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- The Results of the Iran Nuclear Deal
- Netanyahu to UN Chief: Iran Building Precision Missile Factories in Syria and Lebanon
THE DAILY KUSHNER: "Exiles on Pennsylvania Avenue: How Jared and Ivanka Were Repelled by Washington’s Elite" by Sarah Ellison: "When I asked a longtime associate how Jared and Ivanka felt about their time in Washington, the first word uttered was “sacrificial.” It’s clear that, after an initial period of awe at the sheer power of their positions, Jared and Ivanka have been stung by the vitriol directed at them... "I haven’t had anything to do with them since they moved,” said one New York friend... When they lived in New York, Kushner used to remind Ivanka that “we’re in the zoo, but let’s try hard not to be part of the animals.” He often would add, “You want to be watching.” The friend noted that Kushner has traded up into a higher-powered circle: “He is rolling with the prince of Saudi Arabia and not the real-estate guys anymore.”
"Politics is new to Jared and Ivanka, but it isn’t just politics that they are navigating. They are in a new town that “punctures their self-esteem on a daily basis,” a New York friend of theirs told me. They know they can never have their New York life back as it existed before Donald Trump started his campaign, nor do they want to give up the power of their current positions in Washington. The future unfolding before them looks nothing like the future they may have imagined five years ago. Ivanka may be disingenuous when she says she “didn’t ask for this,” but she is right to say that she didn’t ask for this—that is, for the actual situation in which they find themselves: powerful, in a sense, and yet ineffectual; emotionally essential to Donald Trump, but lacking the skills to assist; impossible to fire and reluctant to leave; compromised ethically and perhaps legally; and facing reputational or familial harm no matter what they decide to do." [VanityFair]
SPOTLIGHT: “The Trouble With Ivanka’s Business Partner” by Ben Schreckinger: "[Ivanka] Trump’s relationship with [Moshe] Lax and the mountain of legal and financial troubles—reported here for the first time based on dozens of interviews and public records—raise serious questions about the first daughter’s judgment, even as she continues to serve as a powerful White House adviser... In March, Trump’s company announced it was discontinuing the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry line to focus on a mass-market collection, leaving the current status of her business relationship with Lax unclear. Until his LinkedIn profile was taken down this week, it listed him as the current chairman of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.” [PoliticoMag; PageSix]
JI INTERVIEW: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) discussed President Trump’s response to the Charlottesville protests and his expectations of Trump fulfilling his campaign promises in an interview with JI’s Jacob Kornbluh. "There is no moral equivalency between people who associate themselves with the KKK and Nazism and those who are opposed to individuals who associate themselves with the KKK and Nazism,” Zeldin said with regards to Trump’s ‘both sides’ remark. “I condemn completely, in the strongest possible terms, anyone who in any way, shape, or form at all associates themselves with the evil bigotry, intolerance, and evil connected to the KKK and Nazism, and the President is in a unique role to play as President of the United States to be able to lead our nation in healing a divide that in many respects he inherited.”
Responding to Bret Stephens' recent NYTimes’s op-ed, in which he questioned why Trump’s Jewish supporters are still sticking with him after failing to follow through on key promises, Zeldin emphasized: “There's a lot of very positive victories that have taken place already that Trump’s political opposition refuses to acknowledge because they have pledged to resist, oppose, and obstruct this president on anything and everything saying you can't work with the president 'cause if you work with him, you're legitimizing his presidency. I don't believe that the Iran deal should be recertified. I also believe that the President is going to move forward with his commitment to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the administration is stating that it's not a matter of if but when, and hopefully, that is done sooner rather than later." Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]
JERUSALEM EMBASSY UPDATE: "Trump team, Netanyahu renew talks on US embassy move to Jerusalem" by Raoul Wootliff: "During that meeting (between Kushner and Netanyahu), the embassy move “was brought up by both sides as part of a productive broad conversation about a number of issues,” a US source familiar with the discussions said Sunday... “Needless to say, the administration’s policy is ‘when not if,'” the source added... A source in the Prime Minister’s Office... confirmed that the issue was discussed but, like their US counterparts, declined to comment on the details of the conversations." [ToI]
ICYMI: Netanyahu told visiting Republican members of Congress earlier this month that the embassy relocation 'could easily be done.' [JewishInsider]
DEAL, ULTIMATELY: “In effort to revive peace talks, US asks PA to halt diplomatic offensive against Israel” by Daniel Siryoti and Erez Lin: “According to the Palestinian official, the Trump administration intends to formulate a diplomatic plan of action that will include a set timetable for the parties to discuss most of the conflict's core issues. As stated, the administration has conditioned its efforts on the Palestinians' "silence" on the diplomatic front against Israel. Abbas agreed in principle to Kushner's request, but asked for Trump's personal guarantee and commitment to the plan and the two-state vision. Kushner and Abbas decided that Trump and the PA president would meet at the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this coming September, and that during that meeting the U.S. president will promise to present the American road map for peace currently in the works The Palestinian source told Israel Hayom that a meeting between all three leaders in New York was a possibility.” [IsraelHayom]
“White House Official: Kushner Never Said Settlement Freeze Will Topple Netanyahu” by Amir Tibon: “A senior White House official strongly denied on Saturday a report in Arab newspaper al-Hayat which said that Jared Kushner... told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel will not be asked to freeze settlement building because that could lead to a breakdown of Benjamin Netanyahu's government. "This is nonsense. This comment was never made."” [Haaretz]
"Jared Kushner’s Mideast Peace Push Is Going Nowhere. That’s Why Israelis Love It" by Benny Avni: “Past American administrations jumped into the peace process pool before checking if there’s any water in it; we jumped after them and cracked our heads,” Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul general in New York, told The Daily Beast. He commended Kushner’s go-slow approach, saying, “Perhaps he’ll realize there’s no water in this pool, and so there's no reason to jump in.” [DailyBeast]
REPORT -- Netanyahu said set to meet Trump in the US in September: "The two are scheduled to meet on September 17 in New Jersey, likely at Trump’s National Bedminster Golf Club." [ToI]
KAFE KNESSET -- UN Chief on 3-Day Visit to Israel -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Israel yesterday for his first visit to the region. His first meeting was last night at the King David Hotel with Jason Greenblatt who stayed in Jerusalem over the weekend after Jared Kushner's visit last week. A senior Israeli official told Kafe Knesset that while Secretary Guterres “respects the US lead in the peace process and has no intention of replacing it, he wants to be involved in the process and help with whatever assistance he can.” The Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts are at the top of Guterres’s agenda for the trip, but Jerusalem has other plans and other burning issues to discuss. “The most pressing problem, the most important thing is Hezbollah and Syria,” PM Netanyahu told Guterres at the opening remarks of their meeting in the PMO. The PM raised Israeli discontent with the UNIFIL’s poor performance in south Lebanon (a cause which was recently embraced by the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, as well) and continuing the campaign against Iran’s growing presence in Syria. Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]
"Hezbollah: Iran’s Middle East Agent, Emissary and Hammer" by Ben Hubbard: "While Hezbollah has extended its regional reach, it has made its greatest foreign investments — and paid the highest costs — in Syria... Its leaders have portrayed the war as a conspiracy by Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia to use extremists to destroy Syria and weaken the pro-Iranian axis in the region. This, in their view, makes their intervention an extension of the “resistance” against Israel. But that argument falls flat for many in the region, who see a military force built to fight Israel turning its guns on fellow Muslims... Hezbollah went to Syria aware that if Mr. Assad fell, it would lose its only Arab state sponsor and the weapons pipeline from Iran. So Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, consulted with officials in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and they made a commitment to back Mr. Assad." [NYTimes]
FOGGY BOTTOM, ROCK BOTTOM: "Rex Tillerson says Trump ‘speaks for himself’ on values" by Anne Gearan: "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has become the latest and highest-ranking administration official to distance himself from President Trump, saying in a Sunday interview that the president “speaks for himself” in his response to racial hatred and violence." [WashPost]
"Trump frustration with Tillerson rising fast" by Jonathan Swan: "President Trump has been growing increasingly frustrated with his Secretary of State... Tillerson's jaw-dropping comments on TV today will likely only worsen their relationship... We've been hearing for weeks, from sources who've spoken to the president, that Trump is getting more and more fed up with Tillerson, who has still yet to staff his agency." [Axios]
One possible scenario for replacing Tillerson: "U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley moves to Foggy Bottom. Then Deputy Secretary National Security Adviser Dina Powell could be promoted to Haley's job in New York, where Powell's family lives." [Axios]
INSIDE THE ADMIN: “Trump confronts unprecedented public rebuke by Gary Cohn after Charlottesville” by Damian Paletta and Philip Rucker: “Privately, a White House official said, Trump was furious about Cohn’s public airing On Wednesday evening, Cohn complained loudly about Trump while dining with friends at a Long Island restaurant called the Frisky Oyster. Cohn explained to his companions — in a loud voice overheard by others — that he had to be careful not to give Trump too much lead time about some new ideas because the president could disclose the information prematurely and upend the planning process “Until [Friday] morning, Gary Cohn was the overall front-runner, in my determination,” to be the nominee for Fed chair, said Alan Blinder, a former Fed vice chairman. “I don’t think so anymore.”” [WashPost]
“Sebastian Gorka Is Forced Out as White House Adviser, Officials Say” by Maggie Haberman and Matt Stevens: “The White House, seeking to blunt Mr. Gorka’s claim that he had resigned, put out an unattributed statement saying that he no longer works in the administration, but that he did not resign.” [NYTimes]
“Gorka comes to defense of McMaster over stance on Israel” by Michael Wilner: “I’m not here to feed stories of palace intrigue – I hate that, and I’m still loyal to the president and his agenda,” Gorka said. But “I have never heard Gen. McMaster say things that are anti-Israeli. I’ve never heard that.” [JPost]
IRAN DEAL: "If Report Says Iran Is Abiding by Nuclear Deal, Will Trump Heed It?" by Gardiner Harris: "A spokesman for AIPAC... refused to answer questions about whether the organization now wanted it scrapped. Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies... said he did not want the deal summarily scrapped... “I’ve shared these ideas with senior people in the administration, and I think there’s an openness to look at a third way,” he said... Simply pulling out of the deal, Mr. Dubowitz said, “would allow Iran to play the aggrieved victim and alienate the Europeans.” The importance of decertification, he said, is that it would help “to build a rap sheet” against small Iranian violations... But Aaron David Miller... called Mr. Dubowitz’s strategy a “Trojan horse that unwinds the deal.” " [NYTimes] White House 'pressuring' intelligence officials to find Iran in violation of nuclear deal [Guardian]
ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: Gillibrand talks anti-BDS bill at a town hall in Kingston: “I will protect your free speech rights to the end of the Earth, you will never have to buy something you don’t want to,” Gillibrand remarked, in response to a question about the Israeli boycott bill, intended to impose sanctions to corporations who support international coalitions against Israel “There has been grave concern about that bill, until they fix it, I will not be on that bill,” she said. Gillibrand also said that she does not believe corporations should have free speech, because they are not people.” [MidHudsonNews]
Rep. Zeldin tells us... “I would encourage any of the Democrats who have withdrawn support to seriously reconsider getting back into the ‘yes’ column because it is a huge concern for our students on college campuses who are being exposed to anti-Semitism and hate through the rising tide of the BDS movement. It's really important to combat the rising tide of anti-Semitism and BDS around our country for this legislation to pass.”
2020 WATCH: “As Trump struggles, some Republicans talking 2020 challenge” by Steve Peoples and Thomas Beaumont: “[Mark] Cuban sees an opportunity for someone to take down the Republican president, who is increasingly viewed as divisive and incompetent even within his own party. “His base won’t turn on him, but if there is someone they can connect to and feel confident in, they might turn away from him,” Cuban told The Associated Press. “The door is wide open. It’s just a question of who can pull it off.”” [AP]
LongRead: "Cash, Speed, and Trust: A Bay Area–based network of wealthy progressives is testing a new model for funding the resistance: Give fast and get out of the way" by Lauren Smiley: "For the Solidaire network and its founder—a 34-year-old oil heiress and newcomer to San Francisco named Leah Hunt-Hendrix—the Krasner primary proved that relatively small amounts of money can have a big impact if given to an on-the-ground organization with deep local ties. Solidaire has 150 members across the country, many of them young inheritors of wealth like Hunt-Hendrix.. A major part of Solidaire’s mission is to rapidly—meaning within days or even hours—fund frontline organizers of the left. In a time when a vast majority of American philanthropy goes to elite universities, hospitals, and foundations (that is, entities that are already pretty rich), Solidaire instead funnels money to organizations that either have little access to capital or are deemed too risky and too radical by most philanthropists."
Overlap with George Soros: "Solidaire has up to 20 overlapping members with the Democracy Alliance, Soros’s secretive national network of super-donors committed to giving at least $200,000 a year to liberal causes. But Solidaire skews younger, has a lower giving threshold at $50,000 a year."
Leah's upbringing: "Hunt-Hendrix makes for an unlikely radical. She is the granddaughter of H.L. Hunt, the billionaire wildcatter of the East Texas oil fields, and among the country’s wealthiest individuals when he died in 1974, a few years before Leah was born. Leah [Hunt-Hendrix] and her five siblings grew up in two cultures: listening to Anita Hill and Gloria Steinem speak at salons convened in their family’s Fifth Avenue home, then spending summers in Dallas at their grandparents’ white-colonnaded estate, Mount Vernon... Heading back to Manhattan for high school... she started to look askance at the Upper East Side charity galas, observing that the elite didn’t seem so much empowered by their money as enslaved to appearing ever richer. “Charity” was aimed at being a palliative to the poor, who remained poor."
"Turned off, Hunt-Hendrix set off to study politics at Duke and then went on to a PhD program at Princeton, where Cornel West was one of her advisers. Studying in the Middle East during grad school, Hunt-Hendrix was invigorated by the weekly Palestinian protests of the West Bank wall from 2006 to 2009. “That’s when she changed,” Hunt recalls. “That’s when Leah saw what could happen when people rose up.” (At the same time, Hunt was herself growing more radicalized: She was arrested for the first time in her life, on the lawn of the Bush White House, in a 2008 Iraq war protest.)." [SanFranciscoMag]
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FIRST LOOK: "How Do You Make a TV Show Set in the West Bank?" by David Remnick: "When [Lior] Raz and [Avi] Issacharoff were interviewed by Dan Senor, a former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, at an AIPAC convention in Washington, D.C., they were cheered like rock stars on a triumphant tour... Raz is taking one meeting after another in Hollywood, and Yes has received a stack of offers from abroad to remake “Fauda” in different languages and settings: in Afghanistan, on the front lines of the Mexican drug trade, in operations against an American white-pride group. Raz is counting on moving his family to Hollywood soon. The “Fauda” cast, too, is relishing its emergence from obscurity. Hisham Suleiman, who plays the lead terrorist in “Fauda,” has become a celebrity at home and beyond.... When I was in Tel Aviv, he visited the city market and the evening news showed footage of him being applauded, complimented, kissed. “It’s crazy,” he told me. “This happens wherever I go!”
"Issacharoff met Raz when they were both young and hanging out in the same bars in Jerusalem. In an early episode of “Fauda,” one of the soldiers in the unit has a love affair with a bartender, who is later killed in a suicide-bombing attack. The episode is dedicated to Iris Azulai, who was Raz’s girlfriend when he was in the Army. “She was my first love,” Raz said. “She was one of the most beautiful women in Jerusalem, an amazing person. I’d been so insecure. I couldn’t believe she’d date me. All my self-confidence in life came from her.” One October morning in 1990, in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, a young Palestinian, Amir Abu Sarhan, a resident of a village near Bethlehem, attacked Azulai, yelling “Allahu akbar! ” as he stabbed her to death with a fifteen-inch knife. She was eighteen. An off-duty police officer heard the screaming, drew his gun, and shot the Palestinian to wound him. He hit him in both legs. But, when the officer came over to arrest him, Sarhan had the strength to pull another knife and stab him to death." [NewYorker]
“Israelis log out of high-tech jobs for a life offline” by Delphine Matthieussent: “[Dotan] Goshen, a graduate of Israel's prestigious Technion technological institute, made a dramatic change of course after his boss called him at home one evening and berated him for not devoting himself sufficiently to his work -- even though he was putting in at least 50 hours a week. The following day, the 37-year-old father of three handed in his resignation and set out to realise his dream of producing organic fruit and vegetables. He is one of a growing number of Israelis who entered the flourishing high-tech industry at a young age before abandoning high-flying jobs and good salaries for a lifestyle more suited to their ideals.” [AFP]
“Conan O’ Brien is in Tel Aviv, and Israelis are loving it” by Ruth Eglash: “Throughout the weekend, Israelis filled social media with messages to the comedian and photos of chance encounters with him Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to meet O'Brien in Jerusalem on Monday, joined in with the national obsession posting a greeting on his Twitter account On Saturday, Conan posted a video on Facebook summing up his impressions. Standing at an overlook in Jaffa with Tel Aviv in the background, he describes tasting “shakshuka,” the popular egg-and-tomato breakfast dish, and drinking a Goldstar beer O'Brien got people here laughing before he had even landed, posting a video from inside the bathroom on an El Al flight, saying he was brushing up on his Hebrew.” [WashPost; Facebook]
TALK OF THE TOWN: "Community hard hit by Hurricane Harvey flooding " by Michael Duke: "Linda Burger, CEO of Jewish Family Service of Houston, lives on the other side of Brays Bayou. The Burgers also re-flooded this weekend. By 7 a.m. on Sunday, the first floor of their home had taken in water. “We are safe, but we have more water than last time,” Burger told the JHV. With roads impassable, offices closed and rain still falling on Sunday morning, Burger said that JFS is working remotely to return phone calls to those in need... Meanwhile, the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC is prepared to serve as an emergency supplies donation and distribution site as soon as the storm lifts. Burger said JFS will have case workers on site at the J to help expedite the recovery process." [JHVOnline]
PROFILE: "Rachel Zabar, Scion of Saul, Eschews Lox for Vintage Couture" by Scene Stealers: "[Rachel Zabar] grew up a couple of blocks away from Zabar’s, which sits at the corner of 80th Street and Broadway. Her father, Saul, and uncle Stanley took over the store from their immigrant parents, who founded it in 1934. Ms. Zabar said her father insisted that his children work in the family business from a young age. “There was no arguing,” Ms. Zabar said. Saul Zabar, 89, remembers it slightly differently. “We let her make her own choices,” he said by phone. “The store was never part of her. We knew that from a very early age.” He added, “She was artistic. Even as a child, she had a natural talent for color and style.”" [NYTimes]
DESSERT: "Why One Nashville Restaurant Made The Rare Choice To Go Kosher" by Emily Siner: "For people in Nashville who keep Kosher, following Jewish dietary laws, there's almost nowhere to dine out. One of the only Kosher-certified establishments was Woodlands, an Indian restaurant on West End — and that closed earlier this year. But now another business has decided to go through the extensive process: Avo, a vegan restaurant housed in an old shipping container off of Charlotte Avenue. Avo's owner was skeptical at first. But after the restaurant received its certification in mid-August, any headache to get there has already paid off." [NashvillePublicRadio]
BIRTHDAYS: Billionaire technology executive, social activist and author, she is the COO of Facebook since 2008 having been VP of global sales at Google (2001-2008), Sheryl Sandberg turns 48... Independent international trade and development professional, Bernard Kupferschmid turns 86... Professor Emeritus of quantum physics at Tel Aviv University, Yakir Aharonov turns 85... Assistant Vice President and special counsel to the President of Queens College of the City University of New York, Jane Denkensohn turns 69... Israeli soldier held captive for over 5 years (2006-2011) by Hamas, Gilad Shalit turns 31...
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