Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: August 2, 2018

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Ivanka Trump and husband White House senior advisor Jared Kushner attend the swearing-in ceremony of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on May 2, 2018.
Ivanka Trump and husband White House senior advisor Jared Kushner attend the swearing-in ceremony of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on May 2, 2018.Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP
JI Staff

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HEARD THIS MORNING — Ivanka Trump in conversation with Axios Executive Editor Mike Allen at the Newseum in DC: “Every day I walk in the White House and that means something. It’s very special. And I never, ever let myself forget the privilege that I have to serve our country.”  
In introducing the morning's conversation, Mike Allen noted that “RSVPs for this event have broken all our records in 12 years of doing conversations like this. You’ve gotten more response than Bill Gates or Mark Cuban.” Ivanka reacted: “That’s pretty impressive.”

Ivanka on her future: "I am 36 years old, so I have a long life ahead of me, and I don’t know what it holds for me. At some point, I will likely return to the private sector, but I don’t have a timetable.”

Allen: So you might live in Washington permanently?

Ivanka: “Or not go back to that business (the fashion brand). I just don’t know. I am really passionate about the work i am doing here and I am committed to it.”

Allen: So you might spend the rest of your life in the ‘swamp’? 

Ivanka: “Well, that’s highly unlikely.” [Video]

Allen: Do you think the media is the 'enemy' of the people?

Ivanka: "No, I do not. I can share my own personal perspective. I have certainly received my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate. So I have some sensitivity around why people have concerns and gripe especially when they sort of feel targeted. But no, I do not feel that the media is 'the enemy of the people.'"

Ivanka added that the news about family separations at the border was a "low point" during her time in the White House: "I felt very strongly about that and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children... Immigration is incredibly complex as a topic. Illegal immigration is incredibly complicated. I am the daughter of an immigrant, my mother grew up in communist Czech Republic, but we are a country of laws... These are not easy issues, these are incredibly difficult issues and like the rest of the country, I experienced them in a very emotional way." [CNN]

DRIVING THE CONVO — As Israel Enshrines Its Jewish Identity, Its Druze Minority Feels Abandoned — by Dov Lieber and Felicia Schwartz: "Scores of former senior military and police chiefs are pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to revise a recent law enshrining the country as a Jewish nation-state to include the Druze, an ethnic minority ingrained in military and civic life... On Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu’s office offered a draft of a plan to address the community’s complaints, including legislation that would “anchor” the status of the Druze in law, offer benefits for minority-group members who serve in the military and recognize Druze’s contributions to protecting Israel." [WSJ

REPORT: Israel assures U.S. Jewish "nation-state" law won't lead to discrimination — by Barak Ravid: "Senior U.S. officials asked senior officials in the Israeli Prime Minister's office for clarification over the [new nation-state] law... The Israeli Prime Minister's office confirmed the issue was raised during a meeting between Netanyahu's chief of staff, Yoav Horowitz, and U.S. ambassador David Friedman... At this stage, the White House accepts the clarifications from Netanyahu's office. Nevertheless, the U.S. is following the protests in Israel against the bill, and criticism about it in the Jewish community in America."

"One of the critics of the law was Alan Dershowitz, who is perceived as being close to President Trump. Dershowitz spoke publicly against the law in an interview to i24 news channel." [Axios]

PROFILE: Stav Shaffir Speaks for Us, Too — by Armin Rosen: “Despair is not a political strategy.” It isn’t an option for American Jews, either, Shaffir stressed. “One of the things that I wish for American Jews to understand, especially for the American liberal democratic camp of American Jews, is the amount of influence that the extreme right wing in Israel is getting from the American right,” she said. [Tablet]

-- FIRST LOOK: Adam Rubenstein profiles "Kid Trump" — Charlie Kirk, the 24-year-old founder of Turning Point USA: "Charlie Kirk calls himself “the luckiest 24-year-old ever to exist.” He started the group six years ago instead of going to college and now has 130,000 high school students, undergrads, and recent college graduates on board in what he calls the fight “to save Western civilization.” [WeeklyStandard]

UPCOMING: National Security Advisor John Bolton will visit Israel from August 12th—13th amid Israeli concerns about the Trump Administration's approach to Iran, according to Hadashot's Dana Weiss

-- John Bolton Brings a Nuclear Superhawk Into the White House: "John Bolton has quietly gotten his very own John Bolton, and his name is Tim Morrison. Morrison possesses a hostility to negotiated restrictions on U.S. nuclear weapons that rivals Bolton’s own, as well as an expertise on nuclear issues undisputed by even his harshest critics... He’s a stridently partisan person who constantly insisted on confrontation with the [Obama] administration,” said a former official at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)." [DailyBeast]

Israel warns Iran of military response if it closed key Red Sea strait — by Ori Lewis: “If Iran will try to block the straits of Bab al-Mandeb, I am certain that it will find itself confronting an international coalition that will be determined to prevent this, and this coalition will also include all of Israel’s military branches,” Netanyahu said at a passing out parade for new naval officers in Haifa. [Reuters]

ON THE GROUND — Israel says Assad back in charge, Syrian front likely to be quieter: "Israel described the Syrian civil war as effectively over on Thursday and predicted that the Golan Heights frontier between the countries would be quieter with central rule by Damascus restored there... “From our perspective, the situation is returning to how it was before the civil war, meaning there is a real address, someone responsible, and central rule,” [Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman] told reporters, referring to a decades-old standoff between Israel and Syria." [Reuters]

Israel Kills Seven Armed ISIS Terrorists Approaching Syria Border — by Yaniv Kubovich: "Seven Islamic State terrorists were killed in an Israeli attack overnight Wednesday in Syria's Golan Heights. The terrorists came as close to 200 meters to the Israel-Syria border, at which point Israeli troops launched an attack against them." [Haaretz

Netanyahu cancels Colombia trip, citing Gaza situation: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled a trip to Colombia planned for next week due to the situation around the Gaza Strip, an Israeli official said on Thursday." [Reuters]

U.S. quietly released funding a few weeks ago to the Palestinian Authority security forces: "Top Trump administration officials have talked up America's years of assistance to Palestinians — even as the administration has taken steps to curtail its own contributions. "The United States has given billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians. We've done nothing but help," a senior administration official told NPR... "Anybody who thinks that the United States has to engender more goodwill with them after all this country has done for them is not necessarily looking at the full picture."

"The U.S. quietly released funding a few weeks ago to the Palestinian Authority security forces. The money supports them working with Israel to maintain security in the West Bank, the State Department said. Now the administration is deciding which other Palestinian aid projects it might unfreeze, based on whether the projects meet national security interests and policy goals and provide "value to U.S. taxpayers," a State Department official said, without specifying." [NPR

Israel inaugurates Jewish heritage center in hotly contested East Jerusalem neighborhood -- by Erin Cunningham: "Amid high security, senior Israeli ministers and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a staunch supporter of Israel, attended the ceremony on a narrow, trash-strewn street in the Silwan neighborhood, a recent flash point for tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. The Israel government says the center will honor Yemenite Jews who lived here in the 19th century and has allocated $1.2 million to develop the site." [WashPost]

ON THE HILL — Yesterday, the Senate passed (87-10) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. The legislation includes the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, which authorizes the 10-year MOU (memorandum of understanding) signed between Israel and the Obama administration in 2016, $500 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation and up to $50 million for U.S.-Israel counter-tunnel cooperation. The bill now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

Israeli-born New York Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Queens) sent a follow-up letter addressed to President Trump urging the administration to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Department of State for a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism. "The Special Envoy has played a unique and important role in the effort to fight against anti-Semitism and for human rights. Please appoint a Special Envoy to help eradicate anti-Semitism and do not allow this important post to remain vacant," Rozic wrote.

TOP TALKER: Kirsten Gillibrand Pays The Price For Speaking Out Against Al Franken — by Amanda Terkel: "Most prominently, Gillibrand has attracted the ire of billionaire George Soros, who has long funded Democratic candidates and causes. Soros recently said he wasn’t sure whom he was supporting for 2020, but that it absolutely wouldn’t be Gillibrand. He accused her of going after Franken, “whom I admire,” to “improve her chances” for president. “If standing up for women who have been wronged makes George Soros mad, that’s on him,” Gillibrand said in a statement to HuffPost... When someone does something wrong, you have to speak up and be counted, whether it’s President Trump, or a Democratic colleague.”" [HuffPost

Ocasio-Cortez Invite To Shoah Museum Backfires— by Stewart Ain: "The Immigrant Arts Coalition was trying to make a match — hold a conference on immigration and women’s empowerment at the museum and feature the future face of the Democratic Party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez... But... it turned out not to be a match made in heaven. The National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, which is currently performing “Fiddler on the Roof” at the museum and is listed as a co-sponsor of the conference, was not informed in advance that Ocasio-Cortez... had been invited to speak next Sunday." 

"The group’s chairman, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, said he was informed by an irate board member whose neighbor learned of it from a flyer in the mail. “Absent a public reassessment by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez of her unfair and extremist position [on Israel], she dishonors both the Immigrant Summit and the museum by her scheduled appearance,” Wiesenfeld said in a statement." [JewishWeek

HAPPENING TODAY: Primary Threat Targets One of Two Jewish Republicans in the House — by Simone Pathé: "The next test of President Donald Trump’s endorsement power will come in Tennessee, where a little-known freshman — one of two Jewish Republicans in the House —  is being outspent more than 2-to-1... Most Tennessee political operatives think Rep. David Kustoff will survive... But they acknowledge that 2018 is an unpredictable year. A loss would make Kustoff the fourth House incumbent and the third Republican to fall in a primary this year." [RollCall; Independent]

2020 WATCH -- Republicans abuzz over Schmidt's divorce from GOP -- by Ben Schreckinger, Eliana Johnson and Daniel Lippman: "Steve Schmidt's public break from the GOP and quiet departure from his corporate PR gig earlier this summer are fueling speculation in Republican circles that he’ll advise a presidential bid by his longtime client, former Starbucks chief Howard Schultz... “I don’t have any plans to be on a political campaign, and I would never jump into one too lightly,” Schmidt said in an interview. “Howard Schultz is a hell of a man, a hell of a leader. I'm proud to call him a friend, but there's no campaign, and I don’t have anything to tell you." ... Few of Schmidt’s peers believe that. The moves, and speculation about Schmidt’s future, have not escaped the notice of Republican operatives." [Politico

MUELLER WATCH -- Trump Pushes for Interview With Mueller Against Lawyers’ Advice -- by Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman: "For the past week, Mr. Trump has expressed frustration about the confluences of investigations that have dogged him. The president told his advisers that the Russia inquiry and a separate federal investigation in Manhattan into his former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, have undermined him for too long and need to be brought to an end." [NYTimes]

Learning From Henry Kissinger — by Jeremi Suri: "The authors of “Kissinger the Negotiator,” James K. Sebenius, R. Nicholas Burns and Robert H. Mnookin, are an all-star trio of experts on negotiation in business, law and diplomacy. They have focused on Kissinger because he is unsurpassed for the range and intensity of his negotiations as national security adviser and secretary of state... Kissinger repeatedly told Soviet, Chinese and other leaders that they should work only with him, encouraging disregard for the rest of the American government. This personalization of his negotiations runs against the authors’ advice about building a strong team. Kissinger was, in fact, a terrible team player. And many of his negotiations, particularly with the Soviet Union and the Middle East states, proved unsustainable after his departure." [NYTimes]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Les Moonves’s Long, Slow, Potentially Lucrative Walk Down the Plank [VanityFair]  23andMe and other home test companies pledge new privacy guidelines on using people's DNA [Mashable]  Hillary Clinton, Steven Spielberg Bringing Women's Voting Drama to TV [HollywoodReporter]

Hope Hicks dines with Manhattan power broker: "Hope Hicks was spotted on a lunch date with Manhattan power broker Aryeh Bourkoff — the man once linked to the creation of an alleged Trump TV network... at hot spot Avra Madison on the Upper East Side... A source told us: “Aryeh is incredibly successful and well-connected, and has been generous offering career advice to a wide range of people.” ... Hicks is still close with Kushner and Ivanka Trump." [PageSix

HOLLYWOOD: Netflix Won’t Offer Louis Farrakhan Documentary — by Amanda Svachula: "It appeared that “The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan: My Life’s Journey Through Music,” would be available for streaming on Netflix on Aug. 1, according to a now-deleted Monday Twitter announcement from Mr. Farrakhan’s account... The film was not actually supposed to be scheduled, but, because of an “internal miscommunication,” appeared to be on various platforms, a spokesperson for Netflix said in an email... Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center... said he immediately called up the Netflix chief executive, Ted Sarandos, who told him that a “glitch” had occurred, and the movie would not be released. Rabbi Hier said it would be terrible to give Mr. Farrakhan “legitimacy” on such a national level by streaming this documentary." [NYTimes]

Israelis tickled by Sacha Baron Cohen’s grotesque caricature -- by Aron Heller: “The reaction has mostly been astonishment about the accuracy of the portrayal. He really got some of our traits down,” Einav Schiff, a TV critic for the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, said with a chuckle. “Everyone here knows an ‘Erran Morad’ but I haven’t recognized any outrage or embarrassment about the character. It’s mostly been ridicule for these Americans who have fallen for him.” [AP]

Congressman avoids becoming Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest fool -- by Marisa Schultz: "Katie Vincentz, communications director for [Rep. Lee] Zeldin, said his staff became wary when they checked out the TV station — Yerushalayim Television — and found it had minimal presence online and very little social media activity. Also, the producer had an American name. “To be candid, it was a little suspicious that someone who was the producer of Yerushalayim Television in Israel would be ‘Julia Harris’,” Vincentz said." [NYPost]

NYTimes' bureau chief for Jerusalem David Halbfinger on the tech he’s using when reporting from Gaza and the West Bank: "Probably the most vital tech tool I carry is the lightest: a paper clip to switch SIM cards. I’ve been here less than a year and finally got a local number from the Palestinian provider Jawwal, which has good coverage across Gaza and can be quickly replenished at countless retail shops... I juggle the Gaza and New York phones depending on which has the stronger signal." What tech tools do you use to navigate the language barrier in Hebrew and Arabic? "I depend way too heavily on Google Translate, both for work and in my personal life. For accurate translations I rely on an excellent support staff, but in scanning social media I routinely turn to automated translations — far more than I’d like." [NYT]

Travel service identifies Jerusalem as ‘Israeli settlement’ -- by Yaron Steinbuch: "A Dutch travel reservation service called Jerusalem an “Israeli settlement” ... “I thought it was a hoax until I checked it out and saw it with my own eyes,” Michael Freilich, editor in chief of the Joods Actueel in Antwerp, said after a reader tipped him off to Booking[dot]com’s faux pas about the capital city... Hours after Freilich complained Tuesday, Jerusalem appeared on as actually being in Israel." [NYPost]

ACROSS THE POND: British Jews Find Their Voice -- by Ben Judah: "Once British Jews would never have thrown around synonyms for genocide so carelessly, at such a delicate and important moment... What has changed is not so much the community, but the environment of British politics. This is Brexit Britain. A country known for its moderation has suddenly discovered extremism... The Jewish community is no longer so polite. Now we see incendiary headlines, vigilante Twitter accounts, left-wing and pro-Corbyn Jews branded as traitors." [TheAtlantic]

CAMPUS BEAT — Josh Nathan-Kazis on anti-BDS groups: "When a BDS vote comes to a U.S. college campus today, a pro-Israel cavalry arrives, whether or not they’re called. The list of Jewish groups that do anti-BDS work on campuses is bafflingly long. A partial tally includes StandWithUs, AEPi, CAMERA, the David Project, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Jerusalem U, AIPAC, Sheldon Adelson’s Maccabee Task Force, and the Zionist Organization of America. The total amount of American Jewish and Israeli government funds flooding the anti-BDS effort is easily in the tens of millions of dollars each year." [Forward]

SPORTS BLINK — Israel baseball team in 2020 Olympics: That's the goal: "If you thought Israel’s strong showing in the 2017 World Baseball Classic was unexpected, how about seeing an Israeli baseball team in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo? “It would be incredible,” said Peter Kurz, president of the Israel Baseball Association... Kurz is serious about constructing an Israeli baseball team that will be ready to compete in Olympic qualifying rounds in Europe in the fall of 2019. The roster would include several American professional players who intend to make aliyah this fall; all players must have an Israeli passport to compete in the Olympics." [JPost]

DESSERT: Where to Surf, Eat, Drink, and Dance in Tel Aviv — by Natalie Compton: "Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade is a feast for the eyes (and the 'gram) on any given sunset. The sea shimmers, the palm trees sway. Happy dogs trot alongside six-packed owners. After dark, the streets only get busier. Tel Aviv has one hell of a nightlife scene." [GQ]

BIRTHDAYS: Jerusalem-born actor, who moved to the US as a child, and has appeared in over 400 TV episodes, Nehemiah Persoff turns 99... Co-founder and chairman of NYC-based real estate development firm, Rockrose Development Corporation, Henry Elghanayan turns 78... Long-time member of Knesset, in the Likud party (1984-2006) and the Yisrael Beiteinu party (2009-2015), he also held several ministerial posts, Uzi Landau turns 75... Retired colonel in the US Army and a recipient of the Medal of Honor and seven other medals, he taught at West Point and serves as a military analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, Jack H. Jacobs turns 73... Long-time librarian, now residing in Houston, Irene Seff turns 72... Nationally-syndicated radio talk show host, columnist for the Jewish Journal, author and public speaker, Dennis Prager turns 70... Op-Ed columnist for the International New York Times, he has worked as a foreign correspondent in fifteen different countries, Roger Cohen turns 63...

Democratic member of the US House of Representatives for Nevada's 3rd congressional district since 2017, she is the Democratic candidate for the US Senate in the 2018 election, Jacklyn Sheryl Rosen turns 61... Owner of Newton, Massachusetts-based MPG Promotions, Elliot Mael turns 53...
VP and General Counsel of Yeshiva University, Andrew ''Avi'' Lauer turns 51... ATP professional tennis player (1983 to 1996), who was once ranked sixth best in the world, Aaron Krickstein turns 51... SVP of Sales for Hearst Television, Eric J. Meyrowitz turns 48... Former reporter for both the AP and Wall Street Journal, now a DC-based national security reporter for The New York Times where he won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018, Matthew Rosenberg turns 44... Product marketing manager at Google, Stephen L. Rabin turns 40... CEO of a multi-national toy and gift company, a founding member of Mesila of Baltimore (a non-profit financial advisory organization) and The Jewish Entrepreneur (a mentoring program), Isaac William ("Zevy") Wolman turns 34... Director of special projects at the DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Julia Nayfeld Schulman turns 34... Actress best known for her 1999 "Pepsi Girl" role as a seven year old, and later for subsequent teen roles, Hallie Kate Eisenberg turns 26... Harriet Cohen...