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KAFE KNESSET -- When it rains, it pours -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: Trouble just continues to pile up on PM Netanyahu’s desk. Against the backdrop of the numerous investigations, the Supreme Court ordered the PM to reveal the dates and length of his phone calls with Sheldon Adelson and the former editor in chief of Israel Hayom Amos Regev. In a dramatic decision in an ongoing case, initiated by Channel 10 journalist Raviv Drucker, the Supreme Court overturned a previous decision made by the Tel Aviv District Court. The lower court had accepted Adelson’s and Regev’s claim that publishing the information would be a breach of their privacy. The Supreme Court, however, stated that there is a “heavy public interest in exposing the information.” Now, Netanuahu is forced to publish the dates of the phone conversations between him, Adelson and Regev in the years 2012-2015, and everyone is waiting to see if there is any connection between the details and various news headlines in Israel Hayom. This data could strengthen the argument that Bibi acted as the de facto editor in chief of the freebie newspaper.
Last night more bad news emerged for the Netanyahus as Channel 2 reported that Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit is expected to announce an indictment against Sara Netanyahu in the “Residence Affair” in the upcoming weeks. The PM’s wife will first be granted a hearing, and only after that will a final decision be made. However, a clear-cut statement from the AG accusing her of fraud and using public funds for private expenses, is likely to exacerbate already existing tensions in the Netanyahu household.
Rallying the Likud troops: Tomorrow, however, Netanyahu has a special treat scheduled: a mass Likud Rally in Tel Aviv. Coalition chairman David Bitan, who is emerging as the biggest Bibi loyalist in recent weeks, announced the demonstration earlier this week, and is pressuring ministers, MKs, and activists to arrive and show support for the PM. Read today's entire Kafe Knesset today [JewishInsider]
BIPARTISANSHIP IN JERUSALEM: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer held a press conference at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem to display strong bipartisan support for Israel as the Democratic congressional delegation concludes its week-long visit to Israel and the Republican delegation kicks off its tour. The summer trip is sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation affiliated with AIPAC. [Pic]
Hoyer: “All of us together support Israel and there is no residual impact [from Netanyahu’s 2015 speech to Congress], whether you were pleased or not pleased," said Hoyer. "This is not about Prime Minister Netanyahu or President Obama or President Trump. This is about a relationship between two great democracies, Israel and America. This is about a consensus that Israel’s security is critical for the security of the United States. This is not about personalities. This is about shared values. And our two countries are partners for peace and security... Democrats are very supportive of Israel and that is our focus and continues to be our focus.”
McCarthy: "We have made a point to make sure we have an overlapping time here in Israel together, Republicans and Democrats. Because this is not a partisan issue. This is a bipartisan issue... I don't think any other country has this large a bipartisan delegation. I think this is an example of the respect for our relationship with Israel.” [ToI; JPost]
JI TRIVIA -- congrats to JI readers Aylon Berger, Zach Eckstein, Dan Marrow, Aaron Biel, Eli Schechner, Adam Rubenstein, Elie Pieprz, and Ari Mittelman who identified at least 15 individuals in the photo of Democratic members of Congress with Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday including...
PM Netanyahu, Lillian Pinkus, Bob Cohen, Howard Friedman, Jimmy Panetta, Carrie McIntyre Panetta, Josh Gottheimer, Steny Hoyer, Ben Ray Lujan, Matt Cartwright, Nanette Barragan, Carmen Walker Brown, Anthony Brown, Salud Carbajal, Gene Green, Frank Pallone, Brad Schneider, Julie Schneider, Thomas Suozzi, Tom O'Halleran, Stephanie Murphy, Jose "Lou" Correa, Charlie Crist, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Val Demings, Darren Soto, Hilary Smith Kapner, Daniel Silverberg.
JI INTERVIEW -- Meet Jack Bergman: The Former Pilot Now in Congress: Rep. Bergman (R-MI) discussed his military experience and 2010 visit to Israel in an interview with JI's Aaron Magid. Bergman, a retired U.S. Marine, visited Israel in 2010 with JINSA as part of its special Generals and Admirals program and is planning to tour the Jewish state this week as part of a congressional delegation, a trip sponsored by AIPAC’s AIEF affiliate.
Bergman on the two state solution: "It’s complex. If you can get both [sides] to actually agree to negotiate in good faith and then go back and honor what they negotiated, the two state solution will have a chance. If you don’t have that, the two state solution is not a good alternative. You have to look at the history and how those negotiations have gone. It doesn’t relieve us from the responsibility to try and solve problems because if you quit trying to solve the problems, then usually the problems end up being one of armed conflict because people quit trying. I don’t quit." Read the entire interview here [JewishInsider]
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION -- “Top Trump aides clashing over direction of US foreign policy” by Jonathan Lemire and Bradley Klapper: "In recent days, conservative groups and a website tied to Trump adviser Steve Bannon have targeted [H. R.] McMaster as insufficiently supportive of Israel and insufficiently tough toward Iran The Zionist Organization of America on Monday announced it has undertaken a review of McMaster’s views on Israel. Dozens of conservative and alt-right social media stars have hammered the national security adviser on Twitter The Iran nuclear deal also has been a source of disagreement. That Obama-era pact is opposed by Israel and prominent GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, who backs the Zionist Organization of America group that attacked McMaster.” [AP]
“Former Pentagon Official: Israeli Right, Bannon Allies Trying To Oust McMaster” by Nathan Guttman: “I’ve spoken to [H.R. McMaster] and I’ve heard him talk in small groups that had nothing to do with Israel, and I heard his views on the Middle East and on Iran,” [Dov] Zakheim told the Forward. “His views are mainstream pro-Israel You have an unholy alliance between the Bannon supporters and the extreme pro-Israel right,” Zakheim said. He claimed that those supporters of Israel joining the American far-right in criticizing McMaster believe that “if you’re not 1000 percent committed to the extreme settler point of view, then you’re already a suspect.” [Forward]
Dore Gold, former Director-General of Israel's Foreign Ministry, emails us... "With Tehran unveiling new centrifuges for enriching uranium, like the IR-8 that operates 15 times more efficiently than the old IR-1, I cannot imagine that a serious senior officer like McMaster is not disturbed about Iran. Moreover, I cannot imagine that a former CENTCOM planner would be oblivious to Iranian troops creating a corridor for themselves from their border with Iraq to the Mediterranean in order to dominate the Middle East. Today being concerned about this doesn't make him pro-Israeli alone, it would make him pro-Saudi, pro-UAE, pro-Egyptian etc. Since we are all Washington's allies, it would make him pro-American as well. Thus my sense is that these charges are baseless and we need to sit down and deal with more serious matters."
Former Ambassador Dan Shapiro tells us... "I think the country is fortunate to have someone of his quality and stature in the NSA position under the present circumstances. The person they are attacking is a caricature, not the real McMaster. And the charge of his unfriendliness to Israel is absurd -- there is not a scintilla of evidence to support it."
"You want McMaster out over Iran? That’s fine. Over Israel? Senseless" by Shmuel Rosner: "For a horde of reasons, all related to his understanding of the American interest, he seems reluctant to clash with the Iranians. This is not something he does to spite Israel, or annoy it, or put it in danger. He is not anti-Israel – he disagrees with Israel on some issues." [JewishJournal]
“The Alt-Right and Glenn Greenwald Versus H.R. McMaster” by Jonathan Chait: “Greenwald has depicted the conflict, much like the nationalists themselves have, as the machinations of the deep state to prevent the authentic, democratically legitimate populist representatives of Trumpism from exerting their rightful authority. The episode has revealed a left-winger’s idiosyncratic sympathy for the most odious characters on the right.” [NYMag]
DRIVING THE WEEK -- “A Trump Vacation Formula: Work Hard, Play Hard, Tweet Hard” by Peter Baker: “With driving rain on Monday making golf unappealing, it remained unclear what the president did to enjoy himself All told, Mr. Trump blasted out 13 Twitter posts before dinner Mr. Trump complained that the “Fake News Media” was not paying enough attention to the United Nations Security Council vote to add more sanctions against North Korea, and he grumbled that he was not getting sufficient credit for the accomplishments of his 200-day-old presidency. He seemed particularly intent on making the case that he still has his base behind him despite overall low poll numbers.” [NYTimes] In attacking Blumenthal, Trump opens himself to criticism over the military. Again [WashPost]
“Trump’s big win at the United Nations” by Aaron Blake: “President Trump is often accused of using Twitter to distract us from stories he doesn't like. But on Monday, his petty, putdown-fueled tweetstorm likely distracted from a very good story for him Saturday's vote to go along with the sanctions, particularly by North Korea's ally China, had even Trump skeptics in the foreign policy community hailing the work of the administration and, specifically, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. And it's actually the second big foreign policy achievement to be announced in recent days, along with major progress against ISIS.” [WashPost]
IRAN DEAL -- “How Trump’s Iran Threats Could Backfire—in North Korea” by Aaron David Miller, Richard Sokolsky and Robert Malley: “If the U.S. thrusts aside the nuclear deal with Iran—and uses contrived evidence to do so—the message to North Korea and others will be that America’s word is disposable and the U.S. cannot be trusted to honor its commitments. This would deal a possibly fatal blow to any chance of a diplomatic effort to, if not halt or reverse, at a minimum slow down North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs The administration’s too-clever-by-half strategy of messing around with the Iranian nuclear accord almost certainly would undermine its credibility with nations whose cooperation it desperately needs to deal with the North Korean nuclear challenge.” [PoliticoMag]
"Iran Is Using Syria to Advance Toward the Mediterranean" by Naftali Bennett: "Iran must be made to pay a price every day its soldiers remain on Syrian soil helping the Assad regime kill its own people. Tehran’s leaders must know that every violation of the nuclear deal will trigger harsh sanctions... There are many possible courses of action against Iran. Yet the free world—led by the U.S.—has yet to take the first and most important step: declaring that it cannot abide an Iranian empire from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea." [WSJ]
PREET REPLACEMENT: “Trump May Nominate a Giuliani Law Partner as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan” by Alan Feuer: “The Trump administration is considering naming Geoffrey S. Berman, a law partner of the former New York City mayor and ally of the president — Rudolph W. Giuliani, to assume the powerful position of United States attorney in Manhattan Mr. Berman emerged as the White House’s top choice for the job in a “proposed nominee” document that has been circulating between New York’s two Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, for their approval.” [NYTimes; BuzzFeed]
FOGGY BOTTOM APPOINTMENT: “Veteran Diplomat David Satterfield Named New State Department Middle East Director” by Amir Tibon: “David Satterfield, a veteran American diplomat who has served in a number of key Middle East postings, will become the new acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs starting September Satterfield has also dealt extensively with Israeli-Arab relations over the years, most recently in 2009 when he was appointed to be director general of the multi-national force in the Sinai, which helps maintain the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. After that role, he returned to the State Department in 2014 to be a special adviser on Libya Satterfield will replace Stu Jones, another veteran diplomat who has worked extensively on the Middle East.” [Haaretz]
TOP-OP: “Israel Boycott Backlash: ‘This Is Not the DSA I Founded’” by Ronald Radosh: “By signing on to BDS and joining a movement that’s swept college campuses here, DSA is embracing the agenda of the far left in Europe. It is taking the same approach toward Israel as Jeremy Corbyn is taking in Britain’s Labour Party Were the Democratic Party to follow Corbyn’s lead, it risks becoming as weak and isolated as Labour is poised to become in Britain Turning against Israel is also a major departure from where the founders of the DSA stood. Both Michael Harrington and Irving Howe were critical of aspects of Israeli policy, and friendly to the old socialist leadership of Israel’s earliest years. Yet they unreservedly supported the existence of the state of Israel, and favored a two-state solution. I suspect that Howe and Harrington, its founding intellectuals, as the saying goes, are turning over in their graves.” [DailyBeast]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Mexichem to take over Israeli irrigation firm Netafim in $1.5 billion deal [Reuters] Africa-Israel sale in trouble [Globes] Ackman’s Pershing Square Nominates Three to ADP’s Board [WSJ] Struggling to Survive, Congregations Look to Sell Houses of Worship [NYTimes] Israeli company teaches tourists terror defense [CNN] Israel’s Oryx Vision raises $50 million to develop new lidar for autonomous vehicles [VentureBeat]
STARTUP NATION: “CommonSense Robotics pulls in $6 mln seed” by Iris Dorbian: “CommonSense Robotics, a leader in on-demand fulfillment technology, announced [yesterday] that it has raised $6 million in seed funding from Aleph VC and Innovation Endeavors CommonSense Robotics merges the convenience of online purchasing with the immediacy of in-store shopping, empowering retailers to improve speed in the fulfillment and delivery processes and offer economically sustainable on-demand delivery Innovation Endeavors has offices in Silicon Valley and Tel-Aviv, and is solely backed by Eric Schmidt.” [PEHub; Calcalist]
SPOTLIGHT: "Michael Rothman's Millennial Dad Site Fatherly Raises $4 Million to Expand Into Video and Events" by Erin Griffith: "The company plans to use the money to expand the scope of its content, launch a podcast, develop original video series, and expand internationally in the next 18 months. The company has created franchises like 940 Weekends, a reference to the number of weekends dads have to spend with their kids between birth and age 18; My Father The, a series of interviews with children of famous men, and the Father of the Year awards, which it hopes will lead to more events. Michael Rothman, the company’s CEO, says the strategic expertise from UTA and BDMI will be key to accomplishing Fatherly’s goals." [Fortune] Flashback: ARQ interviewed Rothman last year [ThisIsArq]
"Trump's Friend Tom Barrack Talks Gary Cohn and Polo in the Hamptons" by Amanda L Gordon: "In the Hamptons on Sunday evening, Tom Barrack... weighed in on Gary Cohn’s prospects to run the Federal Reserve. "Will he get it? Absolutely, if he wanted it, he will absolutely have it," Barrack said at a polo match and asado benefiting the Robin Hood Foundation. "Honestly, he’s certainly capable and qualified for that job. But I think there’s other things that he can do that are even more important." [Bloomberg]
"Tim Kaine hitting Hamptons for re-election fundraising" by Richard Johnson: "The Virginia Democrat will press the flesh on Aug. 20 at the Bridgehampton home of Lizzie and Jon Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels and co-owner of the NY Giants. Co-hosts for former vice-presidential hopeful Kaine’s cocktail reception will include Liz Robbins and Doug Johnson, Ophelia and Bill Rudin, and Tracy and Jay Snyder." [NYPost]
"Peter Thiel Has Been Hedging His Bet On Donald Trump" by Ryan Mac: "At one event with friends in January 2017, Thiel said of Trump’s presidency that “there is a 50% chance this whole thing ends in disaster,” according to two people who were in attendance. In other conversations, he questioned the president’s ability to be reelected... At an event in May in San Francisco, he was described by one guest who was in attendance as “annoyed” with the first months of Trump’s presidency. With little policy being established by the White House, Thiel worried that the the next four years would be defined by stagnation." [BuzzFeed]
TALK OF THIS TOWN: “Stephen Miller blasted a reporter as ‘cosmopolitan.’ But he lives in a $1 million CityCenter condo” by Emily Heil: “Miller bought the two-bedroom CityCenter condo in 2014 for $973,000, according to property records. The unit comes with a hefty condo fee of nearly $1,800 a month. At the time, he was a 28-year-old Senate staffer with a $129,000 salary — not too shabby for a public servant The buyer for the property is listed as “Stephen Miller Cordary, Inc.,” a company whose address is the same as that of Cordary Inc., the Los Angeles-based real estate company that his father, Michael Miller, owns.” [WashPost]
“The Real History of American Immigration” by Joshua Zeitz: “Even the most model of “model minority” groups—Eastern European Jews who arrived in the United States between the 1880s and early 1920s—were principally engaged in the unskilled needle trades or as small business owners. Stereotypes notwithstanding, in the 1940s just 24 percent of Jewish men in New York—first and second generation, alike—claimed a college- or graduate-level education. In 1957, that figure climbed to 28.5 percent, and, by 1970, it was 36.4 percent While 75 percent of Jewish men in that decade qualified as “white collar,” most were small business owners; only 14 percent worked in licensed professions like law, medicine or insurance.” [Politico]
“Allen Ginsberg Was Once a Bob Dylan Bootleg Taper” by Andy Cush: “The [Allen] Ginsberg tapes evidently came from the Stanford University library’s department of special collections Though the library has digitized over 2,000 recordings from the Ginsberg papers, the [Bob] Dylan shows still aren’t officially available online–until last week, you had to physically travel to the library to hear them. The new YouTube videos mark the first time the tapes have become available for the wide listening public. Keith Gubitz, the California-based Dylan collector who uploaded the videos... told SPIN that word about Ginsberg tapes began circulating online amongst a community of fellow Dylan enthusiasts in July, but he’s not sure exactly how they made it out from Stanford’s listening room.” [SPIN]
SPORTS BLINK: "Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, joins Nashville's MLS ownership group" by Joey Garrison: "Mark Wilf, his brother Zygi, and cousin Leonard, in their 13th season as majority owners and of the Minnesota Vikings, have signed on as a minority owner of Nashville Soccer Holdings, the business enterprise led by billionaire Nashville businessman John Ingram. Though terms of the arrangement, including financial details, are not being disclosed, Ingram will remain the lead owner of Nashville's MLS expansion team." [Tennessean; ESPN]
BIRTHDAYS: US Ambassador to Israel since May 15, 2017, previously a NYC-based bankruptcy attorney whose clients included Donald Trump, Ambassador David Melech Friedman turns 59... Professor Emerita at the Graduate School of the City University of New York and mother of Bill Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb turns 95... Actor and director, with a career in film, television, and theatre, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1980 for Kramer vs. Kramer and in 1989 for Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman turns 80... Dutch diplomat and politician, he served at the Dutch mission to the UN (1970-1977), then a member of the Dutch House of Representatives (1982-2006) including the last four years as Speaker, Frans Weisglas turns 71... Vancouver, Washington resident, Juliana E. Miles Bagherpour turns 60... CEO of BusinessGhost, a ghostwriting firm that has written and published 550 books, including 18 national best sellers, he has completed more than a dozen triathlons since 2002, Michael Graubart Levin turns 59... Attorney and White House aide who served as Chief of Staff to both VP Al Gore (1995-1999) and VP Joe Biden (2009-2011), in 2014-2015 he served as Ebola "Czar," Ron Klain turns 56... Film director whose works include 9 Disney films, Jon Turteltaub turns 54... Founder in 1994 and CEO ever since of DC-based Connections Media, Jonah Seiger turns 46... Orthodox Jewish blogger (Torahmusings) who serves as the book editor and a member of the the editorial committee of the Orthodox Union's "Jewish Action" magazine, Rabbi Gil Ofer Student turns 45... MLB pitcher since 2005, he attended Yale University and majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, he pitched during the qualifying round for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Craig Breslow turns 37... Peoria, Illinois native, now at West End Strategy Team, Sarah Garfinkel turns 28... Campaign coordinator at Los Angeles-based fundraising firm Omaze, Morgan Furlong turns 25... Internet celebrity and fitness model, Jennifer Leigh "Jen" Selter turns 24... Skokie, Illinois native, now an Associate Director at AIPAC's Chicago office, Zachary Pellish... Jack Baum... Rob Schwartz... Elizabeth Gordon...
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