Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: In DC, Folks “Speaking ISish over Iran” | GOP Rejects Obama’s ‘Creative’ Iran Compromises | Opera Protest | Char Bar opens in DC

DRIVING THE DAY: At 10:45am, Secretary of State John Kerry meets with former Israeli President Shimon Peres, at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC • At 4:30pm, a coalition of organizations will protest the Metropolitan Opera House’s decision to air the “The Death of Klinghoffer.” Confirmed participants include Michael Mukasey, Bill Donahue, Ben Brafman, Avi Weiss, Dov Hikind, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, and Morton Klein. • At 6pm, Palestinian President Abbas will be speaking on prospects for peace between Israel and his people at The Cooper Union in NYC.

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Israel-Hamas Talks, Abbas At UN” [AP] • Turkey’s Erdogan to meet Jewish leaders in NYC [ToI]

IRAN > ISIS: Avi Issacharoff wants to give the world a bit of perspective concerning the scale of the threat to ISIS. He emphasizes that “The Islamic State does not present a significant, strategic threat to stable Mideast countries such as Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.” and that “The number of people murdered by Tehran in recent years, including within Iran itself, far exceeds the number executed by IS. Iran’s potential threat to the Middle East, as noted two days ago by Israeli envoy to the US Ron Dermer, is a thousand-fold that of IS.” [TOI]

NYTIMES – TEAM U.S. + HEZBOLLAH? : The two groups are sworn enemies, but both have an interest in stopping the expansion of ISIS. Though there have been murmurs of collusion from policy experts, the two groups’ strategies diverge sharply on issues such as Syria, with the U.S. supporting rebel groups who oppose the Hezbollah-backed Assad regime. Both the U.S. and Hezbollah, which the U.S. classifies as a terrorist organization, deny any collaboration or coordination. “While the United States cannot ally publicly with Hezbollah without angering allies and appearing to take sides against Syria’s Sunni majority”, Ali Rizk, an analyst with the Lebanese news channel al-Mayadeen said. “What happens underneath is something totally different.” ” [NYT]

TEAM U.S. + IRAN? : “In public, both Washington and Tehran have ruled out cooperating militarily in tackling the IS threat. But in private, Iranian officials have voiced a willingness to work with the U.S. on IS, though not necessarily on the battlefield. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Iran has a role to play in defeating Islamic State, indicating the U.S. position may also be shifting.” Meanwhile, the U.S. is running out of options in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. John Kerry met with his counterpart on Sunday to discuss nuclear agreements, but Congress seems to find Obama’s recent plan too weak: “‘Given that a nuclear Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to the security of the United States, Israel, and other allies, we are gravely concerned about the possibility of any new agreement that, in return for further relief of U.S.-led international sanctions, would allow Iran to produce explosive nuclear material,’ wrote 31 Republicans senators in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, obtained by The Daily Beast.” ” [ReutersDaily BeastReuters]

TOP-OP: “The Barbarians Within Our Gates” by Hisham Melhem: “Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone. The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism—the extremism of the rulers and those in opposition—than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Every hope of modern Arab history has been betrayed. The promise of political empowerment, the return of politics, the restoration of human dignity heralded by the season of Arab uprisings in their early heydays—all has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism, both in its military and atavistic forms. With the dubious exception of the antiquated monarchies and emirates of the Gulf—which for the moment are holding out against the tide of chaos—and possibly Tunisia, there is no recognizable legitimacy left in the Arab world.” [Politico]

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START-UP NATION: “Beyond Verbal, a company that uses “emotions analytics” technology to glean the mood of a person who is speaking into a phone, microphone or voice-controlled app, has raised $3.3 million in new funding, says Chief Executive Yuval Mor.” [WSJ] • ” Haifa- based Takwin Labs, an incubator for Israeli Arab hi-tech entrepreneurs focused on Internet and mobile technologies, announced Sunday that it has secured $4.5 million in funding.” • Jonathan Ofir and Ben Biron have created an app that transforms your smartphone into a breathalyzer, complete with tips on how to avoid surpassing your limits. [TechCo]

MIDTERMS: “Sean ‘Simcha’ Eldridge, the Upstate New York congressional hopeful has fallen so far behind Republican incumbent Chris Gibson — 24 points, per the latest poll — that the Cook Political Report has moved New York’s 19th congressional district from ‘lean Republican’ to ‘likely Republican.'” [Politico]

LOIS LERNER BREAKS SILENCE: “Employers won’t hire her. She’s been berated with epithets like “dirty Jew.” Federal agents have guarded her house because of death threats. And she’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending herself against accusations she orchestrated a coverup in a scandal that has come to represent everything Americans hate about the IRS. Lois Lerner is toxic — and she knows it. But she refuses to recede into anonymity or beg for forgiveness for her role in the IRS tea party-targeting scandal.” [Politico]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Three leading American Jews have decided to undertake the important mission of preventing the world from forgetting. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder and Israeli-American media tycoon Haim Saban have joined the organization coordinating the memorial ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camps by the Soviet Army.” [YNET] • Newly released CIA documents reveal fascinating details about Nazi counterfeiters. [Daily Beast]

AMERICAN JAILED IN CUBA TAKES ON THE US GVT: “A government subcontractor who has spent over four years imprisoned in Cuba should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over lost wages and legal fees, his attorney told an appeals court Friday.” “Gross was detained in December 2009 while working to set up Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. government’s U.S. Agency for International Development, which does work promoting democracy in the communist country. It was his fifth trip to Cuba to work with Jewish communities on setting up Internet access that bypassed local censorship. Cuba considers USAID’s programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government, and Gross was tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison.” [AP]

SUSPECTS IDENTIFIED IN MURDER OF MIAMI RABBI: “Just days before the start of the Jewish High Holy Days, detectives believe they have identified “some of the people involved” in Rabbi Joseph Raksin’s murder according to Miami-Dade Police Director JD Patterson. “We’re trying to build a case,” Patterson told CBS4 News. “We do think we have some sense of some of the people involved, I’ll just put it that way. But we still have to build a case before we can actually formally charge anybody. And we won’t do that in isolation, we’ll do that in cooperation [with the State Attorney’s Office].” Raksin was shot to death walking to a North Miami Beach synagogue on August 9. The 60-year-old rabbi from Brooklyn was in South Florida visiting his daughter. His killing set off prayers and vigils from Miami to New York.” [CBS]

BOOK REVIEW: Tom Nolan reviews David Liss’ new book “The Darkest Hour,” an alternative-history thriller in which “the fascist Oswald Mosley is prime minister, King Edward is on the throne and Winston Churchill is in exile in Canada. The Axis powers have won World War II, and the SS and Gestapo supervise a Nazi-occupied Britain.” [WSJ]

HOLLYWOOD: “Why Won’t Tina Fey’s New Movie Make Its Jewish Plot Known in the Marketing?” by Noah Gittell for Mic: “The movie tells the story of four Jewish siblings who come together after the death of their father to sit Shiva, a weeklong mourning period for immediate family members. The word “Shiva,” however is not mentioned in the trailer, nor in any interviews done by the cast and crew, nor in press notes. Neither, for that matter, is the word “Jewish.” Instead, the forced reunion of these often antagonistic family members is depicted in all promotional materials as a “last request” of their deceased father, a quirky, sitcom-type punishment instead of the hallowed religious tradition that it is.”

—“The degree to which the religious aspect is hidden in all promotional materials raises good questions about how accepting mainstream America is of Jewish stories, or rather how accepting Hollywood thinks mainstream America will be. Here is the surprising, alarming truth: Although there are many prominent Jewish directors and producers, lead characters that both identify as Jewish and are played by Jewish actors rarely make it to the screen. If you look at the top grossing movies of 2013, you have to go all the way down to No. 17 to find a Jewish protagonist. That would be Irving Rosenfeld of American Hustle, played by Christian Bale, a gentile.” [MIC]

SPORTS BLINK: The US Tennis Association says a team of Orthodox Jewish old-timers must play on the Jewish Sabbath or forfeit a shot at title. The USTA insists there is no discriminatory intent.A hearing is set for Wednesday. [NYDN]

DESSERT: Char Bar, a much-anticipated kosher steakhouse in D.C., and Eli’s Market has finally opened its doors. H/T Aaron Keyak [Twitter]

BIRTHDAYS: Former NBA Commissioner David Stern turns 72 • Israeli Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog turns 54

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