Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: U.S. – Israel relations hit rough patch; Yaalon – “We have disputes” | Jack Lew in Cairo | Kurdish Crude & Israel | Adelson Sweepstakes

TOP TWEET:  “Awkward pic of the day: US Amb. Shapiro and Israel DM Yaalon, amid uproar he got snubbed by White House ” —  @joshmitnick

U.S. – ISRAEL ‘CRISIS’: “You’d think the special friendship was as ironclad as ever, and it’s business as usual. Only it isn’t. Finance Minister Yair Lapid called a crisis a crisis this week, and although he may have done so largely as a jibe at his own coalition partners, the simple fact remains: ties between Jerusalem and Washington are at a nadir. Hardly a week – and certainly not a month – goes by without insults and recriminations. Diplomatic snubs, critical press secretaries, censorious ministers, and tension-spurring tweets have all conspired to create an atmosphere that is unmistakable – at least in Washington. If Netanyahu truly thinks that he and Obama are like “an old couple,” as he stated when he was last here a month ago, perhaps the most apt comparison would be to one of those couples that, after weathering 50 rocky years of quarrels, is now fantasizing about divorce. Israel and the US can no longer be mistaken for one big, happy family.” [Times of IsraelWashTimes]

YAALON’S SCATHING ASSAULT ON US MIDEAST POLICY: “In Washington Post interview, ‘without naming names,’ defense minister batters the administration over Palestinian conflict, Iran talks and overall regional approach.” [WashPostToI] • Chemi Shalev: Quarantine imposed on Ya’alon reflects U.S. frustration with Israel [Haaretz]

RIVALRY? “India picks Israel’s Spike anti-tank missile over U.S. Javelin”: “India has opted to buy Israel’s Spike anti-tank guided missile, a defence ministry source said on Saturday, rejecting a rival U.S. offer of Javelin missiles that Washington had lobbied hard to win. Spike is a man-portable ‘fire and forget’ anti-tank missile that locks on to targets before shooting. It is produced by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, which declined to comment.” [Reuters

—State Department’s quick call: “In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called for a “speedy and transparent investigation.” “The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the family of a U.S. citizen minor who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces during clashes in Silwad on October 24,” Psaki said.” [Reuters] • “Hundreds attend the funeral of Ecuadorian woman killed in Jerusalem terror attack” [JPost]

NYTIMES FRONT PAGE: In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis: “In all, the American military, the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and other agencies used at least 1,000 ex-Nazis and collaborators as spies and informants after the war, according to Richard Breitman, a Holocaust scholar at American University who was on a government-appointed team that declassified war-crime records. The full tally of Nazis-turned-spies is probably much higher, said Norman Goda, a University of Florida historian on the declassification team, but many records remain classified even today, making a complete count impossible. “U.S. agencies directly or indirectly hired numerous ex-Nazi police officials and East European collaborators who were manifestly guilty of war crimes,” he said. “Information was readily available that these were compromised men.” None of the spies are known to be alive today.” [NYTimes]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Ambassador Ron Dermer addressed the crowd at Pastor Hagee’s annual night to honor Israel: “Now Pastor Hagee, I thought we were friends. So how do you put a nice Jewish boy from Miami Beach in front of 5,000 Spurs fans? Truth is, standing at this podium, a Miami Heat fan feels like he’s in hostile territory. But an Israeli Ambassador feels right at home. Pastor Hagee, this is a night you honor Israel. But this should also be a night for Israel to honor you.” [Transcript; Video]

WHERE IS JACK LEW? — Per Mike Allen, per a treasury official: “Secretary Lew is in Cairo today, the first Treasury Secretary to visit Egypt in almost a decade. He will meet with Egyptian President al-Sisi and other senior government officials to discuss the progress that Egypt has made in strengthening its economic framework and will underscore the importance of moving forward with its economic reform agenda to create jobs and opportunities for all segments of the Egyptian people. He will also participate in a discussion with young Egyptian entrepreneurs and financiers to learn about the challenges they face in growing their businesses.  Secretary Lew then heads to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as part of a week-long visit to Africa.” [PoliticoPlaybook]

FROM NYTIMES REPORT ON ISIS HOSTAGES: “Only a handful of the hostages stayed true to their own faiths, including Mr. Sotloff, then 30, a practicing Jew. On Yom Kippur, he told his guards he was not feeling well and refused his food so he could secretly observe the traditional fast, a witness said.”[NYTimes] • “The Secret Life of an ISIS Warlord” [DailyBeast]

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2018 WATCH — Dianne Feinstein — ‘I have no idea what I’m going to be doing in 2018’: “Sen. Dianne Feinstein responded to rumors on Sunday that she might not seek reelection in 2018 as first lady Michelle Obama pursues her seat in the Senate. ‘I have no idea what I’m going to be doing in 2018,’ Feinstein said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” ‘That’s four years from now,’ the California Democrat said. ‘And that’s one of the nice things of a six-year term. I’ve served two years of my term and, you know, I’ll make a decision in due time.’ ‘I’m flattered if that should be true,’ added Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. ‘Somehow I do not believe it is true. But I would be flattered if it were.'” [Politico]

2016 WATCH — Huckabee on the Adelson Sweepstakes: “Adelson is reportedly weighing which Republican contender to patronize in 2016, and there is reason to believe he will consider Huckabee. The two men are friends and speak occasionally by phone. More importantly, Huckabee’s longtime advocacy for bolstering the U.S. relationship with Israel—the issue that concerns Adelson above all others—is another factor that could provide him with an edge over other contenders who are newer to the cause. Asked if he considers himself well-positioned to win the “Sheldon sweepstakes” in 2016, Huckabee was frank. “Gee, I would hope so,” he told RCP. “I wouldn’t presume on anyone or anything, but if I did do this, would I love to have his support? Yeah. I don’t want to be subtle.” [JI] • Adelson gives $5 million to House-focused PAC [USA Today]

—“Christie slams Obama for failing to stand ‘strong and hard’ for Israel” [ToI]

2014 WATCH — AP on how “Family ties can be a candidate’s blessing or curse” – Georgia gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter has the most high-profile relative – his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter. In his campaign against Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, the younger Carter has had to answer for several of his grandfather’s comments and positions. The elder Carter criticized Israel and Hamas in Foreign Policy magazine this year. Carter wrote that “there is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war,” and the former president called the death of hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants a “humanitarian catastrophe.” Facing questions, Jason Carter told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I believe that Israel has a right to defend itself, especially against Hamas’ terrorist actions.” [APibid]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 7:30 PM, Raphael Benaroya and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach will host Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) for a NORPAC fundraiser in Englewood, NJ.

NYPost: “Grimm ‘funneled’ illegal campaign cash through rabbi”: “Desperate to raise money in the weeks before his first run for Congress, Michael Grimm e-mailed an ally in a bold bid to score large, and likely illegal, donations. He asked for $10,000 donations from six people, when the legal limit for individual contributions is $2,400. ‘We have very little time, as I need to start collecting checks as soon as today or tomorrow,’ Grimm wrote in the Oct. 18, 2010, missive to Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s organization. ‘I think that if the Rabbi calls the six people and asks them to each write one check for the $10,000, then we can finish this in the next few days.’… Grimm, a Brooklyn/Staten Island Republican who went on to defeat incumbent Michael McMahon in the race, has long been dogged by allegations he violated campaign-finance rules in 2010, including accepting too-large donations. He has denied wrongdoing.” [NYPost]

LONG-READ: A Mysterious Oil Tanker Might Hold the Key to Kurdish Independence: “On July 23 a Greek-owned oil tanker named the United Kalavryta came around the tip of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico… Now it was headed for Galveston, Texas, a gateway to some of the biggest refineries in the U.S. What made the Kalavryta special was that its cargo was from Kurdistan, the semiautonomous region in northern Iraq that boasts an estimated 45 billion barrels of oil reserves. The Kurds contend it’s theirs to produce and sell as they choose. The government in Baghdad disagrees. By the time the Kalavryta reached the edge of U.S. waters, the Iraqi government had filed a lawsuit in Houston federal court to block the tanker from unloading any oil… With the tanker’s legal status still unresolved, and the Iraqis quickly contesting Miller’s ruling, just before 5 a.m. on Aug. 26, the Kalavryta disappeared.”

Kurdish Crude in Israel – “Once a ship’s transponder goes off, detecting whether it’s unloaded its cargo to another ship is a matter of being able to narrow down the handful of vessels that are in its vicinity. ClipperData has built algorithms that can tell when two ships get within a tenth of a mile, or about 500 feet. “When they’re that close, they’re either transferring the oil or they’re crashing into each other,” Zein says. Three shipments have been delivered to Israel, each containing roughly 200,000 barrels, Zein says. Because neither of Israel’s two refineries is well-suited to process Kurdistan’s heavy crude, “what we’re now convinced of is that Kurdish crude is being stored in Israel,” he says.” [BusinessWeek]

The Guardian on Alex Clare, the Orthodox Jewish pop star: “Alex Clare is a Brit award-winning, platinum-selling artist famed for hits including Too Close and War Rages On and his collaborations with chart-toppers Rudimental. What you may not know is that Alex Clare is also an Orthodox Jew as well as an ex-chef.” [Guardian]

British Labour Chief, a Jew Who Criticizes Israel, Walks a Fine Line: “Ed Miliband, who as leader of the opposition Labour Party could become prime minister after next year’s general election, has often spoken of what it means to him to be Jewish: his parents’ flight from the Nazis, family reunions in Israel, and even his grandmother’s chicken soup and matzo balls.”

“But Mr. Miliband has also strongly criticized Israeli actions during the latest conflict in Gaza; his remarks have soured relations with parts of Britain’s Jewish population just as some seemed to be warming to him ahead of the campaign… If he leads Labour to victory in May, Mr. Miliband will become Britain’s first Jewish-born prime minister since Benjamin Disraeli — who converted to the Anglican Church as a boy — left office in 1880.” [NY Times]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Museum Unveils Story of Rich Jewish Life in Poland” by Vanessa Gera: “In the two millennia between ancient Israel and its modern rebirth, Jews never enjoyed as much political autonomy as they did in Poland, a land that centuries later would become intrinsically linked to the Holocaust. The story of this great flourishing of political and cultural life is part of a 1,000-year history told in a visually striking new museum, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which opens its long-awaited core exhibition to the public Tuesday amid days of celebrations.” [AP] • “Jewish Torah to go on display in Abu Dhabi museum” [ArabianBusiness]

ON THIS DAY IN (via the AP): 1978 – “Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize.” [AP]

HOLLYWOOD: Scooter Braun’s Presidential Impressions [Bloomberg]

That’s all folks; have a great day!
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