Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff - January 19, 2017

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Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower, January 11, 2017.
Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower, January 11, 2017.Credit: Evan Vucci/AP
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HEARD LAST NIGHT: "At Dinner Honoring Mike Pence, Donald Trump Touches Many Bases" by Maggie Haberman: "President-elect Donald J. Trump, in a free-flowing speech Wednesday night at a dinner honoring his running mate, Mike Pence, jabbed at his new Republican allies and his critics alike, questioned the ethics of “super PACs” and talked about creating a “merit-based” immigration system... Mr. Trump also took aim at Mr. Cruz (a “smart guy, he was a little late to the plate, but that’s O.K.”); Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a rival in the primary (“he can be nasty, that Scott Walker”); members of the “Never Trump” movement (“they’re really right now on a respirator; they’re pretty much gone”); and the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson (he mocked him for being late to donate promised money to outside groups supporting his candidacy)." [NYTimes]

Mike Allen's version of Trump's remarks: "We could not have done it without the people in this room. The people in this room are very special. Everyone is special. [Applause.] They're friends of mine. Sheldon Adelson is here someplace. I think he only gave $125 million. [Applause.]" [Axios]

"Trump: ‘I did not forget’ Jerusalem embassy move pledge" by Alexander Fulbright:
"Asked by the Israel Hayom on Tuesday night at the Chairman’s Global Dinner in Washington, DC — an exclusive black tie event for diplomats and members of the incoming administration — if “you have not forgotten your promise concerning the embassy in Jerusalem,” Trump responded that “of course I remember what I said about Jerusalem.” “You know that I am not a person who breaks promises,” the president-elect added in comments published in Hebrew by the paper on Thursday morning." [ToI]

FIRST LOOK: "Inside Trump’s shadow national security council" by Josh Rogin: "As the Trump administration gets underway, its most influential foreign policy figures are not its Cabinet nominees, or even the National Security Council, but a handful of senior people close to the president-elect... When Trump’s Cabinet members are confirmed and their staffs are in place, heads of national security departments and agencies could be in a position to exert great influence. But for now, incoming chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, senior adviser Jared Kushner and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus comprise an informal council that sits atop the Trump transition team’s executive committee and has the final say on national security personnel appointments. No major decision can go forward without their sign-off." [WashPost]

SZUBIN STAYING ON: Edward-Isaac Dovere tweets "Adam Szubin, whom Rs in Congress wouldn't confirm for his internat'l terrorism $ at Treasury, has been asked to stay in interim job by Trump" [Twitter]

Julie Davis: "Fascinating that Trump would ask Obama's sanctions chief to stay in place. Has played key role in Iran deal, Russia, ISIS, Cuba policies" [NYTimes]

Of Note: "Mr. Szubin (the initial S in his name is irrationally silent, so when it’s said aloud it begins with the Z) is Teaneck born and bred; he went to Yavneh Academy until high school, when he commuted across the river to Ramaz, the modern Orthodox day school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side." [JewishStandard]

"Chicago fiscal wizard joins Trump team" by Michael Sneed: "GCM Grosvenor CEO Michael Sacks, a top personal adviser to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, informed his firm that Grosvenor managing director Jeremy Katz is leaving to serve as deputy director of the National Economic Council — as well as a deputy assistant to the president. Katz, 39, a Chicago native, will report to NEC Director Gary Cohn." [SunTimes]

ON THE HILL: "Haley: Trump Admin. Committed to Longstanding U.S. Policy on Settlements” by Jacob Kornbluh: “I do understand how they think that [settlements] could hinder peace,” [Nikki] Haley said during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when pressed on the issue by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). “But my question is are you committed to the bipartisan policy on settlements?” Udall pressed the South Carolina Governor. “Yes, I am,” Haley responded. Asked by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) if the incoming Trump Administration is also committed to the longstanding policy on the issue of settlements, Haley said, “I have not heard anything different.” Haley also stated she supports the two-state solution. But she was quick to point out that the recent UN resolution (UNSC 2334), which assailed Israel for its continued settlement construction, was “very harmful to achieving a two-state solution.”” [JewishInsider]

"UN nominee supports Trump on moving US embassy to Jerusalem" by AFP:
"Haley... was asked at her senate confirmation hearing if she supported Trump's campaign trail promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. "Absolutely," Haley said. "And not only is that what Israel wants, but that is what this Congress has said that is what they support."" [Yahoo

Richard Haas:
"The bigger argument is that moving the embassy risks making Jerusalem an even greater magnet for protest, violence and terrorism. The move could take a conflict that has lost more than a little salience in the Muslim world and transform it into a crisis, increasing the threat to American embassies and personnel world-wide." [WSJ]

"Israel Wants Trump Understandings on Settlements, Minister Says" by David Wainer and Michael Arnold: “We will propose a law to extend Israeli law in Maaleh Adumim,” a large Jewish settlement outside Jerusalem, “but we do want to have a dialogue to reach understandings with the U.S. government,” [Justice Minister Ayelet] Shaked said... “It’s absurd that during Obama’s tenure we weren’t allowed to build in the settlement blocs,” Shaked said. “It’s absurd that these areas have had a shortage of housing.” [Bloomberg

IRAN DEAL: "Outgoing U.S. envoy says U.N. needs to 'push' Iran on arms embargo" by Michelle Nichols: "The United Nations Security Council needs to push Iran to abide by an arms embargo, outgoing U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said on Wednesday amid U.N. concerns that Tehran has supplied weapons and missiles to Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah." [Reuters]

PATH TO PENN AVE -- In the run up to the inauguration we're featuring the thoughts of several JI readers on what to expect from the incoming Trump Admin. Email us your thoughts at

Andrew Weinstein, a Florida-based attorney and prominent Democratic donor: “My expectations of Donald Trump are extraordinarily low. I believe he and his team are historically unprepared to assume the awesome responsibilities of the presidency. As someone who loves his country I am rooting for Trump to succeed, but given his post-election conduct and comments I don't think it's likely.”

Hank Sheinkopf, political strategist: “President Trump will do exactly what President-elect Trump said he would do.”

Erin Schrode, former Democratic candidate for California’s 2nd Congressional District: "I'm an eternal optimist, yet in this case, I fear the worst – especially for the most vulnerable among us. In 100 short days, the US government could, or lay the groundwork to, reverse decades of veritable real world progress. I see Trump already beginning to dismantle the very infrastructure that allows us — the activists, the citizens, the stakeholders — to push for and bring about change. I see Congress repealing without replacement, following that similar and perilous trend." 

Q: What will the relationship between the Trump administration and the Jewish community look like?

Weinstein: “Trump's relationship with Jewish organizations will be similar to his relationship with other entities and individuals. Those that praise him will have a seat at the table and those that don't will be left out in the cold. That's unfortunate because listening to all of the voices would give him a better understanding of our diverse community.”

Sheinkopf: “Liberal Jewish organizations will continue to lose influence. Israel advocates will be quiet initially.”

Q: Will Israel become more partisan in DC?

Weinstein: “The United States and Israel share an unbreakable bond that should never be subjected to partisan politics. Our common values and interests demand nothing less. Sadly, some Republicans try to equate blind devotion to Netanyahu with support for Israel. That's just wrong. The reality is many of the most pro-Israel members of congress are Democrats and that's not going to change.”

Sheinkopf: “Israel will continue to be defined as a partisan issue. More conservative, more religious, the more support. Jewish activists, however, will have to increase their activities and not take younger evangelicals for granted.”

** Good Thursday 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 **

WEF: "Davos Elite Fret About Inequality Over Vintage Wine and Canapés" by Peter Goodman: "Same as every other year, Davos is again plastered with the slogan of the World Economic Forum: “Committed to Improving the State of the World.” But whatever improvements are supposed to be made, one can safely assume they will not conflict with those in attendance continuing to enjoy the state of the world as it is now, with canapés and aged Bordeaux and private jets at the ready. Which means that the global populism insurrection is unlikely to lose momentum anytime soon." [DealBook]

"Why the elites always rule" by Hugo Drochon:
"Pareto’s thesis was that elites always rule. There is always the domination of the minority over the majority. And history is just the story of one elite replacing another. This is what he called the “circulation of elites”. When the current elite starts to decline, it is challenged and makes way for another. Pareto thought that this came about in two ways: either through assimilation, the new elite merging with elements of the old, or through revolution, the new elite wiping out the old. He used the metaphor of a river to make his point. Most of the time, the river flows continuously, smoothly incorporating its tributaries, but sometimes, after a storm, it floods and breaks its banks." [NewStatesman]

TRANSITION: "The Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics (IOP) has selected its spring 2017 class of Visiting and Resident Fellows... Sarah Hurwitz, Special Assistant to the President, Senior Strategic and Policy Advisor to the Council On Women and Girls, and Senior Presidential Speechwriter. Served as the chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama (2010-17)... Jon Finer, Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Planning, and previously Deputy Chief of Staff, at the Department of State (2013-2017); Senior Advisor to the Deputy National Security Advisor; Middle East Advisor and Speechwriter for Vice President Joseph R. Biden (2011-2013); White House Fellow (2009-2010)" [HarvardIOP]

AIPAC hosted its annual Northeast Gala at the Lincoln Center in New York City. With around 2,500 in attendance, the gathering provided a taste of the group's larger annual Policy Conference, complete with a Roll Call of notable attendees. The evening's program, held in the David Geffen hall, included discussions with MK Tzipi Livni and Dr. Michael Oren along with remarks from Israeli Consul Gen. Dani Dayan, new AIPAC national board member Yana Lukeman, and student activist Yannick Tona. 

SPOTTED: Hundreds of JI readers were 'spotted' but, to avoid the risk of omitting anyone and to save some space, we're limiting the list to elected officials and diplomats Members of Congress Yvette Clark, Joe Crowley, Eliot Engel, Adriano Espaillat, Elizabeth Esty, John Faso, Josh Gottheimer, Hakeen Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Patrick Maloney, Jerry Nadler, Tom Suozzi, and Lee Zeldin. New York State's Attorney Gen. Eric Schneiderman, Assemb. Michael Blake, Walter Mosley, and David Weprin. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Members Andrew Cohen, Daniel Garodnick, David Greenfield, Barry Grodenchik, Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal, Jumaane Williams. Canadian Amb. to the UN Marc-Andre Blanchard, Czech Republic's Amb. to the UN Marie Chatardova, Estonia's UN Amb. Sven Jurgenson, Lithuania's Consul Gen. Julius Pranevicius, Romania's UN Amb. Ion Jinga, Israeli officials David Roet and Amir Sagie.  

TALK OF OUR NATION: "How did A Sundance filmmaker shoot a scripted movie in the insulated world of New York’s Hasidim?" by Steven Zeitchik: "The secular filmmaker Joshua Weinstein stood on a helter-skelter corner in this ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood next to shops selling conservative fashions and Internet-disabled smartphones, and pondered his recent guerrilla shoot. The strangest casting moment, let me think about that,” the director said, tilting back his head. “It might be all the times I sat through an hour of evening prayers because I happened to be talking to a potential actor and they needed a 10th man for a minyan [a prayer quorum]... Weinstein experienced a series of colorful moments to craft the low-key authenticity of “Menashe,” his heartfelt gem of a scripted drama that will premiere Monday at the Sundance Film Festival in the upstart Next section." [LATimes]

"Jewish Centers Across U.S. Face New Wave of Bomb Threats" by Mitch Smith and Alan Blinder: "On Wednesday, for the second time this month, someone called the Jewish community center outside Wilmington, Del., and said a bomb was on the property. For the second time this month, children were evacuated from schools, gym patrons had their workouts interrupted and police dogs searched the campus. And for the second time this month, it turned out to be part of a frightening nationwide hoax targeting Jewish facilities." [NYTimes]

TALK OF THE TOWN: "Once partners, bagel-making brothers are now competitors" by Pat Wechsler: "The dream of becoming a bagel mogul began for Matt Pomerantz when he and his brother, Adam, were working in finance after college. Both were living in Greenwich Village, and both hated that on weekends they couldn't find a decent bagel nearby... In 1995, the brothers converted a pottery shop on Sixth Avenue, between West 12th and 13th streets, into a bagel bakery. They named the store Murray's Bagels. Somewhere along the line, though, the brothers stopped working together. The reason is a family secret as closely held as their bagel recipe." [Crains]

DESSERT: "The Non-Jewish Family That Serves ‘Kosher’ Quesadillas to Mexico City’s Jews" by Alan Grabinsky: "Every day, at around 5:30 in the evening, a white van loaded with kitchen utensils, cooking ingredients, chairs, tables, and a tent departs on an hour-and-a-half ride across Mexico City towards Bosques de la Reforma, a wealthy enclave on the outskirts of the megalopolis... They do this every weekday, except on Fridays, when it makes no financial sense: 90 percent of La Muertita’s customers are Jewish. And, like their clientele, the non-Jewish staff of the “kosher” quesadilla stand keep Shabbat." [TabletMag]

"Lox Without the Line (or Check) at Russ & Daughters New Sabbath Brunch" by Liza Schoenfein: "Leave it to the 21st-century scions of a venerated 103-year-old smoked fish emporium to figure out how to serve a restaurant brunch on Saturday mornings to Sabbath-observant Jews — and anyone who can’t stand late-morning lines. Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper, the 4th-generation owners of Russ & Daughters, have done just that. At Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum, they are now offering a reservation-only, pay-in-advance, kosher-compliant, fixed-menu feast." [Forward]

BIRTHDAYS: Retired after 40 years of service as a news reporter and White House correspondent for ABC News, Ann Compton turns 70... Political journalist who has covered the White House, Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and the State Department, now Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News, Jonathan Karl turns 49... United Arab Emirates' ambasssador to the USA, Yousef Al Otaiba turns 43 (h/t Playbook)... Actor since early childhood, has already appeared in over 20 films, played d'Artagnan in 2011's "The Three Musketeers," Logan Lerman turns 25... Television journalist, entrepreneur, social activist, YouTube creator and motivational speaker, Jessica Abo... VP of "Poverty to Prosperity" program at the Center for American Progress, previously a senior policy associate at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Melissa Boteach... DC-based Director of Political Outreach at AJC: Global Jewish Advocacy, Julie Fishman Rayman... Young Leadership board member at the Jewish Federation of Chicago, Deputy Director of Strategic Partnership and Global Affairs in the office of Chicago's Mayor, after four years at AIPAC, Emily Berman Pevnick (h/t Playbook)... Alex Bronzo... Isaac Wolf...

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