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LAUDER OP-ED, PART TWO: Following his piece from March titled 'Israel's Self-Inflicted Wounds,' Ron Lauder writes in today's NYTimes "Israel, This Is Not Who We Are: "The new nation-state legislation may also have severe national and international repercussions. In Israel, it will heighten the sense of polarization and discord. Abroad, Israel may find itself associated with a broken values system and questionable friends. As a result, future leaders of the West may become hostile or indifferent to the Jewish state. Tragically, the new policies will not strengthen Israel but weaken it, and in the long run they may endanger Israel’s social cohesiveness, economic success and international standing."
"I have always stood by Israel and I always will. But now, as a loving brother, I ask Israel’s government to listen to the voices of protest and outrage being heard in Israel and throughout the Jewish world. As president of the World Jewish Congress, I call upon Israeli leaders to rethink their destructive actions during this summer of disharmony. This is not who we are, and this is not who we wish to be. This is not the face we want to show our children, grandchildren and the family of nations." [NYTimes]
-- An NYT insider tells us, "It's pretty extraordinary for The Times to run two Op-Eds by an outside contributor in five months, which underscores the urgency of the topic."
TOP TALKER: Israel detains prominent Jewish-American critic at airport — by Josef Federman: "The questioning of Peter Beinart was the latest in a string of incidents in which Jewish critics of Israel have been interrogated about their politics by border officials. The Israeli government called the incident a mistake." [AP; Haaretz]
Deputy Minister Michael Oren: Beinart's "interrogation at Ben Gurion Airport damaged the State's image and forced the Prime Minister to admit that it was a mistake. Our image as a democratic state is one of the pillars [of the relationship] between Israel and the US, and harming it can have strategic implications." [IsraelNationalNews]
IPF's Michael Koplow tells us... "Very few people are going to be convinced that Peter Beinart or Simone Zimmerman are security threats to Israel, and I’m not sure that the Israeli government believes that to be the case either. It seems clear that there is now a policy of detaining and questioning people in an effort to police thought, discourse, and the wrong kind of political views. As a sovereign country, Israel has every right to determine its border policies and keep out anyone it pleases for any reason, but these policies are going to carry consequences for Israel’s image, its relationship with American Jews, and its levels of support within the U.S."
"I’m hard-pressed to see how whatever gains Israel perceives there to be from such detentions and rounds of questioning possibly outweigh the costs. I don’t think it’s going away in the midst of a fight over the nation-state law, elections coming in six months, and a continuing expansion of what Israel defines as a threat. This is looking more and more to me like a feature rather than a bug."
Mark Dubowitz tweets: "I’ve been held up and grilled at Ben Gurion. I don’t think they thought I was a security threat. As long as they keep us all safe, they can grill me all they want."
TALK OF THE REGION: Israel to discuss easing restrictions on Gaza if lull in arson attacks continues — by Judah Ari Gross: "Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman will meet with senior members of the Israeli security establishment on Tuesday to discuss easing restrictions on the Gaza Strip following a decrease in Palestinian violence... Additionally, further economic incentives will be considered in the coming days if there is no renewal of violence." [ToI]
-- "A senior Israeli official familiar with the negotiations... told The Times that the deal with Hamas... is "virtually done." [LATimes]
REPORT: Netanyahu and Sisi held secret meeting on Gaza — by Barak Ravid: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi held a secret summit in Egypt on May 22nd to launch efforts toward a Gaza stabilization deal... During the meeting, the Egyptian president told Netanyahu that any solution in Gaza must include the return of the Palestinian Authority to the strip in order to gradually retake control from Hamas. Sisi stressed in the meeting that the full demilitarization of Gaza shouldn’t be a precondition to the initiative."
-- "The leaders also discussed the Trump administration's long-anticipated Middle East peace plan." [Axios; Reuters]
HEARD YESTERDAY — Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, former Deputy National Security Advisor under Netanyahu and currently VP of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, on a conference call hosted by American Friends of Likud: "The Egyptians hate Hamas every bit as much as we do. They see them as an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an existential threat to the present Egyptian government. But Sisi and Netanyahu both have an interest in preventing an all-out explosion, if possible. We are in tandem with the Egyptians on this because we do have interests in common."
"The first choice of the Israeli government, unless Hamas is stupid enough to force our hand irretrievably, is to try and see if they can reach some kind of regularization, not an agreement. There's no base for a long-term agreement with Hamas. But there could be, let's say, a set of actions on our part and on their part that would lead to an end to the current round of violence."
"People who say, 'Well, we just give Hamas more time to build up,' I think are not reading the military situation right because we have a much better capacity to build up our own military technological solutions to the challenges that they pose. There's not much of a way for Hamas to acquire and build up significant military capabilities. The one really important asset that they had were the tunnels and that is now being undone because of new Israeli technological breakthroughs. So time is not on their side, time is on our side, and if we can gain a few years of relative peace and quiet for our people in the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip then that's worth trying."
Palestinian-American businessman Zahi Khouri writes... "Trump's funding cuts to UNRWA hold back generations of future leaders: As one businessman to another, I urge President Trump and his team to consider the long-term impact of children who will be deprived of meals, medical care, jobs, and perhaps most importantly, an education, as a result of these funding cuts." [Reuters]
Netanyahu Slams Corbyn Over Memorial of Munich Attackers -- by Robert Hutton: "On Twitter, Netanyahu accused Corbyn of laying a wreath himself, and of comparing Israel to Nazis. He said this deserved “unequivocal condemnation” from those on all sides of politics. Corbyn swiftly hit back, saying Netanyahu’s “claims about my actions and words are false.” He added: “What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children.” [Bloomberg]
The man behind the curtain in Corbyn’s Oz: A virulently anti-Israel spin doctor — by Robert Philpot: "In the court of Jeremy Corbyn, few wield more power and evoke stronger reactions than Seumas Milne. The British Labour party leader’s director of communications and strategy, Milne is a hardline and uncompromising left-winger, and a fierce opponent of Israel." [ToI]
Jewish leaders question timing of EU summit — by David Herszenhorn: "The EU leaders’ summit, in Salzburg, which will focus on migration and is also expected to be the setting for potentially critical discussions about Brexit, is set to begin with a dinner on September 19. Yom Kippur... Péter Niedermüller, a Jewish Hungarian member of the European Parliament, said he believes the date was chosen intentionally as a way for Europe’s right-leaning officials to send a subtle signal." [PoliticoEU]
PALACE INTRIGUE: Iran’s Top Leader Faults Rouhani for Crisis, Saying He Crossed ‘Red Lines’ — by Rick Gladstone: "Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei said Monday that because of the insistence of [Hassan] Rouhani and his team, he had allowed them to negotiate the nuclear agreement... However, Ayatollah Khamenei said, Iranian negotiators surrendered too much and “trespassed the red lines that had been set.” Were it not for his own advice to Mr. Rouhani, the ayatollah said, “we would have given up more.”
“My sense is that Khamenei is throwing Rouhani under the bus, in a number of ways,” said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, an Iran expert and political science professor at Syracuse University." [NYTimes]
THE DAILY KUSHNER: Manafort Turned to Kushner in Attempt to Get Banker a Trump Job — by David Voreacos and Neil Weinberg: "Paul Manafort turned to Jared Kushner for help in an attempt to secure a Trump administration job for a Chicago banker at the center of Manafort's fraud trial. Manafort... got a quick response. 'On it!' Kushner replied on Nov. 30, 2016, according to an email submitted by prosecutors into evidence Monday at Manafort's trial on bank and tax-fraud charges." [Bloomberg]
Omarosa claims to have secretly recorded Jared and Ivanka — by Eliana Johnson and Annie Karni: "Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has told friends and associates that she has tapes of private phone calls from first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner... Both Trump and Kushner can be heard wishing Manigault Newman the best and telling her they had no idea her head was on the chopping block." [Politico]
PRIMARY DAY — Voters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut and Vermont head to the polls today for the respective Republican and Democratic primaries. [NYT; NPR]
RACES TO WATCH — Minnesota: In the 5th Congressional District, six candidates are vying to replace retiring Rep. Keith Ellison, who is running for Minnesota State Attorney General. One of the candidates, State Representative Ilhan Omar, would be among the first Muslim congresswomen if she wins.
Wisconsin: In the 1st Congressional District, five candidates are competing in the Republican primary to replace retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, including anti-Semite Paul Nehlen. Ryan is backing his former aide Bryan Steil. On the Democratic side, Randy Bryce, who goes by the nickname "Iron Stache," is backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Vermont: Incumbent Senator Bernie Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination, but like in the past, Sanders plans to decline the nomination and continue running as an independent. "So sure is he of victory that he has spent time this summer campaigning with candidates in other states, including Maryland, Kansas and Michigan," the NYTimes notes.
MIDTERMS — Congressional candidate tweets 'off with your Yarmulke': "Off with your #Yarmulke and I'll take a ginsu to your pe'ah too!" tweeted [Mark] Roberts on Monday in response to criticism from a user shocked by his tweets. Roberts is running as the Oregon candidate for the US House of Representatives on behalf of the Independent Party of Oregon." [JPost]
HEARD YESTERDAY — Michigan Congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. aid for Israel in an interview with UK Channel 4:
Host Krishnan Guru-Murth: As a Palestinian what's your position on Israel and U.S. aid to Israel? Tlaib: "Look, I am a person that grew up in Detroit where every single corner of the district is a reminder of the civil rights movement... I can tell you when I was 12-years-old I sat there with my mother when she was shifted into a line with all the other brown people, and then all the other folks, you know — mostly citizens of Israel — in another section. And the way that she was treated less than, that inequality that is very evident when you're there. When you understand truly that equality, justice, access to all those things is solely based on your faith, they're solely based on your ethnicity, to me you were never going to get peace until we start talking about integration, until we start talking about — instead of walls and checkpoints — how we can connect people, and that divide will decrease. So many of us are so much about, 'Let's choose a side.' Well, I'm for equality for all, for making sure every single person there has every right to thrive..."
Guru-Murth: And so when you get into Congress, will you vote against U.S. military aid for Israel?
Tlaib: "Absolutely, if it has something to do with inequality and not access to people having justice. For me, U.S. aid should be leveraged. It should be leveraged to promote that value. If you're going to be a country that discriminates against someone solely based on their faith, solely based on their skin color, in many ways — because there are Israelis now that are darker skinned and they're not being treated equally, to me, that doesn't fit the values of our country. So I will be using my position as a member of Congress to say no country, not one, should be able to get aid from us the American people... when they still promote that kind of injustice that I saw in Detroit, especially my neighbors who went through the civil rights movement." [Video]
Poll: Hogan leads Jealous in governor's race by double-digits -- by Erin Cox and Scott Clement: "Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has a considerable lead over Democratic challenger Ben Jealous and is supported by slightly more than half of likely voters, according to a poll released Tuesday... The poll raises questions about whether Jealous can expand his appeal beyond the progressive base that elected him in a six-way primary." [WashPost]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Activist investor Carl Icahn says he won’t solicit votes against the Cigna-Express Scripts merger [WSJ] Brookfield Asset Management secures option to buy land under 666 Fifth from Kushner Companies [TheRealDeal] Marc Benioff's Salesforce owns $1 billion worth of other companies [BusinessInsider] To land high-flying financial firm Carlyle, Stephen Green's SL Green Realty Corp. made huge concession [CrainsNewYork] Lease buyout pays for Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management's move [NYPost] Why Israel Stopped All Attempts by Chinese Companies to Buy Local Insurers [Calcalist] Roman Abramovich proceeds with NYC townhouse construction [PageSix] Blockchain Entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg Agrees to Buy Jerusalem Football Club, Report Says [Calcalist]
Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor backs data firm -- by David McCabe: "Data firm Applecart said Monday that it had raised $6 million from investors led by Hollywood powerhouse Ari Emanuel... In addition to Emanuel's Endeavor, investors include Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, Aspect Ventures, former Yelp SVP Michael Stoppelman and Infinite Computer Solutions founder Sanjay Govil... While Applecart is seen as a right-leaning firm, it has also worked for Democrats it feels align with its views on policy. “We don’t really care what someone’s party label is," said Co-CEO Sacha Samotin." [Axios]
The Les Moonves Nightmare Enters a New Phase -- by William Cohan: "Whether Moonves stays or goes is tangential to the real drama at CBS, which is actually unfolding in a Wilmington, Delaware, courtroom. That’s where Andre Bouchard, the chancellor of the Court of Chancery, is presiding over the preliminary phases of the ongoing legal dispute between CBS and National Amusements Inc., the holding company for the powerful Redstone family... The race is on to figure out what will come first: the October trial, or Shari’s decision to fire the remaining CBS directors that are defying her wishes." [VanityFair]
PROFILE: Love brought him, a nation fascinated him: NYTimes' Tehran reporter — by David Beard: "New York Times correspondent Thomas Erdbrink's Farsi skills, earnest nature, longevity in the country, marriage to an Iranian and status as a "neutral" outsider — not American, Israeli or British — aids him as he talks to citizens at the dried-up River of Life in Istafan, the shrine to beloved poet Hafez in Shiraz or the street currency trading market in Tehran. (One trader pulls out stacks of dollars to show his admiration for the U.S. currency and its "In God We Trust" motto. “Dollars are the best,” he tells Erdbrink. “You should always buy them.”)" [Poynter]
MEDIA WATCH: After 16 Stormy Years, Israel's Channel 10 Due to Go Off the Air — Nati Tucker: "Over its 16-year lifetime, it survived multiple financial crises... Now that Antitrust Commission chief Michal Halperin has approved a merger, rival broadcaster Reshet will be swallowing it up. The only surviving remnant will be Channel 10’s news division... Its backers were some of the biggest names in Israeli business at the time, including Yossi Maiman and Alfred Akirov... A year later... Ron Lauder invested in the broadcaster and two years later the Israeli-American Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan joined him. All told, shareholders lost some 1.6 billion shekels on Channel 10." [Haaretz]
Israeli Consul General in New York Dani Dayan shares his experience visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands: "My most thrilling encounter in St. Thomas was the opportunity to delve further into my lifelong hobby of exploring old and unique Jewish communities, searching for inspiration in synagogues and cemeteries... Despite a hugely positive experience with American Jews, where I have been struck by the community’s strength and depth, unfortunately my experiences have not been as singularly affirming as my time in St Thomas..." [Tablet]
SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT: Honor the “Brick-and-Mortar SoundCloud” in the Hamptons — by H. W. Vail: "Each summer, the Apollo in the Hamptons gala swings the pendulum of power out east for one evening, all to benefit Harlem’s Apollo Theater. [Ronald] Perelman’s outsize presence across the entertainment, business, and media worlds makes for an evening that is almost preposterously glamorous... as he did this past weekend, to mix with the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Robert Downey Jr., Lloyd Blankfein, and Robert Kraft... Even Robert Kraft couldn’t resist standing up and dancing to Sting’s perfect performance of “Every Breath You Take” and “Message in a Bottle.”
"The only A-list name missing from the event, in the end, was the host himself. At the beginning of the show, a member of Perelman’s team explained to the crowd that he had come down with a bacterial infection and was being treated at Weill Cornell Medicine." [VanityFair]
BIRTHDAYS: Attorney General of New Jersey (2002-2003) and Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (2011-2014), David Samson turns 79... President of the Hampton Synagogue and former Board member of the UJA Federation-New York, Carol Levin... Member of the New York State Assembly and Chapter President of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, Charles D. Lavine turns 71... Director of the Department of Neurosurgery and Professor of Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Oncology and Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins, Henry Brem, M.D. turns 66... US District Court Judge in South Carolina, he previously served as President of the Columbia (SC) Hebrew Benevolent Society and the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina, Judge Richard Mark Gergel turns 64... Turkish-born economist and professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he is also the joint editor-in-chief of the academic journal Global Policy, Dani Rodrik turns 61...
Professor, author and political analyst, he is the director of the Politics Forum at Georgetown's School of Public Policy, he previously served as Jewish outreach director for Marco Rubio, Martin J. Sweet turns 48... Former AIPAC and Republican Jewish Coalition staffer, he ran in the 2018 primary to be the Republican candidate for Congress in the 10th District of Illinois, Jeremy Wynes turns 39... Russian-born political strategist, investment banker and attorney, he is currently the chief political analyst at Sinclair Broadcast Group after a ten week stint in the Trump White House, Boris Epshteyn turns 36... Ukrainian-born actress, she moved to Los Angeles at the age of seven and has appeared in dozens of films, Mila Kunis turns 35... Ryan Smith... Dylan Cooper... Tim Carney...