Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: August 29, 2017

White House declines to criticize Bibi's settlement comments | Bolton loses access to Trump | How Bob Iger became an ice cream adviser

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a press conference with the UN secretary general at his office in Jerusalem on August 28, 2017.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a press conference with the UN secretary general at his office in Jerusalem on August 28, 2017.Credit: HEIDI LEVINE/AFP
JI Staff

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INSIDE THE ADMIN: "Trump unusually silent after aides challenge him" by Josh Dawsey, Ben White and Eliana Johnson: "The president, whose approval ratings have dropped into the 30-percent range and who has lost a raft of senior staff members, is loath to get rid of anyone right now, one adviser said. Some close to Trump note that he needs [Gary] Cohn and [Rex] Tillerson, seen as stabilizing forces in his administration, more than they need him at this point... Cohn told associates that he hadn’t heard a word from the president about his supposed anger — and that he didn’t regret one bit having made his comments." [Politico]

"Tillerson's comments defy anything we've seen" by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky: “Former Secretary of State James Baker used to describe himself as the White House's man at the State Department, not State's man at the White House, for precisely this reason. The easiest way to hang a closed-for-the-season sign on the State Department -- at home and abroad -- is to lose the President's confidence. Tillerson wasn't Trump's first choice or probably second choice for the job; and in the odd bureaucratic landscape Trump has created on foreign policy, it's doubtful he ever had the confidence of his boss.” [CNN]

Jennifer Rubin: Put Tillerson out of his misery, Mr. President — just fire him [WashPost

"Two Bankers Are Selling Trump’s Tax Plan. Is Congress Buying?" by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Kate Kelly: "For [Gary] Cohn and [Steve] Mnuchin, quiet competitors since their days as new partners at Goldman Sachs more than two decades ago, the task is a consequential test of whether real-world experience in finance has equipped them to carry out a delicate political negotiation, and whether two Jewish New Yorkers who have been lavish supporters of Democrats can succeed in Mr. Trump’s Washington... Mr. Cohn — who wears monogrammed shirts, gold cuff links and a Rolex watch next to a brown leather bracelet with a “peace” tag and a black beaded one with silver skulls — has brought a brash style and a take-no-prisoners approach to the tax issue... 

"And the two men have been virtually inseparable while working on the tax rewrite, talking at least once a day, dining together more than once a month at such popular Washington spots as Rasika and the Trump International Hotel, and keeping a singular focus on achieving the biggest tax cut possible in line with Mr. Trump’s desires." [NYTimes

"Trump’s most popular Cabinet secretary is Obama holdover" by Arthur Allen: "VA Secretary David Shulkin has proved to be something unique in President Donald Trump's Washington: an Obama appointee nominated by Trump who is beloved by almost everyone and getting stuff done... Shulkin has managed to get work done under an erratic president by “making sure he is not tapped to make decisions outside of Veterans Affairs,” says one colleague. Former President Barack Obama appointed him to lead the VA’s health system in 2015, but “my only party is the veteran’s party,” he told Politico in an interview at his office." [Politico]

FOGGY BOTTOM TRANSITION: “Tillerson to abolish most special envoys, including climate” by Josh Lederman: “But President Donald Trump’s administration plans to keep envoys for religious freedom, fighting anti-Semitism and LGBT rights, despite speculation from critics that it would seek to downgrade those priorities The Trump administration will keep envoys or at-large ambassadors for women’s issues, hostages, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS and Holocaust issues.” [AP

-- “The special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations would remain under the office of the secretary.” [CNN

TOP TALKER: White House declines to criticize Netanyahu for vows to never remove Israeli settlements from the West Bank -- by Aaron Magid: A senior Trump administration official refrained from criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for promising that he would not uproot West Bank settlements. "It is no secret what each side’s position is on this issue,” a senior White House official told Jewish Insider. “Our focus is on continuing our conversations with both parties and regional leaders to work towards facilitating a deal that factors in all substantive issues.”

"We are here to stay, forever," Netanyahu said at an event in the settlement of Barkan, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel. It has been proven that it does not help peace. We've uprooted settlements. What did we get? We received missiles. It will not happen anymore We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle.” [JewishInsider; Haaretz]  

Former Amb. Dan Shapiro tells us how the Obama admin would have reacted... "I think we would have had concerns about the implications of such a declaration for the ability to achieve a two-state solution. Since that was our government's, and Prime Minister Netanyahu's, stated goal, we likely would have pointed out those concerns. The current administration has not yet been as clear about the two-state solution as their objective, so they will have to decide whether a position that no settlements can ever be removed is inconsistent with what they are trying to achieve, and if so, whether to express that publicly or privately. The downside of such public statements, as we sometimes learned the hard way, is that it can cause the Palestinians to harden their stance. But if the Palestinians don't know where this whole effort is leading, they may have a hard time absorbing a statement like last night's in any event."

KAFE KNESSET -- Greenblatt's tour -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: Aside from periodic leaks from the Palestinian and Arab press (which are usually staunchly denied by the White House), not many details of the peace talks have made it to the media. Thus, journalists are left to explore Jason Greenblatt's social media accounts and speculate and read between the lines. Greenblatt dedicated yesterday to meetings with Palestinian opinion makers, activists, and civil society members. These efforts took place against the backdrop of criticism by Ramallah officials over Greenblatt's pro-Israel stance. He met with a group of Gazans for the second time, and moved on to a meeting with pollsters Khalil Shikaki and Ghassan Khatib "to understand more about Palestinians' views on peace." Greenblatt then continued to a private tour of Rawabi, the first planned city built for and by Palestinians. Greenblatt tweeted, "Very impressed by visit to Rawabi City developed by my friend Bashar Masri. Maybe we’ll try the zip line next time!" Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT -- “Trump Associate Boasted That Moscow Business Deal ‘Will Get Donald Elected’” by Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman: “The business associate, Felix Sater, wrote a series of emails to Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, in which he boasted about his ties to Mr. Putin and predicted that building a Trump Tower in Moscow would be a political boon to Mr. Trump’s candidacy. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Mr. Sater wrote in an email Mr. Sater presented himself as so influential in Russia that he helped arrange a 2006 trip that Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, took to Moscow. “I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin,” he said... In a statement, [Ivanka Trump] said that she took “a brief tour of Red Square and the Kremlin but I have never met President Vladimir Putin.” She did not say whether she sat in his chair.” [NYTimes

“Top Trump Organization executive asked Putin aide for help on business deal” by Rosalind S. Helderman, Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger: “Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower - Moscow project in Moscow City,” [Michael] Cohen wrote [Dmitry] Peskov (the Kremlin’s top press aide)... “As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon,” Cohen wrote Cohen’s email marks the most direct interaction yet documented of a top Trump aide and a similarly senior member of Putin’s government.” [WashPost

COMING SOON: ‘Steve Bannon to Speak at ZOA Gala” by Rosie Gray: “ZOA president Morton Klein confirmed that Bannon is on the lineup to speak at the November 12 event in New York, saying “All I can tell you is Steve Bannon is going to be at the dinner.” Bannon may introduce ZOA’s top donor Sheldon Adelson at the dinner; Klein said “I don’t know if he’ll be introducing” Adelson but that it’s a “special appearance by Steve Bannon.” Other guests include Joe Lieberman, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, and Sen. Tom Cotton.” [TheAtlantic

Flashback: Bannon a No-Show At ZOA Dinner [JewishInsider

IRAN DEAL -- John Bolton complains he has lost access to Trump to influence on Iran nuclear deal: “Steve Bannon asked me in late July to draw up... a game plan for the president — the option he didn’t have — which I did. Here it is. It is only five pages long, but like instant coffee, it can be readily expanded to a comprehensive, hundred-page playbook if the administration were to decide to leave the Iran agreement. There is no need to wait for the next certification deadline in October I offer the Iran nonpaper now as a public service, since staff changes at the White House have made presenting it to President Trump impossible. Although he was once kind enough to tell me “come in and see me any time,” those days are now over. If the president is never to see this option, so be it.” [NationalReview

Shut Out of the White House, Iran Hawk Makes Public Appeal to Trump" by Dan De Luce: "A source involved in the Iran policy discussions at the White House confirmed that Bolton was in and out of the Oval Office for at least several weeks. At one point, he was even offered the possibility of serving as deputy national security advisor, with the idea that he might eventually get to replace H.R. McMaster... It now appears that with Bannon gone, Bolton no longer has access to the Oval Office." [FP]

"Iran rejects U.S. demand for U.N. inspector visit to military sites" by Parisa Hafezi: “Iran’s military sites are off limits... All information about these sites are classified,” Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht told a weekly news conference broadcast... “Iran will never allow such visits. Don’t pay attention to such remarks that are only a dream.” [Reuters]  New Hamas leader says it is getting aid again from Iran [AP]

2018 WATCH: GOP Candidate for Governor Says George Soros Rant Not Racist: "A Pennsylvania state senator seeking next year's Republican nomination for governor says he doesn't plan to apologize for calling billionaire Democratic donor George Soros "a Hungarian Jew" with "a hatred for America." Sen. Scott Wagner told the York Daily Record on Monday that... if Soros was Catholic, he'd have called him a Hungarian Catholic, and meant no offense by it... On Monday, the state Democratic Party described Wagner's comments as anti-Semitic. Wagner says he has a long record of donating to the York Jewish Community Center." [ABCNews]

2020 WATCH: "The 2020 campaign just kicked off in a New Hampshire strip mall" by Edward-Isaac Dovere: "Just like that, the 2020 retail campaigning for president began right here in a strip-mall campaign headquarters Monday, when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti showed up for what he called 'the most important race in the country.' He was talking about the Manchester mayor's election. Joyce Craig, the Democratic candidate, invited him to join her... Garcetti worked the crowds, introduced himself as 'Eric,' and took a bumper sticker and put it on the back of the black SUV he was driving around in... On Labor Day, both Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jason Kander, the Democrat who narrowly lost his U.S. Senate bid in Missouri last year, will be back." [Politico]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Gilead Sciences Inc. on Monday agreed to pay about $11 billion for Israeli-American company Kite Pharma Inc., an ambitious bet on a new type of cancer therapy that is on the brink of becoming commercially available in the U.S. [WSJ]  Big companies are fueling WeWork’s growth [Recode]  How Westfield is combating the Amazon threat with digital upgrades at its malls [Digiday]  Mark Cuban’s New Blockchain Project: The Future of Social Media and Messaging? [Fortune]

“Teva Pharmaceutical is a generic manufacturer with a particular problem: It can’t find a leader or a strategy—at least not in Israel” by Devin Leonard and Yaacov Benmeleh: “Some Teva [Pharmaceutical Industries] employees may not be around to see another CEO. The company plans to lay off 7,000 worldwide before the end of the year. At Teva’s Kfar Saba plant north of Tel Aviv, the workers have hung banners in the hallways reading “We won’t be the victims.” “My heart hurts with what’s happening to Teva,” says Eliran Kozlik, chairman of the factory’s labor union. “Every day, I’m following the stock.” In the lobby a little later, he checks Teva’s share price on his phone and groans. It’s down an additional 4 percent so far that day.” [Bloomberg

"Why the rise of Iranian-Americans in tech is no surprise" by Connie Loizos: "Longtime Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has put Iranians and Iranian-Americans in the spotlight. In part, that’s because the 48-year-old, just elected to become Uber’s new CEO, fled Iran with his family at age 9 to escape the Iranian Revolution. In part, his ties to other people of Iranian descent in the U.S. tech world are, well, extensive... Venture capitalist Pejman Nozad, who was practically penniless and unable to speak English when he moved to the U.S. from Iran in 1992, says that neither Khosrowshahi’s success, nor that of his extended network, should come as a shock to anyone who knows how Iranian families tend to operate — putting family and friends first, followed closely by a dedication to study, particularly of math and science." [TechCrunch]

TALK OF THE NATION: "What did it take to finally unite Al Sharpton and Jews? Donald Trump" by Dana Milbank: "President Trump has united us, after all. He brought together the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Jews. This modern-day miracle was on display Monday, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Mall, 54 years to the day after the great man gave his greatest speech... Sharpton has been a controversial figure in the Jewish community for decades... But that was long ago, and a rehabilitated Sharpton... made Jews the centerpiece of his Thousand Minister March for Justice on Monday... A cantor led the crowd in the Hebrew song “Hine Ma Tov” ... A black Jewish woman in a tallit... spoke, and a rabbi blew a shofar." [WashPost

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Jewish Community Mourns Couple Killed in House Fire” by Sarah Maslin Nir: “Neighbors clustered below, whispering in English and Yiddish about how hours before some had watched helplessly as an early-morning blaze tore through the home in the largely Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish community. As the fire burned, a teenager who lived there had stood on that roof, begging someone to save her parents, trapped inside. Her parents, Chaim Eluzer Shulem Gluck, 61, and Faigy Gluck, 59, were found unconscious in the home.” [NYTimes

TRANSITION: George Selim, former Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Director of the Office for Community Partnerships (2015-2017), was hired by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to serve as Senior Vice President of Programs. In this newly created position, Selim will lead ADL’s education, law enforcement, and community security programs, and oversee its Center on Extremism in this newly created position.

Jeffrey Herbst, who led the Newseum for the past two years, has stepped down as president and CEO: "Jeff Herbst is a strong leader whose accomplishments included raising the profile of the Newseum, increasing its fundraising base, and contributing to important national debates on freedom and free expression. We’re grateful for his leadership,” said Peter Prichard, chair of the Newseum." [BusinessWire]

MAZEL TOV: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife welcome new baby girl: “The couple posted a photo of the family Monday, along with a letter they wrote to August hoping she will get to enjoy her childhood.” [AP

Israel’s embattled PM shows lighter side with Conan O’Brien: "The two traded barbs over a meal at the prime minister's residence as they tossed cucumbers to his dog, Kaya. Netanyahu quipped that the fluffy white dog is "paler than you," while the fair-skinned O'Brien offered that "if you try to give an American dog a cucumber, he would punch you."" [AP; Video

SCENE YESTERDAY -- The American Zionist Movement (AZM) marked 120 years since the global Zionist movement was founded at the site of the official Theodor Herzl Memorial, located in Freedom Square Park in Queens, NY. Speakers included Galit Peleg, Israeli Consul for Public Diplomacy, AZM's Herbert Block, World Zionist Organization's Dr. Esther Serok, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, and HWZOA's Ellen Hershkin. [Pic]

DESSERT: "Brooklyn’s Ample Hills Positions Itself to Be the Next Ben & Jerry’s" by Larissa Zimberoff: "Ample Hills’ connection to Disney goes beyond the Star Wars franchise. One day early in the company’s history, Smith spotted Bob Iger’s name on his e-commerce order sheet. It was a short list: Not many people order ice cream online. “Iger, the CEO of Disney, must love ice cream,” Smith thought... Iger emailed Smith with the message that he thought the ice cream was great. Iger ended by writing, “If you ever want sage advice from a guy who’s been in business for a long time, feel free to get in touch.” For Smith, it was surreal. “Your jaw drops and you say, ‘Is this really Bob Iger?’ ” He emailed right back: “Bob, I could use some advice.” 

"The relationship between Ample Hills and Iger flourished. “I gave everyone ice cream. By the way, I don’t eat much ice cream,” Iger said in a phone interview. “Everyone thought I had lost my mind.” He sent pints to Jimmy Kimmel, Mike Nichols, J.J. Abrams, Tom Hanks, Oprah. Everyone reveled in Iger’s new sweet tooth. Iger and Smith have been talking for well over three years now. Among the many pieces of advice Iger passed along was not to sell a big chunk of Ample Hills to a single investor early on, and to keep the new factory in Brooklyn, even if it cost more. “I have the luxury of collecting a lot of wisdom from business decisions, not that all of it is applicable to an artisan ice cream shop. [Yet] it’s been nice to impart that wisdom to someone I like so much, and to help a high-quality product thrive.” Iger is not an investor in Ample Hills, but he does admit to having regular helpings of the stuff, including, of course, the Star Wars flavors." [Businessweek]

BIRTHDAYS: Former US Secretary of the Treasury (2013-2017), Jacob Joseph 'Jack' Lew turns 62... Former US Secretary of the Treasury (1995-1999), Robert Rubin turns 79... Lakewood, Caifornia resident, Joe Lissak turns 83... Long time movie and television actor, Elliott Gould (born Elliott Goldstein) turns 79... Philanthropist and hotel / real estate mogul, she is an attorney and co-founder of Ogden CAP Properties and co-founder of Dog Tag Bakery, Connie Milstein turns 71... Dean of Duke Law School since 2007, he was previously a US District Court judge based in Sacramento (1990-2007), David F. Levi turns 66... Los Angeles resident, Warren Stern turns 65... Senior Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, Amy L. Nathan turns 62... CEO of the Consumer Technology Association and author of the New York Times best-seller "Ninja Innovation," Gary Shapiro turns 61... Journalist, author, blogger and former editor for the Jerusalem Post, Lisa Frydman Barr turns 53... Election law guru and head of the DC office of Clark Hill PLC, Charlie Spies turns 45... Rosh Yeshiva / Head of School at Bnei Akiva Schools in Toronto, Rabbi Seth Grauer turns 39... Manager of government relations in the philanthropy practice at DC-based Van Scoyoc Associates, she was previously a manager at Jewish Women International, Robin Rubin... Partner at DC-based HLP&R Advocacy (a government affairs and public policy firm), he was previously a chief of staff or legislative director for four members of Congress (2003-2016), Jerr Rosenbaum... Adam Shapiro (h/ts Playbook)...

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