Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Kerry to meet with Abbas; Sterling invokes Jews during his CNN interview; Glenn Greenwald on his ‘Jewish’ upbringing or lack thereof

Scene Last Night: Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush discussed Putin, Ukraine and other world events at the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies Spirit of Hope dinner in Toronto…. Jewish GOP Megadonor Paul Singer spoke at the Manhattan Institute’s Hamilton Award dinner in NYC and was critical of Mayor Bill De Blasio. “Our new mayor is the kind of guy who watched “Waiting for Superman” and rooted for Lex Luther.” Singer praising Jeb Bush‘s education efforts said, “Maybe you can educate our new mayor.”….. Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer hosted National Security Advisor Susan Rice, at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in D.C., celebrating 66 years of Israeli independence. Rice said Iran must agree to “verifiable action” to satisfy U.S. concerns about its nuclear program or else there will be no final deal. Among those spotted in attendance were Sen. Ted CruzMalcolm Hoenlein, andYuval Steinitz…. Earlier yesterday at the AJC Access Summit, Ambassador Dermer said “if you want your voice to be heard on Israeli policy, then make sure you aren’t criticizing it 95% of the time.”

Happening today: White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz will speak at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum evening plenary… At 2PM at the Global Forum, New York Times Columnist Roger Cohen will debate Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Bret Stephens on whether the interim deal with Iran is a path to progress or a road to ruin…. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is on a trip to the Middle East that will take him to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel. In Israel, Hagel will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres, and Minister of Defense Ya’alon. The visit follows on National Security Advisor Susan Rice and senior Department of Defense officials’ participation in the U.S. – Israeli consultative group last week in Israel. It will be Hagel’s sixth meeting with Ya’alon and his second trip to Israel…. Paul Singer will host Paul Ryan this evening for a fundraising reception together with Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and a national finance chairman forMitt Romney‘s last presidential bid.

**Good Morning! Have a tip, scoop, or even an 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 editors@jewishinsider.com**

Top Talker: According to Reuters, U.N. experts’ report shows Iran’s deceptive procurement tactics: Tehran’s tactics included “concealing titanium tubes inside steel pipes to using its petrochemical industry as a cover to obtain items for a heavy-water nuclear reactor,” and Reuters summarized the experts as recommending among other things that “governments exercise greater vigilance over freight-forwarding firms,” which are allegedly being used by Iran to obfuscate the final destination of various materials. The news comes as Obama administration officials have begun floating a possible deal between Iran and the P5+1 global powers under which Tehran would be left within a year or even six months of producing weapons-grade nuclear material. [Reuters] — Bret Stephens OpEd: Iran Doesn’t Want a Deal. Strike three for John Kerry’s diplomacy. [WSJ]

Breaking: Kerry, Abbas set to meet in London this week: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet in London on Thursday, the U.S. State Department said, less than a month after a U.S. effort to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal collapsed. The focus of the talks is the U.S.-Palestinian relationship, the State Department said, a possible reference to whether Washington can keep funding the Palestinian Authority if it carries out a unity agreement with the Islamist Hamas faction.” [TheHill]

GQ Deep Dive with Glenn Greenwald on Edward Snowden and His New Book, No Place to Hide: Q. How do you feel about the early presidential jockeying? A. Hillary is banal, corrupted, drained of vibrancy and passion. I mean, she’s been around forever, the Clinton circle. She’s a hawk and like a neocon, practically. She’s surrounded by all these sleazy money types who are just corrupting everything everywhere. But she’s going to be the first female president, and women in America are going to be completely invested in her candidacy.”

–Q. Do you believe in God? A. I mean, I grew up without organized religion. My parents tried to inculcate me a little bit into organized Judaism, but they weren’t particularly devoted to that, and my grandparents were, but it just never took hold. I wasn’t bar mitzvahed or anything. So I never had organized religion. I don’t really like aggressive atheists who are so convinced they know the answers to questions that they don’t actually know the answers to. Like, that level of hubris and certainty bothers me. They think they’re so scientific, and yet they’re asserting things that they don’t actually know without evidence. And I do believe in the spiritual and mystical part of the world. Like, obviously yoga is like a bridge into that, like a window into it. I think other things are as well. But my moral precepts aren’t informed in any way by religious doctrine or, like, organized religion or anything.” [GQ]

CNN: Donald Sterling insists he’s no racist, still slams Magic Johnson: “Sterling — in his first televised interview since audio recordings surfaced last month of the longtime Los Angeles Clippers owner making racist remarks — told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he waited so long to apologize for the comments because Johnson called him and told him to remain silent. Sterling said Jewish people spend great amounts of money helping other Jewswho are poor while rich black people turn their backs to people in need. “That’s one problem I have. Jews when they get successful they will help their people and some of the African-Americans — maybe I’ll get in trouble again — they don’t want to help anybody,” he said.” [CNN]

NBA (Jewish) Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement on Donald Sterling’s CNN interview: “I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling’s interview with Anderson Cooper and while Magic Johnson doesn’t need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack. The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible.”

As the NBA gets ready to lose one Jewish NBA owner, Marc Lasry is about to become the next owner of the Milwaukee Bucks: “A source with knowledge of the sale process said Monday the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to New York investors Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens “is moving quickly.” “It’s possible there will be news later this week,” the source said.[MilwaukeeJournalSentinel]

JPMorgan flagship hedge fund Highbridge Capital, started by Glenn Dubin and Henry Swieca, stalls: “One of the world’s largest hedge fund firms inside one of the world’s largest banks is stalling, underscoring the challenges faced by other increasingly large money managers. JPMorgan Chase’s asset management unit’s majority purchase of Highbridge Capital Management in 2004 long seemed like a win. The hedge fund firm assets grew from about $7 billion at the time of the sale to $37 billion in 2007. But Highbridge’s fast growth has slowed in recent years. Assets have declined since their pre-financial crisis peak to $24.5 billion as of Jan. 1; performance by its flagship hedge funds have been middling; and the firm has undergone notable personnel changes, not all of them planned.

–Highbridge has also undergone changes at or near the top. Billionaire co-foundersGlenn Dubin and Henry Swieca are no longer in control as part of what Dubin said last year was an orderly “succession plan.” Swieca left to launch his own firm, Talpion Fund Management, in 2010 after serving as Highbridge’s chief investment officer from inception in 1992 to its full sale to JPMorgan in 2009 (Talpion is now a family office). Dubin has also pulled back. In July 2013, the firm announced that Scott Kapnick had replaced Dubin as CEO. Dubin remains at the firm as chairman and is now running his own family office, Dubin & Co., which is still invested with Highbridge. He is also an active Jewish philanthropist.” [CNBC]

Real Estate RoundUp: New York Real Estate Dynasties: The Jewish Father-Son Team of Norman and David Sturner [WSJ] — Joe Sitt’s son snaps up Canal Street ground lease for $14M [RealDeal] — Trump and Kushner families are coming together for another union… This time a deal, not a marriage [WSJ] — Sam Nazarian’s SLS Beverly Hills hotel for sale; Could fetch up to $210 million [RealtyToday] — NYC Uptown Jewish Congregation Selling Synagogue After 43 Years [DNAinfo] — Boymelgreen: My family firm owes $50M in court judgements [RealDeal]

BuzzFeed president Jon Steinberg to step down: “BuzzFeed president and chief operating officer Jon Steinberg will step down and take on an advisory role with the company, according to an internal memo provided by a BuzzFeed spokesperson. “After four spectacular years at BuzzFeed, Jon has decided it’s time to move on but we will miss him a huge amount,” they wrote. “I thought you would be interested to know that Jon will joining Lerer Ventures as an advisor so he will very much remain part of the family. He will also be pursuing new challenges in the web and media space.” Steinberg joined BuzzFeed as its 15th staff member in 2010 and was instrumental to its growth. He is also a board member at Shake, a legal app, and a contributor at CNBC.” [Politico]

That’s all folks, have a great Tuesday!

**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Emaileditors@jewishinsider.com**

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