Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: September 1, 2017

Netanyahu told Dems last month he supports two states | Profile: Ben Brafman, last of the big-time defense attorneys | Dershowitz BDay

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Benjamin Brafman, lead attorney for former Turing Pharmaceuticals AG CEO Martin Shkreli, arrives at federal court in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Friday, July 21, 2017.
File photo: Benjamin Brafman, lead attorney for former Turing Pharmaceuticals AG CEO Martin Shkreli, arrives at federal court in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Friday, July 21, 2017.Credit: Peter Foley/Bloomberg
JI Staff

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Ed note: Welcome to September! Wishing you a wonderful Labor Day Weekend. We'll be back on Tuesday

PROFILE: "Ben Brafman, the Last of the Big-Time Defense Attorneys" by Jeffrey Toobin: "Like the best trial lawyers, Brafman is a storyteller, who tries to turn his cases into narratives that jurors will read his way... “The narrative has to fit, has to be consistent with the truth, so that the jury knows you’re not making up stuff,” Brafman said... Traditionally, trial lawyering has been a game for young men... Brafman isn’t sure how long he wants to keep doing it. So he’s decided to make a seasonal concession to the passing years. “All my contemporaries, if they are working at all, are taking August off,” he said. “My wife said to me, ‘How many summers do you think you have left, Brafman?’ So I sort of promised myself I will never try this kind of case in the summer again. But I’ve got no problem for the rest of the year. What else am I going to do?”" [NewYorker

SPOTTED at Camden Yards last night: LionTree CEO Aryeh Bourkoff sitting behind home plate with Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank during the Orioles Blue Jays game [Pic; Instagram]  Check out Aryeh's latest podcast with Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino on the future of live entertainment [KindredCast]

WHAT BIBI TOLD DEMS -- Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tells JI's Aaron Magid that Netanyahu told a group Congressional Democrats visiting Jerusalem that he backs two states. Pallone, who was part of the delegation visiting Israel and a participant at the meeting, said that Netanyahu “clearly said that the goal is a two state solution.” Netanyahu’s private backing of two states contrasts with his more hawkish line expressed in public. “We are here to stay forever. There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel,” Netanyahu said on Monday during a speech celebrating 50 years of Israeli presence in the West Bank. 

Reflecting on his trip, Pallone said that Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara showed inflexibility during a meeting with the delegation in Ramallah. Bishara “was very unreasonable. Essentially, he said, 'You have to give everything back. We want Jerusalem back. We want the Old City back,’” Pallone said. The New Jersey lawmaker, who serves as Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called Trump's approach “naive.” “It’s a very difficult problem. We are nowhere near (a peace agreement) because we don’t have someone on the Palestinian side who could strike a deal. Trump exaggerates his role and doesn’t know what he’s talking about half of the time.” [JewishInsider

“U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman is back home, admiring Israeli optimism” by Rob Golub: “The congressmen on the trip met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Grothman described him as a “down-to-earth guy.” They also met with a close associate of Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who Grothman felt was “unimpressive.” Without the press present, congressmen were asking him about educating young Palestinians to kill Jews, Grothman said. “He really wouldn’t face that issue at all.”” [WIJewishChronicle

AT 1:00PM TODAY -- Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, retired chaplain in US Navy, will continue to set records when he gives the House prayer this afternoon. This will be his 11th appearance as a guest chaplain in Congress (8 times in the Senate, 3 times in the House.), and 3rd most pro forma prayers in the House. Resnicoff's first prayer was Jan. 22, 2003, in the Senate. [CSPAN] h/t Howard Mortman 

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “During a summer of crisis, Trump chafes against criticism and new controls” by Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker: “People close to the president said he is simmering with displeasure over what he considers personal disloyalty from National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn Trump was especially upset that Cohn went public with his complaints about the president’s handling of Charlottesville, even after Trump listened to Cohn vent during a private meeting on Aug. 18 in Bedminster, N.J. The president has been quietly fuming about Cohn for the past week but has resisted dismissing him in part because he has been the face, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, of the administration’s tax-cut strategy.” [WashPost]

THE DAILY KUSHNER: “Days after sister’s visa pitch, Kushner divested asset related to Jersey City project” by Amy Brittain: “Kushner’s lawyer, Blake Roberts of WilmerHale, said that Kushner had sold his ownership stake in the [One Journal Square] project on March 7 to his mother’s trust and that the contingent right... no longer held any value because it was connected to a prior version of the project that had fallen through. Kushner divested the right just three days after the speech by his sister Nicole Kushner Meyer to investors in Beijing willing to put up $500,000 in exchange for EB-5 visas Josh Raffel, Kushner’s White House spokesman, said that the divestiture of the contingent right was not triggered by Meyer’s comments but was part of a process that was already underway to provide more information to ethics officials.” [WashPost]  Inside Kushner’s sister’s pitch to Chinese investors [Video

Kushner fundraises for Mark Meadows: "Jared Kushner quietly escaped to North Carolina last night to raise money at a private fundraiser for Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus... Meadows and Kushner have discussed Israel -- part of Kushner’s portfolio, and a key issue for Meadows -- and he has talked with Ivanka about paid leave, which faces long odds in the Republican Congress. Kushner went in a private capacity." [Politico]

"How the Trump-Tillerson Clash Could Ignite a West Wing Shake-Up" by Abigail Tracy: “Tillerson was playing the long game . . . he was ceding a lot of ground to Kushner and [Nikki] Haley and thought it would pay off in the long run,” one current State Department staffer told me. “I think that he has seen that it has actually not paid off and it has made his job harder and I think Charlottesville was a turning point—but not for the reason that people think.” Haley and [Dina] Powell, meanwhile, are standouts in an administration with precious few success stories.”

“Several diplomats I spoke to thought Powell would be well-received as ambassador to the U.N. “Dina Powell is a very strong leader. She really needs to be more visible at this time when there is such instability in the U.S. position,” Bruen said. The current State staffer told me she has “a lot of respect across the board,” is “well-liked and her policy chops are really strong.” Still, Powell has other, dark forces working against her. At the U.N., she would not only be confronting North Korea and Iran, but also in all likelihood Steve Bannon Powell could face a concerted right-wing media campaign against her ascension.” [VanityFair

IRAN DEAL -- Contradicting Trump, U.N. Monitor Says Iran Complies With Nuclear Deal” by David Sanger and Rick Gladstone: “Mr. Trump has several options to choose from. One is to simply scrap the existing accord Another option would be to declare that Iran was in noncompliance but to keep enforcing the accord in any case A third option, administration officials say, is to set up what amounts to a test that Washington expects Iran to fail. That would involve providing intelligence information to the I.A.E.A that nuclear-related work — from enrichment to possible weapons research — is the basis for an inspection demand. So far, officials say, no such specific information has been turned over” [NYTimes

-- "A US official... said that Haley, on her Aug. 23 visit to the IAEA in Vienna, "did not ask the IAEA to inspect any specific sites, nor did she provide the IAEA with any new intelligence... She conveyed that the IAEA will need to continue to robustly exercise its authorities to verify Iran's declaration and monitor the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, including access to undeclared and military-affiliated sites where the agency has questions about nuclear-related activities." [Al-Monitor]  U.S. says Iran shows 'true colors' by restoring Hamas ties [Reuters

Iran Nuclear Deal Falls Short on Missiles" by Bennett Seftel: "Although the Iranian leadership has refuted accusations that Tehran is aiming to develop nuclear weapons, these ballistic missile tests seem to indicate otherwise... In the end, Iran’s longer term objectives may be to follow in the footsteps of North Korea by establishing ballistic missiles capabilities and producing nuclear weapons that would simultaneously help ensure regime survival and threaten adversaries in the region and beyond." [TheChiperBrief]

KAFE KNESSET -- The Bibi Sheldon Hotline -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: So just how close are Bibi and Sheldon and what is the extent of the PM’s involvement in Adelson’s freebie, Israel Hayom? That was the trending question last night, as Netanyahu revealed on Facebook that between 2012-2015 he spoke to Adelson about 40 times a year and with Israel Hayom’s former editor Amos Regev about 80 times a year. He didn’t disclose these contacts voluntarily, of course, but rather was complying with an Israeli Supreme Court ruling from last month. This ruling compelled the PM to reveal the dates and times of his conversations with Adelson and Regev. Bibi did not publish the dates and times of the talks, as requested in the original petition submitted by Channel 10 journalist Raviv Drucker, but he did post a lengthy Facebook post in which he explained that “Adelson has been a close friend of mine for about 30 years and I am happy to talk to him from time to time... All Israeli politicians do this, especially during election campaigns." Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

"Petition to Declare George Soros a Terrorist is One of Most Popular on White House site" by Rachel Stockman: "According to the website, a petition to declare George Soros a terrorist and seize all of his related organizations’ assets under RICO and NDAA law” is one of the most popular White House petitions. It is ranked number 12, pulling in about 60,000 signatures since it was created just 10 days ago." [LawNewz; WashExaminer]

** Good Friday 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 **

SPOTLIGHT: "Burning Man signifies society’s shift away from traditional capitalism" by Simone Stolzoff: "For the 40% of Burning Man attendees who will be first-timers this year, Black Rock City may inspire an idea of what a post-capitalist society could look like. “The term ‘gift economy’ is a little misleading,” says Andie Grace, Burning Man’s longtime director of communications. “The term ‘economy’ often implies some aspect of exchange. But there’s no accounting, no expectation of receiving anything in return. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a commerce-free experience—burners buy plenty of goods to bring into Black Rock City. It’s just a commerce-free zone.” 

"As more and more people hope to participate every year, it has ironically become the exact free-market force that has made capitalism so much harder to escape. As a result, the Burn is a well-positioned antidote for many of our first-world ailments—at least for those that can afford it." [Quartz]

STARTUP NATION: "'It's underhyped': An investor explains his crazy promise to invest in every Israeli blockchain startup" by Shona Ghosh: "Moshe Hogeg, the entrepreneur behind messaging app Yo!, photo-sharing firm Mobli, and phone startup Sirin, has promised to invest in every Israeli blockchain startup that approaches him for investment... Hogeg will invest personally, rather than through his VC firm Singulariteam... "Israel is a startup nation, but I don't take it for granted this is the situation," he said... I want to get dealflow, and I want 100% of the deals. The best way to do that is to invest in every single one of them."" [BusinessInsider

"Haredi dot com" by Chanani Bleich: 
"Welcome to KamaTech -- a unique program geared toward integrating ultra-Orthodox workers into the Israeli high-tech industry. The man behind the initiative is entrepreneur Moshe Friedman, a 38-year-old haredi man, father of four living in Bnei Brak. The bulk of his work involves offering courses, making connections, bridging gaps, mediating and networking... "I was on my way to launch my first startup company and I met with a well-known investor. He informed me right off the bat: 'I don't invest in haredim.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Look, you know that most startup ventures fail, and when I look at investing in an entrepreneur I want to feel like even though there are hundreds just like him who will fail, he will be the one to succeed.'" ... These days, Friedman doesn't have to chase investors anymore. He recently launched his newest baby -- 12Angels, the first haredi venture capital fund." [IsraelHayom

Pope: Seeking clarity, I saw psychoanalyst weekly years ago: "Pope Francis says that when he was 42 he had sessions weekly with a psychoanalyst who was female and Jewish to "clarify some things." It wasn't specified what the future pontiff wanted to explore. The revelation came in a dozen conversations Francis had with French sociologist Dominique Wolton... Francis was quoted as saying: "one day, when she was about to die, she called me. Not to receive the sacraments, since she was Jewish, but for a spiritual dialogue." "She was a good person. For six months she helped me a lot," Francis said." [AP]

HARVEY: "‘No Amount of Planning Could Have Spared Us’: How Texans Experienced Harvey" by Michael Gold, Fahima Haque and Nilo Tabrizy: "Beth Yeshurun Cemetery, the oldest Jewish graveyard in Texas, as seen from Julio Osorio’s balcony in downtown Houston on Sunday. By Tuesday, right, the water had receded considerably... "These pictures show that not even the most symbolic or sacred place, like this one, escaped the power of Harvey. No one was safe under Harvey."" [NYTimesPic

MEDIA WATCH: For Clyde and Maggie Haberman, journalism is a family affair” by Brian Stelter and Francesca Giuliani-Hoffman: “On August 21, Haberman shared the Times' esteemed front page with one of his daughters, the President Trump chronicler Maggie Haberman. It was "a hell of a source of pride," he said, so much so that "I asked Al Siegal, our former standards editor, who goes way back. He couldn't think of another parent-child combo." Covering New York City and its many characters, including Donald Trump, for the Post and the Daily News prepared Maggie for a job covering the Trump presidency. She sees a stylistic similarity between Ed Koch, who she described as "a showy mayor, very interested in making a splash," and President Trump. "I do think that Ed Koch helped inform his thinking about how a politician behaves," she said.” [CNNMoney]  Listen to the Reliable Sources podcast here [CNNPodcast

UPCOMING BOOKS: "Nathan Englander Channels His Inner John le Carré" by Rachel Donadio: "In pared-down prose, channeling John le Carré, the novel is about the failure of the peace process in the Middle East. It is set between 2002, during the Second Intifada, and 2014, when Ariel Sharon died, after having been in a coma for years. Mr. Englander conjures up a world of Israeli intelligence and waiters in Parisian cafes who are not what they seem, and the book’s characters include Prisoner Z, an American spy for Israel who winds up in an Israeli prison, accused of treason; the General, who is modeled on Sharon, and his nurse, who is the mother of Prisoner Z’s guard. Mr. Englander, who was educated in Jewish schools on Long Island, lived in Israel from 1996 to 2001, and much of the novel is set there." [NYTimes]

"David Litt, an Obama Speechwriter Who Wants No Credit" by Sopan Deb: "Washington is filled with political operatives who inflate their importance and take credit, oftentimes where it might not be due. David Litt, who landed a dream job as a speechwriter for the Obama administration at just 24 years old, is not that kind of operative. His new book, “Thanks Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years,” is an amusing, honest and self-deprecating look at being a less-heralded staffer in the White House. While others might exaggerate their access to the president, Mr. Litt, now a head writer at Funny or Die, writes about how President Obama didn’t even know his name until his second term." [NYTimes]

MAZEL TOV: "Property mogul Jeff Sutton's daughter ties the knot in breathtaking Italian wedding" by Paul Thompson: "The daughter of New York's 'King of Retail' married in a sunset ceremony overlooking the Adriatic Sea today watched by of over 400 friends and family. Renee Sutton and her fiancée Eliot Cohen wed in a traditional Jewish ceremony following a four-day build up to the big event... Locals had been drawn by rumors in the Italian press that Madonna or Lady Gaga were to perform for the couple at their wedding party. The rumors turned out to be false as did speculation that Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton would be attending the nuptials." [DailyMail]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS -- FRIDAY: Harvard Law School professor (1967-2016), a scholar on constitutional and criminal law, now a regular CNN contributor and political analyst, Alan Dershowitz turns 79... Conductor, author and composer, Leonard Slatkin turns 73... Israeli rock singer, lyricist and composer, he is often referred to as "The King of Israeli Rock," Shalom Hanoch turns 71... Member of the Texas House of Representatives since 2005 and Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives since 2009 (the first Jewish Speaker in Texas), Joe Straus turns 58... EVP for worldwide corporate communications at Warner Bros., following a long DC career that included being the White House press secretary during the first two years of the Clinton administration, Dee Dee Myers turns 56... President of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, located in Riverdale in NYC, Asher Lopatin turns 53... Director of national outreach for the Jewish Institute for National Security of America since 2013, following 11 years as the national grassroots director for the Republican Jewish Coalition, Harris Vederman turns 47... Novelist and playwright whose parents, Faye Kellerman and Jonathan Kellerman are both best selling authors, Jesse Kellerman turns 39... Video producer at MSNBC, Amitai Perline turns 32... Communications and policy specialist and analyst in the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, previously president of the Binghamton University Zionist Organization, Yael Rabin turns 25... Linda Feldman... Malca Resnick... Nancy Finkel...

SATURDAY: Los Angeles-based attorney who was part of the "Dream Team" that successfully defended OJ Simpson in 1995, he is a co-founder of two businesses, LegalZoom and RightCounsel, Robert Shapiro turns 75... Rabbi of Baltimore's Shearith Israel Congregation, Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer turns 73... Lincolnwood, Illinois resident, Tobi Kelmer turns 71... Richard Mandelbaum turns 71... Born in a DP camp following the Holocaust, a member of the Knesset since 1999 for the United Torah Judaism party, he currently serves as Israel's Minister of Health, Yaakov Litzman turns 69... Television producer, attorney, legal analyst and celebrity reporter, he is the founder of celebrity news website TMZ, Harvey Levin turns 67... CEO since 2000 of Lions Gate Entertainment, the leading Canadian independent film studio, Jon Feltheimer turns 66... President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, Lee Wunsch turns 65... Deputy Editor for News at Yahoo, author of a book on President Obama's war on terror, formerly Managing Editor of Newsweek, Daniel Klaidman turns 53... Washington correspondent for the Fox News Channel, James Rosen turns 49... Founder of Israeli media organization TheMarker and a deputy publisher of the Haaretz daily newspaper, he is also a clinical professor at the University of Chicago, Guy Rolnik turns 49... Billionaire serial entrepreneur, co-founder and chairman of Groupon and co-founder of two other public companies and a venture capital firm, Eric Lefkofsky turns 48... Executive Producer at PBS's Frontline, Raney Aronson-Rath turns 47... Seth Zweifler turns 26...

SUNDAY: Pioneer of the modern cable television industry, chairman and CEO of Warner Cable Communications (1973-1983), Gustave M. Hauser turns 88... Actor, producer, author and voice artist, best known for portraying Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos, more recently he has appeared as a regular in CBS's "Blue Bloods," Steve Schirripa turns 60... Historian and progressive journalist who has writte three books on the rise of the American conservative movement (focused on Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan), Eric S. "Rick" Perlstein turns 48... Chief development officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (D.C.), soon to be the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, Avital Ingber turns 36... Venezuelan-born son of two United Nations officials, he is a digital media and political strategist who is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Left Hook Communications, Joel Kliksberg turns 33... Managing Partner of Tax Equity Advisors and former director of the DOE's $50 billion loan programs office, Jonathan Silver... Betty Lederman...

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