Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: February 27, 2018

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U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on December 24, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on December 24, 2017.Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP
JI Staff

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NEXT GEN -- Joe Lieberman's granddaughter makes Aliyah: "Nesya Lieberman, the granddaughter of former United States Senator Joe Lieberman, made Aliyah today from Atlanta, Georgia through Nefesh B’Nefesh... The 20-year-old will be attending Ulpan at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu upon her arrival to improve her Hebrew skills in preparation of beginning a year volunteering for National Service." [IsraelNationalNews]

David Brooks writes... "A Generation Emerging From the Wreckage: I’ve been going around to campuses asking undergraduate and graduate students how they see the world... I came away from these conversations thinking that one big challenge for this generation is determining how to take good things that are happening on the local level and translate them to the national level, where the problems are. I was also struck by pervasive but subtle hunger for a change in the emotional tenor of life... Again and again, students expressed a hunger for social and emotional bonding, for a shift from guilt and accusation toward empathy... It’s not that the students are hopeless. They are dedicating their lives to social change. It’s just that they have trouble naming institutions that work." [NYTimes

TOP TALKER -- "Democrats marshal a strike force to counter Trump on national security in 2018, 2020 elections" by Anne Gearan: "Called 'National Security Action,' the group is more expressly political than many Democratic-leaning think tanks and policy shops, but it will not endorse candidates or make political donations, Ben Rhodes and others said... “We’re a temporary organization. Our hope is to be out of business in three years,” Rhodes said. Co-founder Jake Sullivan, a former adviser to Clinton during her 2016 campaign and earlier as secretary of state, said the group will also advise Democrats in congressional oversight of Trump... “There was a need for connective tissue,” said former senior State Department official Wendy Sherman. “It’s connecting all the progressive groups and citizens that are very concerned about America’s place in the world, about our leadership in the world and that are very concerned about the institutions that ensure the rule of law in the world and our security and prosperity.” [WashPost]

NEW DIPLOMATIC FRONT -- "US opens tough Saudi nuke talks, in shadow of Iran deal" by Matt Lee and Josh Lederman: "Energy Secretary Rick Perry will lead an interagency U.S. delegation to talks with the Saudis in London on Friday... as the Arab powerhouse explores a civilian nuclear energy program, possibly without restrictions on uranium enrichment... The Saudis have indicated they might accept such curbs if a separate nuclear deal with its arch-foe Iran is tightened..." [AP]

"Europeans Dig In Against New Iran Sanctions Risking Nuclear Deal" by Nick Wadhams: “There is no problem that you can think of with Iran that would not be to the power of 100 worse if this was a nuclear-armed country,” David O’Sullivan, the European Union’s ambassador to the U.S., said Monday in a meeting with editors and reporters at Bloomberg’s Washington bureau. “So for us, the first thing to do is to make sure this country doesn’t have nuclear weapons. That’s what the deal did and does in our view, and it is working.” [Bloomberg]

Canada’s Conservatives promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: "Following Donald Trump’s lead, the leader of Canada’s Conservative party has pledged to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital if the party forms a government after the next election in 2019... “Canada’s Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital when we form a government in 2019,” the party said in a pledge posted on its website this weekend." [Vice; CBC]

ON THE HILL -- "Senate urges Homeland Security to expand Global Entry to Israel" by Bart Jansen: "Sens. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and James Inhofe, R-Okla., announced Monday that they drafted a letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that was signed by all 100 senators urging the expansion of Customs and Border Protection's Global Entry screening to Israel... in recognition of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries... "Israel’s membership in Global Entry would not only provide its passport holders a smoother visit to the U.S. but would also help to make our country safer by enhancing bilateral law enforcement cooperation," the Senators said." [USAToday]

TRUMP TRAIN -- "Israel-focused charity praises Trump — and pays him — at Mar-a-Lago gala" by Lori Rozsa: "[Steven] Alembik had said he would send any money he raised to an Israeli charity run by Danny Ayalon, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, although Alembik wasn't sure how much money would be left after he paid Trump's club for the ballroom rental, catering and other costs... Rabbi Alan Sherman and his wife, Marilyn, were also happy to be at Mar-a-Lago, even if Trump wasn’t present. Sherman was wearing a yarmulke with Trump’s photo on it. “He autographed it,” Sherman said, turning to show the signature on the back. “I met him at the airport, and he saw it and said, ‘I bet you like me a lot,’ and he signed it.”" [WashPost

"How Anthony Scaramucci became the darling of the Orthodox Jewish community" by Katie Glueck: “I have no idea,” said Rabbi Zev Reichman, an influential rabbi from an Orthodox synagogue in New Jersey, when asked about Scaramucci’s turn in the right-leaning Jewish spotlight. “I think he’s a colorful guy, but no idea why he’s become suddenly honored at events, going to Israel. I’m wondering the same thing you are.” ... But some people, such as Rabbi Duvi Honig, have gone much further in embracing “the Mooch.” ... Honig, who founded the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce and serves as its CEO, invited Scaramucci on the trip to Israel with his organization last November... Scaramucci was more free-wheeling in interviews with Jewish media on the trip, cracking jokes about circumcision and showing off his Yiddish by rattling off “three derogatory Yiddish terms for non-Jews.” ... “He’s an Italian guy through and through,” [RJC's Matt Brooks said], “but he’s got a Jewish soul.” [McClatchyDC]

DRIVING THE CONVO -- "Trump stops short of full endorsement of gun proposals" by Mike DeBonis and Anne Gearan: "Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday that “at the very least” Congress should pass legislation mandating universal background checks... “My Republican friends face a simple choice: Do something real on guns, or please the NRA. Doing both is impossible,” Schumer said... Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing to go further. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), who represents the district that includes the high school, introduced a bill Monday with Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) and more than 150 other Democrats to ban semiautomatic assault-style weapons... At [a White House] meeting, Trump suggested he would act to regulate bump stocks even if Congress does not... “I’m writing that out myself. I don’t care if Congress does it or not. I’m writing it out myself, okay?” Trump said to applause from some of the governors." [WashPost]

"No, Israeli teachers don’t bring guns to school" by Carl Campanile and Linda Massarella: "Despite repeated claims by some gun advocates, teachers in Israel are not allowed to bring guns into their classrooms, a government spokesman said Monday. “In general, personal weapons are not permitted on school premises in Israel,” Almog Elijis, a spokesman for the Israeli Consulate in New York, told The Post... “Israeli schools are protected by professional authorized security officers, not members of the teaching or administrative staff,” she said." [NYPost]

"Senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller appears to fall asleep during White House meet on school safety" by Chris Sommerfeldt: "Photographers caught the senior White House adviser rubbing his eyes, yawning and nodding off during an hour-long Monday meeting... Miller, who has become one of President Trump's most trusted advisers, appeared to be fully asleep in one of the photos." [NYDailyNews; Pic]

AP CORRECTIONS DEPT: "In a story Feb. 22 about the Florida school shooting, The Associated Press misquoted Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel in some versions of the story when he spoke about the families of the victims," the correction said. "He said, "I've been to their homes where they're sitting shiva," not "where they sit and shiver."" [AP]

PALACE INTRIGUE -- "Ivanka Trump's South Korea trip fuels White House tension" by Jeff Zeleny, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins: "Inside the White House, Ivanka Trump's unique stature -- along with that of her husband, Jared Kushner -- is causing tension. Some of their colleagues chafe at the pair's favorable standing... [John] Kelly was not initially enthusiastic about her South Korea trip... "This isn't like going to Italy. The stakes are far higher and more complex," a person close to the President said... The concerns of Kelly and others about Ms. Trump... were aired in private... Kelly has remarked privately that Ivanka is just "playing government," one source said, and has largely brushed aside her agenda, once disregarding her child tax credit as "a pet project."" [CNN How Long Can John Kelly Hang On? [NYTimes]

McMaster on Thin Ice -- by Elias Groll: "The rumor mill was churning by Thursday afternoon over who might replace [H. R.] McMaster, including former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Bolton, however, isn’t talking. Even in private conversations late in the week, he offered non-answers when asked about the position." [ForeignPolicy

"Melania Trump Parts Ways With Adviser Amid Backlash Over Inaugural Contract" by Ken Vogel and Maggie Haberman: "The first lady, Melania Trump, has parted ways with an adviser after news about the adviser’s firm reaping $26 million in payments to help plan President Trump’s inauguration... Mr. Trump, who is notoriously tight with his money, was also enraged to learn that [Stephanie] Winston Wolkoff brought on a close friend, David Monn, to help plan inaugural events, according to people who spoke to him. Mr. Monn’s firm was paid $3.7 million... Ms. Winston Wolkoff, in an email, defended her work on the inauguration, denounced news coverage of it and challenged the characterization that her contract with Mrs. Trump’s office was terminated as a result of the news about payments from the inaugural committee... “I expect to remain a trusted source for advice and support on an informal basis,” she wrote." [NYTimes]

"Trump’s Longtime Lawyer, Michael Cohen, Knows Way Too Much. So Why is He Still in Exile?" by Brandy Zadrozny and Asawin Suebsaeng: "The week of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Cohen said the president elect asked him to stay on as his “personal attorney.” Cohen said he was “honored” at the request, but others inside the campaign have said the longtime aide-de-camp was expecting an official White House post... There are some signs that Cohen’s exile from the administration is no longer so absolute. Though he may not be at the White House physically, he is serving as a helping hand on Trump-world odd jobs and pet projects... White House officials continue to describe him as a “non-entity” and a goofy “character,” according to a senior Trump aide." [DailyBeast

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Investigators eye possible $100 Million construction fraud in which subcontractors paid bribes and kickbacks to Turner and Bloomberg executives to land work in a “pay-to-play” scheme [NYTimes Washington City Paper owner Mark Ein says local media can still succeed [Recode How a Deal to Sell the Weinstein Company Fell Apart [NYTimes

"How Softbank, World’s Biggest Tech Investor, Throws Around Its Cash" by Mayumi Negishi: In January 2016, with WeWork’s valuation at $10 billion, [Masayoshi] Son met CEO Adam Neumann and was intrigued by his vision of how work would evolve... A year later, Mr. Son was considering investing more than $1 billion, the Journal reported. Most SoftBank directors were opposed, telling him they didn’t understand why SoftBank should invest in what they viewed as essentially a real-estate company... Some SoftBank executives thought WeWork’s valuation, then $17 billion, was excessive, says one. Mr. Son prevailed, leading SoftBank and the Vision Fund to invest $4.4 billion in WeWork in 2017, boosting its valuation to around $20 billion." [WSJ]  WeWork, With $900 Million in Sales, Finds Cheaper Ways to Expand [Bloomberg]

STARTUP NATION -- "Daimler, MizMaa invest in Israeli tech startup Anagog" by Maria Sheahan: "German carmaker Daimler and U.S. venture capital firm MizMaa Ventures took part in a round of financing for Tel Aviv-based start-up Anagog Ltd, Daimler said on Monday, without providing financial details... Anagog has developed software that analyses user behavior directly in the mobile phone, using sensors, and then predicts future scenarios on the basis of artificial intelligence." [Reuters]

SPOTLIGHT -- "Warren Buffett's Big Bet On Israel" by Karl Kaufman: "What is it about Israel that Buffett finds attractive? “I’m not Jewish, but Israel reminds me of the United States after its birth,” said Buffett in an interview. “The determination, motivation, intelligence and initiative of its people are remarkable and extraordinary. I’m a big believer in Israel’s economy.”" [Forbes]

"Goldman Sachs exec DJs at Brooklyn hot spot" by Mara Siegler: "Goldman Sachs co-president David Solomon isn’t too broken up about the recent arrest of his former assistant for stealing $1.2 million of vintage wine from Solomon’s cellar. The millionaire Wall Street titan — who goes by the DJ name “D-Sol” after hours — spun tunes at Schimanski in Williamsburg on Saturday night for three hours with SiriusXM’s Liquid Todd." [PageSix]

PROFILE -- THE TALK WITH DANIELLE LAUDER: "All great things begin with a visiona dream," Estée Lauder once said. Before setting the standard in 1946 for the entire beauty industry, by launching beauty company that will last for decades, Estee Lauder, in her own words, "dreamed of being an actress — name in lights, flowers, handsome men.” Although she is no longer with us,  she seems to be fulfilling that dream through her great granddaughter, Danielle Lauder. A young actress Danielle for a long time did not know that her grandmother wanted to be an actress. Danielle's passion for acting is likely the result of nature versus nurture, but there is no doubt this rising star's command of all things cosmetic is definitely genetic." [JolieGazette

MEDIA WATCH -- "CNN Boss Jeff Zucker Calls on Regulators to Probe Google, Facebook" by Stewart Clarke: “In a Google and Facebook world, monetization of digital and mobile continues to be more difficult than we would have expected or liked,” Zucker said, Monday, in a keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “I think we need help from the advertising world and from the technology world to find new ways to monetize digital content, otherwise good journalism will go away.” [Variety

"Backfires and Explosions at The New York Times as a Possible Future Chief Re-Invents the Paper's Opinion Pages" by Joe Pompeo: "Perhaps the most notable uproar was the one following the hiring of [Bret] Stephens last April. In response to his April 28 Times debut—an op-ed trafficking in the climate-science skepticism that has made Stephens, despite his anti-Trump bona fides, such a hard pill to swallow for many Times loyalists—the Times received more than 600 letters, “an unusually large outpouring,” it said. [Arthur] Sulzberger Jr. had to personally make an appeal to readers who had canceled their subscriptions over Stephens’s hiring... “We’ve also seen Bret Stephens write a column about repealing the Second Amendment, and he’s one of the bravest voices on the right against the degradation of presidential norms,” said Sulzberger." [VanityFair]

TALK OF THE NATION -- "Anti-Semitic Incidents Surged 57 Percent in 2017, Report Finds" by Maggie Astor: "The number of reported anti-Semitic incidents surged 57 percent in 2017, according to an annual report by the Anti-Defamation League... That increase was the largest in a single year since the A.D.L. began tracking in 1979... “It had been trending in the right direction for a long time,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the A.D.L., said in an interview. “And then something changed.” That “something” is hard to identify definitively, but Mr. Greenblatt pointed to three likely factors: the increasingly divisive state of American politics, the emboldening of extremists, and the effects of social media." [NYTimes]

"Envoy: Polish Holocaust law won’t be enforced without Israeli coordination" by Lahav Harkov: "The controversial law outlawing public discussion of Poles’ collaboration with the Nazis will not be enforced in the near future, Polish Ambassador to Israel Jacek Chodorowicz told the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee on Monday. “The Polish Justice Ministry committed to not enforcing the new law before there is an in-depth examination of all of its components, including a discussion with Israeli representatives,” Chodorowicz said." [JPost]

SCENE IN JERUSALEM -- The Am Echad delegation of American Jews met today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset in Jerusalem [Pic]

TRANSITION -- Julie Beren Platt, a long-time community leader and philanthropist in the Los Angeles area, has been elected for a three-year term as board chair of Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC). She currently serves as chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Platt’s son is Ben Platt, best known for playing the lead character in the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen.”

REMEMBERING -- "How Billy Graham Made Israel OK With Evangelicals" by Zev Chafets: "[Foreign Minister Golda Meir] was charmed by the handsome young evangelist, especially when he assured her that he had no intention of doing any Jewish missionizing. In fact, he said, he was grateful to Israel for producing Jesus, to whom he had committed his life. Meir, who had grown up in the U.S., liked the sound of that, and suggested he repeat it to the local media, which he did. It was the start of a beautiful friendship... Soon after, the Yom Kippur War broke out... Graham rallied evangelicals, personally and persistently lobbied the White House for emergency aid, and coordinated his efforts with the Israeli ambassador, Yitzhak Rabin... The approval of [Golda] Meir and Rabin, coupled with Graham’s anti-proselytization policy, made Graham persona grata among America’s secular, liberal Jews. Synagogues and community organizations bombarded him with invitations and honors." [BloombergView]

BIRTHDAYS: Investor and philanthropist, Chair of Julliard, Vice Chair of Lincoln Center and on the Board of the Metropolitan Opera, Bruce Kovner turns 73... Performance artist and film-maker, Eleanor Antin turns 83... Writer and illustrator of children's books, Uri Shulevitz turns 83... William Drykos turns 79... Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Alan Harvey Guth turns 71... Senior Rabbi of the West London Synagogue, a member of the British House of Lords, Baroness Julia Neuberger turns 68... Film and television actor, now starring as FBI Agent Stan Beeman on the FX series "The Americans," Noah Emmerich turns 53... VP of regional operations and advancement at the Anti-Defamation League, David S. Waren turns 55... Businesswoman and founder of Spanx, she is a part owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Sara Blakely turns 47...

Senior Washington editor for NBC News, Rebecca Sinderbrand turns 41... Singer-songwriter, composer and prayer leader, co-founder of NYC's Kol Zimrah minyan, Sam Benjamin "Shir Yaakov" Feinstein-Feit turns 40... Member of the Knesset since 2015 for the Jewish Home party, Bezalel Smotrich turns 38... SVP of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, Chaim David Bloom turns 35... Massachusetts State Senator since 2015 and former Obama White House aide where he was one of the originators of the White House Seder, Eric Lesser turns 33... Grand"Pa" of Dov and Joe et al., Michael Gervis... Alana Berkowitz... Lenore Wax... Judith Meyer...