Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Russia to build two more Iranian nuclear reactor units | Knesset targets Adelson’s Israel Hayom | Bruce Springstein’s Jewish Manager

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TOP TALKER: “Senator sees Jewish American prisoner in Cuba ‘closer’ to release” by Daniel Trotta: “An American government contractor jailed in Cuba for crimes against the state may be closer to returning home, in part because he has threatened to end his life if he is not released, a U.S. senator said on Tuesday. Alan Gross, 65, a former subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, is serving a 15-year sentence for illegally providing Internet equipment and service to Cuban Jewish groups under a U.S. program promoting political change that the Cuban government considers subversive.… Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, and fellow Senator Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico, met with Gross for two hours on Tuesday at his hospital prison in Havana.” [Reuters]

TENSIONS: “A Leaderless Palestinian Revolt Proves More Difficult to Curb” by Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren: “Sawsan Abu Hashieh said she packed a bag of clothing on Sunday for her 18-year-old son, Nur al-Din, who told her he planned to sneak into Israel to work for two weeks. Instead, he was arrested in Monday’s fatal stabbing of a soldier near a crowded Tel Aviv train station… The violence, rarely condemned, is at least tacitly condoned by Palestinian leaders and is encouraged by cultural memes like a song called “Run Over the Settler” that has circulated along with similarly themed cartoons on social media in recent days. But without clear evidence of coordination by Fatah or Hamas, the rival political factions that dominate the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel has no straightforward way to curb the attacks or hold the authorities accountable.” [NYTimes] • “Jailed Palestinian Leader Calls for Uprising Against Israel” [WSJ] • Sec. John Kerry travels to Jordan today for discussion with King Abdullah II on the situation in Jerusalem including recent tensions at the holy sites there [State]

GA WRAP: Bibi to Biden: ‘We’ll always be buddies’: “Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the Jewish Federations of North America on Tuesday about his country’s relationship with the U.S., as well as the recent attacks in Israel.” [WashPost] • “Excerpts from Netanyahu’s speech to the GA” [YouTube] • “Federations Gather To Network, Organize, Fret and — Of Course! — Shmooze” [Forward] • “Senior U.S. official Philip Gordon at GA: Missed Iran deadline would reduce deal chances” [ToI]

IRAN TALKS: Though many are none too optimistic about the ability of the P5+1 talks to end in tangible solutions by the established November 24th deadline, “publicly, top aides to President Barack Obama said that Nov. 24 was still the focus of their diplomacy, which will move to Vienna, Austria, on Nov. 18 for a week of talks up to the deadline… Seeking an extension would pose numerous political and diplomatic challenges, diplomats involved in the talks said. Reaching an agreement on balancing freezes in Iran’s nuclear program with economic incentives during the additional diplomacy could prove nearly as complicated as forging a final deal, they said. Also, the capturing of the U.S. Senate by the Republican Party last week could limit the White House’s diplomatic flexibility.” …“We may get there and we may not,” a senior US administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told journalists traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry from Oman to Beijing. “I don’t think that anybody has said at any point recently that we are, quote/unquote, ‘on track’ to reach an agreement by the 24th.” [WSJAl Monitor]

—Meanwhile, “Russia said it signed a deal Tuesday to build two new nuclear-reactor units in Iran, possibly to be followed by six more.” [WSJ] • The Truman National Security Project is circulating all hands on deck emails in an effort to support “the Obama administration as it seeks to ink a nuclear deal with Iran by the end of the month.” [FreeBeacon] — Rachel Kleinfeld, former head of the Truman National Security Project, tweeted: “Embarrassing – & not the organization I used to run. We should do a deal with Iran if its good – not for partisanship.” [Twitter]

Top Op — “Iran’s vested interest in nuclear talks” by Ray Takeyh in LA Times: “In the coming weeks, diplomats will try hard to craft a nuclear agreement with Iran… They will fret about how the Republican-controlled Senate will foreclose diplomacy by pressing its claims and maybe even passing sanctions, that the task at hand will be to keep Iranians at the table and the Senate at bay. All of this misses the point that Iran participates in the talks because doing so serves so many of its interests. And one of those interests may yet be an accord that eases its path toward nuclear empowerment.” [LA Times]

“Why Russia can never substitute for America as Israel’s closest ally” by Azriel Bermant in Haaretz: “Israel has been working assiduously in recent years to cultivate a solid strategic relationship with Russia. In March this year, Israel’s diplomats pointedly stayed away from the UN General Assembly vote which condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea, despite American entreaties to vote for the motion… However, Russia’s interests in the Middle East are complex. It continues to sell arms to Syria and Iran, and some of these weapons may also have reached Hizbullah. In August, Russia signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran, allowing Tehran to sell it oil in return for the sale of energy equipment, machinery and food. Russia has also announced plans to build two additional nuclear reactors in Iran. If the oil for equipment deal goes ahead, it will enable Iran to evade sanctions and strengthen its leverage during negotiations with the P5+1.” [Haaretz]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Israel Hayom bill ‘shames the Knesset’ Netanyahu says: The Knesset approved a controversial bill meant to shut down the Israel Hayom in a preliminary vote Wednesday. “This shames the Knesset,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu muttered, walking out of the vote, and was caught on the Knesset Channel’s cameras. The legislation in question, proposed by Labor faction chairman Eitan Cabel and signed by members of every coalition party except Likud, outlaws free newspapers, requiring that the lowest-priced newspaper of the four cannot cost less than 70 percent of the cost of the second-lowest-priced paper, according to the bill… The bill would realistically apply only to Israel Hayom, the pro-Netanyahu paper owned by his major supporter and donor Sheldon Adelson, who also contributes to Republican candidates’ campaigns in the US, and the legislation’s supporters do not deny that they are targeting one newspaper.” [JPost]

PETER BEINART: “J Street isn’t the only group challenging the American Jewish establishment. Sheldon Adelson is too”: “Adelson lobbed a grenade at the American Jewish establishment. When the American Jewish establishment defends Israel, it doesn’t talk much about God. That’s because while theological language plays well among conservative Christians and Orthodox Jews, it tends to alienate secular liberals. Indeed, it alienates some of the secular liberals who populate American Jewish organizations. As a result, America’s mainstream Jewish groups generally justify Israeli policy not via religion but via America’s civil religion—democracy—a creed that enjoys unquestioned reverence across the political spectrum. By claiming democracy doesn’t matter, Adelson was sabotaging the case for Israel that the American Jewish establishment has been making for decades.” [Haaretz]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 12 PM, Israeli Major Gen. Yaacov Ayish speaks on U.S. – Israel cooperation and security changes facing Israel hosted by the Jewish Policy Center and Arent Fox LLP • At 3 PM, the Wilson Center hosts “Prospects for a Nuclear Agreement with Iran” featuring Jane Harman, Robert Litwack, Mark Mazzetti, and David Sanger. [WilsonCenter• At 5:30 PM, Anti-Defamation League to Honor Penn President Amy Gutmann With Americanism Award. [Penn]

**Good Wednesday 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: “Mike Huckabee rebuilds political team with eye on another presidential run” by Tom Hamburger and Robert Costa: “This week, Huckabee is leading more than 100 pastors and GOP insiders from early primary states on a 10-day overseas trip with stops in Poland and England. Huckabee’s newly formed non-profit advocacy group, America Takes Action, has begun to serve as an employment perch for his political team, recently bringing on a number of experienced campaign operatives. Advisers are already scouting real estate in Little Rock, Ark., for a possible presidential campaign headquarters. Huckabee is scheduled to spend part of November holding private meetings with powerful GOP financiers in Las Vegas, New York, and California, gauging their interest in being bundlers for his possible campaign and asking for pledges of five-to six-figure donations to his aligned organizations.” [WashPost] • “Ben Carson’s Bizarrely Serious, Seriously Bizarre Campaign Crew” [DailyBeast]

Why Wall Street ♥s Hillary : “While the finance industry does genuinely hate Warren, the big bankers love Clinton, and by and large they badly want her to be president. Many of the rich and powerful in the financial industry—among them, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, Tom Nides, a powerful vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, and the heads of JPMorganChase and Bank of America—consider Clinton a pragmatic problem-solver not prone to populist rhetoric. To them, she’s someone who gets the idea that we all benefit if Wall Street and American business thrive. What about her forays into fiery rhetoric? They dismiss it quickly as political maneuvers. None of them think she really means her populism.” [Politico]

Nicki Minaj Video Director Admits Using Nazi-Inspired Imagery… and is “Sorry, Not Sorry”: “Hours after Nicki Minaj took “full responsibility” for the Nazi imagery in the lyric video for her new single “Only,” the video’s director has said that he will not ask for forgiveness for its content and admitted to being inspired by Nazi emblems. “First, I’m not apologizing for my work, nor will I dodge the immediate question,” Jeffrey Osborne told Myspace. “The flags, armbands, and gas mask (and perhaps my use of symmetry?) are all representative of Nazis.” The video director said that his sentiments were his own and did not reflect those of Minaj, her label Young Money (whose logo he emblazoned on red armbands, similar to a swastika) or the other artists who appeared on the song (Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown). “As far as an explanation, I think it’s actually important to remind younger generations of atrocities that occurred in the past as a way to prevent them from happening in the future,” Osborne said. “And the most effective way of connecting with people today is through social media and pop culture. So if my work is misinterpreted because it’s not a sappy tearjerker, sorry I’m not sorry. What else is trending?””[Rolling Stone] • Another take — “Why Nicki Minaj Made Herself Into a Nazi Superhero” by Noah Berlatsky [TheAtlantic

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli Online Fraud Hunter Forter Raises $15 Million From NEA & Sequoia Capital” [WSJ] • Network firewalls as relevant to data security as ever, says industry pioneer Gil Shwed[Computer Weekly] • UpWest Labs Nurtures Promising Israeli Startups In Silicon Valley[TechCrunch]

PROFILE: “Former CNN Host Campbell Brown Takes on Teachers Unions” by Ross Barkan:“In 2010, the Louisiana native left television news, where ratings are king and the superficiality began to wear on her, for the unpaid position of education advocate. She now pens Op-Eds, stages press conferences and runs two nonprofits, the Partnership for Educational Justice and the Parents’ Transparency Project, which, according to its Facebook page, aims to “expose deals that put special-interest groups ahead of NYC students.” Ms. Brown finds herself, like her friend Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, in the crosshairs of people like Ms. Weingarten. Critics see her as a shallow front for Wall Street robber barons trying to eviscerate teachers unions and make public education a for-profit venture.” [Observer]

LONGREAD — “Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry” by Hanna Rosin in The New Republic: “Steve Glass now lives in Venice Beach with his longtime girlfriend, Julie Hilden, a dog, two cats, and a rotating cast of foster pets. (The couple are also vegans.) He works as director of special projects at Carpenter, Zuckerman, Rowley, a personal-injury law firm in Beverly Hills. For anyone who knew him back in the day, this is a comical juxtaposition. Steve is a Jewish boy from the posh Chicago suburb of Highland Park with pushy Jewish parents who insisted on the usual (doctor, lawyer). When they urged him to go to law school, they probably had Supreme Court appearances in mind, not, as the firm boasts, a $2.1 million settlement for a homeless man hit by a garbage truck. But Paul Zuckerman, the partner who hired Steve and has become his mentor, considers this development to be a sign of grace. “You were on track to be an asshole,” he told Steve when I was there. “The best thing that ever happened to you in your life is that you fell flat on your face.” [TNR]

INTERVIEW — with Jon Landau, Bruce Springstein’s Jewish manager: “Upon reflection, my parents had moved the family when I was 12. We had lived in very Jewish environments in Bensonhurst at that time and then in Queens. My parents weren’t religious at all, but we lived in that kind of environment, and when we moved to Lexington, it was a town with a very negligible Jewish population. It was a great experience for me because instead of being in New York, where you are always plugged into your own cultural niche, it really was an expansive experience. This was another style, place, which is a whole story in itself. But I think my interest in Brandeis by that point may have come from feeling a little nostalgic for more of a Jewish environment. I think Brandeis is the only secular Jewish university in the country, although its admissions policy is actually incredibly broad. If you want to go into the deeper aspects of it, that was a factor…. I fundamentally enjoyed and benefited tremendously from my college years. “[WashPost]

AP: “Oy vey, holidays! Does Hanukkah wannabe Christmas?” by Beth Harpaz: “Christmas has Elf on the Shelf. Now Hanukkah has Mensch on a Bench – not to mention Maccabee on the Mantel. Christmas has gingerbread houses; Manischewitz sells Chanukah House kits, using cookie dough with blue-and-white icing. These are just a few of the Hanukkah-themed products inspired by Christmas traditions and toys. Pinterest and Etsy are loaded with blue-and-white Hanukkah crafts like wreaths and stockings. There are Hanukkah greeting cards, cookie cutters, and even tree ornaments shaped like the three symbols – Stars of David, menorahs and dreidels – that scream “Hanukkah!” amid a sea of holiday merchandise adorned with Christmas trees and Santas.” [AP]

DESSERT: “Kosher Steakhouse Prime & Wine Coming to NoMad” by Lauren Schram: “The NoMad area will be getting a high-end Kosher steakhouse come the beginning of next year, Commercial Observer has learned. JTRE Holdings has leased to Prime & Wine Kosher Steakhouse a 6,000-square-foot retail condominium unit at 31 East 28th Street, 4,000 square feet of which is on the ground floor. The asking rent in the 15-year deal was $500,000 per year triple-net. “After an extensive search and many inquiries from prospective high-end restaurants, we decided to go with Prime & Wine because of their experience and the need for a high-end Kosher Steakhouse in this emerging NoMad/Midtown South neighborhood,” Mr. Setton said in prepared remarks.” [Observer]

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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