Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Adelson & Saban’s ‘Fireworks’ Show at the IAC Conference; pair discussed buying the NYTimes | Biden at GA today | Rand’s Grand Plan

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BREAKING OVERNIGHT: “Soldier stabbed at Tel Aviv train station: A soldier was stabbed Monday afternooon at the Haganah Train Station in Tel Aviv. He was evacuated in critical condition to Sheva Hospital in Tel HaShomer. Police suspect possible terror attack. Police forces and Magen David Adom emergency teams were deployed to the scene. Eyewitness accounts said the young man was stabbed in his stomach and sustained massive blood loss. The suspect fled, but police officers arrested him a few streets from the scene. The suspect is an 18-year-old resident of Nablus, illegally staying in Israel.” [YNet]

IRAN TALKS: “US ready to renew diplomatic links with Iran after 35 years: Iran has held secret talks with American officials to discuss opening a US trade office in Tehran if a deal is reached over its nuclear ambitions and sanctions are lifted.” [LondonTimes] • “Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei outlines a nine-step plan on twitter to “eliminate” Israel” [Independent] • “In Oman, U.S. and Iranian negotiators talk late into night about nuclear deal: Secretary of State John F. ­Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, met for three hours in the early afternoon, and more than two hours more after nightfall.” [WashPost] • “Iranian officials confirmed that Mr. Obama reached out directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a mid-October letter that emphasized shared interests in combating the Islamist militants who have seized territory in Iraq and Syria.” [WSJ• “Israel learned independently about the secret letter U.S. President Barack Obama sent to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to a Jerusalem official who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.” [Haaretz] • ICYMI: Obama nominated Tony Blinken to be deputy secretary of state on Friday [Politico]

President Obama, speaking candidly on CBS News Sunday, said, “The question now is are we going to be able to close the final gap so that they can re-enter the international community,” Mr. Obama said. “There’s still a big gap. We may not be able to get there… Our number one priority with respect to Iran is making sure they don’t get a nuclear weapon,” he said.” [CBSAP]

Prime Minister Netanyahu in Sunday’s cabinet meeting noted that, “remarks to the effect that Iran has moderated are overshadowed by Iran’s actual policies…Israel will not countenance an agreement that leaves Iran as a nuclear threshold state. This endangers us all.” [WSJ]

JEWISH CONFERENCE SCENE: It was a busy weekend in DC, as many Jewish leaders and activists gathered for the inaugural conference of the Israeli American Council (IAC) at the Washington Hilton and then drove down the Potomac to National Harbor for the annual Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly on Sunday. Those who stayed at the IAC conference on Sunday morning were in for a unique ‘treat’ as Sheldon Adelson, top Republican donor, and Haim Saban, top Democratic donor and close friend of the Clintons, appeared on stage together to discuss Iran, Middle East Peace, and whether they should jointly buy the New York Times after they ‘failed’ with the Washington Post.

Highlights: Saban endorsed Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill for an up-down vote on any Iranian nuclear deal… When asked if he would encourage his friend Adelson to donate to a pro-Clinton super PAC, Saban told the Washington Post, “I’ve got chutzpah, but I’m not suicidal.” • Adelson’s only request for a Romney White House would have been extra potato latkes at the White House Hanukkah Party • Saban announced that he plans to convene an all-day meeting in Malibu in a few weeks to combat BDS, specifically focusing on BDS financiers • Saban and Adelson seemed disagree on whether or not Israel needs to be a democratic state with international legitimacy • Saban remarked that in 2002 he met with the King of Jordan and asked him, “why didn’t Jordan set up a Palestinian state when it was in control?” The King replied, “I’m having trouble getting movies from Hollywood.”

HOW IT PLAYED: “Billionaires Adelson and Saban, at odds in campaigns, unite on Israel and hit Obama” [WashPost] • Eli Lake: “Would Pro-Israel Billionaires Adelson and Saban Really Buy the NYT?” [DailyBeast] • Rosie Gray: “Major Democratic Donor: “Israel Should “Bomb The Daylights” Out Of Iran” • @BuzzFeedBen – “If Sheldon Adelson is too… Republican for you, the Clinton Democrats bring you Haim Saban” [BuzzFeed] • “AdelsonPalestinians an invented people out to destroy Israel”[TimesOfIsrael] • “Saban slams Obama’s Iran policy, advises bombing in worst case” [JTA] • Nathan Guttman: “Adelson and Saban Try To Out-Hawk Each Other” [Forward]

—Paragraph to note from Guttman’s Forward Report: “Adelson, who admitted at the opening of the discussion that he does not like journalism, later took issue with the Forward reporter — yours truly — who spoke on an earlier panel discussion about the media. “You heard what this guy Guttman said here today,” Adelson told the audience. “He said ‘we look for the wrong, to tell the people what’s wrong in life. Are they insane from that? Yeah, they’re mad.’ That’s not professional journalism.” This statement, attributed to me by Adelson, was never uttered during the panel discussion.”

ALSO HEARD AT IAC: Mitt Romney called President Obama ‘naive’ [HaaretzToI• Former Sen. Joe Lieberman joked that given the recent chickens**t comments, he was glad that the IAC served fish instead • Sen. Lindsey Graham presented his plans for congressional action on any Iran deal and threatened to cut off funding to the United Nations if they continue “Israeli-bashing” • Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch told the crowd how he grew up as the only Jewish kid in his class in Bethlehem, PA, or as Deutch called it, “the other Beit Lechem” and ended up becoming a passionate Jewish activist. • Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer joked that he was the product of a mixed marriage – “a Sabra and an American” and offered some advice to other such mixed marriages some tips including, “If the American spouse ever wants to talk, you should go find time to do it at work cause it’s not gonna happen at home… I think my dad went into politics thinking that if he got elected, he might have a chance to finish a sentence without my Sabra mother interrupting him. He was wrong.” [Transcript]

#JFNAGA: SCENE LAST NIGHT: Congressman Ted Deutch served as tour guide for a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Capitol for GA cabinet alumni. Earlier in the evening, the Lerner family — owners of the Washington Nationals — hosted select GA attendees for a dinner and a tour of Nationals Park. Jewish Sports Owners Mark LernerJosh Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Mark Wilf of the Minnesota Vikings addressed the crowd. Amb. Dermer was seen practicing his baseball pitching in the batting cages at Nats park.

SCENE YESTERDAY: U.S. Supreme Court justices Stephen Breyer and Elana Kagan discussed their Jewish backgrounds and judicial philosophy. Kagan recalled her bat mitzvah at Lincoln Square Synagogue and how at that age she was meant to do whatever her older brother did, just better. Breyer talked about tzedakah when asked about what it means to be Jewish in the Supreme Court and how “it’s not quite charity and it’s not quite rule of law either, but it’s part of trying to create a better world.” Kagan told the crowd about her recent hobby of hunting game and how she plans to go hunt ducks with Justice Scalie in Mississippi. NBC’s Chuck Todd followed the justices on stage and said, “I don’t know about you but I’m going down to Mississippi to stake out this hunting trip.” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks delivered a powerful keynote address where he spoke of globalization. He said although it might be the buzzword of the 21st century, globalization for Jews is the old of the old. “We were scattered all over the world yet we were still considered one people.” Rabbi Sacks urged the crowd to use technology to better unite the entire Jewish community. On a lighter note, Rabbi Sacks joked that, “Just because I’m a lord doesn’t mean I’m from Downton Abbey.”

HAPPENING TODAY: At 9:15 AM, Vice President Joe Biden headlines the GA’s morning plenary which will also include FEDTalks — the Federation’s version of TED Talks • At 12:00 PMJoseph Sitt, Diane von Furstenberg, and Toto Bergamo Rossi will unveil an unprecedented design and restoration plan for the historic Jewish Museum and Synagogues of the Venice Ghetto at Consulate General of Italy in NYC • At 2:00 PM, The GA Press Pit will feature Chemi Shalev interviewing Peter Beinart • At 6:30 PMRon Kampeas will interview White House Coordinator to the Middle EastPhilip Gordon • At 7:00 PMDavid Suissa will interview White House Jewish Liaison Matt Nosanchuk and former Bush White House speechwriter Noam Neusner.”

TOP-OPS: Chemi Shalev: “Time for American Jews to confront Israel’s demons” [Haaretz] • Jeffrey Goldberg: “A Troubling Letter to an Unbending Ayatollah” [Atlantic] • David Remnick: “Israel’s One-State Reality: Israel’s conservative President speaks up for civility, and pays a price” [NewYorker]

**Good Monday 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**

LONGREAD: “Valerie Jarrett, The Obama Whisperer” by Noam Scheiber in New Republic:“The Clinton alumni Obama initially hired to run his White House and hash out his economic policy were flamboyantly centrist, fanatical about winning over financial markets and moderate voters. In their view, a Democratic president could make no bigger mistake than becoming a captive of the left. And they acted as if they owned the place. They certainly didn’t view Jarrett as much of a threat. She had enjoyed real clout on the campaign, but the way she used it—encouraging Obama to give his famous race speech, and bringing Latinos, blacks, gays, and women into the heart of the operation at a time when the post-racial rhetoric had gotten thick—didn’t win her much respect… That was a mistake. Jarrett was a beloved figure among the fresh-faced Obama-hands who flocked to Washington. She shepherded their careers, clucked about their health, and turned up unexpectedly at weddings and maternity wards. And though she had been a confidant of Barack and Michelle Obama’s since the early ’90s, the three became even closer after the election. It gradually became clear that she had the president’s blessing to challenge his top brass and better align his White House with the outsider ethos of his candidacy.” [NewRepublic]

2016 WATCH: “Rand’s Grand Plan: An Inside Look at the Senator’s Presidential Rollout” by Mike Allen: “Coming off a midterm campaign blitz in 35 states, Paul has summoned a few dozen advisers – a mix of veterans of his father Ron Paul’s insurgent campaigns and more mainstream GOP leaders — for a closed-door summit at a Washington hotel on Wednesday to discuss his future plans. In a POLITICO interview, the 51-year-old senator talked unblinkingly about the possibility of a run, and sought to draw a sharp contrast between himself and Hillary Clinton… So I think you’d have an interesting dynamic, were there a [Republican] nominee that was for less intervention overseas and in the Middle East and that’s fiscally conservative. You’ve never seen that kind of combination before, and I think there’s a lot of independent voters, actually, that might be attracted to that kind of message.” [Politico]

TOP TALKER: “The Inevitability Trap: Hillary Clinton and the drawbacks of being the front-runner” by Ryan Lizza: “In every fight for the Democratic Presidential nomination in the past five decades, there has come a moment when the front-runner faltered. “Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does politics,” Anita Dunn, a Democratic strategist, told me. Voters in the early states, perhaps spurred by a sense of civic responsibility, begin to take an interest in candidates they had previously never heard of. Those candidates seize on issues, usually ones that excite the left, that the front-runner, focussed on the general election, has been too timid to champion. The press, invested in political drama, declares that the front-runner is vulnerable.” [NewYorker] • “O’Malley dispatched staff to seven states for mid-terms; unclear how many he’ll keep” — “Ready for Hillary drawing from O’Malley’s home state” [WashPostWashPost]

DCCC JOB: Who will take over for Steve Israel? Joaquin Castro and Joe Kennedy are two possibilities. [Politico]

2015 UK WATCH: “Labour funding crisis: Jewish donors drop ‘toxic’ Ed Miliband” by Oliver Wright: “The Labour party is facing desertion by Jewish donors and supporters because of Ed Mili-band’s “toxic” anti-Israeli stance over Gaza and Palestine. In a fresh headache for the Labour leader, it is understood that Mr Miliband has been warned that Jewish backers are deserting the party in droves over what community leaders perceive to be a new, aggressive pro-Palestine policy at the expense of Israeli interests.” [Independent]

NYTIMES: “Ina Ginsburg, Arts Ptron and Washington Hostess, Dies at 98”, obituary by William Yardley: “Ina Ginsburg, who for more than half a century elevated the arts and the art of socializing in the nation’s capital as a prominent hostess, a fund-raiser and a well-dressed decoder of Washington ways for unelected outsiders, including Andy Warhol and Arnold Schwarzenegger, died on Sunday at her home there. She was 98… Born into a comfortable Jewish family in Vienna, Ms. Ginsburg fled to America during World War II, settled in Washington and by the early 1950s was bringing a dose of Continental cachet to a city not known for style.” [NYTimes]

STARTUP NATION: Israeli “Caesarstone’s 460% Gain Shows U.S. Gamble Paying Off” [Bloomberg] • “War Hero With Eye Patch Helps Sell Israel Bonds in U.S.” [Bloomberg] • A look inside Gilad Rosenzweig’s Smarter in the City, Roxbury’s first startup accelerator [Boston Business Journal]

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: @Daroff – “Forgot to note that today (Sunday) marks my 9th anniversary at @jfederations Washington office! Very thankful + appreciative!” [Twitter]

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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