive to help every American achieve his or her full potential!"

LongRead — How Bill Browder Became Russia’s Most Wanted Man — by Joshua Yaffa: "Browder, who is fifty-four, with a dusting of silver hair and rimless eyeglasses, has a forceful yet understated authority and a talent for telling a coolly suspenseful tale. In 2015, he published a memoir, “Red Notice,” which sold three hundred and fifty thousand copies in the U.S. and was described by a reviewer in the Times as “riveting” and “marred only by Browder’s perhaps justifiable but nevertheless grating sense of self-importance.” He is a persuasive speaker, and careful in selecting the details of the story he presents. (He declined to talk to me for a profile.)"[NewYorker]

-- Hacked Emails Take Us Inside the Billionaires’ Club Around Vladimir Putin [DailyBeast]

Kushner’s Ties to Russia-Linked Group Began With Kissinger Lunch — by Caleb Melby, David Kocieniewski and Gerry Smith: "In March 2016... Jared Kushner was invited to lunch for a think tank urging detente with Russia and struggling for influence in Washington... The main attraction of the March 14th event was Henry Kissinger, the [Center for the National Interest's] honorary chairman, who gave a talk that included analyzing U.S.-Russia relations for a small group of attendees. Kushner, who remained quiet and unobtrusive during the lunch, introduced himself to Kissinger afterward. He also met Dimitri Simes, the Russian-born president of the center and publisher of its magazine, The National Interest." 

"[Kushner] and Simes organized Trump’s "America First" speech at the Mayflower Hotel the next month, with writing input and a guest list from the center. It was at the Mayflower that Kushner first met Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak... Kushner had been involved in a previous foreign policy speech, one Trump gave to The American Israel Public Affairs Committee. But as a religious Jew, he had long been interested in Israel. The Mayflower event illustrated to other members of the campaign his broader interest in foreign policy."

"Kushner’s invitation to the March lunch came from a Time Warner executive. Richard Plepler, CEO of television network HBO, and his boss, then-Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes, sit on the board of the center. Attendees that day included Jeffrey Zucker, president of CNN." [Bloomberg]

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH: Trump Administration Seeks to Withhold Millions in Aid to Palestinians — by Colum Lynch: "The White House is seeking to withhold up to $200 million in relief aid for Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the West Bank... The amount represents nearly all of the humanitarian aid the United States provides directly to the Palestinians... U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top Middle East advisor, decided on the cuts in a high-level meeting earlier this week. Congress had already appropriated $230 million in economic support funds for private relief groups in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. But the officials decided they would ask lawmakers to withhold most of the funds."

"Pompeo initially opposed the sweeping cuts, arguing that it would be better to redirect U.S. funding to other international relief efforts. But Kushner pushed back, maintaining that ending the assistance outright could strengthen his negotiating hand when he introduces his long-awaited Middle East peace plan." [ForeignPolicy]

Dave Harden, former director of USAID's West Bank and Gaza mission under the Obama administration, writes... "Kushner is right to demand a fundamental re-ordering of UNRWA. The UN agency serves as a welfare and humanitarian relief provider which after 70 years subsidizes despair and continued conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis... Disrupting the UNRWA’s organizational model is essential if the Middle East wants to see a different future."[ToI]

VIEW OF JERUSALEM: Israel asked the U.S. not to cut funding for UNRWA in Gaza — by Ariel Kahana: "Israel has asked the U.S. not to cut UNRWA's budget in Gaza in order to avoid exacerbating the humanitarian situation in Gaza and to reduce the chances of violence. Sources involved in the matter said that Israel's position was presented to representatives of the Trump Administration several months ago, and is still valid today." [IsraelHayom

REPORT: Egypt losing hope to partner with Trump for Middle East "deal of the century" — by Jacob Wirtschafter: "Egyptian zeal to partner with Mr. Trump’s special envoys... has dimmed in recent months with a lack of concrete progress..." [WashTimes]

ON THE GROUND — With One Eye on Syria, Israel Reluctantly Seeks Gaza Truce — by David Wainer: "To keep his military focused on the northern front, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pursuing a long-term truce with Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip. Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the negotiations, carried out through intermediaries, serve both Israel and Hamas."[Bloomberg]

HAPPENING TODAY — President Trump will sign the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 into law in Fort Drum, NY. The bill includes the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, which authorizes the 10-year MOU with Israel, and allocates additional funding for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation. 

Iran's top leader bans any negotiations with Washington: “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's remarks were carried by Iran's state television Monday. He says "along with sanctions, Americans have recently raised two more options, war and talks. ... War will not happen and we will not enter talks." Khamenei added that "negotiations with the U.S. would definitely harm us and they are forbidden.” [AP]

INSIDE THE ADMIN — Trump’s diplomatic learning curve: The president has often perplexed foreign officials and his own aides as he learns how to deal with the world beyond America's borders — by Daniel Lippman [Politico]

Has Stephen Miller Become a Shadow Master at the State Department? — by Abigail Tracy: "Miller has been particularly attentive to the refugee program at the State Department, which flows through the bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, cultivating attachés to assist his agenda... “He is definitely in empire-building mode and succeeding at it,” a former administration official who worked on refugee policy told me..." [VanityFair]

"Stephen Miller is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle" — by David Glosser: "I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country. I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants— been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom." [PoliticoMag]

PODCAST PLAYBACK — Former McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt discussed John McCain's decision to pick Sarah Palin over Joe Lieberman as his running mate in 2008 on the new "Words Matter" podcast with Elise Jordan: "I have regret about that every day that I wake up. But what happened here was — that my idea, and McCain supported it, was that he was going to pick Joe Lieberman..." 

"What I thought the path for McCain could be was to basically go out and say, 'I put the uniform of this country on when I was 17 years old, and I have spent every hour of my adult life in service to America, except for the period of time when I was a candidate for Congress after I retired from the navy, and I have been an imperfect servant of the country. But if the American people so honor me, I have one last mission, and I have asked to join me in that mission as my wingman and partner a great patriot, a great member of the Democratic Party, Joe Lieberman. We are going to work together, we are going to take a timeout from this poisonous, toxic partisanship, and we are going to fix this country's four biggest problems...'"

"What happened though is Lindsey Graham went out, not maliciously, but he let the secret spill, it leaked when he was talking to a group of activists in South Carolina, and within a very short period of time we had heard from [Rush] Limbaugh from [Sean] Hannity, directly from President Bush, from Karl Rove saying 'you just can't do it.'" Minute 19:07 [Podcasth/t Playbook

MIDTERMS: Jews Poised For 14% Boost In Congress As Democratic Midterm Wave Looms — by Ben Fractenberg: "The Forward’s analysis predicts that the new House will include at least 25 Jews — a hefty 14% increase from the 22 Jewish representatives today. The analysis says there is a 72% chance of at least 25 Jewish seats, with lesser chances of one or two more seats. A model simulating a Democratic “surge” ... predicts an increase of seven Jews in the House, a stunning 32% jump in one election cycle. A GOP comeback would result in no increase in Jewish representatives, or possibly a dip of one." [Forward

Conservative activist disrupts campaign event for Muslim candidates — by Avery Anapol: "A conservative activist crashed a campaign event for two Muslim candidates on Saturday, interrupting them with shouted questions about Hamas and “terrorist groups.” ... The event supported Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL) and former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D)." [TheHillStarTribune

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Likens $10,000 Debate Offer by Conservative Columnist to Catcalling — by Lisa Foderaro: "The conservative scrutiny on Ms. Ocasio-Cortez took a strange turn this week when a popular conservative commentator and speaker, Ben Shapiro, challenged Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to a debate and offered to pay her campaign $10,000 in return... In a Twitter post on Thursday night, she roundly rejected his proposal. “I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions,” she said. “And also like catcalling, for some reason they feel entitled to one.” ... [Shapiro] criticized Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s analogy of catcalling, labeling it an “insane” accusation. “I’m an Orthodox Jew and I have never catcalled a woman in my life,” he said."[NYTimes]

** 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. EmailEditor@JewishInsider.com **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Uber competitor Via expands worldwide [CNNMoney Adi Soffer-Teeni, CEO of Facebook Israel, says company should have predicted meddling, abuse [ToI]  Activist Elliott Management to Push Nielsen Holdings to Sell [WSJ]  Ashkenazy gets go-ahead to jack up rent at Barneys’ Madison Avenue flagship [RealDeal]  Shari Arison, Israel's Wealthiest Woman, Questioned as Suspect in Bribery Probe [Haaretz

This lifehack will change your life — if you can stand it — by Ephrat Livni: "Asked about how to help creative types excel, Entertainment executive Barry Diller, the chairman of IAC, recently told Fast Company, “Put them to work It’s process. It’s one [foot] in front of the other.” In other words, you’re the lifehack you’ve been waiting for... To get things done, you have to do. That’s it. You need sitzfleisch(ZITS–flysh), or “chair glue,” which—as Quartz’s Anne Quito notes—is a German word for the ability to sit through a boring or complex task for a considerable amount of time, however long it takes." [Quartz]

TALK OF THE TOWN — Transforming Tulsa, Starting with a Park — by  Patricia Leigh Brown: "The project, which comes with a hefty $100 million endowment for maintenance and family programming, has been spearheaded and largely funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, with an assist from other donors. Its Tulsa-born namesake, Mr. Kaiser is a progressive Democrat in a sea of red who has devoted much of his philanthropic energy toward addressing intergenerational poverty in Tulsa... The son of Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany, Mr. Kaiser has a net worth estimated at $7.9 billion from oil, banking and other investments." [NYTimes]

Crumbling stone in the Western Wall exposes Jerusalem’s religious fractures — by Oliver Holmes: "Rabbi Sandra Kochmann, of the Masorti branch of Judaism... stands looking down at the cracked floor where the stone fell... She rolls her eyes when asked about the debate on the significance, whether geological, political or even godly, of the crumbling wall: “The Orthodox say this is because of the Reform. The Reform say this is because of the Orthodox. Others say it’s the Waqf building on top that damaged the structure.” Her own explanation is simpler: “It’s a stone that fell.” [TheGuardian

PROFILE: The First Palestinian in Jerusalem’s City Hall? — by Matti Friedman: "In a city where more than a third of the 860,000 residents are Palestinian, there should be nothing strange about [Ramadan] Dabash’s candidacy. But a victory in the Oct. 30 election would make him the first Palestinian representative at City Hall — and the personification of a political shift that isn’t making headlines... The way Mr. Dabash sees it, the chances of a peace deal are nil. With Hezbollah, Hamas, the Islamic State and the Syrian war all within a three-hour drive from here, an Israeli pullout isn’t happening anytime soon. To get things done, Mr. Dabash has been willing to play ball not just with Israelis but with the Israeli right, the only real political force in this conservative city. Last year, he even went so far as to briefly join the Likud party. The political cost of this approach is high: The closer he gets to Israelis, the more suspect he becomes in the eyes of his potential voters.”[NYTimes

Bret Stephens writes... "The Jewish State’s Nation-State Bill Non-Scandal: There are plenty of good reasons even for Israel’s friends to dislike the bill as unnecessary, provocative, divisive and a transparent bid by Netanyahu to shore up his popularity in the face of corruption allegations and a military quagmire in the Gaza Strip. But if liberal Americans haven’t (yet) given up on the United States in the age of Donald Trump, liberal Jews shouldn’t be giving up on Israel on account of an overhyped, underwhelming law whose effects would be mostly invisible if they hadn’t been so loudly debated." [NYT

Peter Beinart writes: "I Was Detained At Ben Gurion Airport Because Of My Beliefs"[Forward]

ACROSS THE POND: UK Labour: Corbyn did not honor terrorists behind Munich attack — by Jack Blanchard: "Photographs published by the Daily Mail on Saturday showed the Labour leader holding a wreath at the service in Tunisia in 2014, near the graves of militant leaders implicated in the Munich attack, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed... The Labour Party insisted the story is incorrect as Corbyn was in fact attending a ceremony for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leaders killed in an airstrike in 1985." [PoliticoEU]

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks presents Morality In The 21st Century on Radio 4 this September: "Over the daily episodes Rabbi Sacks and a host of expert contributors will explore topics that include ideas around moral responsibility and who still has it; the impact of social media on young people; Artificial Intelligence and the future of humanity; the impact of individualism and multiculturalism on communities and who young people see as their moral role models. In each episode, Rabbi Sacks will also speak to groups of young people between 16 and 18 years old, who will provide commentary on the discussions and share their insights into their moral, social and political outlook." [BBC]

DESSERT: A Falafel Master Turns to Couscous with Kish-Kash — by Hannah Goldfield: "It’s not easy to find fresh couscous in New York, but in June the chef Einat Admony—of Bar Bolonat and the falafel mini-empire Taïm—opened Kish-Kash, a new restaurant devoted to it. (Though Admony was born in Tel Aviv, her couscous, which she makes by hand in ten-pound batches, is not what’s known as “Israeli couscous,” which is made of wheat flour and better categorized as an orzo-like pasta.)" [NewYorker]

Rockland resident wins kosher cooking competition — by Jeanne Muchnick: "It all came down to apple strudel topped with pure pudding and nuts. It was that recipe, along with a puff pastry with cabbage and onions, that got Rorie Weisberg, a health coach from Monsey, crowned the first ever winner of "Food Fight," a new web series on Kosher[DOT]com." [Lohud]

BIRTHDAYS: Long-time DC reporter, columnist, White House correspondent and State Department correspondent, she interviewed eight US Presidents and eight Vice-Presidents, Trude Feldman turns 94... Member of the New York State Assembly from Queens (1987-2011) and then the County Clerk of Queens County, Audrey Pheffer turns 77... Retired CPA and senior executive in Los Angeles, now serving as a mentor and volunteer at SCORE, a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration, Morton Algaze turns 75... Former Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (2014-2018), Janet Yellen turns 72... Board member of the Beverly Hills Synagogue, Ruth Fay Kellerman turns 60... VP and Chief of Staff at the Aspen Institute, he also manages Aspen's monthly Washington Ideas Roundtable and its Gildenhorn Book Series, James M. Spiegelman turns 60... Michael Landau turns 54...

Founder and managing director at Beacon Global Strategies, he was chief of staff at the CIA (2009-2011) and Department of Defense (2011-2013), he is a graduate of CESJDS, Jeremy B. Bash turns 47... President of Accessibility Partners, a Maryland firm that hires people with disabilities for tech jobs, she is also the founder of a non-profit Support the Girls, Dana Marlowe turns 42... Professor of Government at Harvard University, he was the Director of the Harvard Center for Jewish Studies (2012-2015), Eric M. Nelson turns 41... Deputy editor of PowerPost, a Washington Post vertical exploring the power centers of the nation's capital, Sara Sorcher turns 31... J.D. Candidate at Cardozo School of Law, he was previously a business development manager at Politico (2014-2017),Nathan Jablow turns 27 (h/ts Playbook)... Strategy and projects associate at Nadav Foundation, formerly an associate director of APCO Worldwide, David Angel... Elaine Hall... Jonathan Gerber... Jodie Singer...