Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: January 18, 2018

Trump appears to contradict Bibi on embassy | Amb. Friedman visits Ohel | Israel's first Olympic skeleton athlete | Shabbat at Sundance

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MAGGIE HABERMAN ON IVANKA -- by Jessica Kwong: "Time in the White House has made first daughter Ivanka Trump more like her father President Donald Trump, Maggie Haberman, a White House correspondent for The New York Times told Katie Couric and co-host Brian Goldsmith in a podcast released on Thursday. "She has gone from being sort of a somewhat resentful daughter to really being in many ways the spitting image of him—not physically, obviously, but she's him without a lot of the the flash and style,” Haberman said of Ivanka. "She has a very similar set of grievances, she has a very similar sense that people are being unfair to her,” Haberman said. “She's a lot like him." [Newsweek]

NOT SO SILENT -- The New York Times devoted its entire editorial page in today’s paper to featuring letters from Trump supporters -- Steven Sanabria from Oakdale, California writes: “Donald Trump has succeeded where Barack Obama failed. The economy is up, foreign tyrants are afraid, ISIS has lost most of its territory, our embassy will be moved to Jerusalem and tax reform is accomplished. More than that, Mr. Trump is learning, adapting and getting savvier every day Who knew that all it would take to make progress was vision, chutzpah and some testosterone?”

Ellen Mackler from New Haven, Connecticut: “So far I am thrilled with his performance. Numerous reasons, but here are a few: recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; letting the generals crush ISIS; stronger plans to prevent North Korea and Iran from using nuclear weapons; getting out of biased United Nations organizations”

Emily Robertson from Austin, Texas: “I’m thrilled at his support for Israel. Nikki Haley is one of his best appointments” [NYTimes

GALLUP -- Israeli approval of U.S. leadership up 14 points: "The 67% of Israelis who approve of U.S. leadership is on par with the ratings Israelis gave the U.S. during the Bush administration. Notably, interviewing in Israel took place before Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital." [Gallup]

NO DAYLIGHT? -- “Trump denies U.S. embassy to be moved to Jerusalem within a year” by Jeff Mason, Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton: “Netanyahu said on Wednesday: “My solid assessment is that it will go much faster than you think - within a year from now.” Asked about Netanyahu’s comment, Trump told Reuters... that was not the case. ”By the end of the year? We’re talking about different scenarios - I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis. We’re not really looking at that. That’s no.“ Trump promised, however, that it would be “a beautiful embassy but not one that costs $1.2 billion,” referring to what he says was the cost of the new U.S. embassy in London.” [Reuters

-- "After Trump denial, Netanyahu clarifies remarks on time frame for U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem" by Jeffrey Heller: "An official in Netanyahu’s office said the Prime Minister recognized that construction of a new embassy will take years but believes Washington is considering “interim measures that could result in an embassy opening much faster”.... The Israeli official, responding to Trump’s remarks, said: “The President and the Prime Minister are not saying anything different." [Reuters]

SPOTTED LAST NIGHT -- U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman praying at the grave, or 'Ohel,' of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe in Queens, New York [Pic]

POST ABBAS SPEECH -- Oded Revivi, Chief Foreign Envoy of the YESHA Council, writes “If the Oslo Accords Are Over, the Real Work of Peace Can Begin: In his declaration on Jerusalem, Mr. Trump cited his promise “to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking.” So far he is making good on these words. His special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, broke with decades of U.S. policy by meeting with all types of Israeli and Palestinian thinkers far beyond the usual suspects. Next week Vice President Mike Pence will address the Knesset in Jerusalem and ignore the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians who want to work for Israeli companies or meet socially with Israelis should not fear for their lives...” [WSJ

DRIVING THE CONVO -- “U.S. Funding Cut Reignites Debate on Palestinian Refugee Agency” by David Halbfinger: “The perpetuation of Unrwa is not the dream of any peace-loving person in Israel,” said Yossi Beilin, a longtime Israeli politician who helped initiate the Oslo process.“Only an ignorant person, like President Trump, who doesn’t understand the whole story, could say, ‘Tomorrow there is no Unrwa,’ because tomorrow, we will have to pay the price — either by violence if it erupts, or because of the need to help them. Who else will do that?” [NYTimes

“‘A death sentence’: Palestinians slam U.S. decision to cut aid as U.N. pleads for new donors” by Hazem Balousha and Ruth Eglash: “Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian delegation to the United States, said that “taking away food and education from vulnerable refugees does not bring a lasting and comprehensive peace.” Zomlot said that by first taking Jerusalem off the table and then attempting to remove the Palestinian refugee issue by dismantling UNRWA, “Trump was heeding Netanyahu.” [WashPost]   

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Ambassador Nikki Haley on Voice of America with Greta Van Susteren: "Why does the United States have to be the only one that bails out everyone? Why do we continue to give the money? You have 120 countries who voted against us, that could more than take up the level of debt that UNRWA has... We want a peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians... By the Palestinians cutting us out of the peace process, it shows... that they’re not serious in truly getting to peace. So, we’re trying to make sure that if we’re going to spend taxpayer dollars, that we’re not spending it on something that doesn’t move U.S. interests forward.” [VOANews]

Elliott Abrams writes “Trump Gets UNRWA Right: Cutting funding to UNRWA is of a piece with the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That Israel was the sole country in the world not allowed to choose its capital, and have that choice respected, was part of the long assault on Israel’s legitimacy and permanence. Similarly, that the sole group of refugees whom the UN keeps enlarging is Palestinian, and that the only way to remedy this under UN definitions would be to eliminate the State of Israel or have 5 million Palestinian “refugees” move there should simply be unacceptable.” [CFR

REVISED SYRIA POLICY -- “U.S. troops will stay in Syria to counter ‘strategic’ threat from Iran” by Liz Sly and Carol Morello: “[Sec. of State Rex Tillerson’s] comments represented the most comprehensive and ambitious articulation of Washington’s often-contradictory policy in Syria since President Trump took office a year ago “Continued strategic threats to the U.S. other than ISIS persist. I am referring principally to Iran,” he said. “Iran has dramatically strengthened its presence in Syria by deploying Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops; supporting Lebanese Hezbollah... Through its position in Syria, Iran is in a stronger position to extend its track record of attacking U.S. interests, allies and personnel in the region.” Squeezing Iran will, therefore, be one of the foremost goals of the continued U.S. troop presence in Syria, he said.” [WashPost

-- “The agreement in the southwest also addresses Israel’s security by requiring Iranian-backed militias, most notably Hezbollah, to move away from Israel’s border.” [Transcript

“Tillerson Calls For Indefinite US Military Presence In Syria To Remove Assad” by John Hudson and Vera Bergengruen: “Tillerson’s speech calls for “UN-supervised” elections, a process that is more invasive and includes additional requirements such as a voting populace that isn’t intimidated, fearful of arrest and has access to media. One person familiar with the decision told BuzzFeed News the stronger language could create the conditions for dismantling Assad’s rule." [BuzzFeed Syrian opposition delegation visiting DC iced out of White House [Al-Monitor]  

REPORT: Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman boasts he has Trump's backing in 'anti-corruption' crackdown -- by Ryan Parry and Josh Boswell: “A source close to the Saudi leader, known by his initials MBS, said that Salman 'bragged' about his cozy relationship with the U.S. president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, claiming that the president backed Salman's takeover” [DailyMail]  

"Qatar Doubles Down on PR Campaign Appealing to U.S. Jews and D.C. Insiders" by Amir Tibon: "Last week, prominent New York attorney Alan Dershowitz published an article on the Hill website, following his visit to Qatar at the invitation of the country’s powerful emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani... In a conversation with Haaretz on Tuesday, Dershowitz emphasized that he has “not come to any firm conclusions” about Qatar’s ties to Hamas, Iran and other problematic actors in the region. Coincidentally, on Monday – shortly after the publication of Dershowitz’s article and the culmination of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s Qatar visit – U.S. President Donald Trump talked with the emir by phone." [Haaretz]

ON THE HILL -- "The House Republican plan to toughen the Iran deal" by Jonathan Swan: "Highlights of the "Iran Freedom Policy and Sanctions Act," per the bill summary and text... U.S. sanctions would immediately "snap back" against Iran if they take any action "related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology." ... The bill also goes further, to whack Iran for its support for terrorism and human rights abuses..." [Axios]

CITY-SIDE: “New Orleans City Council members say they didn't intend anti-Israel message” by David Hammer: “After belatedly realizing the resolution was part of an international movement to boycott Israel, City Council President Jason Williams and other council members say they will move to reconsider it at their next council meeting “I'm sad to say I didn't realize or know anything about the BDS movement until a friend, Harold Asher, educated me on it Friday morning and I began to do my research,” said Williams, who said Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell had only notified him about the resolution on Jan. 10.” [WWLTV

DACA FIGHT -- “Mark Zuckerberg is urging people to call their local congressperson in support of undocumented Dreamers” by Kurt Wagner: “Every day that Congress doesn’t act more DACA recipients are losing their status,” Zuckerberg wrote Wednesday Zuckerberg added that he’s been “calling members of Congress,” and encouraged others to do the same His counterpart at Facebook, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, also posted on Wednesday shortly after Zuckerberg, calling the expiration of the DACA program “cruel.”” [Recode

“82 Rabbis, Activists Arrested On Capitol Hill Over DACA Protest” by Antonia Blumberg: “More than a hundred rabbis and activists, some wearing prayer shawls and yarmulkes, gathered in the center of the rotunda in the Russell Senate Office Building on Wednesday morning. They sang songs, shouted cheers and made statements of support for the young undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers Police arrested 82 protesters, U.S. Capitol Police communications director Eva Malecki told HuffPost.” [HuffPost]

Seen on Snapchat's Dream Act Rally story: Stosh Cotler, the Chief Executive Officer of Bend the Arc, was the final protester to be arrested [Pic]

“Zioness Movement Joins Women’s March” by Kelly Hartog: “Ann Lewis, who served as White House director of communications for President Bill Clinton and as a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, will head the Zioness contingent at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. “I am proud to march with the young people of Zioness,” Lewis said in a statement. “Zioness is inspiring and empowering our country’s next generation of progressive leaders to wear their Zionist identities proudly, as they fight for human rights and women’s rights” [JewishJournal

2018 WATCH: “Cuomo Amasses $30 Million War Chest” by Shane Goldmacher: “Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo raised an average of more than $32,000 per day for the last six months He collected $129,200 from the hedge fund manager Joseph DiMenna and his wife, $50,000 from the billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad, $25,000 from the Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife, and $30,000 from Barry Diller.” [NYTimes

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital Adds Stakes in Brighthouse and Twitter [Bloomberg]  Condo comeback? Cordish may offer for-sale units at $130M Three Light [Bizjournals]  Shari Redstone Wants New CBS Directors, Renews Push for Merger With Viacom [WSJ]  Goldman's No. 2, David Solomon, Allegedly Swindled Out of $1.2 Million of Wine by Assistant [Bloomberg; WSJ Silverstein Properties, Elad Group land $300M condo inventory loan for 1 West End [RealDeal

“Waze Finds Path Back to Iran, Report Says” by Nitsan Sadan and Tofi Stoler: “The block against Google-owned mobile navigation app Waze in Iran has been lifted, Iranian news site Tasnim News reported on Monday Persian users on Twitter confirmed the app is currently working in the country... Israel’s official state Twitter handle in Persian commented on the reported end of the ban on Monday. “Now that the block on Waze has been lifted--is it no longer a Mossad app?” the tweet asked.” [Calcalist

PODCAST PLAYBOOK -- LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman references his Tech Shabbat on How I Built This with Guy Raz: “Every time I get to Friday, I am -- like Friday night, I am totally exhausted. It’s like I run the marathon that whole week, and then by about Sunday afternoon I get back into the race.” [NPR

DEEP DIVE: “Inside Harvey Weinstein’s Frantic Final Days" by Adam Ciralsky: “With battles looming on multiple fronts, Weinstein summoned those he had trusted or worked with over the years and people Weinstein called out of the blue, informally, to get their opinions, such as communications strategist Matthew Hiltzik, who had left Weinstein’s Miramax in 2005, and former sex-crimes prosecutor (and novelist) Linda Fairstein. Said one attendee, “He was basically asking for advice of people [who were] blindfolded, without their knowing what the accusations were—nor the truth.” [VanityFair Harvey Weinstein sells Amagansett mansion for $10M [TheRealDeal]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Critics say The Frisch School was 'unfairly targeted' by news reports” by Melanie Anzidei: “Critics, including the heads of local Jewish organizations, say the reports "unfairly target" the private Orthodox Jewish high school, which Jared Kushner graduated from in 1999 and have blown an otherwise private interaction between parents in a Facebook forum out of proportion. "The school is an asset to the community," said Jason Shames, chief executive officer of the Paramus-based Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, which the school is a beneficiary agency of. "I think it was unfairly targeted. The reports in the media were political.” [NorthJersey]

“Hungary steps up anti-Soros crackdown ahead of election” by Lili Bayer: “Hungary’s government unveiled a so-called “Stop Soros” plan to crack down on individuals and organizations it accuses of supporting illegal immigration. Coming less than three months ahead of a general election, the announcement on Wednesday marks the latest escalation in an ongoing battle between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government and George Soros... Local media reported earlier Wednesday that the government intends to ban Soros from entering the country.” [Politico

Netanyahu visits Chabad House in Mumbai with Moshe Holtzberg: "Benjamin Netanyahu met with Moshe Holtzberg, a boy whose parents were among six people killed at the Chabad Center during the attack. Netanyahu patted Moshe’s shoulder and cheeks and posed for photographs. Netanyahu said light would spread from the memorial to make the world a better place. Moshe, 11, thanked the prime minister for visiting the center." [AP

“After 50 Years, Israel Philharmonic Names a New Conductor” by Michael Cooper: “Lahav Shani, a 29-year-old Israeli conductor and pianist, will become the [Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s] next music director in 2020, succeeding Zubin Mehta, 81, who is stepping down after half a century.” [NYTimes]  

SPORTS BLINK: Patriots to honor woman whose wheelchair was stolen during playoff game: “A wheelchair that a New England Patriots fan thought had been stolen from Gillette Stadium while she watched the team’s playoff win over the Tennessee Titans has been found Her friend, Samantha Medeiros... says Patriots owner Robert Kraft reached out to her friend. She writes that on Sunday, Morais “will be receiving a customized Patriots wheelchair and will be on the field with Mr. Kraft.” [Fox61; KomoNews]  

"Meet A.J. Edelman, Israel’s First Olympic Skeleton Athlete" by Jeffrey Boxer: “I want to challenge the perception of what Jews and Israelis can do in sports.” That was the theme that A.J. Edelman kept returning to during an interview just hours after the 26-year-old learned that he would be competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics. On Wednesday, Edelman became Israel’s first-ever Olympic athlete in skeleton, a sport in which you slide face-first down a frozen track on a small sled. The Brookline, Massachusetts native will represent his adopted country next month in PyeongChang, South Korea." [Forward]

COMING SOON: “Shabbat lounge to appear at Sundance Film Festival for second year” by Amy Spiro: “Any celebrities — and non-celebrities too — looking for a hearty meal, a little oneg, and even some cholent can stop by the Shabbat Lounge this weekend at the Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City, Utah. Friday night's lineup includes pre-Shabbat cocktails, a range of services options, dinner and an oneg after-party. Saturday begins with Shabbat morning yoga, continues with a cholent-laden kiddush (after prayers, of course), afternoon speakers and a musical havdalah party to end the weekend” [JPost

PIC OF THE DAY -- Ta-Nehisi Coates in shul discussing his book, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, with The Atlantic's Alex Wagner at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue on Tuesday. [Pic

BIRTHDAYS: US Representative for Maryland's 7th congressional district since 1996, following 14 years in the Maryland House of Delegates, Elijah Cummings turns 67... Director of Communications at NYC's Department of Education, formerly at NYC’s Administration for Children's Services and the NY Daily News, JoAnne Wasserman turns 63... Microbiologist and professor of biology at Wichita State University since 2006, Mark A. Schneegurt, Ph.D. turns 56... 2016 presidential candidate and former Maryland Governor, Martin O'Malley turns 55... Strategic advisor for Olami, a founding director of the Honestreporting website and executive director of Aish HaTorah NY, Rabbi Yitz Greenman turns 54... Personal finance commentator and journalist, and author of a New York Times bestseller on personal finance, Beth Kobliner turns 53... SVP of PR firm GMMB, with a focus on education policy, previously worked for seven years at the U.S. Department of Education including as press secretary, Samara Yudof Jones turns 40...

Actor and screenwriter, he wrote and acted in 2008's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and 2011's "The Muppets," Jason Jordan Segel turns 38... Baltimore-born basketball player, dubbed by Sports Illustrated as the "Jewish Jordan" in a 1999 feature, Tamir Goodman turns 36... Israeli-born, moved to Los Angeles as a child, comedian, actor, writer and television host, best known for his web series "Jake and Amir" (with Jake Hurwitz), Amir Blumenfeld turms 35... Publisher of a weekly community newspaper founded in 2016, "The Boston Guardian," after a 20 year stint as the publisher of the now defunct "Boston Courant," David Jacobs... Northeast Political Coordinator for AIPAC's Grassroots Mobilization Network, Tali Alter Gevaryahu... Linda Rubin...

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