Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: July 27, 2018

Who's Who attending Google Camp | PayPal CEO Dan Schulman on practicing Krav Maga | Where Russian elite dine in Tel Aviv

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U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the economy at the White House, Washington, July 27, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the economy at the White House, Washington, July 27, 2018.Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

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DEEP DIVE — A fist bump, then a rancorous call: How Trump’s deal to free an American pastor in Turkey fell apart — by Carol Leonnig, Ashley Parker, Kareem Fahim and Karen DeYoung: "President Trump thought he had a deal. His NATO meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month had ended with a smile, a fist-bump and what Trump thought was an agreement to free Andrew Brunson, the American pastor imprisoned in Turkey... The deal was a carom shot, personally sealed by Trump, to trade a Turkish citizen imprisoned on terrorism charges in Israel for Brunson’s release. But it apparently fell apart on Wednesday, when a Turkish court, rather than sending the pastor home, ordered that he be transferred to house arrest while his trial continues." 

"On July 14, after traveling from the NATO gathering to his golf club in Scotland, Trump placed a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu... Trump... asked his Israeli ally if he would release Ebru Ozkan, a 27-year-old Turkish woman who was detained in Israel on charges of acting as a smuggler for Hamas... Erdogan’s government had expressed anger over Ozkan’s June 11 arrest as she attempted to fly home from Israel’s international airport in Tel Aviv. But the case was apparently considered weak by the Israeli court... On July 15, the day after Trump and Netanyahu spoke, Ozkan was deported from Israel." [WashPost

REPORT -- U.S. pressing Israel to implement pipeline project with Jordan -- by Barak Ravid: "The U.S. is pressing Israel to implement a deal is has signed several years ago with Jordan for building the Red-Dead joint project... Last summer Israel froze the project in an attempt to use it as leverage to get the Jordanians to reopen the Israeli embassy in Amman. When the embassy crisis ended several months ago the Jordanians expected Israel to unfreeze it, but the Israelis refused... Senior Jordanian officials called White House officials and raised their concerns that Israel appeared to be trying to pull out of the project, requesting U.S. intervention."

"U.S. ambassador to Jerusalem David Friedman, White House Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner raised the issue with their Israeli counterparts. A national security council spokesman told me: "The United States told Israel that the U.S. supports the project and expects Israel to live up to its obligations under the Red-Dead agreement or find a suitable alternative that is acceptable to Israel and Jordan." [Axios]

Netanyahu May Have to Choose Between Trump and China -- by Asaf Shalev: "New data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics shows that Israeli exports to China reached $2.8 billion in the first half of 2018, a 73% increase compared to last year. China was the destination country for 8.7% of Israeli exports for the last six months... The cozying up between the two countries may prove to be awkward for Netanyahu in his relationship with the White House... Netanyahu... has worked to be a close friend to both foreign powers— two countries that now appear to be locked into a trade war with each other." [Calcalist]

ON THE GROUND -- Islamic State fired at Israel in bid to draw it into Syria, says ex-intel chief -- by Jacob Magid: "The former head of the IDF’s military intelligence [Amos Yadlin] said Thursday that the firing of a pair of missiles from Syria into the Sea of Galilee a day earlier was likely an effort by the Islamic State group to draw Israel into a confrontation with the Syrian regime... He also said Israel must remain wary of a possible IS attack, with the “desperate” jihadist group on the “verge of collapse” in the Golan Heights." [ToI]

Dov Zakheim writes... "Moscow Holds the Key to Peace Between Jerusalem and Damascus: Only Russia can press Assad to abide by the 1974 agreement. Only Russia has any chance of maneuvering Tehran into agreeing to withdraw its forces sufficiently far from the Golan Heights to assuage Jerusalem." [ForeignPolicy]

Shalom Lipner writes... "The Summer of Israel’s Contentment: These are surreal times in Israel. Despite being surrounded by conflict on almost every border, Israelis are surprisingly at ease with their regional predicament... Notwithstanding a nominal concern that fighting could escalate, Israelis trust that the Israel Defense Forces can protect them against all comers. Life in the country continues according to its own idiosyncratic rhythm." [ForeignPolicy]

Australian PM Turnbull says 'no reason to believe' Trump is planning Iran strike — by Gareth Hutchens: "Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says he has “no reason” to believe US president Donald Trump is preparing to bomb Iran’s nuclear capability imminently, despite reports to the contrary. The Australian ABC reported on Friday that senior ministers in the Turnbull government were preparing for the possibility the United States could bomb Iran’s nuclear capability, perhaps as early as next month." [TheGuardian; ABC]  Iranian General Locks Horns With Trump, Escalating Threat-Filled Feud [NYT]

HEARD YESTERDAY -- Vice President Mike Pence speaking at the Ministerial To Advance Religious Freedom held at the State Department: "Just 70 years after the Holocaust, attacks on Jews, even on aging Holocaust survivors, are growing at an alarming rate. Last year, hate crimes against Jews hit a record high in the United Kingdom. And in the same period of time, there were an average of nearly four attacks against Jews every day." 

"In France and Germany, things have gotten so bad that Jewish religious leaders have warned their followers not to wear kippahs in public for fear that they could be violently attacked, and in too many cases, that’s exactly what’s happened... It is remarkable to think that within the very lifetimes of some French Jews — the same French Jews that were forced by the Nazis to wear identifiable Jewish clothing — that some of those same people are now being warned by their democratic leaders not to wear identifiable Jewish clothing. These acts of violence and hatred and anti-Semitism must end." [Video

LOOKING AHEAD -- How Trump Won Re-election in 2020 -- by Bret Stephens: "With neither a recession nor a major war to run against, Democrats sought instead to cast the election in starkly moral terms. Yet by Election Day, the charge that Mr. Trump is morally or intellectually unfit for office had been made so often that it had lost most of its former edge among swing voters..." [NYTimes

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — Trump Organization Finance Chief Called to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury — by Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Rebecca Ballhaus, Michael Rothfeld and  Alexandra Berzon: "Allen Weisselberg, a longtime financial gatekeeper for President Donald Trump, has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in the criminal probe of Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen... Mr. Weisselberg is considered a witness in the investigation... [A] former executive said Mr. Trump would sometimes point out to him how Mr. Weisselberg had been loyal to him for decades." [WSJ]

HEARD ON MORNING JOE -- Timothy O'Brien, executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion: "The other thing that is significant beyond [Weisselberg's] relationship with Donald Trump is this starts to bring the investigation into Donald Trump's wallet... There were two people within the Trump Organization that Trump relied on to do business. One was Jason Greenblatt, who was the lawyer for the Trump Organization — he signed off on everything. And Allen Weisselberg, who was the money man."

Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting -- by Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein and Marshall Cohen: "Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower... Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller... Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians' offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen's account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians... Cohen does not have evidence, such as audio recordings, to corroborate his claim, but he is willing to attest to his account."

"According to people who have discussed the matter with Cohen, he has expressed hope that this claim about the Trump Tower meeting will help him reach out to Mueller and possibly lessen his legal troubles." [CNN]

-- Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani on CNN's Cuomo Prime Time: "[Cohen] has been lying all week. I mean, he's been lying for years... The man is a liar. A proven liar. There's no way you're going to bring down the president of the United States on the testimony uncorroborated of a proven liar. I guarantee you this guy is a proven liar." [Video]

Trump tweets this morning: "I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?). He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!" 

WHITE HOUSE BOOK CLUB -- Trump tweets"Alan Dershowitz, a brilliant lawyer, who although a Liberal Democrat who probably didn’t vote for me, has discussed the Witch Hunt with great clarity and in a very positive way. He has written a new and very important book called “The Case Against Impeaching Trump,” which I would encourage all people with Trump Derangement Syndrome to read!" 

A Kushner Ally Was Up for a Federal Post. Then the F.B.I. Began Digging -- by Jesse Drucker, Emily Steel and Danny Hakim: "Ken Kurson is a confidant of Rudolph W. Giuliani... And he is a close friend of Jared Kushner... This spring, those relationships appeared to yield a prestigious offer from the Trump White House: a seat on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities... First, Mr. Kurson had to undergo a government background check. As part of that process, the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned about allegations that he had harassed a New York doctor in 2015..."

"Mr. Kurson said in an interview last week that he withdrew from consideration for the government post around early June, citing the amount of paperwork involved in the vetting process. Mr. Kurson’s lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said the F.B.I.’s questioning was related only to the background check. “That is a completely different ball of wax from a criminal investigation,” he said." [NYTimes]

House Speaker rejects Rosenstein impeachment effort -- by Daphne Psaledakis and Nate Raymond: "House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday rejected a move by fellow Republicans to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein... Earlier, Rosenstein’s boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, expressed confidence in the career civil servant... “My deputy, Rod Rosenstein, is highly capable. I have the highest confidence in him,” Sessions said during an appearance in Boston." [Reuters]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: U.S. Probes Web of Businesses for Ties to Alleged Hezbollah Supporters [WSJ]  Ziel Feldman’s HFZ adds to NoMad assemblage with $30M buy [TheRealDeal]  WeWork China raises $500M to triple the number of cities it covers [TechCrunchJon Steinberg's Cheddar, the company behind a financial news-focused streaming network for millennials, is cutting deals with small cable operators [WSJ]  Audrey Gelman's The Wing expands Manhattan footprint [TheRealDeal]

HAPPENING ON SUNDAY — Google will host mega-wealthy celebrities and business leaders for a private summit, known as the Google Camp, at the Verdura Resort in Sicily. Expected participants, according to CNN's PACIFIC newsletter, include Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg, John & Ann Doerr, Kevin Durant and Cassandra Anderson, Daniel and Sofia Ek, Mike and Michelle Fries, Brian and Veronica Grazer, Reed Hastings, Ben and Felicia Horowitz, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Gayle King, Rich and Jana Kleiman, Josh Kushner and Karlie Kloss, Robert and Luz Kyncl, Martin and Millie Lau, Carolyn McCall and Peter Frawley, Lorne Michaels, Neal and Hema Sareen Mohan, James and Kathryn Murdoch, Guy and Michelle Alves Oseary, Jonah Peretti and Andrea Harner, Richard Plepler and Lisa Plepler, Eric Schmidt, Shane and Tamyka Smith, and Evan Spiegel. 

MEDIA WATCH — ‘I Quit, I Quit!’ Boardroom Turmoil Aggravates Univision’s Problems — by Shalini Ramachandran and Benjamin Mullin: "After a Univision Communications Inc. board meeting in December, tensions erupted between the media company’s billionaire chairman and its then-chief executive. Univision disclosed a big earnings shortfall not long after Chief Executive Randy Falco renewed his contract, angering Chairman Haim Saban and other directors. For his part, the CEO complained he was tired of Mr. Saban and his top deputy micromanaging the company, emailing and calling his direct reports—even asking what they thought of Mr. Falco... In Mr. Falco’s office, the two men screamed at each other. Staffers could hear them one floor below." 

"One source of Mr. Falco’s disenchantment was the rise of Isaac Lee, an executive who joined as president of news in 2010 and shot through the ranks, forging ties with Televisa and Mr. Saban. Mr. Lee vacationed with Televisa board members. At times, Mr. Falco would join a videoconference from New York and discover Mr. Lee sitting with Mr. Saban in his Los Angeles office... In a written statement, Mr. Saban said, “the past is water under the bridge.” He said the board is “very excited” about [Vincent] Sadusky, the new CEO, and believes he “will help lead the company to great success in the future.” [WSJ]

NYT CORNER OFFICE INTERVIEW — PayPal CEO Dan Schulman on practicing martial arts: "I practice Krav Maga. I spent some time in Israel when I was young, and they have what’s called Youth Military Training there, so I started then. That was when I was in my teens, and I’ve been doing Krav since then." 

-- Have you ever gotten hurt? Schulman: "Oh my gosh. I mean, look at my knuckles. These are all from punches. I’m always black or blue or I have some scar on my face. I've dislocated my shoulder. I've had stitches. If you look carefully on my face, stitches here, stitches here. Smacked into a mat here, here. That’s how you learn how to be cool, calm and collected in very stressful situations. But the overrunning philosophy of Krav is that the best way to win a fight is to not get into a fight. It's very Zen in that way. How do you de-escalate situations? We spend a lot of time thinking about that. It's translated into the way that I think about business as well." [NYTimes]

TEL AVIV SCENE: "Israel's Rick's Café for Russian Jewish Oligarchs" by Sophie Shulman: "From the outside, Shallot restaurant is no different from numerous other establishments in the area—a wide-ranging mix of Falafel joints, and medium to high-end eateries. But on a good day, the personal wealth of Shallot’s patrons can be in the billions. Sporting a modern design, Shallot is a stronghold of Israel’s new super-rich Russian immigrants. Roman Abramovich, one of Israel’s wealthiest new citizens, dines here, sometimes with David Davidovich, his one-time assistant and now a billionaire businessman on his own right. Exiled oligarch Leonid Nevzlin is a repeating customer, sometimes dining with his son-in-law, Israeli lawmaker Yuli Edelstein. The kosher menu is a mix of chicken kiev and caviar with the local hummus and tahini. It appears to fit the taste of the Russian elite." [CTech]

Doctor says he’s sorry for posts on white nationalist sites -- by Stephen Groves: "Dr. Dov Bechhofer, a resident radiologist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, was removed from duty this week after an anonymous article on the blogging site Medium identified him as an online commenter on a website that promoted white nationalism... He also said he favored “‘tempered’ anti-Semitism” despite being Jewish himself... Bechhofer’s father is a rabbi who is a leader of the group Orthodox Jews Against Racism and Discrimination... Bechhofer began commenting on white-supremacist websites in the fall of 2016." [AP]

Roseanne Barr Says She Believes She's Been "Forgiven" After Controversial Tweet: "Roseanne Barr said she believes she's been "forgiven" for her Valerie Jarrett tweet at a live podcast recording at the New York Comedy Club Thursday night. [Shmuley] Boteach introduced her as a "Jewish celebrity who takes her Jewishness very seriously." He added, "at whatever expense to your career." ... In the aftermath of her tweet about Jarrett, Barr said she was afraid to go outside and "hiding in my mom's basement," comparing her experience to The Twilight Zone. When Boteach asked her what she learned from the experience, she said, "I figured out that the voice of the Jewish people is always left out, that's what I thought."" [HollywoodReporter]

-- Barr on Fox News' Hannity program: "That is a tweet about asking for accountability from the previous administration about the Iran deal, which Valerie Jarrett is the author of, and that was what was in my head... [Critics] were saying it's racial when it's political... And then everybody started saying I was a racist, which is like the worst thing you can call a Jewish person, especially one who, like me, grew up with Holocaust survivors." [Video]

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT — Halie Soifer, Executive Director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), and her husband Andrew Kauders hosted a fundraiser for Michigan House candidate Elissa Slotkin at their residence in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on Wednesday. Attendees included Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Matt Nosanchuk, Barbara Goldberg Goldman, and Ann Lewis. [Pic]  Soifer presented Slotkin with a homemade cake featuring the candidate’s logo [Pic]

DESSERT — Ample Hills Unleashes a Massive New Ice Cream Playground in Red Hook — by Stefanie Tuder: "With the help of an $8 million investment, co-founders Jackie Cuscuna and Brian Smith are turning 421 Van Brunt St. at Beard Street into an ice cream destination with the capability to produce 500,000 gallons a year... It’s no secret that Ample Hills is chasing after Ben & Jerry’s, and this factory is a step in that pursuit. Disney CEO Bob Iger has been a major ally in that goal, collaborating on a Star Wars pint and sending samples to Jimmy Kimmel, Mike Nichols, J.J. Abrams, Tom Hanks, and Oprah." [EaterNY]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS — FRIDAY: Television producer Norman Lear turns 96... Former CIA Director (1995-1996) and Deputy Secretary of Defense (1994-1995), now a professor emeritus at MIT and on the boards of multiple Fortune 500 companies, John M. Deutch turns 80... Steven M. Mizel turns 79... Immediate past chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Stephen M. Greenberg turns 74...  Editor and producer at Israel's Channel 1 TV, Yarin Kimor turns 66...  Comedienne, writer, producer and actress, Carol Leifer turns 62...  Journalist at the Christian Science Monitor since 1981 and now its Washington Bureau Chief, Linda Feldmann turns 59...  Former VP of global communications, marketing and public policy at Facebook (2008-2018), Elliot Schrage turns 58...  Member of the Hungarian Parliament (1990-2009) and member of the European Parliament since 2009, Tamás Deutsch turns 52...  Chief of Staff of the House Republican Conference, Jeremy Deutsch turns 42...  Sales and customer service representative at Travilah Beer and Wine, Benjamin Rothenberg turns 36... 

SATURDAY: Survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau as a teen, he emigrated to Israel and became an artist, his work, mostly Holocaust themed, appears in the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem and the US Capitol, Yehuda Bacon turns 89...  Chicago radio news personality, Walter Jacobson turns 81...  Former US District Court Judge in Manhattan (1988-2006), then US Attorney General (2007-2009), now of counsel at the international law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, Michael Mukasey turns 77... Swedish industrialist, chairman of the Nobel Foundation (manager of the Nobel Prize) from 2005 to 2013, his father was the chairman of the Swedish branch of the World Jewish Congress, Marcus Storch Ph.D. turns 76... In 1986 she became first woman in the IDF to hold the rank of Brigadier General, she was a member of Knesset (2006-2009), Amira Dotan turns 71...  President of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, Richard N. Haass turns 67...  Sports columnist, commentator and author of 36 sports-related books, John Feinstein turns 62... French-Israeli hairdresser and entrepreneur, Michel Mercier turns 57... Sports executive, attorney and former president of basketball operations for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves (2009-2013), David Kahn turns 57...  Co-founder and CEO of the personal genomics and biotechnology company "23andMe," Anne Wojcicki turns 45...  CEO of NYC-based Xukuma, LLC (a consulting firm), Jennifer Lew Goldstone...  Managing Partner at Resolute Venture Partners and former White House liaison to the Jewish community, Jay Zeidman turns 35... Director of baseball research and development for the Washington Nationals, Sam Mondry-Cohen turns 31... Political Reporter at BuzzFeed, Ruby Cramer... Partner and managing director of private investment bank DH Capital, he serves on the boards of American Jewish World Service and Hazon, Marty Friedman... Larry Gordon... 

SUNDAY: Billionaire banker and energy executive, he is the chairman of BOK Financial Corporation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, George Kaiser turns 76... Newspaper columnist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth and author of fiction, non-fiction and children's books, Meir Shalev turns 70... Denver-based trial lawyer (formerly a prosecutor, now a criminal defense attorney), film producer and author Kenneth Eichner turns 64... Economics journalist Peter S. Goodman turns 52... Twin brothers, Los Angeles based philanthropists and businessmen, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz and Yisroel Zev Rechnitz turn 47... Vice President for Community Engagement at BBYO, Jayme David turns 41... Director of the Straus Center at Yeshiva University, he is also the Rabbi of NYC's Congregation Shearith Israel (often called The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue), Rabbi Meir Soloveichik turns 41... Senior producer of data-based news and investigations at CNN, Aaron Kessler turns 39... Rabbi Levi Welton turns 35... Former Obama White House aide, then a venture capital investor for Steve Case, now a VP in the NYC office of SKDKnickerbocker, Herbie Ziskend turns 33... Former director of Israel and Jewish Advocacy at the Baltimore Jewish Council, now managing a political campaign for the Maryland legislature, Adrienne Potter Yoe... and her twin sister, Moira Yoe Bauer, who works in NYC on corporate governance and sustainability at Prudential Financial, both turn 31... Assistant editor of The Agenda at Politico, Danny Vinik turns 28... Uriel Wassner turns 24... Deputy Editor at Politico Pro, previously at Kaiser Health News, CQ and Newsday (the latter for almost 20 years), Carol Eisenberg... Jason Levin...