Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: January 3, 2018

Trump's Jerusalem tweet | Kissinger calls Bannon vs. Javanka "a war between the Jews and the non-Jews" | El Al to Silicon Valley

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THE ULTIMATE DEAL? -- Trump tweets: "We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?" [Twitter]

HOW IT PLAYED: "Trump threatens aid to Palestinians, appears to contradict himself on Jerusalem" by Jeremy Diamond: "While Trump administration officials have said they expected a "cooling off period" with the Palestinians, Trump's tweets Tuesday signaled the President has grown frustrated with Palestinians' refusal to partake in a US-led peace process... The President's tweets... also appeared to contradict his own statements about the impact of his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and may have undermined his administration's efforts to hammer home that message in the Middle East." [CNN

"Palestinians condemn Trump aid halt threat, mixed reaction in Israel" by Ali Sawafta: "Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, said in response: “We will not be blackmailed.” ... Commenting on Trump’s tweets, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor for silver.”" [Reuters]

IPF's Michael Koplow: "The Trump Jerusalem tweet is a great insight into his thinking... On the one hand, he confirmed the Palestinians’ biggest fear, which is that despite the careful wording of his Jerusalem statement... what Trump intended all the time was to indeed take Jerusalem off the table for them entirely... So if you are the Israelis, you should be pretty happy, right? Except that the rest of his tweet blows up any notion that he views Israel any differently than every other country on Earth... I’m pretty sure what he meant is that in return for the gift of recognizing Israeli claim to all of Jerusalem, Trump was going to extract something big from Israel in return... And if I am Israel, that worries me more than if Trump had come out and explicitly recognized West Jerusalem only." [Twitter]

TAKING NOTE -- “Nikki Haley: U.S. to Withhold Funding for UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees Until They Join Peace Process” by Noa Landau and Amir Tibon: “Haley said on Tuesday that Trump administration wants to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency until they "return to the negotiating table" with Israel... "He doesn't want to give any additional funding until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table, and what we saw with the resolution was not helpful to the situation," Haley said. "We're trying to move for a peace process, but if that doesn't happen, the president is not going to continue to fund that situation." [Haaretz

-- Flashback: Haley Defends UNRWA’s Schools and Healthcare Against Congressional Attacks [JewishInsider]

Former U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro tells us... "UNRWA has also been a source of frustration because of its role in perpetuating the Palestinian refugee problem, rather than rehabilitating them. But on each occasion, the Israeli government has quietly been among the most influential advocates in getting Congress eventually to release the funds. For all the legitimate frustrations, that aid serves Israeli - and U.S. - interests, by helping maintain the stability of the Palestinian Authority and providing for the legitimate needs of Palestinian refugees. Without it, Israel's security could be harmed by the collapse of the PA, and Israel would have to take on the burdens of providing for refugees' needs that UNRWA currently does. In an honest dialogue between Israel and the Trump Administration, I would expect similar issues to be raised, and for the lion's share of that assistance to continue, while still trying to use it for leverage to get the Palestinians to negotiate and address other concerns." 

"US ambassador pays condolence visit at MK’s West Bank home" by Jacob Magid: "US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman paid a condolence visit at the home of Likud MK Yehudah Glick in the settlement of Otniel on Wednesday... Friedman was not the first American ambassador to do so. His predecessor Dan Shapiro paid condolence visits at the homes of grieving lawmakers Avigdor Liberman and Yuli Edelstein in the settlements Nokdim and Neve Daniel... After a reporter commented on how “unusual” it was to see an American ambassador in an Israeli settlement, Friedman said he was simply there to pay his respects. “I’d offer condolences to anyone I thought I could bring comfort to anywhere, any time, any place,” he said." [ToI

HEARD YESTERDAY -- AP's Matt Lee asked State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert: "Does the administration still believe that the West Bank is occupied?" Nauert: "I can only say that our position on that hasn’t changed." ML: "Well, does that mean that you still regard the West Bank as being occupied?" Nauert: "I can just tell you our position hasn’t changed. I’m going to be very careful with the words because anything related to this region... is extremely sensitive. Our position has not changed, and I won’t budge from that... As you have seen, when America speaks about a matter, it is taken very seriously. And so that is why it’s important for the United States to be careful with its words. And you may not get all the words that you were hoping to get, but I’m going to be careful with the words." [Video]

--Backstory: There were reports last week that Amb. Friedman asked the State Dept. to stop using word 'occupation' [JPost; ToI]

NEW DATE? “Israeli officials expecting Pence visit on January 21” by Barak Ravid: “One of the Israeli officials said PM Netanyahu's aides proposed to the VP's office the 21st of January as the date for the visit – right after Netanyahu returns from a trip to India. The Israeli official said no final decision was made but that Pence is looking favorably at this date and the expectation in Jerusalem is that he will arrive” [Axios

TOP TALKER: “Donald Trump’s Year of Living Dangerously: It’s worse than you think” by Susan Glasser: “The president has disregarded their united recommendation on other issues as consequential as refusing to certify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal and, in December, overturning decades of U.S. policy in deciding to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (Mattis and Tillerson “begged” Trump not to do it, a well-placed source who spoke with both men told me)... On the Iran nuclear deal, for example, a diplomatic source who has had extensive discussions with the White House recently described the plan to me: “This is about leverage with Europeans,” with Trump threatening to walk away from the agreement... in order to get the allies to agree on pressing Iran to make fresh concessions.”

-- “[Jared] Kushner was “very dismissive” about the role of international institutions and alliances and uninterested in the European’s recounting of how closely the United States had stood together with Western Europe since World War II. “He told me, ‘I’m a businessman, and I don’t care about the past. Old allies can be enemies, or enemies can be friends.’ So, the past doesn’t count,” the [EU] official recalled. “I was taken aback. It was frightening.”” [PoliticoMag

"Trump Tower meeting with Russians 'treasonous', Bannon says in explosive book" by David Smith: "The rancour between Bannon and “Javanka” – Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump – is a recurring theme of Michael Wolff's new book. Kushner and Ivanka are Jewish. Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state, is quoted as saying: “It is a war between the Jews and the non-Jews.” ... Trump is not spared. Wolff writes that Thomas Barrack Jr, a billionaire who is one of the president’s oldest associates, allegedly told a friend: “He’s not only crazy, he’s stupid.” [TheGuardian]

DRIVING THE CONVO -- Why Iran Is Protesting -- by Amir Ahmadi Arian: "This is the third mass uprising in Iran in my lifetime... The current unrest looks different. So far, the middle class and the highly educated have been more witnesses than participants. Nonviolence is not a sacred principle. The protests first intensified in small religious towns all over the country, where the government used to take its support for granted. Metropolitan areas have so far lagged behind."

"Unlike during the first decades of the post-revolutionary Iran, the rich now heedlessly flaunt their wealth. They brazenly drive Porsches and Maseratis through the streets of Tehran before the eyes of the poor and post about their wealth on Instagram. The photos travel across apps and social media and enrage the hardworking people in other cities. Iranians see pictures of the family members of the authorities drinking and hanging out on beaches around the world, while their daughters are arrested over a fallen head scarf and their sons are jailed for buying alcohol. The double standard has cultivated an enormous public humiliation." [NYTimes]

"Iranians Are Mad as Hell About Their Foreign Policy" by Dennis Ross: "Trump has said he wants to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region. At this point, however, his administration has done very little to raise the costs to the Iranians for their regional actions. In Syria, the linchpin of Iran’s effort to expand its sphere of control, the administration does not have an anti-Iran strategy. Ironically, the Iranian public is making it clear it is fed up with the costs of the country’s expansion in the region. Highlighting these costs could stoke the public’s dissatisfaction further." [FP]

"Iran protests could move Trump to kill nuclear deal" by Michael Crowley and Eliana Johnson: "Trump could be further motivated to move boldly given bipartisan complaints that President Barack Obama failed to act forcefully in response to the last round of major Iranian protests, in 2009, sources familiar with administration deliberations said... “He’s not going to want to waive sanctions and keep money flowing to dictators when there are people protesting in the streets,” said Richard Goldberg, a former Senate Republican aide who helped design Iran sanctions..." [Politico
 
“Why Trump expressed support for the Iran protesters -- by David Jackson: 
“Much of Trump's foreign policy seems driven by "domestic politics" and the desire "to demonstrate, 'I am not Obama,'" said Aaron David Miller, a Middle East adviser to past Republican and Democratic administrations. Trump tweets about Iran won't have much influence by themselves, foreign policy analysts said, in part because relatively little is known about the protesters or how the government will react. "Our capacity to shape events ... is very, very limited," Miller said.” [USAToday

“Among Netanyahu’s reasons for backing Iran protests: aligning with Trump” by Raphael Ahren: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overruled some of his most senior security advisers in expressing support on Monday for Iranian protesters because he felt it was important he remain fully aligned with the US administration, a well-placed source said” [ToI

2018 WATCH: "Trump-Romney rivalry set to take center stage again" by Alex Isenstadt: "The fraught relationship between the Republican heavyweights... will now take center stage as [Mitt] Romney prepares a Senate bid in the wake of [Orrin] Hatch’s announcement Tuesday that he won’t seek another term, contrary to Trump's wishes. Should Romney run and win, as many expect, he will be poised to be Trump’s most prominent GOP foil... Romney is wasting little time preparing for a Senate bid, though aides say an official announcement is likely several weeks away. Among his tight-knit circle, there is already talk about who will oversee his campaign, a job that will likely fall to longtime top aides Matt Waldrip, Spencer Zwick and Beth Myers." [Politico
 
SO MUCH FOR THAT: “Roy Moore's Jewish lawyer voted for Doug Jones, raised money for his campaign” by Mandy Mayfield: “The Jewish attorney that Roy Moore's wife touted employing in an attempt to fight off claims of anti-Semitism is actually a longtime friend and supporter of Senator-elect Doug Jones. Richard Jaffe... told the Washington Examiner he has been close personal friends with Doug Jones for over 30 years and he both contributed to, and raised money for, his campaign The Birmingham based lawyer walked alongside Jones as he took center stage to deliver his acceptance speech and plans to be in the DC Senate gallery on Wednesday as Jones is sworn in.” [WashExaminer

HAPPENING TODAY --The New York City Council is expected to pick Councilman Corey Johnson as its new Speaker during its first meeting of 2018 in Council Chambers at noon. In an interview with NY1 on Monday, Johnson said, “I love to dance. So [New Yorkers] are going to see me dancing down 5th Avenue in the Gay Pride parade and dancing up 5th Avenue in the Israeli Day Parade.”

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Former Treasury Secretary Lew Says Tax Cuts Will Leave the U.S. Broke [Bloomberg]  Michael Gelband to start hedge fund after resolving hiring dispute with billionaire Izzy Englander [Bloomberg Israel's Rami Levi to buy 20 percent of Cofix coffee chain [Reuters]  Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. says India nixed $500M Spike missile deal [AP Mobileye deal boosts Israeli high-tech exits to $23 billion in 2017 [Reuters]  In Israel, Teva has become more than just a drug company. But its future is now in question [STAT]

SPOTLIGHT: "Steve Cohen Prepares Return With Help of Big Brother Oversight" by Matt Robinson and Katherine Burton: "Inside what will be his Stamford Harbor Capital sits a command center in the middle of the trading floor. There, a 50-member compliance team is strategically positioned to listen in on traders’ conversations in real time, comb through emails for suspicious language and even veto job candidates. The room is part of billionaire Cohen’s preparations to open the fund after his two-year ban on managing outside capital ended last week. The new firm, based in the same Stamford, Connecticut-based building as his family office, is slated to manage $3 billion to $4 billion of client money in addition to his own $10 billion-plus fortune." [Bloomberg]

TALK OF THE VALLEY -- Israel's El Al Airlines to start flights to Silicon Valley: "El Al Israel Airlines said on Wednesday it will begin nonstop flights between Tel Aviv and San Francisco in the fourth quarter, as it continues to expand into North America. Israel’s flag carrier, which is facing increased competition from low cost carriers, said it will fly the route three times a week using new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft." [Reuters]

“Netanyahu Assembles Team to Address U.S. Tax Reform” by Omri Milman and Orr Hirschauge: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened senior Israeli government officials to discuss the possible impact the U.S. tax reform may have on Israel's economy According to Aviram Zolti, head of the operational division of Israel's government innovation investment arm, the reform is expected to drive up the costs of operating Israeli research and development, like the ones created by hundreds of multinational corporations, many of which are U.S.-based Netanyahu instructed the chairman of Israel’s National Economic Council, Avi Simhon, to form a team that will study the tax reform and devise recommendations within 30 days.” [Calcalist

BUZZ ON BALFOUR -- Netanyahu confidante implicated by state witness in submarine affair: "Miki Ganor, former representative of the German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp turned State witness in the submarine scandal known as  'Case 3000', reportedly told police investigators that he worked with Netanyahu’s cousin and personal attorney, David Shimron, to sink the multi-billion shekel deal with South Korean shipbuilder... Ganor alleged that after being informed of the soon-to depart flight to South Korea of the Defense Ministry’s director-general and his team, Shimron "understood the meaning, made a call, and got them off that flight." Afterwards, Shimron updated Ganor that  "the matter has been dealt with."" [i24News]

Delta flight attendants suing airline for alleged anti-Semitism: “Four Delta flight attendants from New York -- with work experience ranging from 10 to 40 years -- are suing the airline for what they call "a pattern of intentionally discriminating and retaliating against ethnically Jewish, Hebrew and/or Israeli employees and passengers" ... specifically on the flight they worked from NYC to Israel. Among the allegations of rampant anti-Semitism -- Delta fired a female flight attendant in March 2017 because she was Jewish, but tried to say it was because she missed a flight ... even though she was granted FMLA leave for a medical emergency. Another female flight attendant -- who's not Jewish -- claims she was suspended without pay and demoted because she shared her Delta "Travel Companion" pass with a Jewish friend.” [TMZ

PIC OF THE DAY -- "Television legend Jerry Seinfeld took a break from his Israeli comedy tour to visit an Israeli Air Force base on Tuesday. Seinfeld documented his visit with a photo op which the Israeli Air Force posted on Twitter.” [JPost; Pic] Seinfeld was also spotted at the Jerusalem Shuk [Pic]

MEDIA WATCH: "Reporters, once set against paywalls, have warmed to them" by Lucia Moses: “Until last year, I was a reporter, and as a reporter, God knows, I hated the ideas of paywalls,” said Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic. “It would have bothered me a great deal to think people were being walled off. I also have a feeling of sadness for people who have been behind paywalls for years... Those writers are dying for readers.” ... Goldberg’s attitude, along with The Atlantic, is changing, though. “When I interview young journalists, or even among the 20-somethings on our staff, there is not the same knee-jerk resistance that maybe there once was that people aren’t going to see your story because they’re not paying for it,” Goldberg said." [Digiday]

SPORTS BLINK: "Inside an ESPN President's Shocking Exit (and Bob Iger's Possible Role)" by James Andrew Miller: "In the aftermath of Disney’s Dec. 14 announcement that it will acquire significant parts of 21st Century Fox, Iger revealed he will stay at Disney through 2021, not only apparently taking him out of the running for the Democratic nomination for president, but also giving him more time to deliver to the Disney board a designated successor for himself. And what better proving ground is there in the Disney constellation than ESPN? Skipper’s replacement will have to deal with many major elements involved in today's and tomorrow’s media businesses, including acquisitions, television/digital rights, the creation of new, meaningful revenue streams, and battling competition from rivals old and new. Get the ESPN job, hit that pitch out of the park, and you’ve automatically earned a spot on the shortlist to follow Iger." [HollywoodReporter]

DESSERT: “Gaucho Grill: Argentine Cuisine Glows With Wood-Fire Cooking” by Luis Andrew Henao: “The wood-fueled fusion is also key at Fayer (fire in Yiddish), a restaurant that blends Argentine open-fire grilling with Jewish cuisine.” [AP

“How to eat Jewish, and be well” by Paula Shoyer: “Most Jewish cookbooks have too many recipes with processed ingredients, not enough whole grains, too much salt and fat and too much sugar, even in savory dishes. My goal was to create recipes that use only natural ingredients. I banished margarine, frozen puff pastry, soup stocks and powders and most jarred sauces. I gave up frying and created baked goods with as much whole-grain flour as I could. I reduced sugar; most of my desserts contain less than a half-cup. Kosher food is notoriously oversalted; these recipes have a minimal amount My recipes include Jewish classics made healthier and updated for the modern table.” [WashPost]  

ADVICE FOR THE NEW YEAR -- from Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: "I spend a lot of time with young people — pupils about to leave school, students at university and graduates about to start a career. Often they ask me for advice as they begin their journey into the future. Here are some of the ideas worth thinking about as we begin our journey into a new calendar year. The first idea is to dream... The second idea is to follow your passion... The third idea is to hear the call... The fourth idea is to make space in your life for the things that matter, for family and friends, love and generosity, fun and joy... The fifth idea is to work hard, the way an athlete or concert pianist or cutting-edge scientist works hard." [Facebook]

BIRTHDAYS: Treasury Secretary under President Carter (1977-1979), CEO of Burroughs Corporation and Unisys, followed by 17 years as director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, W. Michael Blumenthal turns 92... Professor of Medicine and chairman of the medical ethics committee at Columbia University Medical Center, Kenneth Prager, M.D. turns 75... CNN legal analyst, he was formerly a Watergate prosecutor and later a member of the 9/11 Commission, Richard Ben-Veniste turns 75... Contributing editor at Vanity Fair, previously legal affairs reporter at The New York Times, David Margolick turns 66... Graduate of West Point and HBS, partner and managing director in the NYC office of the Boston Consulting Group, Neal Zuckerman turns 47... DC-based national healthcare policy reporter for The Los Angeles Times, Noam Naftali Levey turns 47... DC-based director of political advertising sales at Twitter, adjunct at Georgetown U teaching digital strategies, food blogger, formerly at The New Republic and National Journal magazines, Jenna Golden turns 34... VP at the Center for American Progress and the deputy director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Igor Volsky turns 32... Director of Israel Engagement at the Union for Reform Judaism, Reuven Greenvald... Michael Novack... Alana Herbst...

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