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FIRST LOOK: Gary Cohn on how he felt after Trump's 'both sides' comments -- in interview with The Financial Times: "I have come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain in my current position. As a patriotic American, I am reluctant to leave my post as director of the National Economic Council because I feel a duty to fulfil my commitment to work on behalf of the American people. But I also feel compelled to voice my distress over the events of the last two weeks. Citizens standing up for equality and freedom can never be equated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. I believe this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups and do everything we can to heal the deep divisions that exist in our communities. As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting 'Jews will not replace us' to cause this Jew to leave his job." [FT]
-- "A source close to Trump predicts he will explode when he reads the Cohn interview... The way Trump will see it, Cohn is siding with the fake news." [Axios]
BEHIND THE SCENES: “Gary Cohn, Trump’s Adviser, Said to Have Drafted Resignation Letter After Charlottesville” by Eileen Sullivan and Maggie Haberman: “In the days after the Charlottesville violence, Mr. Cohn’s family — including his wife — told him he needed to think seriously about departing Mr. Cohn came close to resigning He met with Mr. Trump privately at the president’s golf club in New Jersey last Friday The markets were spooked last week amid fears that Mr. Cohn would resign, and United States stocks dropped until the White House denied the rumor. Mr. Cohn... was deeply troubled by the market reaction, people close to him said.” [NYTimes]
--Former Obama WH Comms Director Dan Pfeiffer tweets: "Gary Cohn and his PR team probably think this article is good for him, it's the exact opposite" [Twitter]
"John McCain’s fan club: The veteran senator has mentored many senators — from both parties — to carry on his foreign policy worldview" by Austin Wright: "McCain likes to engage his fellow senators in in-flight debates. “A lot of people get on a long airplane ride and they’ll put the earphones in and listen to John Grisham or something,” [Sen. Angus] King said. McCain, on the other hand, “was constantly engaged, talking about issues. What are we going to do in the Middle East? What are we going to do with the Palestinians and the Israelis? What should be our role in Syria?”" [Politico]
“Kushner Tours Mideast as Palestinian Patience Wears Thin” by Jonathan Ferziger: “Abbas indicated that the process hasn’t been going smoothly. He described the situation as “difficult and complicated,” indicating growing frustration, after an evening meeting with Kushner at his presidential office in Ramallah. He added that “there is nothing impossible with good efforts.” On Thursday, demonstrators in Ramallah burned an Israeli flag and chanted anti-Trump slogans. One protester held a placard showing Kushner on a leash held by his wife, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who was depicted as wearing a dress made from the Israeli flag. “Kushner is our dog,” the sign said. “This new administration has been very disappointing, and Palestinians do not see any hope,” said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian Authority cabinet member “It looks like this delegation was sent to give the impression that the process is still alive.”
“After Kushner returns to Washington, Trump’s special representative for negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, will remain for follow-up meetings with Israelis and Palestinians, Channel 2 news said. Among his agenda are items aimed at strengthening the Palestinian economy, including meeting with Israeli officials who propose extending the country’s rail network to Jordan.” [Bloomberg]
-- A senior diplomatic source confirmed to Israel Hayom that... Jason Greenblatt... will also discuss the growing concerns by the moderate regional states over Iran's future designs for Syria." [IsraelHayom]
KAFE KNESSET -- How It Played -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: The Kushner-Greenblatt-Powell short visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah hardly made headlines this morning. The niceties of the Kushner-Netanyahu meeting, and the smiles in the Ramallah photo-op, despite clear tensions between the Palestinians and the White House, did not draw much public attention. Only the Adelson freebie, Israel Hayom, featured the event on its front page. Its main rival, Yediot Aharonot, settled for a small mention on page 2 and liberal-leaning Ha’aretz placed its report on page 5. The paucity of coverage reflects a general sense of indifference in Jerusalem to the lingering attempts to renew the Israeli-Palestinian peace process for the umpteenth time.
President Trump himself seemed much more excited, as he reached out to his son-in-law and the Israeli premier with a special Instagram message. “Let’s advance peace prosperity and security in the area. There is no doubt that our relationship is stronger than ever! See you soon,” Trump wrote. The Prime Minister’s Office, however, forgot to mention the President at first. A short readout initially described “effective and substantive discussions on the ways to promote peace and security in the region,” adding that the PM is expecting to continue talks in the coming weeks. A few minutes after the first readout was released, the PMO sent out another, corrected statement, adding a sentence of special gratitude to the President. “The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation to President Trump and his administration for their solid support for Israel.” Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]
“Could this be a game-changer for Middle East peace?” by David Ignatius: “When it comes to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, 50 years of peacemaking history sadly warn us that a new initiative probably won’t work. And Trump’s domestic problems weaken his ability to deliver on Kushner’s advance work. But it must be said: The opportunities for trade, investment and security cooperation between Israel and the Arabs have never been greater.” [WashPost]
“A peace process? Come back another time” by Shmuel Rosner: “To take risks, to make sacrifices, Israel needs to feel secure; it needs to feel that it has backing. If the U.S. is no longer a reliable guardian of Middle East stability and peace, Israel’s inclination to take any risks for a peace it doesn’t feel is a priority will be greatly diminished.” [JewishJournal]
Netanyahu told visiting Members of Congress that moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could 'easily be done' -- by Aaron Magid: Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), who was part of the Republican delegation, told Jewish Insider that Netanyahu “believes is that it could easily be done. In his (Netanyahu) words: 'We already have a consulate in Jerusalem. It’s a matter of just changing the sign to make it the Embassy.'” Netanyahu raised the issue in response to a question by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE). According to Smucker’s recollection of the meeting, Netanyahu “believes that there wouldn’t be a lot of pushback in the event that we do that.” [JewishInsider]
“U.S Vows to Fund a U.N. Agency For Palestinian Refugees Israeli Leader Wants Shuttered” Clum Lynch and Emily Tamkin: “Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has privately assured the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, that the United States will maintain its current levels of funding to the organization. “America has long been committed to funding UNRWA’s important mission, and that will continue,” said one official at the U.S. mission to the United Nations An official at the U.S. mission to the United Nations said that it opposes the adoption of a U.N. resolution that would legally require it to make contributions. Such a requirement, the official suggested, would undercut U.S. leverage that ensures the money is properly spent.” [FP]
“Trump calls Egypt's Sissi, says keen to overcome obstacles” by Ahmed Aboulenein: ““President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi received a phone call tonight from U.S. President Donald Trump who affirmed the strength of the friendship between Egypt and the United States and expressed his keenness on continuing to develop the relationship and overcome any obstacles that might affect it,” Sisi’s office said in a statement late on Thursday.” [Reuters]
"Trump's latest retweet pulls man into controversy over past statement about Jewish drivers" by Colleen Shalby: "During an early morning Twitter storm, President Trump retweeted a meme of himself "eclipsing" President Obama. Then things took a strange turn for Jerry Travone, the man who tweeted the image. He had featured a website where he has an online shop selling pro-wrestling T-shirts in his Twitter bio. But anyone who clicked on the link Thursday morning would have been taken to the Jewish United Fund of Chicago... The Twitter account @OneHourTees... said it had redirected Travone's page to the Jewish United fund, telling Travone that it took action "since you hate Jews." On Sunday, Travone tweeted a statement critical of Jewish people... Travone told NBC News that he wasn't anti-Semitic. "It was just an emotional expression I was referring to Lakewood, New Jersey and the horrible drivers of that town and that happens to be mostly Jewish people that live there." [LATimes]
“Why some Jews still support Trump” by Eitan Arom and Ryan Torok: “Cheston Mizel, president of Mizel Financial Holdings and a congregant of Pico Shul, an Orthodox synagogue in Pico-Robertson, said the attention to Charlottesville and to other presidential controversies has distracted from Trump’s successes, including appointing the pro-Israel Nikki Haley to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and nominating Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. “While there are obviously things that are problematic about this presidency, Nikki Haley and Neil Gorsuch are two clear bright spots,” he said.” [JewishJournal]
“The obscene effort to shame ‘Trump’s Jews’” by Seth Mandel: “The hot new criticism of my fellow Jews is that we don’t complain enough. Really. A host of pundits, concerned about President Trump’s baffling unwillingness to single out neo-Nazis for criticism, are turning to the American Jewish community and pleading: Would it kill you to maybe kvetch a bit?” [NYPost]
“Others fled Trump’s Mar-a-Lago; this group wanted in” by Charles Elmore: “The Boca Raton communications executive is the organizer for “The Truth About Israel,” which aims to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics that left 11 Israeli athletes dead, celebrate Israel and honor the work of Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. “I’m reading about these groups pulling out of Mar-a-Lago and I’m thinking, ‘This is ridiculous,’” [Steven] Alembik said. “Somebody needs to take a stand here and do something With him as president, I don’t have to worry. He’s got Israel’s back.” His organization initially booked the Boca Raton Resort & Club but changed to Mar-a-Lago for the Feb. 25 event. That Feb. 25 date was open because of the cancellation of a fundraising gala by American Friends of Magen David Adom, Israel’s ambulance, blood services and disaster-relief organization.” [PalmBeachPost]
ON THE HILL: "Could Menendez Trial Tip Senate To Trump — Or Cost AIPAC A Pro-Israel Vote?" by Nathan Guttman: "During the 2015 debate over the Iranian nuclear deal, Menendez was one of just four Democrats who sided with the Israeli government, against President Obama, in opposing the deal. He is considered a close ally of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and a safe vote on pro-Israel issues. He is currently a co-sponsor of the AIPAC-backed anti-BDS bill, which has already lost several Democratic supporters following claims that the legislation would infringe on free speech of those wishing to boycott Israel." [Forward]
2020 WATCH: According to Shane Goldmacher of the New York Times, Ron Perelman will be hosting a cocktail reception for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti at his Hamptons home The Creeks on Sunday.
"Franken seen as reluctant 2020 candidate" by Amie Parnes and Devin Henry: "Political associates of Al Franken say they think the Minnesota senator could be talked into running for the White House if he believes he’s the Democrat best positioned to defeat President Trump. But they say Franken would need to be convinced and argue that the former “Saturday Night Live” star would be reluctant to enter a battle with a slew of other Democrats in what’s increasingly expected to be a wide-open race for party’s nomination." [TheHill]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: The investing secrets of hedge fund legend Seth Klarman: Used copies of Klarman's book "Margin of Safety" still sell for nearly $850 online [CNBC] Should tech companies be able to shut down neo-Nazis? [Recode] Apple removes popular apps in Iran due to US sanctions [TheVerge] Israeli startup AppsVillage wants to do for apps what Wix did for websites: make them easier and cheaper to create [ToI]
SPOTTED YESTERDAY: House Speaker Paul Ryan toured the Everett Boeing plant with an El Al 787 serving as a backdrop: “After meeting the team of 777 workers, Ryan toured the interior of an El Al 787 in final assembly.” [MyEverettNews; Pic]
SPOTLIGHT: "A SoftBank fund has made its largest U.S. investment: $4.4 billion in WeWork" by Theodore Schleifer: "SoftBank said Thursday that it would invest $4.4 billion in WeWork in part from its so-called Vision Fund, the fund’s largest U.S. investment to date. The deal routes $3 billion to WeWork through both a purchase of new shares and of existing ones currently held by other investors. Private investors now value WeWork at around $21 billion, a figure that was first disclosed earlier this summer when some initial details of the $4.4 billion investment emerged. Only two privately held companies, Uber and Airbnb, are worth more." [Recode; WSJ]
"How the Booming Israeli Weed Industry Is Changing American Pot" by Yardena Schwartz: "Some Israeli companies have partnered with American companies to establish a presence in the U.S., where they sell products that were developed in Israel. For example, Tikun Olam, Israel's first medical cannabis distributor, opened an American subsidiary in 2016. It now sells its proprietary medical-grade plant strains at 10 dispensaries in Delaware and Nevada and will soon be available at dispensaries in Oregon and California... Some American researchers have even moved to Israel all together." [RollingStone]
COVER STORY: “Gal Gadot on Becoming Wonder Woman, the Biggest Action Hero of the Year” by By Alex Morris: “Nor was it immaterial that Wonder Woman – who, Gadot says, "stands for love and hope and acceptance and fighting evil" – debuted in 1941, the year America entered World War II. While Gadot's father is a sixth-generation Israeli, her mother's mother escaped Europe just before the war. Her mother's father, who was 13 when the Nazis came to his native Czechoslovakia, was not so lucky. His father died in the army. The rest of his family was sent to Auschwitz, where his mother and brother died in the gas chambers. After the war, he made his way to Israel alone. "His entire family was murdered – it's unthinkable," says Gadot. "He affected me a lot It was very easy for me to relate to everything that Wonder Woman stands for."” [RollingStone]
Prada-Owned Label Pulls Yellow Star Clothing Amid Criticism: "The clothing from Milan-based Miu Miu’s pre-fall collection features a five-pointed star with the name John embroidered on it. The Star of David has six points Miu Miu spokeswoman Preia Narendra apologized for causing any offense and says in a statement that “it was not Miu Miu’s intent in any way to make any political or religious statement.” She says the items are being removed from the collection.” [AP]
TALK OF THE TOWN: "Jewish activists target removal of Peter Stuyvesant monuments" by Yoav Gonen and Ruth Brown: "A Jewish activist group is now demanding Mayor de Blasio scrub all traces of the anti-Semitic Dutch governor from city property — even Stuyvesant High School — as part of his campaign to rid the city of “symbols or hate.” “Peter Stuyvesant was an extreme racist who targeted Jews and other minorities including Catholics and energetically tried to prohibit them from settling in then New Amsterdam,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the head of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center." [NYPost]
"Izak Parviz Nazarian, businessman and philanthropist, dies at 88" by Ryan Torok: "Izak Parviz Nazarian, the Iranian-Jewish co-founder of investment firm Omninet and former board member of the technology company Qualcomm, died on Aug. 23 in Los Angeles... Born in a Tehran ghetto in 1929, he was 5 years old when his father died... At 17, he traveled to Italy and fought with the Haganah in Genoa. Later, he moved to Israel and served with the Israeli armored forces in the War of Independence, an experience he would say decades later was among the most important of his life. An injury during the war landed him in the hospital, and, unable to fight, he became the chauffeur for then-Foreign Minister Golda Meir." [JewisJournal]
LIFE LESSONS: "Good News for Young Strivers: Networking Is Overrated" by Adam Grant: "Stop fretting about networking. Take a page out of the George Lucas and Sara Blakely playbooks: Make an intriguing film, build a useful product. And don’t feel pressure to go to networking events. No one really mixes at mixers. Although we plan to meet new people, we usually end up hanging out with old friends. The best networking happens when people gather for a purpose other than networking, to learn from one another or help one another. In life, it certainly helps to know the right people. But how hard they go to bat for you, how far they stick their necks out for you, depends on what you have to offer. Building a powerful network doesn’t require you to be an expert at networking. It just requires you to be an expert at something. If you make great connections, they might advance your career. If you do great work, those connections will be easier to make." [NYTimes]
SPORTS BLINK: "Before Eliana Pieprz moved from America to Israel, she watched Redskins games with her father on Sunday afternoons, like most fans. But once her family settled across the Atlantic Ocean, she had to adjust her schedule. School is on Sundays where she lives and there’s a seven hour time difference to account for. So, instead of homework after class, Sunday nights have now become devoted to football. Which means when the team plays a Monday night game, she tries to keep herself awake while preparing to go to school at halftime. “I support two teams: Washington and whoever beats Dallas,” Pieprz said." [RedskinsBlog]
WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS -- FRIDAY: Television host, best known as host of Let's Make a Deal, Monty Hall (born Monte Halparin) turns 96... Phoenix-based independent writing and editing professional, Leni Reiss... Award winning British novelist who has been described as the "Jewish Jane Austen," Howard Jacobson turns 75... Founder and senior strategy officer at Mosaic H+H Advisors, Harley Mayersohn turns 68... Born in Haifa, the bass guitarist and co-lead singer of Kiss, Gene Simmons (his birth name is Chaim Witz) turns 68... Immediate Past Board Chair of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, Lorin Fife turns 64... Suzanne Schneider turns 41... Former member of the White House National Economic Council during the Obama administration, now a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates, Nathaniel Loewentheil turns 32... Director of state government affairs for the DC-based Organization for International Investment, Evan Hoffman turns 30... Reporter at The Weekly Standard Jenna Lifhits... Adam Friedman turns 22... Carina Grossman... Robert Cohen... Founder/Board Chair of Everybody Dance Now! Jackie Rotman... Program Director at the American Zionist Movement Alicia Post... Manny Haeusler...
SATURDAY: Partner at the DC law firm of Williams & Connolly, his clients include Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Laura Bush and many others, Robert Barnett turns 71... Rabbi (now emeritus) of Congregation Beth Jacob of Atlanta since 1952 and author of many best-selling books, Rabbi Emanuel Feldman turns 90... Iraqi born novelist, now living in Canada, author of more than 30 novels on Jewish themes, Nam Kattan turns 89... CEO of Siegelvision, a brand identity consultancy, he is also the founder and chairman emeritus of global brand strategy firm Siegel+Gale, Alan Siegel turns 79... Mayor of Tel Aviv since 1998, following 26 years in the Israeli Air Force (1963-1989) starting as a fighter pilot and finishing as a brigadier general, Ron Huldai turns 73... Former Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives (2000-2006 and again 2010-2016) who focused on traffic safety after losing a daughter in a 1996 car crash, Irving Slosberg turns 70... Jay Caplan turns 69... Billionaire and board chair of Gap, Inc., a retail chain founded by his parents, Robert J. Fisher turns 63... Journalist and co-author of the Freakonomics series, Stephen J. Dubner turns 54... President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Ilyse Hogue turns 48... Canadian technology and media entrepreneur Lorne Abony turns 48... Deputy General Counsel at ICANN, Samantha Eisner turns 42... John Train... Carrie Shapiro...
SUNDAY: Director of the White House National Economic Council and one of the most influential voices in the Trump administration, he was previously the president and COO of Goldman Sachs (2006-2017), Gary Cohn turns 57... Washington Editor-at-Large of The Atlantic, Steve Clemons... Ambassador of Israel to Poland, she previously was Consul General in San Francisco (1989-1992), ambassador to Ukraine (1999-2003) and ambassador to Russia (2007-2010), Anna Azari turns 58... Israeli diplomat, he was the political officer at the Israeli Embassy in DC (1997-2001) and Consul General of Israel in Boston (2006-2013), he then served as an advisor to President Shimon Peres, Nadav Tamir turns 56... Yuval Sapir... Michael Weiss... Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Finance, Shai Babad...
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