The Daily Kickoff: October 11, 2018
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The Daily Kickoff: October 11, 2018

Israel’s US envoy shares dinner table with UAE counterpart in rare sign of warming ties; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks about Iran at the JINSA annual awards dinner

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives for the signing of a trade agreement with South Koreak in New York on September 24, 2018. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives for the signing of a trade agreement with South Koreak in New York on September 24, 2018. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

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NYC SCENE — Spotted at Cipriani on 42nd Street last night for the Gift of Life Marrow Registry Gala: Sheldon & Miriam Adelson, Haim Saban, Shari Redstone, Kimberlee & Jason Ostheimer, Charles Bronfman, Barry Shrage, Nily Falic, Wendy Siegel, Stephen Siegel, William Begal, Tom Stern, Samuel Ian Rosen, Andy Borans, Shmuley Boteach, and Ernie Anastos. According to a tipster, Miriam Adelson celebrated her birthday at the event and pledged $4M towards Gift of Life.

HEARD LAST NIGHT — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the JINSA annual awards dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC: “Iran has seen instability in Syria as a golden opportunity to tip the regional balance of power in its favor… Israel, like all nations, has the right to defend its sovereignty. That means we will continue to stand up for its right to target Iranian-backed militias within Syria for as long as the threat remains… Israel is everything we want the entire Middle East to look like going forward.”

“We are making a truly historic push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” Pompeo said in his remarks, adding that Trump’s peace plan will be released “before too terribly long, and we are hopeful that both sides will have constructive conversations to lead to that.”

Pompeo on the Taylor Force Act: “I actually signed a memo today with respect to the Taylor Force Act denying $165 million that would have been appropriated to the Palestinian Authority. That number is a rough estimate of the amount of money that was paid out for the various violations the Taylor Force Act was designed to enforce.”

Pompeo also revealed to the crowd that he spoke on the phone with Israel’s Prime Minister earlier in the day “on a couple of issues of the moment, and we were talking about things a little more broadly.” In a video posted on Twitter, Netanyahu can be seen abruptly leaving an evening campaign event he was slated to attend.

Israel’s U.S. Envoy Shares Dinner Table With UAE Counterpart in Rare Sign of Warming Ties — by Amir Tibon: “Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and UAE Ambassador Yousef al Otaiba sat together at the annual dinner of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs in Washington. It is rare for officials from Arab states that don’t have formal ties with Israel to be seen in public with Israeli officials. The two were seen talking to each other during the event.” [Haaretz]

Also spotted at the dinner: Senators Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham, Assistant Secretary of State Marie Royce, Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel, Reps. Ed Royce and David Kustoff, Victoria Coates, Azerbaijan Ambassador Elin Suleymanov, Fred Zeidman, Deputy Ambassador to the UN Jon Lerner, Yaakov Amidror, Sander Gerber, Michael Makovsky, David Makovsky, David Steinmann, Ambassador Nathan Sales, Brig. Gen. John Allen, Danny Ayalon, Frank Gaffney, Noah Pollak, Josh Rogin, Ali Rogin, Eli Lake, Malcolm Hoenlein, Harry Bethke, Earl Matthews, Thomas Griffin, Norm Coleman, Matt Brooks, Lisa Spies, Charlie Spies, Yaacov Ayish, former Congressman Martin Frost, Alex Siegel, Alana Goodman, William Daroff, Catherine Herridge, Ken Abramowitz, Adele Malpass, Robert Zarate, David Milstein, Devon Cross, Harris Vederman.

IRAN DEAL 2.0? President Trump in an Oval Office interview with Olivia Nuzzi for New York Magazine: “Iran wants to make a deal. They all wanna make a deal.”

Washington Institute’s Michael Singh writes… “How Trump Can Get a Better Deal on Iran: Trump may never get his made-for-TV moment with an Iranian leader. But if he can rally his allies rather than alienate them, and if his offer to Tehran of a diplomatic off ramp is genuine, he can ensure that Iran pays a price for challenging U.S. interests—and perhaps even coax it back to the negotiating table.” [ForeignPolicy

ON THE HILL — Cruz Senate bill on ‘Human Shields’ draws bipartisan support — by Ben Evansky: “A Senate bill seeking to put an end to the barbaric use of human shields by terrorist groups and their enablers should pass soon, according to one of its sponsors. The bipartisan legislation is sponsored by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and has nearly 50 co-sponsors with 14 Democrats among them, including lead Democratic sponsor Joe Donnelly of Indiana.” [FoxNews]

TOP TALKER — Khashoggi’s Disappearance Puts Kushner’s Bet on Saudi Crown Prince at Risk — by Mark Landler, Edward Wong and Eric Schmitt: “More than anyone in the Trump administration, Mr. Kushner has cultivated Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman — whose family may have played a role in the disappearance of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi… Mr. Kushner championed Prince Mohammed… and once even hoped that the future king would put a Saudi stamp of approval on his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.”

“If it becomes clear that the prince ordered the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi or was connected to it in some way, it will provoke an outcry on Capitol Hill… and put Mr. Kushner… in an extremely awkward position…  Behind the scenes, a person familiar with the matter said, [Kushner] conveyed a letter from the publisher of The Post, Fred Ryan, to Prince Mohammed, expressing concern for Mr. Khashoggi and asking for his help. Mr. Kushner has also taken other unspecified steps.” [NYTimes]

— “The White House said Wednesday that [MBS] had spoken about Khashoggi the previous day with White House national security adviser John Bolton and… Jared Kushner… A former administration official told Politico that MBS had demanded the call earlier in the week.” [Politico

“Trump has grown frustrated, two officials said, after initially reacting slowly to Khashoggi’s disappearance.” [WashPost]

WHY IT MATTERS: “The White House effort to forge a Mideast peace between Israelis and Palestinians, led in part by Kushner, also depends on Saudi Arabia. In what the White House has called an “outside in” strategy, the administration is looking primarily to the Saudis and their Gulf allies to take the lead in convincing the Palestinians to cooperate, to incentivize the Israelis through the promise of diplomatic recognition…  Above all, the administration has been looking to Saudi Arabia for support in its main priority of containing and confronting Iran.” [CNN]

Aaron David Miller emails us… “Even before this, the prospects of serious Saudi pressure on the Palestinians was remote. What happened with Khashoggi is going to throw Saudi decision making into a dysfunctional mode. And while hammering Abbas and reaching out to Israel may be one way of pleasing the U.S., it isn’t going to get MBS out of the mess he’s made.”

CONFERENCE CIRCUIT — “Saudi Arabia’s muscle will be on display next week, when American technology and financial titans gather at the investor conference in Riyadh that the crown prince will attend. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will represent the Trump administration at the meeting… Among the prominent figures scheduled to take part are Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase; Stephen A. Schwarzman… Thomas J. Barrack Jr… and Dina H. Powell… who worked closely with Mr. Kushner on Saudi Arabia… The Treasury Department said Mr. Mnuchin was still planning to attend.” [NYT]

Eli Lake writes… “What Trump Can Do About Saudi Arabia: President Donald Trump should suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He should also denounce the Saudis in public and threaten them with the more severe options in private… Trump can do all this while also making it clear that the U.S. remains committed to helping its allies counter Iran in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.” [BloombergView

REPORT —  Netanyahu tells Greece, Cyprus that Trump will keep heat on Turkey — by Barak Ravid: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus during meetings in Jerusalem last month that he doesn’t see President Trump reducing the pressure on Turkey over the arrest of American pastor Andrew Brunson… because Brunson’s case is important to many evangelical voters. In the meetings, Netanyahu spoke very critically about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” [Axios]

COMING SOON ― NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to speak in Israel: “The event will take place on November 6 in Tel Aviv at the offices of media consultancy firm “OH! Orenstein Hoshen.” Snowden will speak via a secured video system, and will answer questions, from the Israeli audience and he is expected to talk about, among other things, issues relating specifically to Israel. Snowden’s comments will be responded to by former Mossad deputy director Ram Ben Barak.” [Globes]

Rare Israeli-Palestinian compromise raises hopes for U.N. cultural agency — by John Irish: “Israeli and Arab diplomats agreed to resolutions on Jerusalem and Palestinian education at the U.N. cultural agency on Wednesday, a rare show of consensus as UNESCO seeks to convince Israel to change its mind about quitting…” [Reuters

ON DECK — Trump likes Dina Powell for U.N. job, but she could face some resistance within the White House — by Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker: “President Trump spoke with Dina Powell on Wednesday about replacing Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and has told some advisers that the former White House aide is his preferred choice for the job… Trump did not make a formal offer to Powell during the call Wednesday morning… The president also spoke with Powell once before Haley’s resignation was announced Tuesday.”

“One person who knows [John] Bolton well said that he is unlikely to actively oppose Powell, knowing that she is close with Kushner and Ivanka Trump and would not want to cross them on this.” [WashPost]

Goldman Sachs chairman Lloyd Blankfein has told people that he views the post as a unique opportunity and would understand if [Powell] took the job. [Politico]

RUMOR — Joe Lieberman on short list for UN ambassador — by Kaitlyn Krasselt: “Lieberman… is on the short list to replace U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, according to a report from CBS. No other evidence emerged Wednesday to support the speculation, and one source close to Lieberman said Lieberman has not been asked about accepting the job. If it were offered, however, the source said Lieberman would probably accept the ambassadorship.” [CTPost]

Dov Zakheim writes… “Nikki in 2020: Don’t rule it out: Haley could discreetly build a staff once she has left office at the end of the year, and then hold off announcing her intentions until mid-2019… Haley certainly can be expected to run if Trump does not; even if he does, she could mount a powerful insurgent campaign against him.” [TheHill

MIDTERMS — Fireworks as Blackburn, Bredesen tangle in final debate — by Andy Sherin: “Republican Congress member Marsha Blackburn [attacked] [Phil] Bredesen for attending a Tuesday fundraiser in New York City hosted by billionaire Michael Bloomberg… and she suggested they “talked about gun control and may have talked a bit” about Bloomberg’s plans to run for president in 2020… Blackburn blasted [Phil] Bredesen for not supporting President Donald Trump’s call for building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico… Blackburn, asked about potential costs of $70 billion for a physical wall, said “Walls work. Just ask Israel.” [TimeFreePress]

Palestinians Are Trying To Turn Trump’s Love Of Israel Into Real Influence In Washington — by Miriam Berger: “Over the years, various attempts at creating a Palestinian-style AIPAC have proven ineffective, largely due to divisions and infighting among the still-stateless Palestinians and, compared to Israel, Palestine’s second-tier status and financial weight in Washington. The lack of leadership at the top and the Trump administration’s clear preference for the Israelis have led to a surge in attempts to drive change at a lower-level, away from K Street and Capitol Hill — and the hope that creating new constituencies and allies now will pay off in the long run.”

“Hanna Hanania… told BuzzFeed News that now, on the one hand, is a disadvantageous time to start a new group because “dealing with the administration is very hard;” on the other hand, it is easier because “more Democrats are coming out supporting the Palestinian cause.” Hanania’s vision, established in April, is modest: a community-funded lobby pushing more Palestinian-American causes and candidates. This year, Democratic Rashida Tlaib of Michigan won a tough primary that paved the way for her to be the first Muslim and Palestinian American woman to serve in Congress.” [BuzzFeed

TALK OF THE NATION — Politics as the New Religion for Progressive Democrats — by Emma Green: “There’s a sociological story you can tell about this community,” said Eitan Hersh, a political scientist at Tufts who is writing a book on what he calls “political hobbyism.” “This online world of political identity … is basically acting as a replacement for people who maybe a generation or two before would identify as Catholic or as Jewish or as Irish or Italian.” Think of it as the Pod Save America voter: largely elite, politically plugged-in, constantly discussing the Republicans’ latest political shenanigans at dinner parties—and more focused on national problems than local affairs.” [TheAtlantic]

** Good Thursday 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: Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Management Demands Full $14.5M Payment in Troy Carter Suit [Billboard] • After A Journalist’s Alleged Murder, Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff Among Other Top Tech Execs Are Distancing Themselves From Saudi Arabia’s City Of The Future [BuzzFeed] • Is Howard Schultz an Asset or a Liability for Starbucks?[NYTimes] • Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield talks about how he works [WSJ]

Katzenberg’s NewTV reveals official new name: Quibi — by Wendy Lee: “Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new venture into streaming short bursts of video has a new name: Quibi. It’s short for quick bites of video… Katzenberg and longtime tech executive Meg Whitman have raised $1 billion for Quibi, which will roll out video in chapters of under 10 minutes… “No one has done in video today what we think is essential on the globe in these quick bites,” Katzenberg said.”[LATimes]

Paul McCartney plays private show for Robert Kraft and guests: “Paul McCartney played a private show Tuesday night for Patriots owner Robert Kraft. A source told us the party was for just 300 guests at Gillette Stadium. McCartney played songs including “Hey Jude” and “Band on the Run.” [PageSix

“Attendees at Kraft’s annual shindig included “Friends” creator Kevin Bright… Big Night Entertainment guru Ed Kane, Boston Celtics lead owner Wyc Grousbeck, Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson, Highland Capital Partners’ Bob Davis, Attorney General Maura Healey, Putnam CEO Bob Reynolds, and Michael Rubin, co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers.”[BostonGlobe]

SPORTS BLINK — 10 American ballplayers to make aliyah — by Sam Brief: “This fall, 10 Jewish-American ballplayers will acquire Israeli passports, making them dual American-Israeli citizens eligible to represent Team Israel in European tournaments… “Finding a needle in the haystack is just finding Jewish American ballplayers who can play for you,” says Peter Kurz, president of the Israeli Association of Baseball. “Finding ones with Israeli passports is like finding the head of a needle in a haystack.” [JewishBaseballNews]

Chelsea Football Club To Send Racist Fans On Educational Trips To Auschwitz — by Rachel Mcgrath: “Chelsea Football Club is planning to send racist supporters on educational trips to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, instead of handing them banning orders. The idea has been revealed by the club’s chairman, Bruce Buck, and its Jewish owner, Roman Abramovich, is at the forefront of the initiative. Buck told the Sun: “If you just ban people, you will never change their behavior.” [HuffPost]

GONE VIRAL — Llama on the loose snarls traffic in Brooklyn — by Ruth Brown and Cedar Attanasio: “Video posted on Twittershows the animal holding up traffic as it crosses a street at 14th Avenue and 54th Street, while an onlooker shouts, “Runaway llama!” … He was brought to Borough Park from his home, a farm in Woodbury Conn., as part of the Satmar UTA yeshiva’s kindergarten and first-grade education program. “Usually around this time of year they’re studying the Torah and they want to give a visual of Noah’s Ark,” said Alfalfa’s other owner, Jaclyn Smith, 30.” [NYPostNBCNewYork]

SPOTTED at NYC kosher steakhouse Mike’s Bistro last night: Chairman of the American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp.

BIRTHWEEK: Former White House Jewish Liaison in Obama Administration, now a special advisor on global anti-corruption and good governance issues at the State Department, Chanan Weissman.

BIRTHDAYS: Professor emeritus of history at UCLA, winner of both a Pulitzer Prize (2008) and the Israel Prize (1983), he won a MacArthur Genius fellowship in 1999, Saul Friedländer turns 86… Tony award and Emmy award winning film, stage and TV actor, Ron Leibman turns 81… Israeli novelist and documentary filmmaker, Amos Gitai turns 68… Member of the executive committee of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland (where she was a past president), she also serves on the National Council of AIPAC, Helane Goldstein turns 65… Israeli diplomat whose postings as ambassador include both the UK and the UN, Ron Prosor turns 60…

Executive Vice President at The Jewish Federations of North America, Mark Gurvis turns 59… President and CEO of NYC based real estate firm Tishman Speyer, Rob Speyer turns 49… CFO of Rockville, Maryland-based VIVA Creative, he has guided, operated or invested in more than 100 startups in the US, Israel and China, Asher Epstein turns 44… Political journalist, opinion commentator and satirist, he is the host of The Jamie Weinstein Show podcast at National Review Online, Jamie Weinstein turns 35… Actress Michelle Trachtenberg turns 33… Executive Director of StandWithUs Israel, Michael Dickson… Peter Turman

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