Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: May 22, 2018

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Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is suffering from pneumonia but his condition is improving, officials said late on May 21, 2018.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is suffering from pneumonia but his condition is improving, officials said late on May 21, 2018.Credit: ABBAS MOMANI/AFP
JI Staff

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POMPEO'S NEW DEAL -- "Pompeo vows U.S., Mideast allies will ‘crush’ Iranian operatives around the world" by Carol Morello: "In his first major foreign policy address as secretary of state, [Mike] Pompeo listed a dozen demands, an agenda encompassing Iran’s foreign ventures as well as its nuclear and missile programs. If Iran agreed to those demands, he said, the United States would lift all sanctions, reestablish diplomatic relations with Tehran and provide it access to advanced technology. Pompeo said he will work with the Defense Department and regional allies — a group that includes Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states — to “deter Iranian aggression” in the region, including at sea and in cyberspace... "Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.” [WashPostCSPAN

-- "Pompeo Declares Economic War on Iran" by Krishnadev Calamur: "Pompeo’s remarks also included elements of the presentation made on April 30 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a strident critic of the accord." [TheAtlantic]

HOW IT PLAYED -- "Pompeo Raises the Price for Iran to Rejoin International Community" by Eli Lake: "Pompeo on Monday also took aim at one of the more insidious elements of Obama's diplomatic strategy, which was that the countries most effected by the change in U.S. policy toward Iran — Israel and America's Arab allies — were not included in negotiations."[BloombergView European allies alarmed by Pompeo speech laying out U.S. demands on Iran [CBSNews Iranian commander says Iran's people will punch U.S. Secretary of State in the mouth [Reuters Praising Pompeo's Iran speech, Netanyahu urges world to 'follow America’s lead' [Ynet]

Robin Wright reports: “It was a diplomatic overreach, to say the least,”Wendy Sherman, who led the Obama Administration’s negotiating team with Iran, told me. “To think that we’d allow Iran to go back on the path of developing nuclear weapons while we try to get Iran to meet all twelve objectives is dangerous. It’s extraordinary." The prospect of Iran acceding to all twelve demands, Sherman added, “is virtually zero. What Trump did will actually make it harder to achieve.” [NewYorker

"Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, called Pompeo’s speech a “big plan and a big offer.” ... Dubowitz told me the Europeans were stuck between an “Iranian rock and a Trumpian hard place.” He said Pompeo’s strategy “gives Europeans a possible way out of possible Iranian and American escalation, but it may be a nonstarter for Europeans who are angry with the president, who they see as unreliable and as a threat to their economic and political sovereignty.”" [TheAtlantic]

Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky write... "Sound, fury and regime-change lite in unworkable Trump-Pompeo 'Plan B' for Iran: In the wonderful 1976 media satire Network, the frustrated and emotionally unhinged anchor Howard Beale, facing termination, goes on air and shouts “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore... The post-Iran deal strategy (Trump's "Plan B") reveals the triumph of campaigning and domestic politics over sound national security policy." [USAToday]

"Israel first country to use U.S.-made F-35 in combat" by Dan Williams: "Israel is the first country to have used the U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter in combat, the Israeli air force chief said on Tuesday... Israeli media further quoted Major-General Amikam Norkin as saying: “We are flying the F-35 all of the Middle East and have already attacked twice on two different fronts."" [ReutersNPR]

TALK OF THE REGION -- No timeframe for Palestinian president Abbas discharge: hospital: "Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas remained in hospital for a third day Tuesday with pneumonia, with a hospital spokeswoman saying there was as yet no timeframe for his discharge... Pictures and video of 83-year-old Abbas walking around the wards and reading a newspaper were published late Monday, in an apparent attempt to calm rumours that his condition was more serious than reported." [AFP AP]

"As Health Worsens, Israeli Intelligence Sees the Beginning of the End of Abbas’ Rule" by Amos Harel: "Israeli security officials see this as the beginning of the end of Abbas’ rule, although it is not clear how long the whole process will take... The Israeli intelligence community believes it is more likely that Abbas will be replaced, at least temporarily, by a group that could include senior Fatah leaders, officials with diplomatic experience and representatives of the security agencies. " [Haaretz

TIMING DEPT: "White House pushes ahead with Mideast peace plan" by Matt Lee: "Five U.S. officials and a congressional aide say the administration intends to release the peace plan in mid- to late-June, shortly after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan... They say the plan’s main authors — Jared Kushner and Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt — have already begun quietly briefing select allies and partners on elements of the proposal."

"U.S. assistance to the Palestinians... has been on hold since last year and existing funding for some projects will start to run out in just months if it is not approved in the next two weeks. If that does not happen, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development will have to notify aid recipients that continued U.S. funding is not forthcoming and those programs will begin to be shut down... One official said there was “an overwhelming lack of urgency” about making a decision on the funding. The other two said there was no sign that the end-of-May timeframe would be met." [AP

PODCAST PLAYBACK -- Former President Jimmy Carter discussed the Jerusalem Embassy decision on Politico's Off Message podcast with Edward-Isaac Dovere: "I think it was a mistake. I believe that the only solution that would be good for Israel is a two state solution - living side by side with the Palestinians, who would have to accept the right of the Israeli people to live in peace as well." Dovere: Does the move change the process, is it a fatal blow to peace? Carter: "I hope it's not fatal, but I think it was certainly a damaging blow to peace." [Politico]

DRIVING THE CONVO -- "Israel and Evangelicals: New U.S. Embassy Signals a Growing Alliance" by David Kirkpatrick, Elizabeth Dias and David Halbfinger: "David M. Friedman, the American ambassador to Israel who presided over the embassy dedication, said evangelical Christians “support Israel with much greater fervor and devotion than many in the Jewish community.” “You’re running a country, you need friends, you need alliances, you need to protect your people,” he said in an interview." ... Ambassador Friedman said he had invited [Robert] Jeffress and [John] Hagee because “they’re two of the most followed leaders of the evangelical community, and I wanted to honor the community for having been so constructive in helping to move this along.”

"Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to Washington... said that “devout Christians” were now the “backbone” of the United States support for Israel. “It’s got to be a solid quarter of the population, and that is maybe 10, 15, 20 times the Jewish population,” he said in an interview. But Mr. Dermer insisted that Israel was hardly writing off Democrats or liberal American Jews. “You could say there’s a shift here or there, but obviously for us, it’s important that we have strong support that’s very broad and bipartisan,” he said. “You can’t fly a plane with one wing.” [NYTimes

-- "Evangelical Robert Jeffress thinks Jews are going to hell. Israelis are OK with that" by Jerry Adler: “I could not walk down the streets of Jerusalem without Israelis stopping me and saying thank you for your support,” Jeffress told me. “At dinner Prime Minister Netanyahu said I’m grateful for the support of evangelical Christians. He knows what evangelicals believe.”[YahooNews]

Amb. Friedman writes... "Liberal media sides with Hamas over Trump: The apparent success of the embassy’s opening ceremony enraged the liberal media. Could this be yet another diplomatic triumph by President Trump? The prospect was unbearable... Desperate for a narrative to discredit the president’s decision to move our embassy to Jerusalem, they broadcast the opening ceremony on a split screen simultaneously displaying the Gaza riots... The next day, the liberal media vilified everyone associated with the embassy move and glorified the poor Hamas terrorists. Failed diplomats who never brought peace or stability to the region were pulled out of mothballs to regurgitate their calcified thinking." [FoxNews]

"Will Rising Criticism Of Israel Help Jewish Democrats — Or Hurt Them?" by Ben Fractenberg: "[Elliott] Abrams... said polls show a growing partisan divide in the U.S., which may embolden more Democrats to criticize Israel. “If that’s true, I expect some Jewish Democrats to move toward the Republican Party,” he said. But he added that Jewish Democratic dislike of President Trump “will delay any such move.” ... “Jews will vote in overwhelming numbers for Democrats, considering we don’t take them granted,” said former Bill Clinton aide Steve Rabinowitz. “Jews vote Democratic — they just do. Donald Trump isn’t making it different; certainly not with an embassy move.”" [Forward

Shalom Lipner writes... "Netanyahu’s Risky Romance With Trump: Bounty that comes with partisan strings is always at risk of being yanked when power inevitably changes hands... If Trump’s replacement follows his lead and repudiates the legacy of his predecessor, Israel could then suffer the consequences. And with most American Jews opposed to Trump, Israel may not be able to count on their spirited advocacy, either." [PoliticoMag]

COMING SOON: U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will address the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) annual Washington Summit on July 23-24. 

INSIDE THE ADMIN -- "Meet the Members of the ‘Shadow N.S.C.’ Advising John Bolton" by Kenneth Vogel: "Mr. Bolton is also close to the Republican megadonor Sheldon G. Adelson, an influential hawk and supporter of Israel from whom Mr. Bolton has sought assistance for his political ventures. Mr. Adelson, a casino billionaire, urged the Trump administration to hire Mr. Bolton for a senior post, according to someone familiar with the relationship, and also urged Mr. Trump to withdraw from the Iran deal." [NYTimes]

"Former Classmates Slam Trump’s Son-In-Law and Advisor" by Katherine Hignett: "Former classmates have roasted Jared Kushner in an anniversary report book, according to political campaigner and fellow Harvard University class of 2003 alum, Ben Wikler. Wikler posted images of what appear to be excerpts from the class’s 15th Anniversary Report on Twitter. Comments in some images directly slam President Donald Trump's son-in-law, while others appear to allude to his involvement in policy decisions."[NewsweekBostonMag

MUELLER WATCH -- "Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election" by Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman and David D. Kirkpatrick: "Erik Prince, the private security contractor and the former head of Blackwater, arranged the meeting, which took place on Aug. 3, 2016. The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president. The social media specialist, Joel Zamel, extolled his company’s ability to give an edge to a political campaign; by that time, the firm had already drawn up a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump. The company, which employed several Israeli former intelligence officers, specialized in collecting information and shaping opinion through social media."

"At least two F.B.I. agents working on the inquiry have traveled to Israel to interview employees of the company who worked on the proposal. According to one person, the special counsel’s team has worked with the Israeli police to seize the computers of one of Mr. Zamel’s companies, which is currently in liquidation." [NYTimes Mueller Probe Expands to Israeli Entrepreneur With U.A.E. Ties [WSJHaaretz]

"The princes, the president and the fortune seekers" by Desmond Butler and Tom Lobianco: "After a year spent carefully cultivating two princes from the Arabian Peninsula, Elliott Broidy, a top fundraiser for President Donald Trump, thought he was finally close to nailing more than $1 billion in business... Broidy and his business partner, Lebanese-American George Nader, pitched themselves to the crown princes as a backchannel to the White House, passing the princes’ praise — and messaging — straight to the president’s ears... In return for pushing anti-Qatar policies at the highest levels of America’s government, Broidy and Nader expected huge consulting contracts from Saudi Arabia and the UAE... The emails reviewed by the AP included work summaries and contracting documents and proposals."

"Broidy boasted that he had got the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, California Republican Rep. Ed Royce, to back an anti-Qatar bill. “This is extremely positive,” Broidy wrote. He claimed he had “shifted” Royce from being critical of Saudi Arabia to “being critical of Qatar.”" [AP]

"Mark Penn, Ex-Clinton Aide, Dismisses Mueller Inquiry, and the Clintons Along With It" by Peter Baker: "In a series of recent newspaper columns and appearances on Fox News, Mr. Penn has endorsed Mr. Trump’s argument that the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was instigated by secret Democratic intriguing. The inquiry, Mr. Penn said, has resorted to “storm trooper tactics” and has become a “scorched-earth effort” to “bring down Donald Trump.”" [NYTimes]

2018 WATCH -- The National Jewish Democratic Council is threatening to target Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) in the run-up to the November election over accepting more than $100,000 from Koch-related Industries.[IllinoisPlaybook]

** 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. **

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Goldman C.E.O. Blankfein Is Likely to Step Down in December [NYTimesThe Muscle Behind Shari Redstone’s War[VanityFair]  Mark Zuckerberg to Apologize Again, This Time to European Parliament [NYTimes]  Alwaleed-Ashkenazy Partnership Sues Over Sale of Plaza Hotel [Bloomberg Sir Frank Lowy prepares to say au revoir to his Westfield empire [SydneyMorningHerald]  Nir Erez, the CEO of the Israeli public transportation startup Moovit, sees himself as the first person to map the world of public transportation, or as he puts it, the “Marco Polo of transit.”[ToI]  TheSkimm Closes $12 Million Round With Willow Bay, Hope Taitz Among Group of Women Investors [Variety]

"In Jersey City, It’s Charles Kushner vs. Murray Kushner in a Race to Develop" by Charles Bagli: "The decade-long blood feud between the Kushner brothers, Charles and Murray, has already put one brother in jail. Now, the men, who haven’t spoken in 15 years, are rivals in the development of Journal Square in Jersey City... The Kushner brothers have both placed bets that they can lure young people fleeing high-priced Manhattan and Brooklyn to the area. They are each building three luxury towers with a total of 3,977 apartments on 388 floors in the six buildings. Murray Kushner completed his first tower, a 53-story, dark-glass and white-paneled building and he has started work on the second, a 71-story behemoth. But Charles’s site, arguably the better parcel on the south side of the entrance to the transit center, sits empty and forlorn. Over the last year, he has jettisoned a partner and anchor tenant, feuded with the mayor and lost a generous helping of state and city tax breaks, as well as a source of financing." [NYTimes Kushners’ Startup Cadre Seeking Saudi-Backed Softbank Funds [Bloomberg]

STARTUP NATION -- "Billionaire Nacht seeks to set up new digital bank in Israel" by Shoshanna Solomon: "Billionaire Marius Nacht, the co-founder of the Israeli cybersecurity giant Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., is in talks with Israeli regulators to set up a new digital bank in Israel."[ToI]

"Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich left waiting for UK visa" by Matthew Chance and Nada Bashir: "A source close to Abramovich told CNN on Monday that the billionaire's visa expired about three weeks ago and an application was made for a new one, but the process of renewal has taken longer than expected... Abramovich's visa delay comes amid a deterioration in relations between London and Moscow over the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia." [CNN]

TALK OF THE TOWN -- Israel said to bar diplomats from own Times Square event over security fears: "Diplomats and staffers at Israel’s New York consulate have been warned against attending an event in Times Square scheduled for early June, over fears they could be attacked while celebrating in the outdoor Manhattan landmark, according to Hadashot news... The Foreign Ministry confirmed to Hadashot that diplomats were told not to attend the Times Square event... However, “the diplomats will attend the main event, which will be held in the hall of the Renaissance Hotel.” " [ToI

"Israel accuses head of human rights group of anti-Israel activities, orders him to leave" by Ruth Eglash: "Unless a last-minute appeal is successful, Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch, will be forced to leave here on Thursday as Israel puts into practice a recent amendment to its immigration laws aimed at fighting supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement... His legal team have now turned to the Supreme Court." [WashPost]

"Dutch parody of Netta's 'Toy' causes furor over hints of anti-Semitism" by Itamar Eichner: "Netherlands' Jewish community and pro-Israel organizations are fuming over an anti-Israeli parody of Netta Barzilai's "Toy" broadcast Saturday during a popular TV-show aired on a public broadcasting channel, which some say contained anti-Semitic overtones... The Israeli Embassy in Holland submitted a formal complaint to the television station that broadcast the parody." [Ynet

REMEMBERING -- "Bernard Lewis, eminent historian of the Middle East, dies at 101" by Brian Murphy: "Dr. Lewis’s friendship — and ideological kinship — with the Cold War hawk and Israel supporting Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson (D-Wash.) opened prominent doors in the capital, eventually giving Dr. Lewis favored status among top White House and Pentagon planners before the 2003 invasion of Iraq... Bernard Lewis was born May 31, 1916, at the height of World War I... By the time of his bar mitzvah, he had become fascinated with history and languages, asking to continue his Hebrew lessons. He had already learned Latin and French and picked up Italian from his opera-loving father... This year, the Israeli government named Dr. Lewis one of the 70 “greatest American contributors to the U.S.-Israel relationship” for the country’s 70th anniversary."" [WashPost

"Iconic Jewish Advocate Shoshana Cardin Dies at Age 91" by Connor Graham: "Shoshana S. Cardin, the world renowned philanthropist, leader of more than half-a-dozen Jewish organizations, and namesake for the former Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish High School in Park Heights, died at her home in Baltimore on May 18 at the age of 91. Funeral services will be held at Chizuk Amuno Congregation on Tuesday at 1PM." [JewishTimesJTA]

DESSERT -- "The Impossible Burger has new bragging rights–it’s kosher" by Rina Raphael: "Impossible Burger–which sells realistic-tasting, plant-based patties–received its official kosher certification from the Orthodox Union... “Getting kosher certification is an important milestone,” said Impossible Foods CEO and founder Patrick O. Brown in a press statement. “We want the Impossible Burger to be ubiquitous, and that means it must be affordable and accessible to everyone–including people who have food restrictions for religious reasons.”" [FastCompany]

BIRTHDAYS: Actress, producer, model and singer, Noa Tishby... President of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Sanford Ronald ("Sandy") Cardin... US economic and business columnist for The Sunday Times in London and The Courier-Mail in Australia, Irwin M. Stelzer turns 86... Award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker since 1989, Connie Bruck... Cognitive scientist, former CEO of Haskins Laboratories in New Haven and director of the White House neuroscience initiative (2012-2015),Philip E. Rubin turns 69... Director of Policy and Government Affairs at AIPAC, he was the US representative at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty negotiations in 1990, Ambassador Bradley Gordon turns 69... Member of Knesset from the Zionist Union party, previously a Major General in the IDF where he served as commander of the military colleges and deputy commander of the Northern Command, Eyal Ben-Reuven turns 64... Democratic member of the US House of Representatives from Arizona's 1st district (1993-1995), now a business and transactional attorney in Phoenix, Sam Coppersmith turns 63... 

Former head coach of the NBA'a Cleveland Cavaliers (2014-2016), winning coach of the EuroLeague Championship in 2014 with Maccabi Tel Aviv, now coaching an Istanbul team in the EuroLeague, David Blatt turns 59... British writer, philanthropist and documentary filmmaker, a member of the Rothschild banking family and daughter of Jacob Rothschild, the 4th Baron Rothschild,Hannah Mary Rothschild turns 56... Partner at Sidley & Austin, he clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist (1996-1997), then served as an Assistant US Attorney (1998-2005) and Chicago Inspector General (2005-2009), David H. Hoffman turns 51... Former Major League Baseball relief pitcher, played from 1996 to 2005 for the White Sox, Rangers, Angels, Devil Rays, Royals, Tigers and Giants, Alan Brian "Al" Levine turns 50... Harvard Law School professor since 2007, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice David Souter (1998-1999), Noah Feldman turns 48... 

Israeli cookbook author, food journalist, culinary editor and TV cookery show host, Shaily Lipa turns 44... Co-founder of Facebook in 2004 and Asana in 2008, Dustin Aaron Moskovitz turns 34... Charismatic slot receiver and kick returner for the NFL's New England Patriots since 2009, member of two Super Bowl winning teams, Julian Edelman turns 32... Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, Michael Wilner turns 29... Program manager at the Aspen Institute, Peter Walker Kaplan... Emma Kaplan... Sacramento resident, Gloria Woodlock... Rebecca Weiss... Charles Scott... Benjamin Weiss... Aryeh Jacobson... Alex Friedman, the first Orthodox commissioner on the Baltimore City Youth Commission ...