Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: August 3, 2018

White House Mideast team staffing up ahead of peace plan rollout | United's new DC-Tel Aviv route | Paul Ryan's welcome package

Donald Trump Jr., the son of U.S. president Donald Trump attends his divorce hearing from Vanessa Trump at the New York State Supreme Courthouse in New York City, U.S., July 26, 2018
\ POOL/ REUTERS

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DRIVING THE CONVO: Donald Trump Jr. compares Democratic platform to 1930-era Nazis — by Stephanie Murray: “President Donald Trump’s oldest son made the comments at an event for conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza’s new film: “Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party.” “You see the Nazi platform in the early 1930s and what was actually put out there, and you look at it compared to, like, the DNC platform of today, and you’re saying, ‘Man, those things are awfully similar,’ to the point where it’s actually scary, and to me that was one of the most striking things I took from the movie because it’s the exact opposite that you’ve been told,” Donald Trump Jr. said during an interview with One America News Network.”

“The president’s son did not address the members of the so-called alt-right who self-identify as Nazis and white supremacists.” [Politico

Abe Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and former National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, tells us... "This is 1984 Doublethink. I would like to believe that it is not true, but unfortunately, it is! Sadly it is being pronounced by the people who brought back Lindbergh’s America First, that there are good Nazis, and who brought you separating children from parents. It is hideous to compare Trump to Hitler or Mussolini, and it is more hideous to compare the DNC agenda to the Nazi platform. Somebody please take Donald Jr. to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or to Auschwitz so he may learn what the Nazi platform was all about." 

Aaron Keyak, co-founder of Bluelight Strategies, emails us... "After President Trump’s response to Charlottesville and his general reluctance to strongly condemn neo-Nazis, it’s not a surprise that his son doesn’t know his Nazi history. Of course, this is all deeply disturbing and damaging, but the real question is what are Trump’s supporters going to do about it?”

Alan Dershowitz shares some of the hate mail he got for defending President Trump on TV: “One email that begins by calling me “a piece of s---” continues with the following: “Despite what Zionists such as yourself want the rest of us to believe, the world doesn’t revolve around Jews.” Another says that alleged support for President Trump is “All about Jerusalem as the capital, and loving Israel to you, just move there.” ...  Yet another accused me of saying what I say for “The Money” and accusing my “home country,” Israel, of being like the “f------ Nazis.” He ends his email by acknowledging that “I don’t like Jewish people.”

"Then there are the anti-Trump extremists who compare Trump to Hitler and compare those of us who defend his civil liberties to those who brought Hitler to power. One email addresses me as “Alan ‘Goebbels’ Dershowitz.”” [TheHill]  

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH: White House Mideast team staffing up for peace plan rollout — by Matt Lee and Zeke Miller: "The National Security Council last week began approaching other agencies seeking volunteers to join the team, which will work for President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace pointmen Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt... The team, which is being set up to organize the peace plan’s public presentation and any negotiations that may ensue, will comprise three units: one concentrating on its political and security details, one on its significant economic focus and one on strategic communications." 

"The State Department, Pentagon, intelligence agencies and Congress have been asked to detail personnel to the team for six months to a year." [AP]

REPORT: US postpones rollout of Mideast 'deal of the century' — by Daniel Siryoti, Ariel Kahana and Erez Linn: "[A] U.S. official said the administration has already decided not to present the peace plan before the congressional mid-term elections on Nov. 6 because certain components of the plan call for Israeli concessions and could harm Republican candidates' election bids."

"The official also said that if Israel goes to elections after the Jewish holidays this September, then the administration would postpone the peace plan even further... Announcing the peace plan during an Israeli election campaign "would play into the hands of [Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali] Bennett and the administration understands this," the official said... "It appears, therefore, that the sides would rather play it smart and simply wait until the elections are over, in the U.S. and in Israel," the official said." [IsraelHayom]

Zev Chafets writes... "Israel’s Opposition Took the Bait of Bibi’s New Law: Prime ministers stay in power one election at a time, and Bibi intends to win re-election to a fourth consecutive term. His right wing coalition partners will be with him because they have nowhere else to go. But if he makes inroads in the center, he can have the kind of broad government he has dreamed of. If that comes to pass, he will look back on the 19th of July, 2018 as the day his opponents walked into the trap by voting against a bill that happens to enshrine the most cherished values of the Israeli mainstream." [BloombergView]

Jerusalem fast-tracks approval of major US embassy expansion: "The plans, reported by Hadashot TV news on Thursday, include an expansion of office space, creation of new entrances, and additional areas for providing services to the public... Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat welcomed the expansion. “The permits that I signed yesterday for the US embassy in Jerusalem are another stage in establishing and setting the role of the embassy in Israel’s capital,” he said." [ToI]

TALK OF THE REGION: Hamas Debates Cease-Fire With Israel as Leaders Head to Gaza — by Jonathan Ferziger: "Salah al-Arouri, Turkey-based deputy head of the militant group that rules Gaza, and Mussa Abu Marzuk, another senior leader, crossed from Egypt to Gaza for three days of talks, spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in an email... Netanyahu’s deputy minister for public diplomacy, Michael Oren, acknowledged that efforts were being made to halt the violence, without discussing Israel’s involvement." [Bloomberg]

-- “Permitting a delegation with this level to come to Gaza is a clear sign that there are first of all guarantees that the delegation will not be targeted by the Israelis, and a sign that there are serious meetings to be held in Gaza,” said Bassem Naim, a Gaza-based Hamas official." [AP

PROFILE: The man trying to save Gaza — by Itamar Eichner and Elior Levy: “Israeli officials agree that [Nickolay] Mladenov is the most active UN envoy the region has seen in recent years. That is considered a compliment, as Israel generally views UN personnel with suspicion for their generally pro-Palestinian views He is very familiar with Israel and the Israelis and is deeply involved in politics... Mladenov was also able to earn the trust of Hamas, and it is no wonder that in each of the recent escalations, the terrorist organization was quick to turn to him (in addition to Egypt, of course) to achieve a cease-fire Israel views Mladenov as the man who can find a solution to the Gaza mess, despite the difficulties The Americans also admire him, and Jared Kushner is in touch with Mladenov regarding a tentative American peace initiative that will surely place an emphasis on Gaza.” [Ynet

WELCOMING COMMITTEE — House Speaker Paul Ryan received a warm welcome after it was revealed that he's slightly Jewish. Yesterday, The Manischewitz Company, the largest marketer of Kosher Foods in North America, sent a letter to Ryan introducing him to the traditional kosher products and offering him some tips to jump-start his education on Jewish culture.

The top ten tips include making "sure to clear your calendar on Friday nights or Saturday mornings for Shabbat; be prepared to gain a few pounds, Jewish grandmothers will never believe you when you say you’re full" and "make sure to learn the hora because if you don’t, you may get injured." Read the full letter here

-- Dan Senor tweets: "Look, Speaker Ryan is a team player — so he’ll roll with it — but he did NOT know that Kosher-for-Passover macaroons were part of the deal." 

Stephen Colbert Offers to Circumcise ‘Slightly Jewish’ Paul Ryan on ‘Late Show’ — by Ryan Reed: "Colbert offered to recruit a mohel and stage a “live bris” on The Late Show. “Think of it this way, Paul,” he added, sneaking in one final diss. “The foreskin is only one percent... and we know how much you love cuts for the one percent!” [RollingStone; Video]

TENNESSEE PRIMARY RESULTS: David Kustoff holds off George Flinn challenge for Eighth District GOP nomination — by Ted Evanoff: "U.S. Rep. David Kustoff held off a challenge from Dr. George Flinn Jr. to win the Republican nomination in the Eighth District Thursday. Incomplete and unofficial vote totals showed Kustoff with 57,391 votes, or 56 percent, compared to 40,673 for Flinn, or about 40 percent." [CommercialAppeal]

Controversial former GOP lawmaker fails in comeback bid — Sheila Burke and Adam Beam: "Stacey Campfield finished third in a GOP primary for House District 89 in the Knoxville area, one of 86 contested state legislative races in Tennessee on Thursday... He once likened the insurance requirement under President Barack Obama’s health care law to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust." [AP

Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Too Far Left for Hollywood? -- by Peter Kiefer: "In a break with tradition, Ocasio-Cortez, who labels herself a democratic socialist, has no plans to meet with any of the entertainment industry's Democratic political power brokers while she is in town. She will not be having coffee with Carl Reiner. There will be no sitdown with Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen or Haim Saban. No $5,000-a-plate dinner at Robert Iger's mansion in Brentwood." [HollywoodReporter; NYPost]

MIDTERMS: Steve Bannon Is Trying To Set Up A “2018 War Room.” Will Trump Care? — by Tarini Parti: “Bannon is expected to launch a “2018 war room,” according to two sources, to try to shape the midterm elections messaging on behalf of Republicans Former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg told BuzzFeed News he will have a senior role in it." [BuzzFeed

Tommy Robinson case exposes links between far-right in US and UK -- by Henry Mance: “Mr Robinson’s case was championed on Fox News, the US network beloved of Mr Trump, and an online petition calling for his release gained more than 630,000 signatories, many from the US. His legal fees were paid by the Middle East Forum, a conservative US think-tank (led by Daniel Pipes) that has previously supported Dutch populist Geert Wilders.” [FinancialTimes

IN THE SPOTLIGHT Top Trump Donor Agreed to Pay Michael Cohen $10 Million for Nuclear Project Push, Sources Say -- by Michael Rothfeld, Rebecca Ballhaus and Joe Palazzolo: “A major donor to President Trump agreed to pay $10 million to the president’s then-personal attorney Michael if he successfully helped obtain funding for a nuclear-power project, including a $5 billion loan from the U.S. government” [WSJ

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Selling Millennials Home Insurance Is Lemonade’s Novel Pitch [Bloomberg]  Les Moonves Breaks Silence On CBS Earnings Call But Sticks To Numbers [Deadline; NYT]  Media Veterans Betsy Morgan, Brett Bouttier and Jeff Berman Form Venture To Acquire Consumer Businesses [Deadline]  Papa John's hires Ari Emanuel's ad agency to get past N-word controversy [CNNMoney]  Bossert debacle: No opening in sight for beloved Brooklyn Heights hotel [BrooklynPaper]

Univision’s Saban Wants to Hand Chairman Post to Tribune Media Chief -- by Gerry Smith, Nabila Ahmed and Kiel Porter: "Billionaire Haim Saban is considering stepping down as chairman of Univision Holdings Inc. and has told associates he wants Peter M. Kern to take his place at the Spanish-language media company... Kern, the chief executive officer of local TV station owner Tribune Media Co., is already advising Univision CEO Vincent Sadusky, who replaced Randy Falco this year... Saban has no immediate plans to step down from the board, in part because his succession has been complicated by regulators’ resistance to Tribune’s sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc." [Bloomberg]

Kara Swisher writes... "The Expensive Education of Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley: Mr. Zuckerberg is now trying to fend off talk in Washington of regulating his company like the thing he once told me it was: a utility. He has also spent the last month meeting over dinners with a range of academic experts on free speech, propaganda and more to try to understand where to go from here. Call it the education of Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley, but on the world’s dime. How much that has — and will — cost is probably immeasurable." [NYTimes]

PODCAST PLAYBACK: Mila Kunis Shares How Her Family Does Shabbat — by Emily Burack: "Mila Kunis... who is married to Ashton Kutcher and is mom to Wyatt, 4, and Dimitri, 2, recently dished to actor/podcast host Dax Shepard about how her family always makes time to do Shabbat on Friday nights... “I’m not religious, at all, but Ashton is... When we started dating, Ashton was very religious,” and she was “not religious whatsover.” So she told him, “listen buddy, I love you, so very much, let’s like find a happy medium here.” And what was that happy medium? Shabbat. She tells Shepard that even though “normal Shabbats are hours long, and require a lot of work,” her family’s Shabbat is just about spending time together."

“Our kids are going to get older, and they’re not gonna want to spend time with us. Just what happens,” she adds. “Too bad, so sad, you’re going to have dinner with us. So that, to me, was like — Friday night, we’re all going to get together, and we’re all just going to talk. And we’re gonna talk about the week.” ... Kunis, furthermore, says her kids know all the blessings in Hebrew. And she only says the lighting of the candles part, and the rest is said by Kutcher." [Kveller; ArmchairExpertPod]

Spike Lee Takes On the Klan -- by Salamishah Tillet: “Adam Driver, who plays Ron Stallworth’s partner, Flip Zimmerman, the Jewish police officer who goes undercover with the Klan, said the political weight of the film’s message hit home. “The town I was from” — Mishawaka, Ind. — “had a Klan presence, and there were rallies and fights every summer in South Bend,” Mr. Driver said. “And then suddenly, I am acting in a movie and am putting on Klan paraphernalia.” Aware that the film’s success depended on audiences not simply seeing Mr. Stallworth’s story as a history lesson, Mr. Lee knew that he also needed to update it. Which is why images from the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, end the movie. Mr. Lee knew that he had to make the connection between the 1970s and the world today explicit. [NYT

TRAVEL TALK: United adds Israel route from its Washington Dulles hub — by Ben Mutzabaugh: "The carrier will add non-stop service to Tel Aviv from its hub at Washington Dulles, offering three flights a week starting May 22. United says its new Washington Dulles-Tel Aviv routes will include connecting options for about 70 U.S. destinations, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth Houston, and Miami." [USAToday]

HAPPENING ON SUNDAY -- Long Island Ducks Go Kosher For One Night Only: “The fourth annual Jewish Heritage Night with the Long Island Ducks will take place on Sunday.. at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip Jewish Heritage Night will be the only game of the year in which kosher food will be available for game-goers Jewish music will be played throughout the evening and complimentary "l'chaim stadium cups" will be distributed.” [Patch

PIC OF THE DAY: Legendary New York Yankees superstar pitcher Mariano Rivera toured the Michve Alon IDF base in the Galilee on Tuesday as part of a spiritual interfaith mission led by The New York Board of Rabbis. [Pic]  Rivera also met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem [Pic]

REMEMBERING: Charles Docter, promoter of downtown Washington revitalization, dies at 86 — by Bart Barnes: "Charles A. Docter, a bankruptcy lawyer for a half century who simultaneously pursued a second career as a 12-year member of the Maryland House of Delegates and then a third career as a promoter of downtown Washington revitalization, died July 27 at a medical-care center in Washington... Charles Alfred Docter was born into a Jewish family in Hamburg on Aug. 5, 1931 — two years before Adolf Hitler came to power. He and his family left Germany three months before the anti-Semitic Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, and they settled in Cincinnati." [WashPost]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Retired NFL Head Coach, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Marv Levy turns 93... English actor, known for his roles as the villain in both James Bond and Rambo films, Steven Berkoff turns 81... Sephardic rabbi and rosh yeshiva in Tel Aviv, he was a member of the Knesset for the Shas party (1992-1996), Rabbi Moshe Maya turns 80... EVP of the UJA-Federation of New York (1993-2015), Vice Chancellor of JTS (1985-1993) and Education Director at the 92nd Street YM-YWHA (1980-1985), John S. Ruskay turns 72... Chairman and CEO of Savills Studley, Mitchell S. Steir turns 63... Board Member of both the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and the LA Museum of Contemporary Art, Orna Amir Wolens turns 57... Former aide to Senator Schumer, then senior adviser to President Clinton at the White House and thereafter, now President of DC-based Freedman Consulting, LLC, Thomas Z. Freedman turns 55... Political journalist, a Rhodes Scholar and editor-in-chief and chairman of Slate Group, Jacob Weisberg turns 54... Russian-born Canadian entrepreneur, he developed the 65-story Trump International Hotel in Toronto and he leads the Jewish Russian Community Centre of Ontario, Alexander Shnaider turns 50... Member of the New York Daily News editorial board and the paper’s opinion editor, Josh Greenman turns 45... National Security Advisor in the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jeffrey A. Dressler turns 34... Director of development at the Anti-Defamation League, Erica Greenblatt turns 34... Associate at McKinsey & Company, Carrie Keller-Lynn... Program Officer at The Natan Fund, Adina Poupko turns 30... Ariana Kaufman... Leigh Bonner...

SATURDAY: Owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Sheldon Adelson turns 85... The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama turns 57... Professor of American history at Yeshiva University and Stern College, expert on the history of McCarthyism, Dr. Ellen Schrecker turns 80... Talmudic scholar, Av Beit Din (head of the rabbinical court) of Mekor Haim in Queens, New York and a prominent leader of New York's Sephardic Jewish community, Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim turns 78... Member of the Knesset since 2013 for the Yesh Atid party, she served as mayor of Herzliya between 1998 and 2013, Yael German turns 71... Long-time member of the Knesset for Likud (1992-2015) including multiple ministerial positions, Silvan Shalom turns 60... Executive producer of "Live with Kelly and Ryan," Michael Gelman turns 57... Executive Editor of PwC's management magazine "Strategy + Business," Daniel Gross turns 51... Co-founder of the music and culture magazine The Source, Jonathan Shecter turns 50... CEO of Aspiration Andrei Cherny turns 43... Jonathan Keyson turns 26... Natalie Roberts... Evelyn Murphy...

SUNDAY: Former member of the New York State Senate (1961-1994) and a founding partner of the New York law firm of Ohrenstein & Brown, Manfred Ohrenstein turns 93... Historian, Nazi hunter and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, Efraim Zuroff turns 70... Banker, once known as "Austria’s woman on Wall Street" and founder of Bank Medici in 1994, Sonja Kohn turns 70... Former Soviet Refusenik, moved to Israel in 1987, elected to the Knesset in each of the last seven elections since 1996, now Speaker of the Knesset since 2013, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein turns 60... Member of the British House of Lords, he was chief executive of the Office of the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and then chief executive of the United Jewish Israel Appeal, Baron Jonathan Andrew Kestenbaum turns 59... Songwriter, author and political columnist, Seth Swirsky turns 58... Actor who starred in "Weekend at Bernie's" and whose father and grandfather were both rabbis, Jonathan Silverman turns 52... Member of the Knesset since 2015 for the Kulanu party, Roy Folkman turns 43... Long-time member of the Israeli national soccer team who also played in Europe's UEFA Champions League, Gil Vermouth turns 33... Lobbyist for the Wireless Infrastructure Association and adjunct at American U, Matt Mandel... Leslie Saunders...