Daily Kickoff

Jewish Insider Kickoff

NETANYAHU ON CBS FACE THE NATION – “I won’t wait until it’s too late” re Iran’s nuclear program. Bob Schieffer – Lets start with Iran this morning because you said last September that Iran would have the capability to build a nuclear weapon by this summer. It is summer, are they there yet?  Netanyahu – I said if they continue to enrich at the same rate they will get there. They have taken heed of the red line that I sketched out at the U.N. They’re still approaching it and they’re approach after the Iranian elections. They’re building ICBMs to reach American — the American mainland within a few years. They’re pursuing an alternate route of plutonium, that is enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb. One route, plutonium. Another route, ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles to reach you. They don’t need these missiles to reach us, they already have missiles that can reach us. They’re doing that after the election. So they haven’t yet reached it but they’re getting closer to it. And they have to be stopped.

SCHIEFFER: When will you make a decision on whether to attack Iran, because you have said, this will not stand? NETANYAHU: Well, I can tell you I won’t wait until it’s too late.

SCHIEFFER: Let’s talk a little bit about Egypt. You were worried when the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt and installed Morsi as president. He’s now gone. Are you happy about that? NETANYAHU: Well, look, we’ve been concerned with one thing. That is the maintenance of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. It’s been — it’s been the cornerstone of peace between us and our neighbors, and it’s also been the cornerstone of stability in the Middle East. And our concern, through changing administrations — first Mubarak changed; Morsi came; now Morsi went, and we will see what develops in Egypt. Our concern throughout has been maintain the peace treaty. That was and remains my principal concern.

SCHIEFFER: The United States — some here are saying we ought to cut off military aid to this interim government now until they have a democracy there. Do you think we should? NETANYAHU: Look, that’s an internal American decision. But, again, our concern is the peace treaty with Egypt. One of the foundations of that peace treaty was the U.S. aid given to Egypt. 

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you just one last question on the Syrian civil war. Reports this morning that Israel carried out an attack in Syria this month that targeted advanced anti-ship cruise missiles sold to the Syrian government by Russia — can you tell us anything about that? NETANYAHU: Oh, God, every time something happens in the Middle East, Israel is accused. Most often, it’s accused — and I’m not in the habit of saying what we did or we didn’t do. I’ll tell you what my policy is. My policy is to prevent the transfer of dangerous weapons to Hezbollah and other terror groups. And we stand by that policy.[CBS Face the Nation]

UNCONFIRMED & UNRELIABLE REPORT: Israel used a Turkish base to strike Syria – According to the unconfirmed report in Russia Today, based on a single anonymous source, the planes flew from Turkey in order to remain outside of Syrian airspace and therefore avoid Syrian air defenses and air force. [Russia Today]

PROSOR CRITICIZES UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR ANTI-ISRAEL RESOULTION: Syrian-led resolution calls for Israel to pay $1.1M fine. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, criticized the international body for its anti-Israel bias after Syria and a slew other nations ordered the Jewish state to pay $1.1 million in “damages” resulting from its campaign to stop Hezbollah terrorists. [Free Beacon]

WHITE HOUSE & CONGRESS SPLIT ON ISRAEL VISAS: “Legislation that would let Israelis visit the United States without visas but not demand full reciprocal treatment for all Americans wishing to travel to the Jewish state could put Congress and the Obama administration on a collision course in coming weeks. Israel’s entry into the 37-nation US Visa Waiver Program is the most controversial element in a pair of broader US-Israel bills dealing with everything from improving cybersecurity to enhancing economic cooperation. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is hoping to get the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s approval before Congress’ August recess. A version by Senator Barbara Boxer is picking up support in the Senate. Both bills would create a new category of US ally — “major strategic partner” — designating Israel as the only such nation. And they would call for the inclusion of Israel on a list of countries whose citizens can visit the United States for to 90 days without a visa, granted they register electronically before boarding a flight.”

The administration and some lawmakers are concerned the legislation doesn’t do enough to eliminate Israeli discrimination against Palestinians and Arab-Americans seeking to enter its borders. They also say Israel still fails to meet other legal requirements for the program.” [AP/Times of Israel]

JEWISH MAYORS: As one winds down his term with 175 days left, another is ramping up his; while a hopeful is trying is trying hard to become the next one.

THE BLOOMBERG LEGACY by Bill Keller: “A DOZEN years ago I wrote a column not exactly endorsing Michael Bloomberg for mayor (columnists don’t endorse) but endorsing the idea of Michael Bloomberg. If a guy who built a wildly successful business wants to offer his services to the city, I argued, we shouldn’t let our prejudice against the rich stand in his way. Since then the idea, the C.E.O. as aspiring public steward, has suffered some setbacks (Mitt Romney, for one), but I feel pretty well vindicated by the mayor. As he would be the first to tell you, he will be a very hard act to follow.” 

“Bloomberg’s initiatives were not always well sold, but they were never small ball. No one since Robert Moses has so dramatically changed the face of the city. The mayor’s third term, which began with a broken term-limits promise that many New Yorkers have not forgiven, was less successful than his first two, and it felt less successful than it actually was because the city has developed a bit of Bloomberg fatigue. By now, many New Yorkers are ready for a little more consensus, a little less lecturing, a little more attention to those at the bottom. But Bloomberg leaves behind a great 21st-century city, a dauntingly high bar for his successor and a pretty good argument for noblesse oblige. [NYTimes]

EMMANUEL FLIPS SWITCH, CAMPAIGN DONATION FLOW – Mayor taps into a ‘coast to coast’ fundraising network that features many prominent Jewish donors as he ramps up his reelection campaign more than two years before the election. Dozens of people buzzed about the large Lincoln Park home, invited by one of Chicago’s wealthy philanthropists and waiting for a guest of honor who was fashionably late for his own party. Mayor Rahm Emanuel eventually glided through the door that April evening, smiling, shaking hands and expressing gratitude for the crowd drawn by the opportunity to have a few minutes of face time and to write a check to his rapidly ballooning political fund. Two months earlier and more than 2,000 miles away, Emanuel was the main attraction at another exclusive gathering of donors at the Beverly Hills compound of a Hollywood entertainment mogul, where the mayor shared his accomplishments and vision for Chicago.

Similar scenes have played out many times in recent months, at homes, restaurants and businesses, ever since Emanuel and a cadre of his closest political supporters quietly flipped the switch on his fundraising operation in December, two years out from his 2015 run for a second term. Emanuel will not talk about his fundraising. But Democratic consultants and business leaders tell similar stories about the advice spreading around Chicago that now is the time to donate and be noticed, rather than risk going unnoticed in the avalanche of contributions closer to the election. “Right now, it is incredibly easy for Rahm Emanuel to raise money. He’s fully engaged in the city and is meeting powerful people on a nearly daily basis,” said one consultant who declined to be identified. “This is like shooting fish in a barrel, and if he can raise the money now, do it. There’s no reason to wait.” [Chicago Tribune]

‘COURTING JEWISH VOTERS, WEINER FACES A CHALLENGE’ by Joseph Berger for the NYTimes: As Mr. Weiner vies with a field of current and former officeholders to win the Democratic nomination for mayor, he is making an aggressive play for votes in the Jewish community, with an intense focus on the ultra-Orthodox community. He is the only Jewish candidate; he represented several heavily Jewish communities on the City Council and in Congress; and he has over the years staked out staunchly pro-Israel positions. But ultra-Orthodox Jews espouse a strict code of moral behavior, particularly regarding interactions between men and women — some frown on even casual conversations between unrelated men and women — posing a challenge for Mr. Weiner.”

“The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community could be crucial to Mr. Weiner’s bid because its adherents are a growing citywide force — 40 percent of the city’s 1.1 million Jews, according to the latest population survey by the UJA-Federation of New York. Ultra-Orthodox Jews are coveted by candidates because they tend to vote, and they are among the last communities that tend to vote in blocs, following the guidance of communal leaders. On the campaign trail, Mr. Weiner has sided with the ultra-Orthodox community against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s effort to regulate the practice of circumcisions that involve oral suction to clean the wound, which health authorities say has led infants to contract, and on occasion die from, herpes. He has spoken sympathetically about Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel, and the Rubashkin family, which has faced a variety of legal problems connected with its kosher meat businesses. And he has dropped Yiddish phrases, like “kishkes,” meaning guts, into his talks to Jewish audiences.” [NYTimes]

NEW HILLEL HEAD: Eric Fingerhut, a former U.S. congressman and leader of Ohio’s system of public universities and colleges, has been selected to serve as the next president and CEO of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Fingerhut’s hiring was approved yesterday by the organization’s Board. He is set to begin work during August.” [eJewish Philanthropy]


MAZAL TOV! Congrats to the Jerusalem-based Glide app. Glide is now the 10th top iPhone app overall and the number 1 app in the social media category of the app store beating out Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

JEFF PULVER’S NEXT CALL: Zula, A WhatsApp For Business – “Today, whether it be via Skype or Gmail, making phone calls over the web has become part of our daily routine. While the name may not ring any bells for younger generations, Jeff Pulver is one of the pioneers of that very technology we take for granted. A co-founder of Vonage, one of the biggest and earliest VoIP companies around, Pulver is a self-described futurist, serial entrepreneur and long-time evangelist for VoIP technologies. But lately he’s been largely absent from the space he helped create. But now the Vonage co-founder is throwing his hat back into the ring as an entrepreneur with Zula, a startup and app by the same name that aims to revolutionize team communication for an increasingly mobile world — for those who’ve grown up on smartphones and social networks.

Put simply, Zula, which is still in stealth, is one of that class of business products that is looking to capitalize on the surge of consumer apps that younger people, weaned on smartphones instead of rotary dials, have used for their first forays into virtual communications with others. Pulver wants Zula to follow them into the working world. No surprise then that they’ve privately been calling it the “WhatsApp for businesses. To do that, Pulver has teamed up with co-founder Jacob Ner-David, a serial entrepreneur and communications technology veteran in his own right, who, among other things, co-founded Delta Three, a VoIP provider that he led through a $1 billion IPO on NASDAQ. With Zula, the two VoIP veterans are getting back into the game and are on a mission to reconsider how teams communicate and collaborate over mobile devices. Zula plans to launch in beta later this summer as an iOS and Android app and aims to help working professionals manage their teams, allowing them to communicate over text, send rich media, make conference calls and share files through a native, mobile-only platform.” [TechCrunch]

REAL ESTATE PROFILE: ‘Sam Nazarian’s Future View of Miami’ by Ocean Drive Magazine – What recession? In the period between 2008 and 2010, during which much of corporate America was lodged firmly in the doldrums, Sam Nazarian’s luxury hospitality and real estate company, SBE, grew fourfold in terms of the number of properties it owned and the number of staffers it employed. Now, Nazarian, scion of a Jewish-Iranian family of telecommunications entrepreneurs, is in the middle of another major move, one that has him broadening his focus from the West Coast’s traditional entertainment hubs (Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas) across the country to Miami. 

Late last year, Nazarian teamed up with hotelier David Edelstein to revamp Miami Beach’s Raleigh hotel, and this spring will begin developing a $300 million condominium and hotel project on South Miami Avenue with Jorge Pérez’s Related Group, to be called the SLS Brickell. “It’s not just because we are smarter or better than anybody else,” Nazarian insists when quizzed about the rapid pace of his firm’s push into Miami. “It’s just that we are set up to expand rapidly in markets.” [Ocean Drive]

DESSERT: A BUCKINGHAM BRIS?!? by Cindy Adams of NYPost Page 6 – In a London Letter to the Editor, Michael Cole, formerly of the BBC, writes that Prince William’s grandparents-in-law Dorothy and Ronald Goldsmith are “both Jews.” Dorothy’s parents? “Both Jews.” “A Jew on her matriarchal side, Kate’s baby will be a Jew per Jewish law and tradition.”

A bris in Buckingham? They’d have to rename it Buckingpastrami.” [Page 6]

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