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ANTI-BOYCOTT ACT: Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) told Jewish Insider yesterday that she has "not seen" the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to form an opinion about supporting the legislation. "I didn't know they (Senators Rob Portman and Ben Cardin) had a bill. I'll take a look at it," she added. The legislation would expand the 1970s era laws prohibiting compliance with boycotts against Israel by foreign governments to include boycotts organized by international organizations. The California lawmaker is considered a possible candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
IRAN DEAL: "Trump to weigh more aggressive U.S. strategy on Iran - sources " by Jonathan Landay, Arshad Mohammed and Steve Holland: "President Donald Trump is weighing a strategy that could allow more aggressive U.S. responses to Iran’s forces, its Shi‘ite Muslim proxies in Iraq and Syria, and its support for militant groups... The proposal was prepared by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and other top officials, and presented to Trump at a National Security Council meeting on Friday... It could be agreed and made public before the end of September." [Reuters]
"Focus on Iran Spurs Trump’s Bid to End Gulf Crisis" by Fiona MacDonald: "Trump told Kuwaiti officials visiting the White House last week that Gulf Arab monarchies can’t effectively counter growing Iranian regional influence if they’re busy fighting each other... The “real challenge” for the U.S. and its Gulf Cooperation Council allies is Iran, Trump told the Kuwaiti delegation... The president told his visitors he would “put an end to the dispute very soon."" [Bloomberg] In Persian Gulf, computer hacking now a cross-border fear [AP]
"In PR Push, Qatar Trying to Arrange Meeting With Jewish American Leaders" by Amir Tibon: "Qatar is trying to arrange meetings between its senior leadership and the heads of major Jewish American organizations during the United Nations General Assembly next week... The offer was made by Nick Muzin, a public relations adviser whom Qatar recently hired... One Jewish leader who refused to meet with the Qataris is Mort Klein... who told Haaretz on Tuesday, "It looks very much like this is a public relations attempt to moderate Qatar's image as a country that supports and funds terrorism."" [Haaretz]
"Israel is courting Syrian ‘hearts and minds’ to keep Hezbollah away" by Loveday Morris: "Israel has now treated more than 3,000 wounded Syrians, military officials say... Israel has transferred 360 tons of food, nearly 120,000 gallons of gasoline, 90 pallets of drugs, and 50 tons of clothing as well as generators, water piping and building materials... “There was an understanding that if we weren’t there, somebody else would influence them,” [Brig. Gen. Eli] Ben-Meir said. The humanitarian motivation was “huge,” he added. “But the more it got bigger and expanded, the more it had to do with winning these hearts and minds.” Closer ties also mean richer intelligence." [WashPost]
Elliott Abrams: Israel is protecting itself from Iran. We should, too: “Israel’s strategic situation has been seriously damaged in the last several years because there is now an Iranian presence in Syria. The Israelis are not going to go into Syria and try to drive Iran, the Shia militias, and Hezbollah out, but they are trying to establish some limits to acceptable Iranian behavior. In my view this ought to be part of U.S. policy in the region as well.” [Newsweek]
“Trump supports $75m. additional aid to Israel beyond Obama-era MOU” by Michael Wilner: "During the 2016 negotiations, Israel’s leadership signed a side letter promising to return any aid appropriated by Congress exceeding the $3.1 billion set aside for this fiscal year. But Congress ignored that provision, cutting Israel an additional $75 million in aid in its latest appropriations bill. A report in the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon claimed that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wanted Israel to return the check But a senior State Department official said that report was incorrect. “The administration is committed to ensuring that Israel receives the assistance that has been appropriated by Congress,” the official said.” [JPost]
-- Flashback: Ambassador David Friedman told us last year, “Under a Trump administration the U.S. will not be limited in its support for Israel by the terms of the MOU.” [JewishInsider]
SCOOP: Our Kafe Knesset team reported last week that, unlike years past, Netanyahu is not planning to attend any public events with the Jewish community during his visit to New York and is instead only holding private meetings with Jewish community leaders. We can confirm that invites were sent yesterday for a private meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister next Sunday.
KAFE KNESSET -- Iran, Iran and Iran again -- by Tal Shalev and JPost's Lahav Harkov: On the top of Netanyahu’s agenda yesterday, as he launched his historic Latin America visit in Buenos Aires, was Iran. He visited the sites of the two deadly terror attacks that rocked the city’s Israeli Embassy and Jewish community center in the 1990s. “The time has come to place full and complete responsibility on Iran for the attacks,” Netanyahu said. The PM commended his host, President Mauricio Macri, for renewing the investigation of the attacks in the South American capital, after years of his predecessor’s cover-up of Iranian and Hezbollah involvement. Tehran is still the main source of global terrorism, the PM pointed out in two speeches.
The premier is probably already thinking of his big speech next week at the UN General Assembly, in which Iran is expected to be a dominant motif. Iran will also take center stage during the PM’s meeting with President Trump. Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said yesterday that the PM’s “first mission on his trip to the US is to demand that President Donald Trump freeze, change or cancel the Iran deal, which in its current form protects Iran and leads to a future nuclear Iran.” Read today's entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]
UNGA WATCH: “Will Abbas confront Trump?” by Shlomi Eldar: “Abbas has already made his decision, and he plans an assertive speech, which, according to [a senior Palestinian official] will reveal the “real face of Netanyahu.” “Netanyahu is a peace rejectionist, so there’s no way of advancing the diplomatic process toward a permanent arrangement with the Israelis.” This is what, according to the source, Abbas intends to say to the assembled representatives, even though it is clear to him... that such a dramatic statement would bring an end to the honeymoon period with the Trump administration Abbas also plans to announce that he is considering renewing an application to the International Court of Justice at the Hague... Hussam Zumlut, the Palestinian ambassador in Washington, and [Riyad] Mansour are advocating maintaining an escape hatch and not angering the Americans too much.” [Al-Monitor]
ON THE HILL -- Sanders sponsors Congressional forum on Palestinian village Susiya -- by Aaron Magid: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is sponsoring a briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the cause of the Palestinian village, Susiya, which is designated for demolition by the Israeli Army, a Senate staffer confirmed to Jewish Insider. The California-based Rebuilding for Peace is slated to fly-in children from from the West Bank villages of Susiya and Al-Aqaba along with Gaza for the event on September 19th. While the briefing marks International Peace Day which is September 21, due to the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, it has been moved to the 19th to allow those celebrating to attend, according to a copy of the invitation. [JewishInsider]
"Senate approves resolution condemning white supremacist groups" by Jordain Carney: "The resolution — introduced last week by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) — cleared the upper chamber by unanimous consent. The Senate measure formally condemns "the violence and domestic terrorist attack" that occurred last month around a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville... The resolution urges Trump and his Cabinet to "address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States."" [TheHill]
“Trump gives new hope to Jewish push for FEMA assistance to houses of worship” by Ron Kampeas: “Churches in Texas should be entitled to reimbursement from FEMA Relief Funds for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey (just like others),” Trump said on Twitter Nathan Diament, the Washington director of the Orthodox Union, which has led advocacy for the policy change, said that Trump needed only to order the change; there was no statute barring emergency funds from going to houses of worship “There’s a little bit of distance between the president tweeting and actual policy,” he told JTA on Monday. “We also want it codified in legislation.” [JTA; TheAtlantic]
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: "The Characters Who Tried to Make ‘Trump Tower Moscow’ a Reality" by Betsy Woodruff: "It was a dream years in the making—and helped along the way by two New York real estate tycoons, one of whom is considered the right-hand man of an oligarch linked to an infamous money laundering investigation. Naturally, this man is also considered a friend of Vladimir Putin. The two tycoons—Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen—accompanied Donald Trump on his 2013 trip to Russia, where they reportedly tried to pull strings behind the scenes with to make Trump Tower Moscow a reality." [DailyBeast]
THE DAILY KUSHNER: "Some Trump Lawyers Wanted Kushner Out" by Peter Nicholas, Rebecca Ballhaus and Erica Orden: "Some of President Donald Trump’s lawyers earlier this summer concluded that Jared Kushner should step down as senior White House adviser because of possible legal complications related to a probe of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election and aired concerns about him to the president... The president’s lawyers were not united in the view that Mr. Kushner should step down... Mr. Trump wasn’t persuaded that Mr. Kushner needed to leave... Mr. Kasowitz in a statement said: “I never... recommended to the President that Mr. Kushner should step down from that position and I am not aware that any other lawyers for the President made any such recommendation either.”" [WSJ] Trump lawyer Ty Cobb: Ex-White House staffers trying to sabotage Kushner [TheHill]
"Both Parties Turn to Lawyer Abbe Lowell in High-Stakes Cases" by Del Quentin Wilber: "Washington lawyer Abbe Lowell has represented high-profile clients on both sides of the political spectrum—a Republican governor, a conservative super-lobbyist and a former Democratic vice-presidential nominee—and even played a key role in defending President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings. Now, he is simultaneously representing major players in separate cases that could have big implications for both parties. Last week, Mr. Lowell launched his courtroom defense of Sen. Bob Menendez... Mr. Lowell is also representing Jared Kushner."
“He is brilliant and organized, so taking on several wars at once doesn’t seem to faze him,” said Jack Abramoff, a conservative lobbyist whom Mr. Lowell helped obtain a plea deal that in 2008 resulted in a four-year prison term for his role in a wide-ranging corruption and influence-buying scandal. Mr. Lowell, a trim and balding 65-year-old who favors the dark-suit uniform of D.C. lawyers, declined an interview request." [WSJ]
“Ivanka Trump had breakfast with Janet Yellen as the president considered the Fed chair's renomination” by Jim Puzzanghera: “The president's daughter and Yellen dined at the Fed from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on July 17, according to Yellen's calendar, which the Fed releases to the public with about a one month lag.” [LATimes]
INSIDE THE ADMIN: "How Steve Bannon Is Preparing For War" by Tarini Parti and Adrian Carrasquillo: "A pro-Trump outside group — Great America PAC and its affiliated nonprofit, Great America Alliance — is evolving into a big-money vehicle that could be used by Bannon and his allies... casino mogul Sheldon Adelson [is] considering writing checks to the group... “Don’t discount the influence Bannon still has,” the former White House official said. The source pointed in particular to the way Bannon has publicly talked about economic adviser Gary Cohn, a frequent Breitbart target. “When he calls Cohn ‘disloyal,’ he knows what he’s doing, he knows the president is going to watch. That’s a trigger for the president.” [BuzzFeed]
Steve Bannon weighs in on Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the White House: “In Bannon's "60 Minutes" conversation with Charlie Rose he said Kushner, the president's daughter and Kushner's wife, Ivanka Trump, and the factions within the administration "absolutely" have his support Bannon also said he thinks Kushner and Ivanka are "terrific people."” [CBSNews]
--Trump watched the “60 Minutes” interview and liked it, telling friends and aides he was appreciative of the praise Bannon offered for him and his policies... [WashPost]
“Gorka, Ousted Trump Adviser, Predicts More White House Shake-Ups” by Andrew Rafferty and Paul Goldman: “You don’t have to pick up a government paycheck to be in discussion with the president or helping him. And one thing about the president, if you’re loyal to him, he’s loyal to you,” Gorka [told NBC News]. Gorka also left the door open to both him and Bannon returning to the administration. “I predict... that soon, perhaps before Christmas, the president will be removing high-ranking individuals from inside his administration because he will realize who he’s surrounded with.” [NBCNews]
MORE KAFE KNESSET -- Gorka in Israel: Among a long list of keynote speakers at the International Institute For Counter-Terrorism conference who also mentioned Iran, was President Trump’s former advisor Sebastian Gorka. Gorka endorsed Bibi’s strategic vision. “I have become convinced there is a bigger problem than Sunni Jihadists, and unfortunately there is a nation that understands the bigger problem and has been trying to tell us since 1979 – and that is Israel. We need to learn from our Israeli friends that Israel is and was right about the threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran”. Gorka’s invitation to the conference stirred controversy in the US, but here in Israel it was hardly noticed. Nevertheless, Gorka expressed his gratitude to the ICT director, Boaz Ganor. “When the going gets tough, that’s when you find out who your real friends are, Boaz Ganor included,” he said. [KafeKnesset]
Gorka also visited the Western Wall: A photo of Gorka with a well-fitted yarmulke was posted on Twitter by Rabbi Uri Pilichowski from Yeshivat Migdal Hatorah in Modi'in. "I drove Seb Gorka to Israel's Western Wall in Jerusalem yesterday. I spent hours talking to him. He is a true friend of Israel & the Jews," Pilichowski tweeted. [Pic]
** 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: Seth Klarman's Baupost Plans to Return Some Investor Money [Bloomberg] Bradley Tusk made $100 million helping Uber conquer New York. Now he's helping other startups disrupt the status quo [CrainsNY] Israeli company to build US-Mexico border wall prototype [Ynet]
TALK OF THE TOWN: "Pro-Charter School Group Pays State $425,000 For Failing To ID Donors" by Steve LeBlanc: "Investigators say [Families for Excellent Schools-Advocacy] raised more than $15 million from individuals and then contributed it to the Great Schools Massachusetts Ballot Question Committee in a manner intended to disguise the true source of the money. The money represented 70 percent of the $21.7 million reported received by the charter school committee... Boston hedge fund manager Seth Klarman contributed the most of any single donor: $3 million." [WBUR; USNews]
“The secret of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy” by Seth Mandel: “One reason for the city’s resurgence was the mayor elected amid the madness: Ed Koch, who used his larger-than-life, happy-warrior persona to give New York the psychological jolt it needed. Moskowitz notes (in her memoir out Tuesday) that Koch zeroed in on quality-of-life improvements, like the subway cars plagued with graffiti and loud music It worked. Moskowitz, then in high school and living upstate, returned with her parents and brother In 1999, she won a City Council seat and joined the Education Committee, where she probed for the sources of the dysfunction and mismanagement rife in the city’s schools.” [NYPost]
LESSONS FROM THE PAST: Harvey, Irma, Jose and Noah" by David Brooks: "“Noah was righteous but not a leader,” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks observes. A leader takes responsibility for those around him and at least tries to save the world, even if people are too wicked to actually listen... Noah, by contrast, opts to withdraw from the corrupt world, in order to remain untainted... Noah is a good man, but his story is a lesson in the dangers of blind obedience. The God of the Hebrew Bible wants respect for authority and deference to law. But He doesn’t want passive surrender... Today we live amid many floods. Some, like Harvey or Irma, are natural... People are still good at acting individually to tackle problems... But we have trouble with collective action, with building new institutions, or reviving old ones, that are big enough to deal with the biggest challenges. That’s because we have trouble thinking about authority." [NYTimes]
“Why Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ Still Matters So Much to Me — And All Of Us” by Samantha Power: “I am so very sad that my children will not have the chance to talk metaphysics with the master. But let me offer another reason that God is smiling today. As our nation goes through difficult days, “Night” is a book that is firmly ingrained in that small canon of literature that kids and young adults read when they are growing up in America So, while the void is enormous... for our world, I too am filled with profound joy knowing that my 7-year-old boy and my 4-year-old girl — like Elie’s grandkids, and their children after them — will wade into big questions for the first time with Elie Wiesel as their guide.” [Forward]
HOLLYWOOD: "Attacked by Rotten Tomatoes" by Brooks Barnes: "Hollywood is blaming a website: Rotten Tomatoes. “I think it’s the destruction of our business,” Brett Ratner, the director, producer and film financier, said at a film festival this year... Mr. Ratner’s sentiment was echoed almost daily in studio dining rooms all summer, although not for attribution, for fear of giving Rotten Tomatoes more credibility." [NYTimes]
"In which Larry David clears a man of murder" by Radley Balko: "Okay, so maybe not Larry David himself. But the upcoming Netflix documentary "Long Shot" tells the story of how extra footage from David's show "Curb Your Enthusiasm" confirmed the alibi of Juan Catalan, who had been accused of murdering a state's witness in a gang-related shooting. Given David's penchant for taking his shows meta, maybe we'll see an episode next season about this. Of course, it would need to happen in a way that provides enormous inconvenience for David's character." [WashPost] Original report from 2004 [CNN]
PROFILE: "Jennifer Meyer’s Goal? ‘Jewelry You Wear All the Time’" by Rachel Felder: "There’s the fact that her father is Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal... But Ms. Meyer, 40, has built her business since 2005 by focusing on something that’s resonated with customers: delicate jewelry that is feminine and casual enough to wear every day... Jewelry-making was not a lifelong goal for Ms. Meyer, although as a child she did spend afternoons making rings and medallions with her paternal grandmother, Edith Meyer, who designed enamel pieces in a tiny Santa Monica apartment, its kitchen crowded with a kiln." [NYTimes]
DESSERT: "Harry & Ida’s Opens a Luncheonette and More Food News" by Florence Fabricant: "Will and Julie Horowitz, a brother-and-sister team, have opened a financial district offshoot of Harry & Ida’s Meat & Supply, their grocery and casual dining spot in the East Village with an Old World point of view and an emphasis on local, homemade smoked and pickled foods. This branch, called Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette (the name refers to the Horowitzes’ great-grandparents), is more spacious and serves plates priced at less than $15. “We take ideas from our heritage,” Mr. Horowitz said." [NYTimes]
"What Happens When You Add a Cryptocurrency Experiment to Shabbat Dinner" by Arick Wierson: "After the Challah was passed around, Richie surprised his guests by unveiling that this Shabbos would have a specific theme—a cryptocurrency theme, to be exact. And that’s when things began to get a little odd. Welcome to the first Initial #ShabbatCoin Offering, or ‘Kosher IDO (Initial Dinner Offering).’ Shabbat Shalom!” he said." [Observer]
BIRTHDAYS: 20 term Democratic Congressman (1975-2015) from Los Angeles, Henry Waxman turns 78... Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama White House (2014-2017), he was previously Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky (2011-2014) and mayor of Louisville (1986-2011), Jerry Abramson turns 71... Governor of Kansas since 2011, he was a US Senator (1996-2011) and is now awaiting confirmation to become the US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback turns 61... Miami based Chairman of American Principles Super PAC, Eytan Laor turns 58... Internet entrepreneur and a pioneer of VoIP telephony, Jeff Pulver turns 55... Attorney specializing in the recovery of looted artworks during the Holocaust and featured in the 2015 film "Woman in Gold," E. Randol (Randy) Schoenberg turns 51... Sherri Jankowski turns 50... Senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Max Boot turns 48... South Dakota native, now serving as legislative director at Christians United for Israel, Jason Stverak turns 44... Israeli singer, songwriter and musician, who has performed around the world, Idan Raichel turns 40... AIPAC's area director for Philadelphia and South Jersey, Kelly Lauren Stein turns 31... Sara Greenberg ...
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