Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Biden: “You better damn well tell Bibi we’re still buddies” | Bob Kraft, Gov. Patrick unveil new non-stop flights Boston – Israel

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NO LABELS ANNOUNCES JOE LIEBERMAN AS HONORARY NATIONAL CO-CHAIR:“Lieberman, who served in the U.S. Senate for 24 years and was former Attorney General of Connecticut, will join former Governor and U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman as a co-chairman. “Joe was a proven leader and an undisputed problem solver in virtually every area of public policy when serving in the U.S. Senate,” Huntsman said. “His vision of a new culture in Washington, D.C. — where the politics of point-scoring is replaced by the politics of problem solving — is a great fit with our organizational goals, and I look forward to collaborating with him as we develop our National Strategic Agenda.”… “I’m delighted to be joining No Labels at this critical time,” Lieberman said. “We are getting closer, as a nation, to healing our divisions and working together, but we have a long way to go. The 2016 presidential elections are a great opportunity to focus on problem-solving, and No Labels is the only group that can make that happen.” [NoLabels] • Backstory: Previous democratic co-chair Joe Manchin quit No Labels last Friday after the group endorsed Republican Cory Gardner in his Colorado U.S. Senate race against Manchin’s colleague and incumbent Sen. Mark Udall.

BIDEN SPEECH AT GA: “Using his signature brand of humor, Vice President Joe Biden on Monday attempted to smooth over tensions with Israel, following a recent report that a senior White House official had called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a chicken***t.” “Now, Ron, you better damn well report to Bibi [Netanyahu] that we’re still buddies,” Biden said to Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, who was in the audience as the vice president took the stage for remarks at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.” [Politico]

—To Note: At two separate points in the speech, Biden gave a shoutout to prominent South Florida real estate developer and democratic donor Michael Adler. While we initially thought it might be due to Biden’s 2016 ambitions, it turns out that Biden and Adler go way back and some were actually surprised that Biden didn’t mention Adler even more. • Additional notes: Biden seemed to suggest that Israel’s partnership with Sunni Gulf states is dependent on Israel achieving peace with the Palestinians. Biden combined parts from his typical Jewish stump speech, including his famous map story with Golda Meir which we’ve heard so many times that the line hardly has any punch left, with a seemingly new passion and loud voice especially regarding the “malarkey surrounding the administrations policy on Iran.” Biden practically yelled, “We will not let Iran acquire a nuclear weapon. Period, Period, Period.”

HEARD AT STATE DEPT BRIEFING: QUESTION: “So – and then just apropos of what you just said but also the letter, non-letter – the “Dear Supreme Leader” letter – have you seen the plan that Khamenei put out or people close to him put out for the destruction – eventual destruction of the state of Israel? MS. PSAKI: We did see it. We strongly condemn the hateful remarks made about Israel on Twitter from an account linked to the supreme leader. The remarks are offensive and reprehensible, and the entire international community should condemn such rhetoric. This rhetoric is, unfortunately, not new, but it’s not conducive to regional security either. QUESTION: Would you – would any kind of communication with the Iranians, whether it be in email or paper or conversations between the Secretary and Foreign Minister Zarif, include a – expressions of concern about things like this? MS. PSAKI: Well, I – there isn’t one I have to read out for you, Matt, from their last two days of meetings.”

QUESTION: All right. So can you see how from the Israeli point of view – if you’re not bringing these things up, this – which pose, I mean, literally an existential threat to Israel, that that’s a problem for them? QUESTION: Just to pick up on that – I mean, this is coming at a time where you’re working towards a nuclear deal. The President is making overtures to the supreme leader. I mean, what kind of – yes, vitriolic comments by Iran are nothing new, but they come amid this kind of sensitive time right now where the nuclear deadline is approaching, you are looking for their cooperation in the region. And what does that say about their intentions to have some kind of broader positive role in the region? MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t think this is about their broader positive role in the region or trusting with them. This is about their – them agreeing to take steps to change their nuclear weapons capability.”[PressBriefing]

IRAN TALKS: “No Agreement in Iran, U.S. Talks” [WSJ• “Iran, West end nuclear talks with no immediate sign they bridged gaps ahead of deadline” [Reuters] • U.S. Veterans Sue 6 Major Banks for Abetting Iranian Terrorism [WSJ]

SHOWDOWN: “Abe Foxman Slams Sheldon Adelson for ‘Disturbing’ Remark on Israel Democracy” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: “Foxman said the casino billionaire ignored Israel’s founders when he told a conference that God didn’t mandate democracy in Israel. “Sheldon Adelson’s comment suggesting that it’s not so important that Israel remain a democracy is disturbing on many levels,” Foxman wrote in a statement to the Forward. “In fact, the founders of Israel got it exactly right when they emphasized the country being both a Jewish and democratic state. Any initiatives that move Israel away from either value would ill-serve the state and people of Israel.” [Forward] • ICYMI: Last week, the ADL announced that White House aide Jonathan Greenblatt will take over for the soon to be retiring Abe Foxman [Statement]

TOP-OPS: “If Iran Says ‘Yes’ – Why should a regime that has paid no price for dishonesty suddenly discover the virtues of honesty?” by Bret Stephens in the WSJ: “As for Iran, a deal with one hundred moving parts also serves it well. “The Iranians will cheat the way they always cheat, which is incrementally, not dramatically,” notes sanctions expert Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “Sooner or later, we’ll spot a potential violation and get into a debate about forensics: Are the Iranians complying or not? This will eat up time before we even get to the political debate over what to do about it.” That’s been the Iranian M.O. ever since their covert nuclear program was first exposed in 2002. We’ve been negotiating their noncompliance ever since. Why should a regime that has paid no price for dishonesty suddenly discover the virtues of honesty in a post-deal world?” [WSJ] • David Bernstein: “Joint Chiefs Chairman Dempsey undermines Obama administration criticism of Israeli actions in Gaza” [WashPost]

**Good Tuesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or 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 editor@jewishinsider.com**

2016 WATCH — “Would Hillary Be Good for the Holy Land?” by Aaron David Miller in Foreign Policy: “Should she become president, on one level, better ties with Israel are virtually guaranteed…To put it simply, as a more conventional politician, Hillary is good on Israel and relates to the country in a way this president doesn’t… Both Bill and Hillary are so enamored with the idea of Israel and its unique history that they are prone to make certain allowances for the reality of Israel’s behavior, such as the continuing construction of settlements…unlike Barack Obama, Hillary has formed close relationships with Israelis. These aren’t instrumental ties of convenience either. Like her husband who was shattered by Rabin’s murder, she grieved personally too. And her friendship with Rabin’s wife Leah was among the strongest.” [FP]

2016 WATCH: Robert Costa Scoops – “Mitt Romney filling post-midterm role as key behind-the-scenes GOP player” in the WashPost: “Some confidants also continue to prepare the ground for another Romney presidential campaign, despite his continued disavowals of interest. In the days after the election, a group of Romney supporters began circulating a memo that compared the success of his midterm endorsements with those made by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination… Romney, who was in Washington on Friday to speak at the Israeli American Council’s national conference, has seen a resurgence of sorts in recent months, as dozens of campaigns asked for his assistance. He spent the final days before Tuesday’s election in Alaska, where he stumped for Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan.” [WashPost] • @J_Insider: “@costareports Romney announced at Friday’s IAC event that he had flown “Air Adelson” for the Alaska pre-election trip”[Twitter]

RJC OPENS CHICAGO OFFICE: The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), the nation’s only grassroots organization of Jewish Republicans, announced the opening of a Midwest regional office in Chicago and the hiring of Jeremy Wynes as Midwest Regional Director.” [PressRelease] • Keep in mind that Republican Sen. Mark Kirk is up for re-election in 2016

EVERYONE’S MAYOR: “Mike Bloomberg takes his money local” by Mike Allen in Politico:“Michael Bloomberg’s $40 million spending splurge on politics for this year’s election taught him a lesson for 2016: You get a much better bang for your buck by trying to tip state and local elections than high-profile federal ones. So as the former New York mayor turned activist for gun control, healthier food choices, education reform, and other issues makes his spending plans for the next two years, he plans to weight his contributions more toward ballot measures, governor and school-board candidates, and away from House and Senate races, which have become glutted with outside money.” [Politico]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “The Gherkin sold to Brazilian Jewish billionaire Joseph Safra: The Gherkin, one of London’s most recognisable skyscrapers, has been bought by the billionaire Brazilian banker Joseph Safra, in a deal thought to be worth more than £700m. “While only 10 years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential,” Safra Group said in a statement. “We intend to make the building even better and more desirable through active ownership that will lead to a range of enhancements that will benefit tenants.”[TheGuardian]

“Harold Hamm to Pay One of the Biggest Divorce Settlements in History” by David Segal:“During his nearly 50 years as an Oklahoma oil man, Harold Hamm has done everything on a huge scale. The chief executive and majority shareholder of Continental Resources, he owns the largest piece of the greatest oil discovery of our age, in the shale-rich plains of North Dakota. His net worth has been pegged at more than $18 billion by Forbes, making him the 24th richest man in the country. Now another superlative can be added to Mr. Hamm’s outsize career: He is paying one of the biggest divorce settlements in history.” [NYTimes; Bloomberg] • JI Angle: Harold Hamm is a co-chair and director of the pro-Israel Council For A Secure America. [CFASA]

SPORTS BLINK: “How The L.A. Dodgers Became The Most Dangerous Team In Sports” by Maury Brown in Forbes: “Stan Kasten had been president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals prior to coming over to the Los Angeles Dodgers. While on the face of it, a baseball organization is simply a baseball organization, this time it was a very different position for Kasten. For the Braves, it was rebuilding and getting the Summer Olympics stadium converted into what would become Turner Field. For the Nationals, it was getting a new ballpark built and having new owners of the relocated Montreal Expos rebranded and rebuilt. With the Dodgers being purchased for a record $2 billion by Mark Walter and Guggenheim Partners, Kasten was suddenly in a position he had never been before: flush with revenues to work from with a storied brand. I asked Kasten what it was like to be in the position he was in. What was it like to have so much in the way of cash resources to work from? “Being rich never hurts, but being smart is the most important,” said Kasten. “You have to be smart first.” [Forbes]

FLYER TALK: “Nonstop Flights Between Boston, Israel Set to Begin”: “Extending a string of international-destination wins for Boston’s Logan International Airport, El Al Israel Airlines announced Monday it will begin direct flights between Logan and Tel Aviv this coming June 28. “This will help create a lot of jobs for Massachusetts,” predicted New England Patriots owner and Kraft Group CEO Robert K. Kraft, who helped Gov. Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Port Authority persuade El Al to add the direct Boston service.” [NECN]

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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

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