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WSJ A1: "Gulf States Offer Better Relations If Israel Makes New Bid for Peace" by Jay Solomon, Gordon Lubold and Rory Jones: "Arab Gulf states have offered to take concrete steps to establish better relations with Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make a significant overture aimed at restarting the Middle East peace process... The potential steps include establishing direct telecommunications links with Israel, allowing overflight rights to Israeli aircraft, and lifting restrictions on some trade... The Gulf countries, in turn, would require Mr. Netanyahu to make what they would consider to be a peace overture to the Palestinians. Such steps could include stopping construction of settlements in certain areas of the West Bank and allowing freer trade into the Gaza Strip." [WSJ]
--One pro-Israel reader emails us: "Wow! That's a huge, huge win. Those are actually big concessions from the Arabs for relatively little. Seems like something has changed. Can you imagine the Arab states offering those concessions in exchange for mere goodwill gestures on peace in the past?"
HEARD YESTERDAY -- Palestinian envoy blames Washington Institute for failed peace process -- by Aaron Magid: Speaking at the National Press Club yesterday, Husam Zomlot, the PLO’s Chief Representative to the U.S., called out the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and blamed them for the stalled peace process. "They were a major reason why we failed. Major reason," he said. "Because they have framed the agenda in a way that was exactly in the opposite direction of peace. An agenda that wanted to build and sustain a process that was designed to prevent the outcome.” [JewishInsider]
Rob Satloff, WINEP's Executive Director, responds: "Given #PalestineAuthority's record of rejecting peace deals, this critique is quite a compliment" [Twitter]
Signaling flexibility on the longstanding divide on refugees, Zomlot emphasized that “half of the issue” is Israeli “acknowledgment” of their role in the 1948 war. “The issue of refugees is made to be the mother of all issues and that it would actually be storming the state of Israel with demography. It’s not true. It’s my opinion as a refugee myself,” he explained. “Only one of these options include negotiating with Israel, which is to return to their actual homes. But, the other options do not involve Israel. Why should we wait?”
Zomlot cautioned regarding the White House’s Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy, “There is no approach: there is no mechanism. There is nothing by the way. We did not discuss or agree on exactly what would be the way forward.” Zumlot praised the American “deep state” as playing an important role in preserving core Palestinian positions in the period of initial uncertainty. [JewishInsider]
DRIVING THE CONVERSATION -- Under Trump, Daylight Re-emerges in US-Israel Relationship -- by Jacob Kornbluh: Just days before President Donald Trump’s first visit to Israel, the U.S.-Israel relationship is undergoing its first major crisis in the Trump era. Yesterday, in response to a Fox News report that Netanyahu told Trump not to move the embassy right away, the Prime Minister’s Office released partial transcripts of Netanyahu’s White House meeting. “The embassy – the PM supports moving it,” a summary of the Oval Office meeting read. During a working lunch at the White House, “the PM was asked about the embassy and explained [that moving it would not lead to bloodshed in the region, as some were trying to intimidate President Trump into believing.”
Visiting the Wall: According to a report by Israel’s Channel 2, the U.S. advance team rebuffed a request from Netanyahu’s team to accompany Trump while he visits the Western Wall. According to the report, the US team explained that the site is part of disputed territory in the West Bank and not under Israeli sovereignty. An official in Netanyahu’s office expressed “astonishment” over the comment. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel has contacted the administration to discuss the matter.
A White House spokesperson told us: “The comments about the Western Wall were not authorized communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the President.”
“I am very disappointed he hasn’t moved the embassy,” ZOA’s Mort Klein told Jewish Insider. “It’s a mistake. This harms President Trump’s credibility and if the Arabs don’t respect his credibility, it is more likely that they would be making impossible demands. The President is getting bad advice from some of his aides." Klein said he’s worried about Tillerson, citing the current Secretary of State’s relationship with former Secretary of State James Baker. “I am concerned that Tillerson will begin to pressure Israel to take stands that they can’t take,” he said. “I am worried.” [JewishInsider] Israel wants White House to explain U.S. official's Western Wall comment [Reuters]
What Trump is hearing regarding the embassy -- by Jeremy Diamond and Elise Labott: “Some of Trump's top advisers are urging him to make good on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announce plans to move the embassy there during his visit next week, and Trump has yet to reach a decision, two White House officials confirmed Officials are also considering a lesser announcement outlining a US vision for the future of Jerusalem as Israel's capital without taking any immediate action, designed to help Trump save face on his campaign pledge.” [CNN]
Dore Gold, former MFA Director General and current President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, emails us... “The Prime Minister is right to push on Jerusalem. We are commemorating now the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. In the collective memory of this country, when the Arab armies invaded in 1948, they destroyed or desecrated 50 synagogues and yeshivot. The synagogue of the Ramban dated back to 1267 was obliterated The Jewish population was cleared out. In 1967 that historical injustice was corrected. Now that the administration is expressing strong determination to reach a final status deal, naturally Israelis are concerned about what happens to Jerusalem. This is a core value of national identity for Israelis which may not be fully appreciated by the outside world.”
DRIVING THE DAY: “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador” by Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe: “One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak into the Oval Office Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner... Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.” [WashPost; BuzzFeed]
"Trump Revealed Highly Classified Intelligence to Russia, in Break With Ally, Officials Say" by Matthew Rosenberg and Eric Schmitt: "A Middle Eastern ally that closely guards its own secrets provided the information... Mr. Trump’s disclosure does not appear to have been illegal — the president has the power to declassify almost anything. But sharing the information without the express permission of the ally who provided it was a major breach of espionage etiquette, and could jeopardize a crucial intelligence-sharing relationship." In fact, the ally has repeatedly warned American officials that it would cut off access to such sensitive information if it were shared too widely, the former official said."
"Jared Kushner... signaled to people outside the White House that he was not closely involved. But internally, Mr. Kushner lashed out at Mr. Spicer, who has been the target of his ire over bad publicity for the president since Mr. Trump fired the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, last week." [NYTimes]
HEARD LAST NIGHT -- Prof. Alan Dershowitz on MSNBC's For the Record with Greta: "Let's take the following hypothetical: What if it was Israel who provided this intelligence because they have spies on the ground in Syria and within the terrorist organization. You have the information that gets to Russia, Russia sends it to Iran - they are allies when it comes to Syria - and Iran sends it to Hezbollah. This could be a real disaster especially on the eve of President Trump's visit to Israel. I hope it's not Israel and the information doesn't get to Hezbollah." [MSNBC]
Dershowitz on CNN's Outfront: "This is the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president of the United States. Let's not underestimate it... We may have to take emergency action." [CNN]
Eliot A Cohen: “This is appalling. If accidental, it would be a firing offense for anyone else. If deliberate, it would be treason.” [Twitter] Cohen in more than 140 characters: The Terrible Cost of Trump's Disclosures [TheAtlantic]
"When the World Is Led by a Child" by David Brooks: "Mentally, Trump is still a 7-year-old boy who is bouncing around the classroom... From all we know so far, Trump didn’t do it because he is a Russian agent, or for any malevolent intent. He did it because he is sloppy, because he lacks all impulse control, and above all because he is a 7-year-old boy desperate for the approval of those he admires." [NYTimes] Eli Lake: Trump's Best Defense on Russia Is Incompetence [Bloomberg]
DRIVING THE WEEK: "Trump will have to navigate diplomatic land mines abroad. Here’s how he’s preparing" by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker: "As the White House was engulfed by a crisis of its own making — the abrupt firing of the FBI director — President Trump received an unlikely visitor: Henry Kissinger, the Republican Party’s leading elder statesman, who came to deliver a tutorial on foreign affairs last Wednesday... Kissinger was not alone. In the days leading up to Trump’s high-risk debut on the world stage... the Oval Office has morphed into a graduate seminar room, with a rotating roster of policy experts briefing the president... “He’s going to be in the spotlight, under the microscope, and for a lot of people in the world this will be a chance to see him ‘in action,’ ” said Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations... The process largely is being overseen by Jared Kushner... as well as [H.R.] McMaster and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell." [WashPost]
THE MASADA SPEECH -- “Netanyahu seeking to speak at Masada alongside Trump” by Raphael Ahren and Alexander Fulbright: “Netanyahu is looking to deliver a speech at Masada together with US President Donald Trump However, the American delegation organizing Trump’s visit has expressed reservations about the idea, according to Hebrew media reports... The prime minister is currently set give a few short remarks introducing Trump at the Judean Desert fortress, according to Walla.” [ToI]
“Why Trump won’t be able to land helicopter on Masada” by Sharon Udasin: “The Americans will land in the Bar Yehuda landing strip,” Eitan Campbell, director of Masada National Park, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. “They will go up to the mountain by cable car.” In 2008, when president George W. Bush visited Masada, he took the cable car up to the mountain, which he then toured with prime minister Ehud Olmert “When Clinton visited in 1998, he came up with the old cable car and walked up 100 steps,” Campbell told the Post. “George W. Bush came by the new cable car. We were saved the 100 steps.” [JPost]
FRIEDMAN ERA: “Controversial new US ambassador arrives in Israel” by AFP’s Mike Smith and Joe Dyke: "After his arrival in Tel Aviv, Friedman visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, praying there and kissing the sacred site Friedman, a frequent visitor to Jerusalem, did not comment to reporters, but did speak near the wall with Steven Tyler of American rock band Aerosmith, in town for a concert.” [DailyMail]
-- Friedman in a recorded statement: “We’re a bit tired, but we wanted to come straight to the holiest place in the entire Jewish world, the ‘Kotel Hama’aravi,’ the Western Wall, so we straight came here. I had the opportunity to say some prayers I prayed for the president, and I wished him success, especially on his upcoming trip. I hope we all wish him success. We hope it’s going to be an amazing trip.” [Video]
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed Ambassador Friedman today in Jerusalem. “It’s a pleasure to see you and to welcome you to Jerusalem, our eternal capital. I know you went to the Kotel [Western Wall]. It's deeply appreciated by all our people,” Netanyahu told Friedman. "There was no other place to go,” the Ambassador responded. Netanyahu added, "It was a strong gesture of solidarity. We look forward to receiving President Trump and we want to work with you and with the President these coming years to strengthen our great alliance." [Pic]
2020 WATCH: Happening today -- The Center for American Progress is hosting a daylong “Ideas Conference” at the St. Regis hotel in Washington, DC. Speakers include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Governors Terry MacAuliffe (D-VA) and Steve Bullock (D-MT ); and former UN Ambassador Susan Rice. About half of the speakers are considered potential 2020 presidential candidates. [WashPost]
--Democrats divided on Bernie’s 2020 plans: "Many top Democrats are furious that Bernie Sanders appears to be running for president again, or at least planning to drag out his decision long enough to freeze the race around him." [Politico]
ELECTION DAY TODAY: "Can the anti-Trump resistance take Philadelphia's DA office?" by Alice Speri: "[Larry] Krasner’s run has electrified Philadelphia’s progressives and brought to the city the expertise and resources of national racial justice advocates as well as Bernie Sanders alumni... A lot of people have stacked their hopes in such an insurgency at the polls. Others, like billionaire George Soros, are investing more than hope. Soros has been injecting money into DA and sheriff races across the country and gave $1.45 million to a PAC supporting Krasner’s run in Philadelphia, raising some eyebrows among the candidate’s progressive base. “We can’t play by a different set of rules than our opponents because that’s how we have allowed the system to get rigged against us,” said Becky Bond, a former advisor to the Sanders campaign whose group is now working on Krasner’s campaign." [TheIntercept]
--Background: "Krasner says he inherited idealism and sense of justice from his parents. His father, a crime-fiction author, was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and his mother was an evangelical Christian minister." [Philly; JewishExponent]
TEHRAN WATCH: "Why I’m Rooting for the Hardliner in Iran’s Elections" by Elliott Abrams: "[Ibrahim] Raisi is the true face of the Islamic Republic, while Rouhani is a façade. Rouhani has shown himself powerless to effect any change in the regime’s conduct and his only role is to mislead the West into thinking “moderates” are in charge. We are far better off, as we were when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was president, when there are no illusions about Iran’s regime and the men who lead it." [Politico]
** Good Tuesday 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 Editor@JewishInsider.com **
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Israel's Economic Growth Slows as Business Investment Falls [Bloomberg] Palestinian officials hope to launch e-currency in 5 years [Reuters; IBTimes] Disney Chief Bob Iger Says Hackers Claim to Have Stolen Upcoming Movie [HollywoodReporter] Real estate mogul Barry Sternlicht sees an 'inverse Trump effect' on the US economy [CNBC] The 2017 Rich List of the World’s Top-Earning Hedge Fund Managers [IIAlpha] Entrepreneurial Israeli couple starts two new businesses [Bizjournals] CEO of Josh Kushner's Oscar Health believes the U.S. has a moral obligation to provide healthcare to its citizens [TechCrunch]
LongRead: "The People’s Princess: Ivanka Trump is hard at work in Washington — but for whom?" by Caitlin Flanagan: "At her father’s side, Ivanka is a sort of human luxury brand, with her pale makeup and sleek golden hair, her expensive clothes and stiletto heels, her understated jewelry and her stilted, careful way of speaking. Her father stammers away, trying to find the right word and then giving up: “Jared is terrific, he’s he’s Jared is terrific!” Daughter pauses, scrolls through her private lexicon, and comes up with a slightly pumped-up version of the right word. She is never “aware” of something; she is “cognizant” of it. Nothing is “unusual”; it is always “unique.” Imagine how impressive this broad command of big-league words would seem to you if you could never manage to locate and deploy the right one yourself. To him, she is a kind of miracle." [NYMag]
“Inside Corey Lewandowski’s Failed Romp in Trump’s Swamp” by Jason Zengerle: “His fate was apparently sealed when Lewandowski ran afoul of Jared Kushner. According to multiple sources, Lewandowski was discovered not only shopping damaging stories about Trump's son-in-law to reporters, but also trying to keep Kushner from talking to higher-ups at the RNC. On a Sunday in mid-June—Father's Day, in fact—Ivanka Trump reportedly insisted to her dad that he get rid of Lewandowski.” [GQ]
KAFE KNESSET -- IBC opens with a scoop from Bennett -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: The Israel Broadcasting Corporation, known as Kan, began airing TV and radio programming Monday. Kan opened with higher ratings that its predecessor, as people were eager to see if they would succeed and what things would look and sound like. On the first night of Kan’s main news broadcast, Bennett was asked if he would leave the coalition over corruption charges against Netanyahu. Bennett replied that it would depend on their severity – the first time any coalition partner said anything of that nature. The anchor of the 8 o’clock news, by the way, is Geula Even-Sa’ar, wife of former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar, a possible successor to Netanyahu, who the prime minister is not particularly fond of.Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]
"Fading Netanyahu Will Be Dumped by Year's End, Rival Lapid Says" by Michael Arnold and Jonathan Ferziger: "[Yair] Lapid says he expects the current government to last only through the end of the year. “I don’t see a lot of juice in this government,” Lapid, 53, said in an interview Monday... “Our assumption is the government will hold until the end of the year, and not longer.” Lapid also said he’s encouraged by U.S. President Donald Trump’s early efforts to resurrect peace negotiations with the Palestinians... The fact that Trump “wants to be proactive, that after a long time when nothing happens somebody’s trying to push some sort of an envelope, is a good sign,” Lapid said." [Bloomberg]
TALK OF THE TOWN: "Seth Rich, slain DNC staffer, had contact with WikiLeaks, say multiple sources" by Malia Zimmerman: "A federal investigator who reviewed an FBI forensic report detailing the contents of DNC staffer Seth Rich’s computer generated within 96 hours after his murder, said Rich made contact with Wikileaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter... The federal investigator, who requested anonymity, said 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between Democratic National Committee leaders, spanning from January 2015 through late May 2016, were transferred from Rich to MacFadyen before May 21." [FoxNews]
--BuzzFeed's Ben Smith this morning: "Rich family knocks down last night's story and PI who, they say, doesn't speak for them and they don't pay" [Twitter]
TRANSITION -- Betsaida Alcantara has been named Vice President of Communications and Digital at the Anti-Defamation League. Betsaida served six years in the Obama Administration as a senior executive leading the communications teams for three large government agencies and on the Clinton/Kaine campaign. Todd Gutnick will now assume his role as Senior Director of Communications and Digital.
TALK OF OUR NATION: "Wow Air to Launch $149 Flights from New York to Tel Aviv" by Ryan Craggs: "Starting September 12, WOW air will begin service to Tel Aviv, flying to Israel four times weekly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays on the new Airbus A321 aircraft... WOW air CEO Skuli Mogensen made the announcement while on a visit to Israel, speaking alongside the country's Minister of Transport, Yisrael Katz. Of course, the key part of the announcement for Americans looking to get to Israel on the cheap is Mogensen's announced price points. As Jeruselem Online reports, flights will cost just $149 one-way from New York, Boston, Chicago, Toronto and Montreal; $199 from San Francisco and Los Angeles; and $99 from Iceland. "Our mission is to enable everyone to fly by offering the cheapest prices in Tel Aviv," Mogensen said." [CNTraveler]
"Can A New Airline Succeed Flying From The NYC Suburbs To Paris And Tel Aviv?" by Ted Reed: "In March 2018, US Global intends to begin Paris and Tel Aviv flights from Stewart International Airport, about 60 miles north of Manhattan. It would lease Boeing 767s from longtime aviation entrepreneur Connie Kalitta. [CEO Anthony] Koulouris said he is on the path to raising $50 million. The Federal Aviation Administration must certify airlines before they start to fly, evaluating both safety and financial fitness." [Forbes]
"Brad Grey, who led Paramount Pictures for 12 years, dies at 59" by Ryan Faughnder and Daniel Miller: "Grey was hired by Tom Freston, then the CEO of parent company Viacom, to run Paramount in 2005, replacing Sherry Lansing... Grey developed a reputation as a survivor, leveraging close and often fruitful relationships with Hollywood heavyweights including Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. He also tapped J.J. Abrams to reboot the valuable “Star Trek” franchise. “His genius at picking and identifying talent was unprecedented,” [Harevey] Weinstein said. Grey led Paramount’s acquisition of DreamWorks SKG, the studio created by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg. He is also credited with securing a deal to release movies from Marvel Studios." [LATimes]
DESSERT: "Is this man the most innovative kosher chef in the metropolitan area?" by Esther Davidowitz: "Joshua Massin, the chef and co-owner of kosher restaurant Nobo Wine and Grill in Teaneck, can vaguely remember what bacon tastes like. The once-secular, today-Orthodox Jewish cook also can recall somewhat the briny tang and slinky texture of oysters, the salty flavor and moist composition of ham and the sweet taste and creamy quality of sheep cheese — even though he hasn't eaten those, or any other non-kosher foods, for nearly two decades, and won't ever again. But Massin, who is 37 and lives in Teaneck, has on his menu: bacon, ham, oysters and even a ham-and-cheese dish, which he unhesitatingly and proudly offers to his overwhelmingly kosher diners..."
"To me the challenge isn't kosher or not kosher," he said recently, sitting in one of Nobo's two dining rooms, wearing dark cargo pants, a black chef's coat and a yarmulke. The room sports exposed brick walls, polished wood floors, and Chilewich-covered tables. "To me, the challenge is to run a really good non-kosher-style kosher restaurant." In other words, Massin is determined to create dishes that would taste delicious whether the restaurant is kosher or not. "I look at kosher food as another flavor system," he said, "In Japanese cuisine, there's no cream, no butter. In Caribbean cuisine you wouldn't use blue cheese." [NorthJersey]
BIRTHDAYS: Real estate developer and 'mechuten' of Donald Trump, Charles Kushner turns 63... Former CEO of Warner Music Group, Edgar Bronfman Jr. turns 62... President of Tribe Media, columnist for the Jewish Journal, David Suissa... Special Assistant to VPOTUS Walter Mondale (1977-1981), later Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (1989-1993), Bernard W. Aronson turns 71... Longest serving member of the New York State Assembly (46 years), his district includes portions of Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side, Richard N. Gottfried turns 70... Member of the House of Representatives since 2013, representing Florida's 21st congressional district, previously Mayor of West Palm Beach (2003-2011), Lois Frankel turns 69... Harvard history professor, Emma Georgina Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild banking family of England, turns 69... Proto-punk singer, songwriter and guitarist, Jonathan Richman turns 63... Film and stage actress, noted for "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982) and "Terms of Endearment" (1983), Debra Winger turns 62... Real estate mogul and collector of modern and contemporary art, Aby J. Rosen turns 57... Social entrepreneur, independent scholar and local civic leader, earned a Ph.D in Religious Studies from UCSB, co-founder of non-profit Jumpstart, Jonathan Shawn Landres turns 45... Actress, television personality and author, Tori Spelling turns 44... Actor and Travel Channel personality, Adam Richman turns 43... Lake Worth, Florida resident, Harriet L. Caplan... Esther Bushey...
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