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TOP TALKER: “Trump Prepares Orders Aiming at Global Funding and Treaties” by Max Fisher: “The first of the two draft orders, titled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations” and obtained by The New York Times, calls for terminating funding for any United Nations agency or other international body that meets any one of several criteria. Those criteria include organizations that give full membership to the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization, or support programs that fund abortion or any activity that circumvents sanctions against Iran or North Korea The order calls for then enacting “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in remaining United States funding toward international organizations The orders call for reviewing any funding that could go toward the International Criminal Court, though the United States currently provides no funding to that body.” [NYTimes]
“Palestinians say Trump freezes Obama’s last-minute $221 million payout” by Avi Issacharoff: “US officials conveyed to PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday that the funds were not expected to be handed over in the immediate future, said the source.” [ToI]
ICYMI: "Dick Durbin Blocks Senate Move To Condemn UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements" by Ron Kampeas: "Jewish Insider reported Wednesday that Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., was behind the hold. It cited Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., who told the newsletter that the Senate resolution’s language is objectionable because it does not recognize that settlements are an obstruction to peace, and that should Durbin lift his hold, he would place his own hold." [Forward]
FLASHBACK: "Real Insiders" by Jeffrey Goldberg on July 4, 2005: "AIPAC, Asher explained, is loyal to its friends and merciless to its enemies. In 1982, Asher led a campaign to defeat Paul Findley, a Republican congressman from Springfield, Illinois, who once referred to himself as “Yasir Arafat’s best friend in Congress,” and who later compared Arafat to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. “There was a real desire to help Findley out of Congress,” Asher said. He identified an obscure Democratic lawyer in Springfield, Richard Durbin, as someone who could defeat Findley. “We met at my apartment in Chicago, and I recruited him to run for Congress,” he recalled. “I probed his views and I explained things that I had learned mostly from AIPAC. I wanted to make sure we were supporting someone who was not only against Paul Findley but also a friend of Israel.”
"Asher went on, “He beat Findley with a lot of help from Jews, in-state and out-of-state. Now, how did the Jewish money find him? I travelled around the country talking about how we had the opportunity to defeat someone unfriendly to Israel. And the gates opened.” Durbin, who went on to win a Senate seat, is now the Democratic whip. He is a fierce critic of Bush’s Iraq policy but, like AIPAC, generally supports the Administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Durbin says that he considers Asher to be his “most loyal friend in the Jewish community.” [NewYorker]
“After Pressure From Right, Netanyahu Vows to Talk Settlements With Trump” by Jonathan Lis: "We need to act responsibly but also decisively," Netanyahu told the Knesset after being asked whether, after Trump's election, he still stood behind his commitment to a two-state solution. "Diplomatic wisdom isn't something you say ... it's getting what you want with wisdom and not inadvertently achieving the opposite," Netanyahu said. "We built [in settlements] before and we build now, and I will raise the specific question of construction – alongside other issues – with President Trump." [Haaretz] Netanyahu: Israel “suffered” from Obama’s “not-one-brick policy.” [ToI] Palestinian hopes of blocking Israeli settlements dim under Trump [CNN]
INBOX -- AJC CEO David Harris on Israeli Settlements Construction: “Optics are important in politics, and the optics of Israel’s announced settlement construction, so shortly after President Trump took office, are not helpful Israel is taking a gamble that this step won’t further inflame an already difficult situation on the ground and internationally...”
INTERVIEW -- Maen Areikat, Chief Representative of the General Delegation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the United States, adopts a moderate tone in his assessment of President Trump. “I don’t want to jump to conclusions by describing this current administration as being the most pro-Israel or the most pro-settler administration,” Ariekat told Jewish Insider’s Aaron Magid in an interview. “There is a big difference between making political statements and trying to implement these political statements. The real world is much different than the world of campaigning and elections. I don’t believe that the United States with this new Administration wants to find itself isolated by siding with Israel on issues that are opposed by the entire world.”
Q: What is your opinion of Jared Kushner? Does he have a strong enough understanding of the region in order to serve as a fair mediator?
Areikat: “I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Mr. Kushner or meet any of the Trump team yet. I’m sure if this Administration wants to pursue peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis, they have to eventually talk to the Palestinians. You can’t make peace between two sides by only talking to one and not talking to another. Secondly, it’s his choice to pick whoever he thinks could represent him and could implement his policies. We will judge the Trump Administration by its actions and not by its statements.”
Q: If Trump relocates the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, what will be the Palestinian response?
Areikat: “Our fight is not with the United States. We Palestinians don’t see the United States as our adversary or foe. In the past, the United States took measures that were anti-Palestinian and then they changed course after that. This measure that you are talking about hasn’t happened. Everybody was thinking that it would happen on Saturday morning, on Sunday morning, and on Monday morning. It hasn’t happened. It tells me this administration knows the consequences of taking such a step and how it could escalate and make the situation worse. The last thing the US Administration wants to see is another area of instability in the Middle East. This is a president who is seeking a solution to conflicts around the world.” Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]
“Jared Kushner's Name Removed From Website of Group Raising Money for Israeli Army” by Judy Maltz: “Kushner, who is expected to play a major role in drafting Middle East policy in the new administration, no longer has his name listed as a member of the national board of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, presumably because of potential conflicts of interest Kushner’s name appeared on the FIDF website as a member of the national board until just two days ago. A day after Haaretz submitted questions both to the organization and to a spokeswoman for the Kushner family about his continued involvement on the board, it was suddenly removed.” [Haaretz]
“Giuliani: Kushner will be an effective Mideast negotiator” by Herb Keinon: “That Trump appointed Kushner to this position “is important because they are so alike, it is almost like giving [this portfolio] to himself,” Giuliani said. Kushner, according to Giuliani, is “in many ways an extension of the president,” who will surely brief Trump on everything happening in the process. “They have an extremely close relationship,” he said. “Jared has complete access to the president, so a lot of what he will be doing will be executing what the president thinks.”” [JPost]
“Why Trump won’t move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem—at least for now” by Jonathan Broder: “Diplomatic sources tell Newsweek that some of Netanyahu’s top security aides have quietly cautioned their counterparts in the White House that moving the embassy is not in Israel’s interests—at least right now Many veteran Middle East hands suggest Trump might reconsider his intention to appoint his trusted son-in-law, Jared Kushner as his Middle East envoy.” [Newsweek]
“What Trump would gain from moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem” by Robert Satloff: “While the absence of any U.S. representation in Jerusalem for Israel is common knowledge, it is less well known that the United States does maintain a diplomatic facility in Jerusalem to represent Washington to another claimant: the Palestinian Authority It is incorrect, therefore, to say that U.S. policy has maintained steadfast neutrality on the question of Jerusalem so that it can protect is position as an “honest broker.” As odd as it sounds, actual U.S. policy does tilt toward one side — the Palestinians.” [WashPost]
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Trump Blocks Syrian Refugees and Orders Mexican Border Wall to Be Built” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “An eight-page draft of that executive order, obtained by The New York Times, would indefinitely block Syrian refugees from entering the United States and bar all refugees from the rest of the world for at least 120 days It would also suspend any immigration for at least 30 days from a number of predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.” [NYTimes]
“Anti-Defamation League vows 'relentless fight' against Trump over refugee ban” by Michael Wilner: “In an angry statement, the organization called the Trump administration's policy action "a sad moment in American history." "More than most, our community knows what happens when the doors to freedom are shut," the organization said. "That is why ADL relentlessly will fight this policy in the weeks and months to come. Our history and heritage compel us to take a stand."” [JPost]
“Protesters Flood NYC’s Washington Square Park To Oppose Muslim Ban” by Sebastian Murdock and Christopher Mathias: “Scott Stringer, New York City’s comptroller, said that as a “Jewish American, I stand with the Muslim community, because today and every day in New York City, we are one people. I stand together with you, because when they come for you, they come for me, and when they come for me, they have come for you! As a Jewish American, I want to see a united world and the best way to do that is dump Trump and take to the streets.”” [HuffPost]
“The United States also denied refuge to Jews fleeing Hitler, fearing they might be Nazis” by Radley Balko: “It is not that there were zero incidents in which Nazi spies successfully gained entry to the U.S. by posing as Jewish refugees. Clearly it happened. Similarly, there have been a handful of cases in which Islamic State fighters have made their way to the West through the process of admitting refugees. The lesson here, both then and now, is that our fear of such incidents is wholly disproportionate to the humanitarian crisis.” [WashPost]
What Trump Means When He Says, ‘America First’" by Jonah Goldberg: "After the war, with the full knowledge of Nazi crimes and years of domestic patriotic fervor, the term “America first” took on a more sinister reputation in retrospect than it deserved (influenced by FDR’s political vendettas against the isolationists during the war). Some Jewish groups to this day unfairly consider it vague code for “America should have let the Holocaust run its course.” [NRO]
“Trump’s Voter Fraud Example? A Troubled Tale With Bernhard Langer” by Glenn Thrush: “Mr. Langer, a 59-year-old native of Bavaria, Germany was standing in line at a polling place near his home in Florida on Election Day, the president explained, when an official informed Mr. Langer he would not be able to vote. Ahead of and behind Mr. Langer were voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote, Mr. Trump said, according to the staff members — but they were nonetheless permitted to cast provisional ballots Mr. Langer, whom he described as a supporter, left feeling frustrated Just one problem: Mr. Langer, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., is a German citizen with permanent residence status in the United States who is, by law, barred from voting, according to Mr. Langer’s daughter Christina But a senior White House staff member, who was not at the Monday reception but has heard Mr. Trump tell the story, said Mr. Langer saw Mr. Trump in Florida during the Thanksgiving break and told him the story of a friend of Mr. Langer’s who had been blocked from voting.” [NYTimes]
--Background: "Bernhard Langer, Two-Time Masters Champion, Remains the Game's Man of Mystery" by Michael Bamberger: "The Publix where the Langers do their grocery shopping is filled this time of year with Manischewitz kosher-for-Passover macaroons and other unleavened treats. Also many jelly beans, in all the colors Langer likes for his pants. In that morning interview Langer says, "It is interesting that I wound up in Boca, which is 80 percent Jewish." Langer is three years older than I am. His parents and my parents are roughly contemporaries. When I lay out the broad similarities, Langer says, "Your parents were persecuted by Hitler and the Nazis. In a different way mine were too. And we were both drawn to golf. It is interesting."" [Golf]
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STARTUP NATION: “Israeli Cybersecurity Industry Grows as Global Threats Multiply” by Gwen Ackerman: “According to figures based on the non-profit’s data platform and tech industry database PitchBook, 365 Israeli cybersecurity companies raised a total of $581 million in 2016, about 15 percent of all capital raised by the industry globally. About a quarter of the 65 Israeli cyber start-ups founded last year have already succeeded in raising funds, the report said Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., a pioneer of network firewalls, is a leader in its field, as is CyberArk Software Ltd., which focuses on privileged-account security within corporate networks. Both companies are Israeli.” [Bloomberg]
KAFE KNESSET -- by Tal Shalev: With all due respect to the usual agenda, green leaves of marijuana took over this morning's Knesset conversations. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced that he supports decriminalization of the drug, a victory for a vocal public campaign, endorsed by many lawmakers and celebrities from both sides of the political spectrum. Erdan had previously voiced strong opposition to the move, but eventually decided to adopt the conclusions of a panel which recommended fines instead of criminal procedures. The move inspired a wave of warm responses from a younger generation MKs leading the campaign.
Erdan's announcement competed with Bibi's Knesset show for headline attention. The headlines were focused on Bibi's dramatic defense line in the wake of his investigation, but amongst other issues raised by the MKs was, of course, the upcoming meeting with President Trump. A Jewish Home MK asked Netanyahu if he intends to disavow the Bar Ilan speech in the meeting, and Netanyahu politely evaded the question, stating only that "We need to be responsible just like we have been in the past. Wise statesmanship is not to do whatever I want but to reach what I want in a clever manner. I will be discussing settlement construction and other issues with President Trump." Read today's entire Kafe Knesset [JewishInsider]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “American Dream mega mall secures initial approval from Miami-Dade commission” by Brian Bandell: “The commission voted 10-1 to submit the CDMP applications for state review with a positive recommendation. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava was the lone opposing vote, as she wanted more time to forge agreements with the developer on traffic, water use, energy efficiency and other impacts “We are not mall developers. I loath malls,” said Triple Five Principal Don Ghermezian. “The 3.5 million square feet of retail is a great majority of what you call retail-tainment.”” [BizJournals; MiamiHerald]
“Doppler Labs taps former Microsoft corporate devices head for COO, says Here One will ship Feb. 21” by Lucas Matney: “The headphones, which allow you to alter the way you hear the world around you, were one of the coolest things I tried in 2016. Unfortunately, shipment of the Here Ones had to be pushed back from a holiday delivery date to February due to manufacturing issues, an ailment that has plagued other smart earbuds like Bragi’s The Headphone as well as Apple’s AirPods. Doppler Labs CEO Noah Kraft told TechCrunch in November that the small startup had already received over 10,000 pre-orders for the device.” [TC]
TALK OF OUR NATION: “Why Jared and Ivanka’s anonymously granted Shabbat exemption is problematic” by Simon Yisrael Feuerman: “For those who skeptical of the administration, Ivanka and Jared were antacid to the collective acid reflux of Trump. Fairly or not, the couple, an embodiment of the absolute demands of Orthodoxy were seen as a counterweight to his unending self-dealing, especially as they now have senior advisory positions Unless the rabbi who gave the dispensation identifies him or herself, the sanctity of the Sabbath has been diminished and the couple have not inspired confidence. It seems as if the truth has been subverted by Trump—and now the truth of the Sabbath, too.” [Tablet] Is Ivanka Trump Jewish? In Israel, she has a trump card [AP]
"How Jared Kushner Became a Teenage Hero — and Learned To Be a Zionist" by Naomi Zeveloff: "The incident happened in 1998, when Kushner was a high school participant in the March of the Living, a Holocaust education trip to Poland and Israel that also may have helped solidify the teenager’s commitment to Zionism and a right-wing vision of support for Israel. One day, in Krakow, Kushner was walking with a few dozen teens when an unshaven man wobbled toward the tour group and grabbed 16-year-old Elisheva Ben Ze’ev, then Elisheva Weiss, pulling her into a sickening hug. Within a second, Kushner had yanked the man off Ben Ze’ev and thrown him to the ground. “Don’t you touch her! Get away from us!” Kushner screamed as the stunned group looked on, according to Ben Ze’ev. Marti Sichel, a fellow participant, said Kushner marched the attacker to a nearby security guard, who took him away... He didn’t really think of it as ‘Oh, everyone look at me, look at what I did.’ He was like: ‘Oh, of course I did that. I was right there.’” [Forward]
"It’s No Trump Tower, but White House Has ‘Beautiful’ Phones" by Maggie Haberman: "His oldest daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser, stayed with him in the White House through Sunday. They left for their own new home at the end of the weekend to get their children ready for their new schools. Mr. Trump has not brought along any household staff from Trump Tower, an aide said."
"His mornings, he said, are spent as they were in Trump Tower. He rises before 6 a.m., watches television tuned to a cable channel first in the residence, and later in a small dining room in the West Wing, and looks through the morning newspapers: The New York Times, The New York Post and now The Washington Post. But his meetings now begin at 9 a.m., earlier than they used to, which significantly curtails his television time. Still, Mr. Trump, who does not read books, is able to end his evenings with plenty of television." [NYTimes]
MEDIA WATCH: “Is Donald Trump’s War With CNN Personal?” by Gabriel Sherman: “According to people close to both sides, Trump has told White House staffers that he feels personally betrayed by CNN chief Jeff Zucker. Trump complains that Zucker should be programming CNN more favorably toward him because of their long relationship... Trump has also said to White House staffers that Zucker owes him because Trump helped get him the job at CNN. White House press secretary Sean Spicer dismissed the idea that Trump has a personal beef with Zucker. “To think he’s sitting around worried about Jeff Zucker is a little ridiculous,” Spicer said.” [NYMag]
INBOX -- U.S. House of Representatives Chairman for National Security Subcommittee Ron DeSantis (FL-06), Names his Advisory Council for Israel and Middle East Issues: "The newly named council members include: Jason Lyons, Boca Raton, FL, Chairman; Dr. Scot Ackerman, Jacksonville, FL; Richard Brody, Jacksonville, FL; Phil Cohen, Miami, FL; Dr. David Diamond, Orlando, FL; Andy Fiske, Aventura, FL; Stephen Fiske, Aventura, FL; Mark Gerson, New York, NY; Eli Gindi, Brooklyn, FL; Marc Goldman, Boca Raton, FL; Gabriel Groisman, Bal Harbour, FL; Eytan Laor, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Carlyn and Lothar Mayer, Boca Raton, FL; David Robbins, Jacksonville, FL; Phil Rosen, New York, NY; Joey Schottenstein, Columbus, OH; Rabbi Steven Weil, New York, NY; Farley Weiss, Boca Raton, FL."
SPORTS BLINK: "Roger Goodell Hangin' With Bob Kraft... Pats Owner All Smiles: Guess Roger Goodell was telling the truth about him and Bob Kraft having a "healthy respect" for one another ... because they hung out in NYC Wednesday and TMZ Sports has the photo. The NFL and the Pats owner were spotted leaving Rockefeller Center around 2:30 PM ET. Bob had a smile on his face as the two chatted away. We're told they were flanked by private security." [TMZ]
BIRTHDAYS: Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter, adult and children’s book author, illustrator and art instructor Jules Feiffer turns 88... Actor, film director and playwright, Henry Jaglom turns 79... Argentina's largest real-estate developer, President of Chabad Argentina, President of Hillel Argentina and President of Taglit Birthright Argentina, Eduardo Elsztain turns 57... Better half of Congressman Ted Deutch since 1992, Jill Weinstock Deutch turns 50... Retired tennis player who was the top ranked player in his age group at the ages of 12, 14, 16, and 18, then as an adult he won 15 doubles championships, Justin Gimelstob turns 40... Homeland Security official (2009-2011), then Obama White House Jewish Liaison (2011-2013), now SVP of marketing and communications for CarePoint Health in New Jersey, Jarrod Neal Bernstein turns 37... Director of Partnerships at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation Tamar Remz... Barbara Simons... Herbert Mendelsohn... Brent Cohen...
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