Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: August 8, 2018

Ike Perlmutter's influence at Veterans Affairs | Aryeh Bourkoff teams up with Cal Ripken | Previewing Perelman's Apollo in the Hamptons

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Gal Gadot speaks at the Warner Bros. Theatrical panel in San Diego for "Wonder Woman 1984" on day three of Comic-Con International on Saturday, July 21, 2018
Gal Gadot speaks at the Warner Bros. Theatrical panel in San Diego for "Wonder Woman 1984" on day three of Comic-Con International on Saturday, July 21, 2018Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

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VIEW IN DEBUT: An early version of today’s Daily Kickoff was available in the Debut Inbox for newsletters starting at 7:15 AM EDT this morning. 

SPOTTED by a JI reader — White House aides Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Tom Rose separately waiting in line at Max's Kosher Grill, the kosher stand at Nationals Park, during last night's Braves Nationals game. 

ULTIMATE DEAL WATCH — U.S. Official: Trump's Peace Plan Will Cause Discomfort to Both Israel and Palestinians — by Amir Tibon and Amos Harel: "When reading through the plan, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) will be unhappy on some pages and happy on others just as Israelis will be pleased with some pages and uncomfortable on others," one senior administration official explained. The official added that the plan will "go beyond broad parameters that in the past didn't actually solve the problem.” The White House is currently polishing a document which is dozens of pages long, "much longer than some previous plans of this kind.”

"Sources outside the administration who are involved in the discussions over the plan told Haaretz that the Trump peace team believes their plan could be the first one ever to receive a positive answer from both Israel and major Arab countries, regardless of the Palestinian position." [Haaretz]

Aaron David Miller tells us... "I am assuming that what the White House Mideast peace team is proposing is going to fall far short of the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 and remotely resembling the Clinton Parameters. That's another reason, in my judgment, they should delay the rollout, or alternatively, they should say two things: Number one, there will be a Palestinian State unconstrained, unhinged from any other condition. Just leave it very general. Number two, as we said in the Jerusalem statement, the borders and sovereignty of Jerusalem are up for negotiations, but it is the view of our administration that Jerusalem can host two capitals — without any further commentary on what's going to happen beyond the city, the inner neighborhoods and the outer neighborhoods."

"The issue here is not whether or not this is going to be accepted. The issue is whether or not, when this plan comes out, people will say, 'You know, I may not like this piece or that, but the U.S. genuinely grappled, and in a fair way came to terms with what we think is a reasonable basis to launch negotiations.' There's never been a peace plan in the history of the U.S. peace process in which both sides said, 'Okay, where do we sign?' What they should want is to establish their credibility. It's only year two of a four-year, possibly longer administration, and why put something out that is not going to be accepted and won't even be viewed as a credible basis for negotiation?" 

HEARD YESTERDAY — State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert at a press briefing: "The peace plan is being largely handled out of the White House, but we’re in close consultation with them. I’m not going to get ahead of any announcements or negotiations that they are involved with... I think everybody would like to see progress on that front." 

Netanyahu to meet Trump on sidelines of UN confab — by Raphael Ahren: “Netanyahu is planning to attend the upcoming United Nations General Assembly and meet US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the conference, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said Wednesday." [ToI

REPORT — Israel, Hamas to Agree on Cease-fire by End of August: "Israel and Hamas are expected to sign a cease-fire agreement by the end of August, a Hamas official told the Turkish state news agency Anadolu... According to the source, the cease-fire would last for at least five years, and include the release of Israeli citizens Avera Mengistu and Hisham Sayed, as well as the remains of soldiers 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul... The deal also reportedly calls for the establishment of a port in Gaza." [Haaretz]  Abbas to visit Qatar for talks on truce, reconciliation proposal [JPost]

COMING SOON? — Brace yourselves: The next Israeli election is on the way — by Gil Hoffman: "Tuesday night’s Supreme Court ruling requiring the Knesset to pass a new law by December 2 to draft yeshiva students made it very likely that an election will be held between the end of January and the end of February... The only chance that won’t happen is if the heads of the parties in Netanyahu’s coalition all decide that they want the election postponed as much as possible, because they want to wait for Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to indict Netanyahu on bribery charges. Perhaps the parties will want to gamble that an indictment would finish off Netanyahu politically, and their parties would gain seats at the expense of his successor at the head of Likud.” [JPost]

TRENDS — In crisis after crisis, Israel is losing the public relations war. Is it winnable? — by Noga Tarnopolsky: “The bench of official Israeli spokespersons is pretty much empty,” said Shalom Lipner, a veteran of 26 years in the prime minister’s office... “It is a virtual wasteland.” “The Israeli government has prioritized a digital approach to communications,” said Yigal Palmor, director of public affairs and communications for the Jewish Agency... Such a social-media-based national communications strategy, he said, was so flawed as to be “unforgivable.” [Netanyahu’s spokesman David] Keyes defended the strategy. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is using powerful technologies to bring the truth about Israel to enormous new audiences around the world.” [LATimes]

ANTI-ISRAEL LEFT FRUSTRATED WITH BOOKER'S POSTER DENIAL — "Cory Booker Claims He Didn’t Know He Held a Pro-Palestine Sign. New Details Cast Doubt on His Denial" — by Zaid Jilani: "A USCPR statement provided to the Intercept casts doubt on Booker’s claim... The last sentence of [the] statement suggests that Booker had spoken to the USCPR members prior to the photo being taken, thus raising some skepticism about his claim that he did not know what the sign said. Also notable is the fact that one of the USCPR members in the photo wore a T-shirt that read: “Palestine is a queer, feminist, refugee, racial justice issue.” [TheIntercept]

-- Senator Booker in an interview with InsiderNJ: “Anybody who knows me knows where I’ve stood for seven years, knows that I believe in Israel’s right to protect itself. I have been voting to expand Israel’s security capacity. Again, the state of Israel is under constant threat; terrorist attack after terrorist attack. They need to protect themselves and my record is 100% clear on that.” 

-- Booker on the Iran deal: “Iranians having a nuclear weapon puts us in jeopardy. As a result of that deal we have – or had – incredibly intrusive inspections. They dismantled their pipeline of materials. They took reactors offline. There is a consensus we stopped the immediacy of their race toward a nuclear weapon.” [InsiderNJ]

PRIMARY RESULTS — Michigan: In the 8th Congressional District, Elissa Slotkin was declared the winner of the Democratic primary to take on Rep. Mike Bishop (R) in the fall. In the 9th District,  Andy Levin, the son of longtime Rep. Sander Levin, is leading a 3-way race to replace his father. In the 11th District, Trump's 2016 Michigan campaign co-chair Lena Epstein declared victory in the Republican primary for the open seat of retiring Rep. David Trott (R).

-- In the 13th District, former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed for the House seat vacated by former Rep. John Conyers, setting her up to become the first Muslim, Palestinian woman elected to Congress. Tlaib was backed by J Street's PAC. 

Missouri: In the 2nd congressional district, Rep. Ann Wagner (R) averted a primary challenge from Israeli American Noga Sachs, winning 90 percent of the vote. 

Kansas: In the 3rd Congressional District, Sharice Davids defeated Brent Welder, a candidate backed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Davids, who would be the first Native American woman elected to Congress and the first openly LGBT person to represent Kansas, will face U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, the incumbent Republican from Overland Park, in the general election. 

Republican Holds Slim Lead in Ohio Special Election for House Seat — by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns: "The Republican, Troy Balderson, a state senator who ran a plodding campaign, led his Democratic challenger, Danny O’Connor, by less than 1 percentage point with all precincts reporting... National Republicans declared victory before midnight, but it could be days or weeks before there is a conclusive result in the race." [NYTimes

IMAGE — Jake Sherman tweeted: "Here at Danny O’Connor HQ, CNN — and Alan Dershowitz from vineyard haven — is on the big screen." [Pic

Barack Obama is back on Martha’s Vineyard — by Kevin Slane: "Unlike Alan Dershowitz, it appears Barack Obama shouldn’t be worried about getting the cold shoulder on Martha’s Vineyard... According to The Martha’s Vineyard Times, Obama arrived on the island Saturday for a vacation that could last for much of August." [BostonGlobe

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cheered at arts conference hosted by Jewish museum — by Ben Sales: "Ocasio-Cortez appeared at a conference here hosted by the Immigrant Arts Coalition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage... While politics did frequently come up, none of the panelists — including Ocasio-Cortez, who has been critical of Israel — mentioned Jews or Israel... And former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, a fellow panelist, praised her. Messinger, who is also the former president of American Jewish World Service... told the JTA... that Ocasio-Cortez should be given time to clarify her positions on specific issues, but that she possesses the qualities to be a successful member of Congress." [JTA

Zeldin Responds To Comments Made By Trump Jr. Comparing Democratic Party Policies To Nazi Policies -- by Cailin Riley: "References to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany became a source of fierce debate within the 1st District race between U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin and Democratic challenger Perry Gershon... Mr. Zeldin drew a distinction between the way he feels about Mr. Gershon’s comments, and the way he feels about Mr. Trump Jr. making similar references... “My opponent was attacking me [with those comments], trying to kick me out of office because of comparisons to Trump and Adolf Hitler, and that’s absolutely insane,” Mr. Zeldin said..." [27East]

‘Holocaust revisionist’ running for Hilton Head mayor on anti-development platform -- by Katherine Kokal: "A self-proclaimed “Holocaust revisionist” wants to be Hilton Head’s next mayor, but said his beliefs will not impact his local anti-development platform. Michael Santomauro... runs the website, ReportersNoteBook[dot]com, which claims to offer rewards for those who can prove the validity of Holocaust events, such as the death toll and the existence of Nazi gas chambers." [IslandPacket]

IRAN SANCTIONS -- Experts: Iran could answer US sanctions with cyberattacks -- by Deb Riechmann: "The U.S. is bracing for cyberattacks Iran could launch in retaliation for the re-imposition of sanctions this week by President Donald Trump, cybersecurity and intelligence experts say." [AP]

STATE OF SANCTIONS: Neil Bhatiya and Edoardo Saravalle argue sanctions are meant to induce adversaries to come to the negotiating table; when they achieve their goals, they should end. Attacking each and every foreign-policy problem with sanctions will make them more rigid and harder to lift. [TheAtlantic]

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Trump in pool spray ahead of dinner with business executives in Bedminster, NJ: "Iran is a whole different country since we got rid of one of the worst deals that I have ever seen. Much, much different country."

Business executives come back to Trump a year after Charlottesville — by Andrew Restuccia, Christopher Cadelago and Stephanie Murray: "The guest list for Tuesday night's dinner at the president’s Bedminster, New Jersey, country club included 15 top executives of some of the country’s largest companies... including LeFrak CEO Richard LeFrak." [Politico]

INSIDE THE ADMIN: ‘It’s Fantastic!’ Trump Warms to Rosenstein — by Michael Bender and Sadie Gurman: "The two men talk once or twice a week, and Mr. Trump calls [Rod] Rosenstein on his cellphone to discuss such issues as immigration... Mr. Rosenstein consistently prepares the president’s team ahead of major news, officials said. And he visits the White House as often as three times a week, meeting with the president or White House chief of staff John Kelly... “It’s fantastic,” Mr. Trump said about his rapport with Mr. Rosenstein when a spokesman told him The Wall Street Journal was seeking a comment. “We have great relationship. Make sure you tell them that.” ... Privately, Mr. Rosenstein has developed a gallows humor about his relationship with the president, joking to friends that he wakes up not knowing if he still has a job." [WSJ]

DEEP DIVE: The Shadow Rulers of the VA — by Isaac Arnsdorf: "Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA... Moskowitz... is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman."

"If the bureaucracy resists the trio’s wishes, Perlmutter has a powerful ally: The President of the United States. Trump and Perlmutter regularly talk on the phone and dine together when the president visits Mar-a-Lago. “On any veterans issue, the first person the president calls is Ike,” another former official said. Former administration officials say that VA leaders who were at odds with the Mar-A-Lago crowd were pushed out or passed over." [ProPublica]

SPOTLIGHT: Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Under Investigation for Tax Fraud — by Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Nicole Hong: "Federal authorities are assessing whether Mr. Cohen’s income from his taxi-medallion business was underreported in federal tax returns, one of the people said... Meantime, federal prosecutors subpoenaed Mr. Cohen’s former accountant, Jeffrey A. Getzel, who was responsible for preparing many of Mr. Cohen’s financial statements submitted to banks... Mr. Getzel also served as an accountant for Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, a taxi-medallion manager who worked with Mr. Cohen... Mr. Freidman is cooperating with federal prosecutors in the investigation." [WSJ; CNN]

** Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Aryeh Bourkoff's LionTree, a company that has guided Verizon and Snapchat, is now a 'significant' investor in Ripken Baseball [BaltimoreSun]  Salesforce Names Keith Block Co-CEO, Sharing the Top Job With Marc Benioff [Fortune] Questions About Sumner Redstone's Health Re-Emerge in CBS Battle [Bloomberg] Glencore Notches Record Profit on Commodities Recovery [WSJ]  At WME, Attempts to Scrub Scandal From Executive Ari Emanuel and AMI Chief Executive Officer David Pecker Wikipedia Pages [TheWrap]  Silicon Valley: Mark Zuckerberg Would Have Broken Steve Jobs’s Heart [VanityFair]  Barney Frank on His Regrets From the Great Recession [NYMag]

Otto co-founder Lior Ron is back at Uber -- by Sarah Buhr: "Lior Ron, the co-founder of the controversial self-driving technology company Otto, is returning to Uber to head up its trucking logistics company, Uber Freight... Both Ron and his co-founder and ex-Googler Anthony Levandowski went to Uber after it acquired Otto in August of 2016. However, Levandowski was fired from Uber after pleading the Fifth Amendment to his accused involvement in stealing Google’s self-driving car trade secrets for use in Otto’s technology. Ron exited Uber a month after the company settled with Google parent company Alphabet for $245 million over the dispute. Now, after some reportedly intense, month-long negotiations, Lior plans to return to Uber pending acquisition of Otto Trucking." [TechCrunch

MEDIA WATCH: Fox News adds One America's Trey Yingst to Jerusalem bureau — by Joe Concha: "Fox News on Tuesday announced the signing of One America News Network's Trey Yingst as a general assignment reporter. Yingst, who has served as One America’s chief White House correspondent since June 2016, will be based out of Fox's Jerusalem bureau, reporting to bureau chief Eli Fastman. Yingst, 23, will start on Tuesday, according to the network." [TheHill]

Birthright Co-founder Says Walk-out Protesters Don’t Have Right to Criticize Israel ‘On Our Nickel’ — by Allison Kaplan Sommer: "Birthright co-founder Charles Bronfman says participants don’t have the right to criticize Israel while they are enjoying a free trip paid for by others. “It’s not a fair game if you are going to take advantage of a gift,” the Birthright-Taglit co-founder told Haaretz... “If people want to call Israel names and say bad things about the country, they certainly have the right to free speech. But they don’t have the right to do it on our nickel,” he said... "What is not fair is making a big tzimmes [mess] while the trip is on,” said the 87-year-old, Montreal-born billionaire-philanthropist." [Haaretz

Vivien Duffield: I’ll be more ‘choosy’ in backing Israel after ‘apartheid’ law: "One of Britain’s biggest donors to Israel has said she will now be more “choosy” in selecting causes as she condemned the Nation State law, saying “my Israel has died.” Dame Vivien Duffield –  the driving force between JW3 who also backs a wide variety of education and arts projects in Israel – described the new act as an “apartheid law,” in forthright interview with Haaretz." [JewishNews]

In find of ancient gold earring, echoes of Greek rule over Jerusalem: "A gold earring believed to date back more than 2000 years has been unearthed near the site of the ancient Jewish temples in Jerusalem, in what Israeli archaeologists called rare evidence of Hellenistic influence." [Reuters]

TALK OF OUR NATION: Converting to Orthodox Judaism Is a Lot. Here's How 3 Women Did It [ElleMag]

HOLLYWOOD: Gal Gadot to Star in Hedy Lamarr Series From ‘The Affair’ Creator at Showtime — by Joe Otterson: "Sources tell Variety that Gadot is near a deal to star in and executive produce a Showtime series based on the life and career of Hedy Lamarr. Lamarr was born in Austria and went on to become one of the most famous American film stars of her generation..." [VarietyGal Gadot Beams Over Boy Who Chose Wonder Woman Backpack, Crown [HollywoodReporter]

THIS WEEKEND: Ninth Year For Apollo In The Hamptons — Bridget Leroy: "Enter Apollo’s vice chairman Ronald Perelman, who happens to be good buddies with Jon Bon Jovi, and Apollo in the Hamptons was born — a super-exclusive, one-night fundraiser, this year on Saturday, August 11, which has, since its inception in 2009, raised approximately $20 million. ... The private dinner and concert at Perelman’s The Creeks in East Hampton are the stuff that dreams are made on. This year’s line-up includes Sting and Shaggy, the two one-name wonders currently touring together, Alice Smith Jr., some special guest stars as yet to be divulged, and all with the best house band imaginable, The Roots." [IndyEastEnd]

BIRTHDAYS: US Ambassador to Israel David Melech Friedman turns 60... Professor Emerita at the Graduate School of the City University of New York and mother of Bill Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb turns 96... 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 81... 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 72... Vancouver, Washington resident, Juliana E. Miles Bagherpour turns 61... 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 60... EVP and general counsel at Revolution, he was previously a Chief of Staff to both VP Al Gore (1995-1999) and VP Joe Biden (2009-2011), Ron Klain turns 57...

Film director whose works include 9 Disney films, Jon Turteltaub turns 55... Founder in 1994 and CEO ever since of DC-based Connections Media, Jonah Seiger turns 47... Jewish blogger and member of the editorial committee of the Orthodox Union's "Jewish Action" magazine, Rabbi Gil Ofer Student turns 46... 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 38... Peoria, Illinois native, now a senior strategist at West End Strategy Team, Sarah Garfinkel turns 29... Manager of content development at Omaze, a Los Angeles-based fundraising firm, Morgan Furlong turns 26... Internet celebrity and fitness model, Jennifer Leigh "Jen" Selter turns 25... Skokie, Illinois native, now the Chicago director of community engagement at Honeymoon Israel Foundation, Zachary Pellish... Jack Baum... Rob Schwartz... Elizabeth Gordon...