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SCENE LAST NIGHT IN JERUSALEM — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was seen filming former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee playing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at a BBQ hosted by Simon Falic at his residence in Talpiot, Jerusalem. Also in attendance: The Prime Minister's son Yair Netanyahu, former and brief White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, and Dr. Joe Frager. [Video; Pic]
-- US ambassador makes rare visit to settlement, after terror attack: "US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman traveled to the Adam settlement north of Jerusalem on Monday where he met with the family of 31-year-old Yotam Ovadia, who was killed in the Thursday attack by a Palestinian who had sneaked into the settlement." [ToI]
ULTIMATE DEAL — As U.S. pushes for Mideast peace, Saudi king reassures allies — by Stephen Kalin: “Saudi Arabia has reassured Arab allies it will not endorse any Middle East peace plan that fails to address Jerusalem’s status or refugees’ right of return King Salman’s private guarantees to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his public defense of long-standing Arab positions in recent months have helped reverse perceptions that Saudi Arabia’s stance was changing under his powerful young son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, diplomats and analysts said."
“A diplomat in Riyadh briefed on [Jared] Kushner’s latest visit to the kingdom said King Salman and MBS had seen him together: “MBS did the talking while the king was in the background.” ... Kushner and fellow negotiator Jason Greenblatt have not presented a comprehensive proposal but rather disjointed elements, which one diplomat said “crossed too many red lines."
A senior Arab diplomat in Riyadh quoted by Reuters: “In Saudi Arabia, the king is the one who decides on this issue now, not the crown prince. The U.S. mistake was they thought one country could pressure the rest to give in, but it’s not about pressure. No Arab leader can concede on Jerusalem or Palestine.” [Reuters]
-- “As one diplomatic source described the change in the Saudi approach, “they told the administration, 'what we could do for you before Jerusalem, we won’t be able to do now.'” [Haaretz]
Aaron David Miller tells us... "It was two newbies -- MBS and Kushner -- looking up to one another, both whom I think misread what the other was prepared to do, and, I think, the primary misreading was on our side. Clearly, the Saudis are trying to get the Saudi position back to the mainstream. I think the Saudis overcommitted and the Americans were amenable to hearing what they wanted to hear. I don't doubt the fact that Kushner heard from MBS that he will support what Kushner is doing. I just think that as time went on, particularly after the Jerusalem embassy announcement, it created a whole new frame for the Saudis that they couldn't endorse."
Sisi urges Israeli public to seize ‘a great opportunity for peace’ — by Michael Bachner: “We have a great opportunity to achieve peace in the region and solve the Palestinian issue,” [President Abdel Fattah al-] Sisi said in an address at a conference for youth at Cairo university carried by the country’s media. “This solution will not take away from your security or stability,” he added, clarifying that he was directing his words at Israelis... “Egypt’s policies are clear,” he added. “We support all UN decisions, the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and [an Israeli withdrawal] to pre-1967 borders.” [ToI]
Egypt's Sisi says Palestinian reconciliation would help revive peace talks with Israel: “Sisi's remarks came during his meeting in Cairo with President of the U.S.-based World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder. The Egyptian president stressed that restoring legitimacy in the Gaza Strip and ending the internal Palestinian division would help push forward efforts to revive the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and reach a just solution to the Palestinian issue, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.” [Xinhua]
-- “Sisi and Lauder reviewed Egypt’s efforts to achieve political solutions to the crises in the region which respects the sovereignty of states, without interference in their domestic affairs. They also reviewed a number of regional issues with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on top of the list, Rady said.” [EgyptToday; Pic]
TALK OF THE REGION — Erdogan dismisses Trump’s threat of sanctions over detained American pastor — by Kareem Fahim: "[President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, speaking to reporters during a visit to South Africa, also confirmed a report in The Washington Post that Trump had intervened to help secure the release of a Turkish citizen held by Israel on terrorism charges. But he denied that Turkey had offered to release the pastor, Andrew Brunson, in exchange for Trump’s intervention. “That type of negotiation didn’t happen,” Erdogan said." [WashPost]
Trump seeks to revive 'Arab NATO' to confront Iran — by Yara Bayoumy, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel: “The Trump administration is quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in part to counter Iran’s expansion in the region The plan to forge what officials in the White House and Middle East have called an “Arab NATO” of Sunni Muslim allies will likely raise tensions between the United States and Shi’ite Iran.” [Reuters]
ON THE HILL — The Senate is expected to vote this week on the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, which authorizes the 10-year MOU (memorandum of understanding) signed between Israel and the Obama administration in 2016 and agreed-upon increases in Israel’s security assistance. [CSPAN]
Divide Over Israel Widens in Democratic Party — by Rachel Oswald: "What many Palestinian rights activists are most excited about is legislation from Rep. Betty McCollum, a nine-term Democrat from Minnesota, that would prohibit Israel from using any of the billions of dollars in annual aid received from Congress for “the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill treatment of Palestinian children.” The bill has 28 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats... A number of the co-sponsors of McCollum’s bill — such as Reps. Ro Khanna of California and Pramila Jayapal of Washington State — are newly elected, signaling a generational shift within the Democratic Party." [RollCall]
TURTLE BAY TRANSITION? -- via Yossi Melman: Prime Minister Netanyahu has extended Danny Danon's term as Israel's Ambassador to the UN by another six months. The leading candidate to replace him is David Keyes, Netanyahu's spokesperson to foreign media since March 2016.
THE DAILY KUSHNER — Still Standing, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump Step Back in the Spotlight — by Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers: "Several times Mr. Trump joked that he “could have had Tom Brady” as a son-in-law. “Instead,” the president said, according to five people who heard him, “I got Jared Kushner.” And yet, after 18 months of bruising internal White House conflicts and bitter criticism that they have failed to be a moderating influence on the president, both Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump... are still in Washington and still working as aides to Mr. Trump. They are as comfortable — and as close to the center of the president’s orbit — as they have ever been."
“I have greatly enjoyed working collaboratively with so many extraordinarily devoted and competent people,” Mr. Kushner said through a spokesman... “But those who have tried to undermine the president have found me to be an obstacle.” [NYTimes]
HEARD THE OTHER NIGHT -- Alan Dershowitz and Michael Avenatti clashed about Trump and Michael Cohen's tape on CNN's AC360 Friday evening program. But then it got personal -- Avenatti: "You need to go back and concentrate on what invites you're getting on Martha's Vineyard since that appears to be what you're really good at." Dershowitz: "Well, I'm about to head off to a party. So I have to leave in a minute." Avenatti: "Good luck to that."
Avenatti: "You know what I want to know? I want to know about the relationship between you and Donald Trump. I think you ought to disclose the extent of the relationship. How did you get that positive book review?" Dershowitz: "Happy to disclose it... I've met him three times in my life. All three times dealing with the Middle East. I have no relationship with him." [Video]
2020 WATCH -- Mayor Garcetti's presidential ambition: Is he serious? -- by Steve Lopez: "A lot of political insiders guess [Eric] Garcetti is more interested in branding himself as a contender so he gets consideration for a Cabinet post if a Democrat beats Trump, or because it might help in a run to replace California Sen. Dianne Feinstein when she retires." [LATimes]
Ginsburg suggests she has at least five more years on the Supreme Court -- by Dan Berman: "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she hopes to stay on the Supreme Court until the age of 90. "I'm now 85," Ginsburg said on Sunday. "My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years." She has already hired law clerks for at least two more terms. "You can't set term limits, because to do that you'd have to amend the Constitution," Ginsburg said. "Article 3 says ... we hold our offices during good behavior. And most judges are very well behaved," she added, to laughter." [CNN]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: Iran’s Rial at Historic Low as U.S. Sanctions Loom [WSJ] KKR Gains Momentum Among Rivals After Switching to a Corporation [Bloomberg] These Hedge Funds Are Doing Great but Don’t Want Your Money [WSJ] At Rich Kid Summer Camp, Big Banks Try to Hook Heirs for a Lifetime [Bloomberg] WeWork is just one facet of SoftBank’s bet on real estate [TechCrunch]
CBS Board to Meet on Les Moonves’s Role After Misconduct Allegations -- by Edmund Lee: "The board of CBS Corporation spent most of the weekend discussing what immediate actions it should take involving Les Moonves, the company’s chief executive, after a published report that included allegations of sexual misconduct from six women. At least two of the board’s 14 members have questioned whether Mr. Moonves should continue to run the company during an internal investigation." [NYTimes; WSJ] Accusations of misconduct against CBS CEO Les Moonves may enable Shari Redstone to finally carry out a merger with Viacom [Bloomberg; LATimes]
GOOGLE CAMP SCENE -- by Chris Spargo and Sarah White: "It was a stylish crowd that was first to arrive for the start of Google Camp on Sunday. Karlie Kloss, fresh off a modeling shoot in Beijing, touched down at the airport in Palermo before being flown to the Vedura Resort in a helicopter to meet up with fiancee Joshua Kushner. The supermodel... gave her followers a look at Barry Diller's massive yacht Eos, which he arrived to Google Camp on alongside his wife Diane von Furstenberg and CBS This Morning host Gayle King." [DailyMail]
Karlie Kloss converted to Judaism to marry Josh Kushner -- by Richard Johnson: "Karlie Kloss is kosher, a family insider confirms... Ivanka studied for her conversion at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on East 85th Street, but it is not known where Kloss was instructed... Rabbi Shmuley Boteach told me, “The Kushners are deeply observant. Charlie Kushner has an afternoon prayer service in his office every day.” [NYPost]
Trump appointee condemns Zuckerberg's comments on Holocaust deniers -- by Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene: "Paul Packer, appointed by President Trump as chairman of the U.S. Commission to Preserve America’s Heritage Abroad, an independent government agency, has sent an official letter to Mark Zuckerberg condemning his comments on Holocaust denial and calling on Facebook to change its content policy... The company has had a draft of the letter since last week, Packer said, and he met with senior Facebook executive Joel Kaplan this week in D.C. to raise his concerns." [Axios]
INTERVIEW — Religion Looms Large for Education Official in Charge of Civil Rights — by Michelle Hackman: "As an elementary-school student, Ken Marcus once wandered down a street just outside his predominantly Jewish hometown of Sharon, Mass., when a group of children spotted him. “They started throwing rocks and yelled for me to go back to my ‘Jew town,’” he recalled in an interview this week. The episode, Mr. Marcus said, shaped his view on the need for greater civil-rights protections—and particularly for a more vigorous battle against anti-Semitism in the U.S. That led him to found the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, which pursues legal avenues to fight discrimination against Jews, especially on college campuses. It has now brought him to the Education Department, where he was confirmed last month as head of the civil-rights division." [WSJ]
TALK OF THE TOWN -- Vandals paint Nazi symbols on wall at Jewish temple in Indiana -- by Deanna Hackney and Jay Croft: "Nazi images, including a swastika, were discovered Saturday morning painted on a structure that is part of a Jewish synagogue in Indiana, the temple said. The swastika and two iron crosses were on a brick wall that goes around a dumpster at the Congregation Shaarey Tefilla in Carmel, just north of Indianapolis. The synagogue has not been attacked before and has not received threats or harassing calls, said Lindsay Shipps, the temple's media representative. Shabbat services were not delayed." [CNN; IndyStar]
The ‘New Anti-Semitism’ in France -- by Adam Nossiter: "The solemn boulevards and quiet side streets of the 17th Arrondissement in Paris suggest Jewish life in France is vibrant: There is a new profusion of kosher groceries and restaurants, and about 15 synagogues, up from only a handful two decades ago. But for residents like Joanna Galilli, this area in northwestern Paris represents a tactical retreat. It has become a haven for many Jews who say they have faced harassment in areas with growing Muslim populations... “They spit when I walked in the street,” she said, describing reactions when she wore a Star of David." [NYT]
A Jewish Revival: Communities Return to Cities in Poland, Sicily and Myanmar — by Stephen Starr: "Back in 1910, [Jewish community in Yangon] even boasted the city’s first Jewish mayor. But the Japanese, after their 1941 invasion, suspected Jews of spying for the British and sent some to concentration camps. Many Jews fled then, and most others left when the post-independence government nationalized private businesses in the 1960s. But with the country’s then–military rulers opening Myanmar up to the world seven years ago, at least 80 expat Jews have moved there to help rebuild the country and return it to the international fold while also reinvigorating Yangon’s tiny Jewish community of just about 10 people... At a time when Jewish communities from Paris to New York City to Manchester, England, are facing increasing threats, a rebirth is happening in Yangon and a host of other cities — such as Oporto, Portugal; Palermo, Sicily; Brighton, England; and Kraków, Poland — where they had almost disappeared." [Ozy]
Yuval Noah Harari Rebuffs Israeli Consulate Event in Protest of New Israeli Laws: "Best-selling Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari declined to participate in an Israeli consulate event in Los Angeles, in protest at Israel's enactment of the Nation-State and surrogacy laws. Prof. Harari explained through a representative that he is "proud of his Israeliness," but that the consulate is the long arm of Israeli government policy." [Haaretz]
LongRead: The Man Who Captures Criminals for the D.E.A. by Playing Them -- by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee: "On the afternoon of February 9, 2011, in a suite at the City Hotel in Bucharest, two men, hoping to sell a stash of Russian military-grade weapons on the black market, met with an ebullient businessman in his sixties named Yianni. A short man with a neatly trimmed beard and a bulging midriff, Yianni was, the men had learned, a financier entrusted by the Taliban to buy armaments. As is advisable when broaching the sale of millions of dollars’ worth of illicit goods, the men—a thirtysomething Iranian-American who once worked as a translator for the U.S. Army and a Chicago-based Israeli-American in his mid-fifties—began their negotiations with caution. But after several meetings they were reassured by Yianni’s confident manner and social ease..." [NewYorker]
Sacha Baron Cohen's Israeli Character Uses Fake Pedophile Detector on Alabama Judge Roy Moore on 'Who Is America?' — by Jean Bentley: "The former Alabama judge, who lost an open Senate seat in his state after being accused of an inappropriate encounter with a 14-year-old girl, was interviewed by Baron Cohen's anti-terrorist expert character in a technology-focused segment about a scanner that can sense pedophiles. It beeped when he ran it in front of Moore, who became increasingly frustrated and eventually cut the segment short. "I've never had an accusation of such things," he said, before standing up and ending the interview. "I support Israel, I don't support this kind of stuff," he said." [HollywoodReporter; Video]
-- Sacha Baron Cohen Tried to Prank Me. Here’s How I Knew It Was a Scam -- by Michael Caputo: "The short pitch from Ashley Winthrop, calling herself a producer with Yerushalayim Television, was a familiar mix of producer’s flattery and information. She was happy to inform us Michael Grimm had been “chosen as one of Israel’s ‘70 at 70’ for his strong support of the state of Israel.” ... Things were smelling fishier and fishier. I grew skeptical, and made a few excuses to rebuff her..." [Politico]
-- Where is Baron Cohen? Madonna's manager Guy Oseary's A-list summer break with Sacha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher, Bono, Matthew McConaughey and Chris Rock [DailyMail]
DESSERT -- New food truck Bibi's Kitchen now open in the Encino area: "A new kosher Israeli food truck has rolled into the neighborhood. Located at 5113 Zelzah Ave. in Encino, the fresh arrival is called Bibi's Kitchen. The mobile spot combines classic and familiar Mediterranean dishes in an effort to break street food conventions with elevated fare that is far from ordinary, the eatery says on its Yelp page." [ABC7-LA]
REMEMBERING: Judith Appelbaum, a Guide for Would-Be Authors, Dies at 78 -- by Anita Gates: "Judith Appelbaum, whose almost 60-year career in book publishing became a crusade to make the industry better — for writers, publishers and readers — died on Wednesday at her home in Bedford, N.Y... Judith Ethel Pilpel was born in Manhattan on Sept. 26, 1939, the daughter of Robert Pilpel, an executive of various humanitarian organizations, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and Harriet (Fleischl) Pilpel, a lawyer and women’s rights advocate." [NYTimes]
BIRTHDAYS: Co-founder and now chairman emeritus of the tax-preparation company H&R Block, Henry Wollman Bloch turns 96... Commissioner of Major League Baseball from 1992 to 2015, Allan Huber "Bud" Selig turns 84... Of Counsel to the law firm of Hatton, Petrie & Stackler in Aliso Viejo, CA, Ronald E. Stackler turns 81... Film director over many decades, Peter Bogdanovich turns 79... The first woman justice on the Nebraska Supreme Court, when she was 14 years old she won two gold medals and a silver medal as a swimmer at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, Justice Lindsey Miller-Lerman turns 71... Actor, director and producer, Ken Olin turns 64... Billionaire businessman, of Uzbek Bukhari background, known as the "King of Diamonds," Lev Leviev turns 62...
Born in Moldova, made aliyah in her late 20s, elected as Mayor of Arad in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, now serving in the Knesset for the Kulanu party, Tali Ploskov turns 56... Former Southwest Regional political director for AIPAC, leading the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign, Michael Glassner turns 55... A descendant of the French branch of the Rothschild family, he is the chairman of the Edmond de Rothschild Group, a private Swiss bank established by his father, Benjamin de Rothschild turns 55... Emmy Award winning actress, comedienne and producer, Lisa Kudrow turns 55... Best-selling non-fiction author, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone magazines, he is a co-creator of the HBO series "Vinyl," Rich Cohen turns 50... District director for Congressman Jerrold L. Nadler [D-NY10], Robert Gottheim turns 47...
Childhood actor, he served as a law clerk in 2008 for Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg, the only blind person to clerk for the US Supreme Court, now a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur, Isaac Lidsky turns 39... News reporter and producer at Southern California public radio station KCRW, where he produces "DnA: Design and Architecture," Avishay Artsy turns 38... President and founder in 2013 of Dallas-based ECA Strategies, Eric Axel turns 38... Division director at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Lewis Sohinki turns 38... New Media editor at the Times of Israel, Sarah Tuttle-Singer turns 37... Director of policy and public affairs for the Jewish Community of Denmark, Jonas Herzberg Karpantschof turns 36... Winner of the Miss Israel pageant in 2014, Mor Maman turns 23... Regional field director at Greg Pence for Congress, Joshua Weintraub...
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