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Daily Kickoff: On 9/11, learning from Danny Lewin | Larry Silverstein on rebuilding the WTC | Jon Lerner profile | JI interview with Rep. Val Demings


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Ari Fleisher’s tradition: “Good morning. As I do every year on this day, I will do my best to recall what I saw on September 11, 2001. There was no Twitter then. But I will try to re-live history on twitter so others can know details of what happened behind the scenes.” [Twitter

REMEMBERING: “Learning from 9/11’s first victim” by Marco Greenberg: “On September 11, 2001, Danny Lewin, 31, my best friend, was working away on his laptop in seat 9B aboard American Airlines Flight 11 when he saw the two men sitting right in front of him — they would later be identified as Mohammad Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari — getting up and making their way to the cockpit. A veteran of the Israeli army’s most elite commando unit, Danny tried to stop them, as the 9/11 Commission report indicated, but the man seated right behind him, Satam al-Suqami, drew his knife and slit Danny’s throat, making him, as the report would eventually confirm, the first victim of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil.”

“Danny, of course, would hate that word, victim. He had spent his entire life proving he was anything but. He believed in hard work, setting a personal example, and daring ingenuity; if you asked him, he’d tell you these are the values that have made America great… Danny was a complicated guy, with strong opinions that easily spanned the partisan spectrum and were never obvious or unreasoned, but I know he’d be outraged by seeing how rampant xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism and anti-Semitism have become in our nation, and I suspect he’d be baffled by the tendency, on the left and the right alike, to focus on the accidents of our birth instead of on our infinite human potential.” [NYDailyNews]

TOP TALKER: “Netanyahu’s son removes anti-Semitic meme from Facebook following outcry” by Ruth Eglash: “The image, posted by Yair Netanyahu on Friday, appeared to be a local take on a classic anti-Semitic cartoon suggesting that Jews control the United States. It has appeared widely on extreme alt-right websites. In this instance, it depicted his father’s perceived foes: American Jewish billionaire philanthropist and investor George Soros, outspoken former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, activist Eldad Yaniv, and Meni Naftali, a former housekeeper for the Netanyahus who successfully sued them for mistreatment. Yair Netanyahu, who goes by the name “Yair Hun” on Facebook, had captioned the meme “the food chain.” [WashPost]

KAFE KNESSET — Neo-Nazis embrace Yair Netanyahu — by Tal Shalev and JPost’s Lahav Harkov: David Duke posted a tweet praising Yair, and The Daily Stormer was quite pleased with him. On Sunday, after Bibi’s statement to the press at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, a reporter asked him about it, and the Prime Minister only said “this isn’t a press conference.” Last night, without a word of explanation, Yair deleted the post.

Meanwhile, the gag order on the testimony of Bibi’s former chief of staff Ari Harow is set to expire next week, and if it is indeed removed, new details are expected to emerge about Netanyahu’s alleged criminal affairs. Meanwhile, Haaretz reported today that Netanyahu tried to set Harow up with a job at Channel 10, after supporting the sale of the channel to Russian-born businessman Len Blavatnik. Blavatnik was interrogated by Israeli Police last month in London. The Channel 10 deal and Netanyahu’s contacts with Blavatnik are part of “Case 1000,” in which Netanyahu is suspected of receiving gifts and favors from LA producer Arnon Milchan and other businessmen. According to the report, Netanyahu asked Blavatnik’s people to appoint Harow, who was unemployed at the time, as chairman of the channel 10 news company. That appointment did not work out because of regulatory difficulties. Read today’s entire Kafe Knesset here [JewishInsider]

PROFILE: “Haley’s UN Brinkmanship Comes With Advice From Low-Key Adviser” by Kambiz Foroohar: “Jon Lerner, a political strategist who helped get Haley elected twice as the Palmetto State’s governor, is the ambassador’s Washington-based deputy. While [Nikki] Haley has talked about the direct access she has to President Donald Trump, the 49-year-old Lerner serves as her eyes and ears on the ground in the nation’s capital: a critical role as Haley’s profile rises in an administration buffeted by leaks and turmoil. Lerner accompanied Haley to Vienna last month to meet International Atomic Energy Agency investigators over Iran’s compliance with the nuclear accord opposed by Trump. And he helped draft Haley’s Iran-focused speech in Washington last week…

“In a rare public comment, Lerner described himself in an email as inspired by anti-Communist movements. “My hostility to anti-American authoritarian governments that began with anti-Communism remains my primary motivation,” Lerner wrote. “That manifests itself today in places that include North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia.”” [Bloomberg]

–Ambassador Haley will speak at the opening night of the IAC National Conference on November 3rd at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in DC. Yesterday, the IAC published a promo video featuring Haley as a “real-life Wonder Woman” [Video]

‘NEW YORK VALUES’: “Inside the Trump-Schumer marriage of convenience” by Mike Allen: “After shunning Trump for months because of possible blowback from the left, [Chuck] Schumer now has supreme leverage in December — hammer time for the debt and spending thickets that were postponed by the deal… My conversations with both sides make it clear that Trump plans to continue playing the field, and Schumer is game to make future deals with Trump as long as they suit the Democratic base.” [Axios

“Palestinians accuse Israel of sabotaging Trump-Abbas meet” by Daniel Siryoti: “The Palestinians have accused Israel of trying to sabotage U.S. efforts to hold a three-way summit… on the sidelines of the assembly… Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has agreed in principle to the summit, but demanded a prior private meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. The Palestinians say further that Trump and his team are amenable to a private meeting, but that it will only take place after Abbas’ speech at the assembly. The reason… is that the Americans want to hear what Abbas says in his speech before sitting down for a meeting, to ensure that he doesn’t incite against Israel… “This report is false. We are having productive conversations but never discussed the U.N. speech and are putting no pressure on them about the speech,” a senior White House official told Israel Hayom.” [IsraelHayom

HEARD YESTERDAY — Prime Minister Netanyahu before boarding to Latin American, U.S. trip: “I look forward to our meeting, to my meeting with President Trump, my friend, in the United States, in New York, and I want to take this opportunity to wish all our friends in the United States that they emerge safe and sound from these difficult times. This storm too shall pass and every citizen of Israel is praying for the safety of the citizens of the United States of America.” [VideoReuters

“Trump’s negotiating skills are urban legends” by Aaron David Miller: “Even Mr. Trump’s delusionary promise to deliver the “ultimate deal” — a conflict-ending accord between Israelis and Palestinians — was an amateur move. Many people, especially Israelis and Palestinians, and Trump’s negotiator son-in-law should know that the deal — or anything close — cannot possibly be achieved. Former Secretary of State James Baker wisely advised me to keep public expectations low. Mr. Trump has done the opposite and engaged in grandiosity that damages his and America’s credibility.” [CNN]

JI INTERVIEW —  Representative Val Demings (D-FL) discussed her upbringing and her recent trip to Israel in an interview with JI’s Aaron Magid. “I see myself as a living witness that dreams really do come true,” Demings said. Having personally risen out of poverty, while facing the challenges of discrimination, the Florida lawmaker added, “I feel that a major part of my job now in the US Congress is to make sure that I am providing opportunities for other people regardless of their religion, gender, how much money they have in the bank.”

Demings returned from Israel last month along with a group of Congressional Democrats led by Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). The lawmakers participated in a Shabbat dinner with an Israeli family, and Demings was particularly inspired by one of the children who currently serves in the military. “The commitment, dedication, and service of the Israeli people were very impressive,” she said.

While meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Demings said she was unable to forget what she called Netanyahu’s “inappropriate” 2015 speech before Congress criticizing the nuclear deal with Iran… After meeting with both Israeli and Palestinian officials, Demings voiced frustration at the Trump’s unwillingness to endorse the two state solution. “The Trump administration’s lack of support for a two state solution indicates to me that he does not have clear understanding of what is going on the region and has not understood both sides what is going on in the region,” she noted. Read the full interview here [JewishInsider]

IRMA: “For a Florida congressman, ‘safe room’ becomes his office” by David Cohen: “Florida Rep. Ted Deutch lost track of how many tornado warnings there were. Throughout the day Sunday, the Democratic congressman was forced to shelter from the ferocious effects of Hurricane Irma, even as he attempted to keep atop of the situation, or, as he put it, “trying to stay abreast while running back and forth to the safe room during tornado warnings.” That safe room was actually a walk-in closet in his in-laws’ residence in Boca Raton, on Florida’s Southeast side… Deutch said he and his family… had remained safe and gotten a bit more accustomed to the emergency drill as the day went along. “It was easier to find humor in it at 4 o’clock in the afternoon than 4 o’clock in the morning,” he said.” [Politico

INSIDE THE ADMIN: “New White House Chief of Staff Has an Enforcer” by Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush: “The new chief of staff has tried to shield Gary D. Cohn…  from Mr. Trump’s continuing wrath since the former Goldman Sachs executive went public with his disgust at the president’s response to the deadly violence last month in Charlottesville… [John] Kelly made a point… of throwing his arm around Mr. Cohn in solidarity, in full view of the news media, as they exited Marine One last week on the South Lawn. But he has not always been successful. Several aides said Mr. Trump is freezing out Mr. Cohn by employing a familiar tactic: refusing to make eye contact with Mr. Cohn when his adviser greets him. At a meeting on Thursday on infrastructure at the White House with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York… Mr. Kelly told participants that Mr. Cohn would lead the meeting. But Mr. Trump… virtually ignored him.” [NYTimes

“Former Sessions aides chart different paths in Trump’s White House” by Andrew Restuccia, Nancy Cook and Josh Dawsey: “[Stephen] Miller’s influence with the president has rarely been stronger than in the past few weeks, when, according to two administration officials, he joined with Sessions, his former boss, to convince Trump to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program… Two administration officials said Miller distanced himself from Sessions at the height of Trump’s anger with the former Alabama senator. Miller, according to one senior White House aide, has “risen to a status that’s beyond Sessions.” Lately, however, Kelly has sought to curb Miller’s access to Trump. White House aides have sometimes blamed Miller… for passing along bad information to the president, and he can no longer put printed-out Breitbart articles on Trump’s desk.” [Politico]

“Mueller gives White House names of 6 aides he expects to question in Russia probe” by Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman and Ashley Parker: “[Robert] Mueller’s office has also told the White House that investigators may want to interview Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman who works closely with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. White House officials are expecting that Mueller will seek additional interviews, possibly with family members, including Kushner…  according to the people familiar with Mueller’s inquiry.” [WashPost]

IRAN DEAL: “Iran Nuclear Inspections Double Under Deal Questioned by Trump” by Jonathan Tirone: “Iran has received nearly two snap nuclear inspections a month and almost double the overall number of visits it had just five years ago… International Atomic Energy Agency monitors conducted 402 site visits and 25 snap inspections in the first 12 months since the deal was enacted in early 2016, according to data from reports to IAEA members.” [Bloomberg] • UN atomic chief says Iran meeting terms of nuclear deal [AP]

HEARD YESTERDAY ON 60 MINUTES — Charlie Rose: There’s now talk you may not try to undo the Iran nuclear deal. Steve Bannon: “Decertify? I wouldn’t bet on that.” Rose: But there is talk about that. Bannon: “There’s definitely talk. The apparatus wants him to continue to certify. President Trump wants to get out of the deal and either go make a better deal or just view it from the outside.”

“North Korea ‘secretly helped by Iran to gain nuclear weapons’, British officials fear” by Ben Riley-Smith: “The Foreign Office is investigating whether “current and former nuclear states” helped Kim Jong-Un in his drive to mount nuclear warheads on missiles.  Senior Whitehall sources told The Sunday Telegraph it is not credible that North Korean scientists alone brought about the technological advances.  Iran is top of the list of countries suspected of giving some form of assistance, while Russia is also in the spotlight… “North Korean scientists are people of some ability, but clearly they’re not doing it entirely in a vacuum,” said one Government minister.” [Telegraph

Michael Oren: “British officials say Iran assists North Korean nuclear program. No surprise but what’s the world going to do about it?” [Twitter]

2018 WATCH: “Republican Sen. Bob Corker weighs whether to retire in 2018” by Manu Raju: “Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the influential chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee who was once considered for a spot in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, is weighing whether to call it quits next year. Corker told CNN last week that he has not made a decision about his future, and appeared to confirm Trump’s tweet that he asked the President for political advice about whether to run for reelection. “As far as what am I going to do in the future, I’m still contemplating the future,” Corker said in an interview. “It’s a tremendous privilege to do what I do, and to weigh in on the big issues. … But I have not decided what I’m going to do in the future.” [CNN]

“Nevada treasurer’s candidacy for governor sparks attack ads” by  Colton Lochhead: “On the day of the announcement, a digital and radio ad blitz attacked [Dan] Schwartz as a candidate from a Republican super PAC with ties to GOP megadonors Joe Ricketts and… Sheldon Adelson. Schwartz’s likely primary opponent, Adam Laxalt, received $55,000 in campaign donations from the Adelson family and Sands during Laxalt’s successful 2014 bid for attorney general.” [LVReviewJournal]

2020 WATCH: “How California could jolt the 2020 presidential race” by David Siders and Gabe Debenedetti: “California is pushing forward with a plan to change the state’s primary date from June to March, a move that could scramble the 2020 presidential nominating contest and swing the early weight of the campaign to the west… The earlier primary could benefit at least two potential presidential contenders from California – U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti…” [Politico

** Good Monday 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 and China sign $300 million ‘clean-tech’ trade agreement [Reuters] • Netanyahu Taking Along Israeli Business Delegation on Latam Trip [Bloomberg] • Roberto Spindel, head of the Israel – Latin American Chamber of Commerce: Netanyahu’s Latin America trip ‘too short, too late’ [JPost] • Chief executive of Israel supermarket chain arrested [FinancialTimes]

SPOTLIGHT: “Larry Silverstein on rebuilding the World Trade Center after 9/11” by Sarina Trangle: “When we first acquired the Twin Towers … about six weeks before 9/11, never dreamed as to what was going to happen … I have now been at this, the rebuilding, for the last 16 years of my life. So it’s been the passion of my life. We’ve come a very long way. You can see the buildings that we’ve erected down here… It didn’t because very quickly after 9/11, I just in my mind concluded that we needed to rebuild the trade center to defeat the terrorists and their attacks — what they sought to do to us on 9/11. Not to have rebuilt would have been a terrible tragedy because then, effectively, they would have won.” [AMNY]

MEDIA WATCH: “How fake news in the Middle East is a powder keg waiting to blow” by Bethan McKernan: “It is common for Lebanese to share news updates and other messages via WhatsApp and SMS, copying and pasting the text to others in their contact lists. Given the context, however, one fake news story which circulated recently raised more than a few eyebrows. “Urgent”, read the message, which purported to be from Reuters news agency. “Hezbollah kidnaps top-ranking Mossad intelligence officers in Israel’s elite class.” The Arabic text went on to quote an unnamed Israeli intelligence officer who said that Israel had decided to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon as a result of the Mossad kidnappings.” [Independent

“Why ‘Fauda’ Is the Best-Kept Secret on Netflix” by Itay Hod: ““Fauda” has become a favorite among Hollywood A-listers… Conan O’Brien, who is currently shooting a special in Israel, filmed a skit with [Lior] Raz, telling the “Fauda” crew that he is a “huge fan.” While few expect a TV show to erase years of animosity between Israelis and Palestinians, “Fauda” has given both sides a little bit of hope…“‘Fauda’ has achieved something  remarkable,” Itay Stern, who covers entertainment for Israeli newspaper Haaretz, told TheWrap. “On one hand, it allows us to look at ourselves from the point of view of the commando soldiers. But it also exposed people to how the other side is thinking.” … Asked what viewers should expect next season, Raz kept his cards close to his vest… The show may not lead to the next Oslo Accord, but it’s already made Raz a hot commodity in Hollywood.” [TheWrap

“The Israeli Film Condemned by Israel’s Cultural Minister Is a Fascinating Look at Grief” Jordan Hoffman: “Foxtrot, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday, begins with a ring at the front door, and young mother Dafna (Sarah Adler) fainting when she sees who it is. The two soldiers know exactly what to do… They’ve come to inform Dafna and Michael (Lior Ashkenazi, the hardest working man in the Israeli film industry right now) that their son has died in the line of duty. The next thirty minutes are a terse and precise procedural. With Dafna doped-up in the next room, Michael tries to keep it together in his elegantly furnished home as handlers explain what will happen next. Then, a miracle. It’s all been a mistake. A soldier was killed, but it isn’t their son, just someone with the same name.” [VanityFair

SPORTS BLINK: “Watch Victor Daviet snowboard in Israel” [Transworld

DESSERT: “This Israeli Startup is Making Edible NYC and Other City Maps Out of Chocolate” by Matt Coneybeare: “Founded by Anat Errell and Liat Zvi, Tamtik is an Israeli startup that is looking to bring edible maps of New York City, Tel Aviv, London and other cities to life, each made from gourmet chocolate… The company has launched a Kickstarter campaign where they are seeking a modest $10,000 of pre-orders to get the ball rolling… Tamtik has already raised about 25% of the funding for the urban chocolate maps.”[ViewingNYC

“Looking for the Last of the Power Lunchers: Are the city’s power lunchers gone forever, or just sipping fruit smoothies at Google?” by Simon van Zuylen-Wood: “At any given lunch hour at Davio’s, you’re likely to spot shopping-center mogul Stephen Karp, auto tycoon Herb Chambers, or hedge-fund master of the universe Seth Klarman. John Kerry, when he was secretary of state, was known to usher delegations of foreign diplomats into one of the restaurant’s discreet private dining rooms. Robert Kraft, meanwhile, beelines for the ever-desirable Table 60, which is visible from Arlington Street and offers a panoramic view of the dining room.” [BostonMag]

MAZEL TOV: “Stephanie Taylor Butnick and Benjamin Zachary Cohen were married Sept. 9 at the Old Westbury Golf and Country Club in Old Westbury, N.Y… The bride, 29, is the deputy editor of Tablet magazine… and host of “Unorthodox,” its weekly podcast… The groom, also 29, is a sports reporter for The Wall Street Journal in New York.” [NYTimes

BIRTHDAYS: Founder and president of Appaloosa Management, a global hedge fund based in Short Hills, New Jersey, David Tepper turns 60… Three time winner of an Academy Award as a lyricist and songwriter, Alan Bergmanturns 92… De Pere, Wisconsin resident, Janis Kohlenberg turns 78… French physicist who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physics, Serge Harocheturns 73… Pediatric nephrologist practicing at the Children’s National Medical Center, Dr. Jonathan Heiliczer turns 67… Member of the New Jersey General Assembly since 2006, Gary Schaer turns 66… Co-executive producer of an 8-hour documentary series on climate change for National Geographic Channel, formerly of ABC and CBS, Jon Meyersohn turns 61… Agoura Hills, California resident, Marian Rubinstein turns 60… Manager of the UK hedge fund, Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, former director of the Conservative Friends of Israel, Alan Howard turns 54…

London-based, British-French financier and author, he is the CEO and founding partner of Stanhope Capital, the asset management and advisory group, Daniel Pinto turns 51… CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Mark Dubowitz turns 49… Israeli journalist, political commentator and investigative reporter, his reports have formed the basis for a number of the pending investigations aimed at PM Netanyahu and his aides,Raviv Drucker turns 47… Executive director at JP Morgan Chase, Daniel E. Berger turns 44… CEO of  government relations firm S4Group, LLC, Yehiel Mark Kalish turns 42… Graduate of Harvard now attending Cardozo Law School, Jessica S. Setless… Journalist whose essays and reports have appeared in the NY Times, Salon, Tablet, the Forward and Haaretz, Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt… Udi Ben Zeev

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