Sep 5, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon. Today's PM — edited by Zachary Basu — is 526 words, a 2 minute read.

  • Situational awareness: The NFL's 100th season kicks off tonight at Soldier Field (8:20pm ET, NBC) with one of the league's most storied rivalries: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears.
1 big thing: Bibi's blessing

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to the press as he meets with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that he wouldn't rule out a meeting between President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the near future, claiming that he has full confidence in Trump’s tough negotiating ability, Axios contributor Barak Ravid reports from London.

Why it matters: This was the first time Netanyahu has spoken publicly about the possibility of direct talks between the Trump administration and the Iranian regime.

  • Netanyahu has previously stressed that now is not the time for talks with Iran, urging the U.S. to maintain its campaign of "maximum pressure" sanctions. He scrambled to stop Trump from spontaneously meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the G7 last month.
  • But today's comments suggest the prime minister may be coming to terms with the inevitability of a Trump-Rouhani meeting, which could take place as early as next week at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

Between the lines: Netanyahu is fighting for his political future in Israel's Sept. 17 elections. His close relationship with Trump, especially in the context of the U.S.' hardline stance on Iran, has been a core argument of his campaign.

  • Netanyahu views Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 as a signature foreign policy achievement.
  • The reopening of nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran could deal a devastating blow to Netanyahu's re-election odds.

P.S. Jason Greenblatt, a key member of the White House's Middle East "peace team," will be leaving the Trump administration in the next several weeks to return to the private sector.

  • His departure suggests that the political component of the White House's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan may finally be released this fall, after a series of delays.
  • Most of Greenblatt's responsibilities will be transferred to Jared Kushner's 30-year-old deputy, Avi Berkowitz.
Bonus: Pics du jour
Photo: Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

Above: Aliana Alexis, of Haiti, stands on what is left of her home after destruction from Hurricane Dorian in Great Abaco Island, Bahamas.

Below: National Guardsmen check on the Bay Tree subdivision in Little River, near North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as Dorian moves north off the coast.

Photo: Ken Ruinard/The Independent-Mail via AP
2. What you missed
  1. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's brother, Jo Johnson, announced he will resign as a member of Parliament and government minister over his brother's Brexit policy. Go deeper.
  2. The Department of Education will fine Michigan State University a record $4.5 million for mishandling sexual abuse complaints against former school doctor Larry Nassar. Go deeper.
  3. A Taliban suicide car bombing in Kabul on Thursday killed an American soldier — the 16th U.S. service member death in Afghanistan in 2019, AP reports.
  4. The private sector added 195,000 jobs in August, surpassing economists' expectations of 140,000 jobs, according to ADP and Moody's.
3. 1 matchmaking thing

Facebook via AP

Facebook has officially debuted Facebook Dating in the U.S. after offering it for less than a year in some other countries — and it's finally integrating the dating service with Instagram, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.

Why it matters: Facebook has 2.4 billion users around the world and is hoping a dating service will keep them around longer.

  • American millennials — arguably the group most coveted by dating apps — have increasingly shifted their time to Instagram over Facebook’s flagship app, and many already use it organically to contact or get noticed by potential suitors.
  • In other words, it’s already millennial consumers' de facto online dating app.

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