Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: August 20, 2018

Trump warns one-state could lead to an Israeli PM named Mohammed | Pepsi purchases SodaStream | Isadore Sharp on Saudi-Canada rift

JI Staff
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Soda Stream factory in the Idan HaNegev Industrial Park.
Soda Stream factory in the Idan HaNegev Industrial Park.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
JI Staff

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BIG DEAL — PepsiCo to buy SodaStream for $3.2 billion: "Tel Aviv-based SodaStream makes a machine and refillable cylinders through which users can make their own soda or carbonated water drinks. The acquisition is one of the boldest moves that CEO Indra Nooyi has made in her 12-year tenure as CEO. Nooyi, who earlier this month announced plans to step down, led the company's shift away from sugary products and introduced healthier alternatives. She also spent years warding off pressure from activist investor Nelson Peltz, whose presence cast a close eye on dealmaking." [CNBCCNN]

-- SodaStream's history: "The countertop carbonation-machine maker is widely accepted to have invented the notion of make-it-at-home soda and has roots going back to 1903 when it was founded in London by a gin distiller. In early years it was marketed to Britain’s upper class, and was reportedly a favorite of the royal household. But home carbonation of tap water eventually took off and the company’s heyday came in the 1970s and 1980s, reaching 10 million U.K. homes. A series of changes of ownership, which included Reckitt & Coleman and Cadbury Schweppes, grounded momentum." 

"Eventually the company was bought by Soda-Club, its Israeli distributor. Then private equity took a controlling interest, appointed Daniel Birnbaum—previously the Israel CEO of U.S.-based sports-apparel giant Nike Inc.—as CEO, and listed the stock in 2010. SodaStream now has 2,000 employees." [WSJ]

REPORT — Trump said one-state solution would lead to Israeli PM named Mohammed — by Barak Ravid: "On August 2nd, King Abdullah hosted French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Amman. During the meeting, the King briefed the French minister on his meeting with Trump a month earlier... The King said he warned Trump during their meeting in June that "many young Palestinians don’t want the two-state solution anymore, but would rather live together with the Israelis in one state with equal rights for all." The King added he told Trump: "The result will be that Israel will lose its Jewish character." 

"The king told the French foreign minister Trump answered sarcastically — half joking, half serious: "What you say makes sense. [In a one-state scenario,] the prime minister of Israel in a few years will be called Mohammed".

"According to the French diplomats, King Abdullah said he asked Trump not to rush to present his peace plan "because there are too many difficulties at the moment." The King said Trump's answer was that he still wants to pursue Middle East peace and remains committed to the issue." [Axios]

Abbas admits efforts to torpedo Israel-Hamas truce talks: "The Palestinian Authority will not abide by any deal inked between Israel and Hamas and Ramallah will actively try to torpedo it, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas exclaimed. " [IsraelHayom]

DRIVING THE DAY — National Security Advisor John Bolton met today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss “regional security issues" and the Iranian nuclear program. Netanyahu and Bolton also had a working dinner last night at the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem. Ambassadors Ron Dermer and David Friedman attended both meetings. 

Netanyahu at a joint press conference with Bolton ahead of their talks: "I believe that the President's decision to leave the disastrous Iran deal was nothing less than a hinge of history. And Israel applauds the Trump administration's determination to re-impose tough sanctions on Iran and those doing business with Iran... Ambassador Bolton, Israel is also grateful for the Trump administration's unequivocal support for Israel in international forums, and on international issues. We hear it every day, on the podiums in the White House, in the State Department, at the United Nations. This is deeply, deeply appreciated, and deeply valued." [Video

-- Bemoaning the “wretched” Iranian nuclear deal, Bolton said the administration was workingto convince European allies “of the need to take stronger steps against the Iranian nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.” 

HEARD YESTERDAY — Bolton on ABC's This Week: “Certainly the objective of the United States, of Israel, President Putin said it was Russia’s objective is to get Iran — Iranian forces, Iranian militias, Iranian surrogates out of the offensive operations they’re in both in Syria and Iraq and frankly, to end Iran’s support for Hezbollah... I think President Putin was very candid in his comments to President Trump, he was to me as well... He said he didn’t have the same interest as Iran in Syria. And that he’d like to talk about ways to get them out of there." [Video]

Meanwhile... Trump administration to pull back funding for Syria reconstruction efforts -- by Karen DeYoung: "The State Department will pull back funding it had allocated to rebuild parts of Syria... Countering the view of critics that ending U.S. stabilization funding will decrease leverage, officials said the United States would remain in control of most of the funding stream from other countries... David M. Satterfield, acting assistant secretary for the Middle East... insisted that, despite Trump’s call for withdrawal, the United States was not leaving Syria anytime soon." [WashPost

Worth noting: President Trump "played a quick round of golf with Senator Rand Paul who the president really likes and enjoys spending time with," the White House said yesterday. Paul, who recently visited Russia, has reportedly dissuaded Trump from pushing regime change in Iran and is strongly opposed to U.S. presence in Syria. 

NY Post editorial... "Russians are now patrolling the Golan Heights: Vladimir Putin’s troops are now patrolling the Golan Heights — and it’s actually the least-bad solution. It’s the best available way to keep Iranian forces away from Israel’s border with Syria. But it also hinders Jerusalem’s ability to strike at those forces... if necessary." [NYPost]

Mark Dubowitz and Ray Takeyh write... "How Trump can avoid falling into Iran’s ‘yap trap’: Trump should insist on direct talks with the supreme leader, as he did with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un: Rouhani is a lame duck without any real influence." [NYPost]

REMEMBERING — Israel mourns late UN chief who ‘opposed attempts to delegitimize Jewish state’: "Israel joined countries around the world in an outpouring of condolences on Saturday after the death of former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan. “We will remember him as having been very active in the international arena and as someone who fought anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. We send our condolences to his widow and his family,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement..." [ToI]  Anshel Pfeffer: The Peacekeeper's Dilemma: Kofi Annan Believed in the UN, but Recognized Its Limitations [Haaretz]

MIDTERMS — J Street withdrew its endorsement of House candidate Rashida Tlaib on Friday after she endorsed a one-state solution: “After closely consulting with Rashida Tlaib’s campaign to clarify her most current views on various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we have come to the unfortunate conclusion that a significant divergence in perspectives requires JStreetPAC to withdraw our endorsement of her candidacy,” J Street PAC said in a statement

IN THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE NEW YORKER — Paul Singer, Doomsday Investor — by Sheelah Kolhatkar: "Singer is often compared to the Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, another major Republican donor, because of their shared support of Israel; both billionaires reportedly backed the push to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Singer far outstrips Adelson, however, in his ability to raise money—he can generate millions for a candidate by hosting a single lunch. “He’s probably one of the most effective, if not the most effective, fund-raiser,” a former Rubio campaign official told me. “He is certainly more politically astute on the mechanics of running a campaign than ninety-nine percent of donors out there.” The campaign official added that Singer approaches campaigns much the way he does investments: “He wants it to be a successful business that makes money. He wants a pathway to victory.” [NewYorker

DONOR CIRCUIT — Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump will headline House Speaker Paul Ryan's annual retreat for top donors and political allies in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The couple will appear tonight in separate conversations led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. [Playbook

SCENE IN THE HAMPTONS — Trump meets with high-dollar donors at Hamptons fundraiser — by Emily Smith: "A witness told Page Six, “The president talked about his accomplishments in office, the strength of the US economy and campaign promises he fulfilled including moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem..." The event was held at the Southampton home of Howard Lorber... Guests included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin... Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman, prominent art dealer and gallerist Bill Acquavella, big real estate developer Lloyd Goldman, Bobby Taubman... ProHealth founder Dr. David Cooper. Also there were Jared Kushner, without wife Ivanka Trump." [PageSix

STATE-SIDE: Helene Miller Walsh, the wife of former Congressman Joe Walsh, has beenappointed to fill the seat of state Rep. Nick Sauer in Ilinois' 51st District. Walsh serves on the board of Haym Salomon Center, a conservative Jewish public policy group. h/t Playbook Illinois

INSIDE THE ADMIN: Speechwriter who attended conference with white nationalists in 2016 leaves White House — by Andrew Kaczynski: "A speechwriter for President Donald Trump who attended a conference frequented by white nationalists has left the White House. CNN's KFile reached out to the White House last week about Darren Beattie, a policy aide and speechwriter, who was listed as speaking at the 2016 H.L. Mencken Club Conference. The Mencken Club... is a small annual conference started in 2008 and regularly attended by well-known white nationalists such as Richard Spencer... The White House, which asked CNN to hold off on the story for several days last week, declined to say when Beattie left the White House." [CNN

SCOTUS WATCH — Noah Feldman writes... "Kavanaugh’s View on Religious School Funding Isn’t a Tipping Point: The latest concern from liberals about the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court is that he might vote to strike down state constitutional provisions and laws that bar direct funding to religious schools. It’s probably accurate, but the issue is more complicated than you might think." [Bloomberg]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT... Cohen, Trump’s Ex-Lawyer, Investigated for Bank Fraud in Excess of $20 Million — by William Rashbaum, Ben Protess and Maggie Haberman: "Federal authorities investigating whether President Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, committed bank and tax fraud have zeroed in on well over $20 million in loans obtained by taxi businesses that he and his family own, according to people familiar with the matter... The inquiry has entered the final stage and prosecutors are considering filing charges by the end of August." [NYTimes

Meet Michael Cohen’s brother, Bryan. He’s an Elliman executive with a $7M connection to Ukraine — by Kevin Sun, Will Parker and Konrad Putzier: "Bryan Cohen... is the chief administrative officer of Douglas Elliman Development Marketing... But he has also moonlighted as a middleman between a Ukrainian agricultural company and the U.S. market. Between 2011 and 2016, the Ukrainian company, Grain Alliance, paid at least $7 million into an LLC registered to Cohen’s home..." [TheRealDeal]

GOP fundraiser Broidy under investigation for alleged effort to sell government influence, people familiar with probe say -- by Carol Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, Ellen Nakashima and Josh Dawsey: "The Justice Department is investigating whether longtime Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy sought to sell his influence with the Trump administration by offering to deliver U.S. government actions for foreign officials in exchange for tens of millions of dollars... " [WashPost]

Judge Dismisses Qatar’s Lobbyist Nick Muzin From Elliott Broidy Hacking Lawsuit — by Julie Bykowicz: "Judge John F. Walter of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Friday dismissed Mr. Muzin and his Washington lobbying firm, Stonington Strategies, from the suit, after concluding that the court didn’t have jurisdiction over the defendants... The judge said the plaintiffs “fail to allege any facts to support” allegations that Mr. Muzin and his firm helped organize and disseminate the stolen emails and “funnel funds to others involved in the attack.” Mr. Muzin said in a statement that he was “grateful to be dismissed from this case” and called it “a just and conclusive result.”" [WSJTwitter]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Jerusalem-born startup advisor Elad Gil is worried that we’re losing our ability to be optimistic about tech [Recode]  As Les Moonves Teeters and the Inquisition Continues, CBS Prepares for the Next Shoe [VanityFair]  Analysts say CBS is trying to distract from its problems by drawing attention to Sumner Redstone's health [WSJ]  Dodgers co-owner buys stake in Beverly Hilton Hotel from Beny Alagem [Bloomberg]  Joseph Chetrit’s NYC Townhouse Sale Is Among 2018’s Priciest [WSJ]  FFA chairman Steven Lowy set to quit role due to politics, taking himself 'out of the equation' [ABC

SPOTLIGHT: Beyond the Saudi spat, Isadore Sharp sees a bright future for Four Seasons — by Rachelle Younglai: "When asked about the recent diplomatic dispute, which saw Saudi Arabia expel Canada’s ambassador, Four Seasons Hotels Ltd. founder Isadore Sharp says he believes Ottawa may have stepped out of line... "When you are dealing with a monarch, he’s the law. He is making sure everybody knows it. I don’t think you mess with somebody like that.” It’s rare for a business leader to speak out against the foreign policy of their own country, especially a seasoned executive like Mr. Sharp, but his experience dealing with Saudi Arabian interests makes him more qualified than most to discuss the Canadian government’s approach."

"Mr. Sharp’s relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began in the mid-1990s, when Four Seasons was under pressure to reduce its debt. He met with Prince Al-Waleed on a yacht on the French Riviera, and the Saudi investor agreed to come to Mr. Sharp’s rescue and take a 25-per-cent stake in the company and allow the hotel founder to keep a controlling position. Just over 10 years ago, Mr. Sharp took Four Seasons private in what he said was a bid to maintain the company’s strategy and direction, selling the majority of the company to Prince Al-Waleed and Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates." [GlobeAndMail

SPORTS BLINK: Bob Kraft gives wheelchair-accessible van to RI family in need — by Justin Dougherty: "New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft handed over set of keys to a brand new wheelchair-accessible van... to the family of Alyssa Silva, who suffers from spinal muscular dystrophy." [WHDH]

Israeli equestrian athlete refuses to compete on Yom Kippur: "Israeli Equestrian rider Dan Kramer, who is scheduled to participate in the world championships next month, generated a controversy in the industry after announcing in a letter to the horseracing federation that he decided not to participate in the competition because it will take place on Yom Kippur." [Ynet

Israel Becomes Hotspot for NBA Stars, and Some Are Catching the Heat — by Elad Zeevi: "A few days before [Victor] Oladipo’s luxury tour of the Holy Land, an aerial photo of Tel Aviv through the window of a plane appeared on LaMarcus Aldridge’s Instagram account... The Western Wall, which has pretty much seen it all, can now check the 2.10-meter (6’11”) all-star from San Antonio [LaMarcus Aldridge] off its list... Just last month, it checked off a 2-meter (6’7”) all-star from Golden State, when Draymond Green slipped a note between the stones... With three such visits in the space of a month, Israel can already be dubbed a tourism trend among NBA players."[Haaretz

Lana Del Rey Defends Decision to Perform in Israel — by Shirley Halperin: "Lana Del Rey has defended her decision to perform at Israel’s Meteor Festival on Friday, Sept. 7. On August 19, the singer wrote, “I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together. Performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics there just like singing here in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment w my current governments opinions or sometimes inhuman actions.”" [Variety]

Israel’s Latest Culture War Plays Out Under the Wedding Canopy — by Isabel Kershner: "Many young Israelis want a more egalitarian ceremony and freedom from the strictures of the rabbinical authorities leading to a surge in alternative weddings. In a country still legislating its national identity and arguing over equality, the wedding wars also reflect broader dissent against what many here view as religious coercion." [NYTimes

PODCAST PLAYBACK — CNN host Jake Tapper talks about covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a podcast with the Times of Israel: “I know I’ve done coverage of the conflict that the Israeli government has praised, and I know I’ve done coverage of the conflict that the Israeli government has hated. And [it’s been] the same thing in the community of people supporting Palestinian rights. I do listen to the criticism, and I do listen to constructive suggestions. But generally speaking, when the trolls attack, I mute it really. If it’s just insults — you’re a self-hating Jew, you’re a blood thirty Zionist, whatever — that doesn’t illuminate anything. I think there’s a kneejerk feeling that if Democrats and Republicans, Israelis and Palestinians, if everyone’s attacking you, I must be doing my job right. I think sometimes that might be accurate, but not necessarily." [ToI

SCENE YESTERDAY — Israeli pols attend the dedication of new Adelson-funded Ariel University medical school — by Yotam Berger: "Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday participated in a dedication ceremony for the new medical school at Ariel University in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, alongside donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Among those attending Sunday’s dedication... were President Reuven Rivlin, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog... At the ceremony, Sheldon Adelson lamented that "young talent has been leaving for alternative universities. In other words, the Jewish state sends Jews abroad to become Jewish doctors... Ariel University will start changing that." [Haaretz

WEEKEND WEDDING — Katie Glueck, a senior political correspondent for McClatchy in New York and Maor Cohen, a second-year M.B.A. candidate at Columbia, were married on Saturday evening at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Va. Rabbi Aaron Miller officiated. [NYTPic

TRANSITION — Jennie Berger is joining the Bill de Blasio Administration as a Senior Advisor in the office of the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Berger previously served as Jewish Liaison for former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and in the past, she worked for Hudson TG and AIPAC. 

DESSERT: Smokin’ in Jerusalem: Harvey’s Smokehouse is the first and only restaurant serving authentic American barbecue in downtown Jerusalem — by Buzzy Gordon: "Restaurateur Harvey Sandler... has been a fixture of Jerusalem’s culinary scene for more than seven years, but his current restaurant has been around for only a small fraction of this time. Until six months ago, the premises had been the long-time home of Gabriel, one of the capital’s leading kosher fine-dining establishments... As a way of appealing both to overseas visitors and the considerable local Anglo population, the chef hit on the idea of introducing real American BBQ to a city where it would fill a real void." [Ynet]

BIRTHDAYS: Director of the National Economic Council at the White House, Larry Kudlowturns 71... Secretary of Labor for the State of Kansas since 2012, she was a member of the Kansas House of Representatives (2001-2012), Lana Goodman Gordon turns 68... Senior director at NYC-based investment bank Maxim Group, he is also president of American Friends of Yeshivat Dvar Yerushalayim and a board member of ZOA, Jay Knopf turns 62... Member of Congress (D-IL-10) who first won his seat in 2012, lost it in 2014 and won the seat back in 2016, Brad Schneider turns 57... Wilmington, Delaware resident and The Jewish Federations of North America's National Campaign Chair, Suzanne B. Grant turns 57... Vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard, he was previously the US Trade Representative (2013-2017), Ambassador Michael Froman turns 56... Moroccan-born French-Israeli billionaire, he is the founder and controlling shareholder of the Altice Group (one of the world's largest telecoms firms including NY-based Cablevision), Patrick Drahi turns 55...

British Ambassador to Israel (2010-2015), the first Jewish UK ambassador to be posted to Tel Aviv, he is now director of cyber security and information assurance in the British Cabinet Office,Matthew Gould turns 47... Director of advocacy communications at CARE USA, he was previously at DC-based First Focus and the Project On Government Oversight, Ari Goldberg turns 45... Deputy director and one of the founders of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, a summer music festival that showcases Jerusalem, Karen Brunwasser turns 42... Lecturer in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and associate director of the Schusterman Center, both at Brandeis University,Rachel Lea Fish, Ph.D. turns 39... VP managing the Iowa office of Cornerstone Government Affairs and executive committee member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, David Ryan Adelman turns 37... Real estate agent, author and television personality as an original cast member on the show Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles on the Bravo television network, Joshua Daniel "Josh" Flagg turns 33... Phoebe Bryan...

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