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TOP TALKER: "An Open Letter to Jared Kushner, From One of Your Jewish Employees" by Dana Schwartz: "Mr. Kushner, I ask you: What are you going to do about this? Look at those tweets I got again, the ones calling me out for my Jewish last name, insulting my nose, evoking the holocaust, and tell me I’m being too sensitive. Read about the origins of that image and see the type of people it attracted like a flies to human waste and tell me this whole story is just the work of the “dishonest media.” Look at that image and tell me, honestly, that you just saw a “Sheriff’s Star.” I didn’t see a sheriff star, Mr. Kushner, and I’m a smart person. After all, I work for your paper." 

"Edmund Burke once said, in times that are starting to seem more and more similar: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Well, here I am, and here we are. Both Jewish, both members of the media. And you might choose silence, but I’ve said my piece. Respectfully, Dana Schwartz." [Observer]

Kushner's statement: “My father-in-law is an incredibly loving and tolerant person who has embraced my family and our Judaism since I began dating my wife. I know that Donald does not at all subscribe to any racist or anti-semitic thinking. I have personally seen him embrace people of all racial and religious backgrounds. The suggestion that he may be intolerant is not reflective of the Donald Trump I know."

The editor of the Observer, Ken Kurson, told Politico that he signed off on the open letter, and that he did not discuss it with Kushner beforehand... “I understand that the worst among Trump’s supporters can make Jewish journalists — including myself — uncomfortable with their stupid and hateful screeching. But with regard to Trump personally, I'm in a different place from Dana, who happens to be a brilliant and thoughtful writer. I’ve seen this guy hold his grandsons at a bris. No one I know sets the sensitivity meter higher than I do on anti-semitism,” he said. [Politico]

“David Duke: “No Way” Star In Trump’s Tweet Was A Sheriff’s Star” by Andrew Kaczynski: “We have situation right now where Trump is being absolutely pummeled for, guess what, posting a tweeting that shows Hillary Clinton with a big — in the midst of thousands of hundred-dollar bills — a big Star of David, and the words ‘the most corrupt candidate ever,’” Duke said. “And Trump tweeted this: ‘Hillary Clinton the most corrupt candidate ever.’ Now of course, the media immediately came out and said that this was ‘anti-Semitic.’ But of course, it’s all true. We’re not talking about something that’s not true.” [BuzzFeed]

“Jewish Democrats reject Donald Trump explanation for anti-Semitic tweet” by Anthony Man: "We spend so much time worrying about and fighting anti-Semitism in this country and around the world that we shouldn't expect to have to do battle with anti-Semitism in the campaign of a major presidential candidate," said U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. "If you look at the statements that he made at the RJC meeting, which played into stereotypes, the kind of stereotypes that you see in this image, I think he owes a greater explanation than what we've seen to the Jewish community. And he can't simply defend himself by saying that he's got a Jewish son-in-law and a daughter that converted.” [SunSentinel; TheHill

Ari Fleischer: “This was stupid and it was foolish. Anybody who has been around politics would have instantly recognized the blunder he was making... I reject the notion that he is anti-Semitic. No one who is anti-Semitic would welcome the marriage of their daughter to an Orthodox Jew.” [WashPost]

Alan Dershowitz on CNN last night disussing Trump’s Star of David tweet -- Don Lemon: “Do you think this is going to hurt him with Jewish voters?” Dershowitz: “Yes. I already have heard from four or five Jewish voters who were thinking of voting for him, Republicans, who said say this crossed the line. So I think it will hurt him, but it will help him with people on the extreme, extreme neo-nazi right. I think he and Bernie Sanders have in common - they are not bigots, personally. But they don’t want to lose the vote, in his case of the hard right, and Bernie Sanders didn’t want to lose the vote to the hard anti-Israel left, so they both, kind of, pandered and let things go.” • ADL's Greenblatt: "Trump Should Apologize for Star Tweet" [JewishInsider]

Clinton campaign slams 'hateful' Max Blumenthal comments on the late Elie Wiesel -- by Lidar Grave-Lazi: "Secretary Clinton emphatically rejects these offensive, hateful, and patently absurd statements about Elie Wiesel,” Jake Sullivan, senior policy advisor to Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said in a statement. “She believes they are wrong in all senses of the term. She believes that Max Blumenthal and others should cease and desist in making them,” Sullivan said. [JPost]

"Some of Clinton’s top advisors at the State Department, such as Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan, now work for her campaign and are widely expected to win appointments for White House or State Department jobs should Clinton win the presidency. Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer based in Washington, said their intimate involvement in Clinton’s mishandling of classified information could cause problems for them down the line. “If she wins the presidency and tries to bring these folks back into the administration, they all have to go through the process of getting a clearance,” he told Foreign Policy. “If they haven’t shown to be trustworthy with other agencies’ information at the highest level, that’s a factor. I’ve had clients lose security clearances for doing much less than this.” [ForeignPolicy]

"Israeli Ambassador Dermer's Seder Guest List Is Finally Revealed, and It Contains No State Secrets" by Barak Ravid: "Other participants included the businessman and billionaire Tim Collins, who had been advising Kerry on developing the Palestinian economy, and his wife; two rabbis - David Saperstein, then a leading member of the U.S. Reform movement and Marc Saperstein, a professor of Jewish history; and the evangelist of the right, Gary Bauer and his wife Carol... The ambassador's Seder meal was also graced by three American reporters: NBC's Andrea Mitchell, the Washington Post's deputy opinions editor Jackson Diehl, and his wife Jean, the reporter and writer Richard Miniter, who wrote a series of books on U.S. national security." [Haaretz]

A Conversation With Ayelet Shaked -- by Jonathan Tepperman:
 Do you ever worry that Israel is too dependent on the United States? "The support of the United States is very important. But I’m not worried that someday we might need to get along without it. If that does happen, we will succeed. But I don’t see it happening. I hope it won’t." [ForeignAffairs]

KAFE KNESSET -- by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: After Haneen Zoabi enraged the Knesset last week, accusing IDF soldiers of being "murderers," lawmakers from across the spectrum are seeking a way to punish the Joint List MK. The Knesset's Ethics Committee has gathered complaints, and politicians – from the left and right – are contemplating ways to expel her. Eitan Cabel, a senior MK in the Zionist Union sent a letter to his colleagues, urging them to walk out of the chamber before Zoabi's addresses. "We have to stop playing into her hands,” Cabel wrote, referring to the loud commotion on the floor last week. “When we react borderline violently, we are making her look like the hero and ourselves look ridiculous, and that is exactly what she wants to achieve.” His party leader, Isaac Herzog, went further, suggesting that it would be best to keep her speeches off air.

On the other side of the aisle, Coalition Chairman David Bitan, from the ruling Likud party, got a green light from the Prime Minister to promote legislation that will lead to Zoabi's ouster after a series of provocative statements, and is trying to gain support from the opposition for such a bill. It's important to note that over the years, various attempts to prevent Zoabi's reelection have failed, always overturned by Israel's Supreme Court. While the walkout plan could be implemented, legislation targeting Zoabi could be a constitutional challenge.  Zoabi herself refuses to retract her comments, labeling those who seek to punish her as "small politicians." She added in a statement: “How strong is coexistence, if one member of parliament can destroy it? How strong is the public status of the ‘moral army’ if the testimony of one MK can undermine it?”

We continue to update you on Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Africa, which today includes two stops: Rwanda and Ethiopia. Netanyahu landed in the former at around 10AM local time, greeted at the airport by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who has paid a number of visits to Israel over the years. At a joint press conference, they talked about the history of rising from genocide that unites Israel and Rwanda. "We have the power to make sure it never happens again," Kagame said. The two leaders (together with their wives, and journalists accompanying the delegation) toured a memorial site in Kigali which was inspired by Israel's Yad Vashem museum. Later today, Netanyahu will fly to Ethiopia, where he will spend 36 hours before flying back to Israel on Friday morning.
**Good Wednesday 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**

DRIVING THE WEEK: "Sun Valley hosts CEOs of media and tech with M&A, politics in focus" by Julia Boorstin: "The annual meeting of media moguls, tech titans and start-up CEOs comes on the heels of the Brexit vote, the announcement of Lions Gate buying Starz — a deal that could set the stage for media consolidation — and of course, the presidential election. In short, there's plenty of fodder for conversation among the 303 on this year's attendee list. The list of attendees includes nearly all the usual suspects, from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, to Disney CEO Bob Iger, and Amazon's Bezos. There's a big contingent from Silicon Valley: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, as well as top investors such as Marc Andreessen, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel."  [CNBC; Bloomberg]

Potential Viacom face-off has Sun Valley on edge: "A potential meeting of bitter foes Shari Redstone and Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman might send a chill throughout this tony resort town, but it didn’t seem to affect CBS boss Les Moonves on Tuesday night. Moonves arrived at the annual Allen & Co. mogulfest here and promptly drove Shari off to dinner in a rented Buick. Shari Redstone — vice chair of the media conglomerate and the only daughter of the 93-year-old mogul — has been invited for the first time to the famous four-day shindig once frequented by her now ailing father." [NYPost; Variety]

STARTUP NATION: "Making a New Pipeline: How Israel is training teenagers from underrepresented groups to work on cybersecurity" by Josephine Wolff: "Ilana Gutman “knew nothing about computers” three years ago when two soldiers visited her freshman high school class in Ashdod, a city in the south of Israel, and encouraged the students to apply for a high school cybersecurity training program. Now 17, Gutman is finishing her third year in the Israeli program, called Magshimim, and is preparing to enter the army, where she hopes to work in intelligence." [Slate]

REMEMBERING: "Abner Mikva, Lawmaker, Judge and Mentor to Obama, Dies at 90" by Neil Lewis: "Abner J. Mikva, who was one of the nation’s leading liberal politicians for decades and an influential figure at the top levels of all three branches of the federal government, died on Monday in Chicago. He was 90. A son of Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Ukraine, Abner Joseph Mikva was born in Milwaukee on Jan. 21, 1926. He often spoke about his early childhood years, when his father was out of work and the family was subsisting on welfare." [NYTimes]

Statement by the President on the Passing of Abner J. Mikva: "No matter how far we go in life, we owe a profound debt of gratitude to those who gave us those first, firm pushes at the start.  For me, one of those people was Ab Mikva. When I was graduating law school, Ab encouraged me to pursue public service. He saw something in me that I didn’t yet see in myself, but I know why he did it—Ab represented the best of public service himself and he believed in empowering the next generation of young people to shape our country." [WhiteHouse]

BIRTHDAYS: Founder of Tumblr, which he sold to Yahoo in 2013 for $1.1 billion, David Karp turns 30... Josh Lipson... Jeannie Gerzon... Host of CBS News Face the Nation John Dickerson turns 48... 
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