May 18, 2017

Pro-Israel leader scolds Trump over embassy delay

The influential conservative pro-Israel leader, Morton Klein, says President Trump is making a terrible mistake by shelving his conspicuous campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Klein, who I caught up with Wednesday at the SALT conference in Las Vegas, was responding to a Bloomberg report today that Trump had decided to delay moving the embassy because doing so now would "raise tensions" and be unhelpful to his efforts to strike a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

This sends a message — and this is really dangerous — that terrorist threats can succeed ... you cannot allow terrorist threats to determine policy. — Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America

The White House line: An administration official emailed me to say, "it is accurate that there is not going to be an IMMINENT decision on the Embassy move. The President has been clear he wants to move it, but in the context of making progress on a resolution to the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians."

Klein rejects that logic: "This harms Trump's credibility. This allows the Arabs to believe that you don't have to worry about Trump's statements and words; he can be convinced otherwise. That is very harmful for any peace negotiation. They should know that Trump's words are absolute gold, that they have to live by them."

Go deeper

A closer look at how colleges can reopen

The campus of Brown University. Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Masks in class, sports on hold, dorm life without roommates and summer 2021 classes for some: Brown University President Christina Paxson tells "Axios on HBO" it's all in play as colleges consider whether and how to safely reopen campuses in the fall.

Why it matters: An extended shutdown of U.S. colleges and universities would leave nearly 20 million students and 3 million employees with an uncertain future, but premature reopenings without proper coronavirus safeguards could jeopardize lives and force more closings.

How Disney World could host the NBA

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After weeks of speculation, the NBA announced Saturday that it is in early discussions to resume its season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

What they're saying: The NBA's most well-sourced reporter, Adrian Wojnarowski, says "everything is pointing toward" this happening, and that teams could start recalling players as soon as next week for a two-week quarantine period and formal training camp before heading to Florida.

U.S.-China trade tensions are escalating again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the coronavirus pandemic appears to be subsiding in China, it's becoming clear that its targets for the phase one trade deal with the U.S. are unrealistic and there is so far no sign of a plan for renegotiation.

What's happening: White House National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said Thursday the trade deal was "intact, and China has every intent of implementing it."