Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Steve Israel Leaves DCCC, Authors ‘Jewish’ Book | Schumer’s Grape Juice | Inside WeWork with Mort Zuckerman & Adam Neumann

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VOTER POLLS: Did Jews support Democrats by a 2-1 margin on Tuesday? Did more Jews vote for Republicans in 2014 than in 2010? Does it matter? Lastly, just who exactly is considered a ‘Jewish voter’?  — These are just some of the questions playing out between supporters of J Street and the Republican Jewish Coalition with help from GBA Strategies and Pew respectively. Bizarrely enough, the JStreet poll asked for voters’ feelings towards Obama, Clinton, Boehner, Netanyahu, McConnell, Hoenlein, Adelson, and Jon Stewart. [GBAPew]

SILVER LINING? – “J Street Wins Funding Battle Even Amid Midterm Washout for Liberals” by Nathan Guttman: “J Street PAC, the dovish lobby’s political action committee, gave out more than $2 million to candidates in the 2014 midterm elections, claiming the mantle of the largest pro-Israel PAC… But critics of the pro-peace organization note that pro-Israel PAC money is a drop in the bucket of Jewish giving to political candidates, especially since the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision known as Citizens United came about, opening the flood gates for unlimited independent expenditures by corporations and individuals on behalf of candidates. Though they totaled more than $5 million in this election cycle, pro-Israel PAC donations are a fraction of the private and general PAC money given to candidates by Jewish donors.” [Forward]

PREVIEW: “Republican Hawks Already Have a War Plan for ISIS, Ukraine, and Obama” by Eli Lake in the Daily Beast: “The Republican victory in the 2014 midterms is less than 24 hours old. But already, the hawkish wing of the GOP is planning an ambitious battle plan to revamp American foreign policy: everything from arming Ukraine’s military to reviewing the ISIS war to investigating the U.S. intelligence community’s role in warming relations with Iran… In an interview Wednesday, Sen. John McCain, the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he has already discussed a new national security agenda with fellow Republicans Bob Corker and Richard Burr, the likely incoming chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.”[DailyBeast] • McConnell: “Any Iran deal must recognize Israel’s defense needs” [IsraelHayom] • “Iran Quietly Fearful of Republican Takeover of Congress” [FreeBeacon]

IRAN TALKS: Obama, at post-election press conference, discussed the latest from the talks with Iran and on the role congress should play with regard to sanctions: “On Iran. Because of the unprecedented sanctions that we put in place that really did have a crippling effect on Iran’s economy, they have come to the table and they have negotiated seriously around providing assurances that they’re not developing a nuclear weapon for the first time. And they have abided by the interim rules. We have been able to freeze their program: in some cases reduce the stockpile of nuclear material that they already had in hand. And the — the discussions, the negotiations, have been constructive. The international community has been unified and cohesive. There haven’t been a lot of cracks in our alliance. Even in countries where we have some differences like Russia, have agreed with us and have worked with us cooperatively in trying to find ways to make sure that we can verify and have confidence going forward that Iran doesn’t have the capacity to develop a nuclear weapon that could not only threaten friends of ours like Israel, trigger a nuclear arms race in the region, but could over the long term potentially threaten us.”

“Whether we can actually get a deal done, we’re going to have to find out over the next three to four weeks. We have presented to them a framework that would allow them to meet their peaceful energy needs. And if in fact what their leadership says, that they don’t want to develop a nuclear weapon, if that is in fact true, then they’ve got an avenue here to provide that assurance to the world community and in a progressive, step by step, verifiable way, allow them to get out from under sanctions so that they can reenter as full-fledged members of the international community. But they have their own politics and there’s a long tradition of mistrust between the two countries. And there’s a sizable portion of the political elite that you know, cut its teeth on anti-Americanism and still finds it convenient to blame America for every ill that there is.”

QUESTION: Sir, on whether or not you have the power unilaterally to relax sanctions, to implement an agreement? OBAMA: I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. What I want to do is see if in fact, we have a deal. If we do have a deal that I have confidence will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and that we can convince the world and the public will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, then, you know, it’ll be time to engage in Congress. And I think that we’ll be able to make a strong argument to Congress that this is the best way for us to avoid a nuclear Iran, that it will be more effective than any other alternatives we might take, including military action. But that requires it being a good deal. And I’ve said consistently that I’d rather have no deal than a bad deal. Because what we won’t want to do is lift sanctions and provide Iran legitimacy, but not have the verifiable mechanisms to make sure that they don’t break out and product a nuclear weapon.” [Transcript]

TOP-OPS: Lee Smith — “Obama’s Boastful Helping of Iran Makes Him Renfield to Their Dracula” [TabletMag] • Armin Rosen: “Obama’s Biggest Foreign Goal Just Got Vastly Harder” [BusinessInsider] • Naftali Bennett: “For Israeli, Two-State Is No Solution” [NYTimes] • Elizabeth Rosenberg & Zachary K. Goldman: “Don’t Wreck the Iran Talks” [NYTimes] • Eric Yoffie: “The GOP sweep is no victory for Netanyahu” [Haaretz] • Michael R. Bloomberg: “Gridlock Leads Voters Out of Washington” [BV] • John Boehner & Mitch McConnell: “Now We Can Get Congress Going” [WSJ]

MIDDLE EAST ROUNDUP: “Second Car Attack in Jerusalem Injures 3 Soldiers” [AtlanticMag] • “U.S. Allies Threaten to Recognize Palestinian State” [WSJ] • “At Golan Heights, Israel Eyes Syria Chaos” [NYTimes] • “Iran general said to mastermind Iraq ground war” [WashPost] • “Egypt Elevates an Official Hostile to U.S.” [NYTimes] • “Amal Clooney Calls On Egypt To Release Al Jazeera Journalists” [BuzzFeed]

**Good Thursday 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**

CELEBRATING: “After Election Success, Christie Breaks Bread With Billionaires” by Max Abelson: “As Chris Christie’s left hand held onto Henry Kissinger’s right shoulder, eyes around the Four Seasons Grill Room in Manhattan darted discreetly. The New Jersey governor stood up from his lunch today with billionaires Steve Wynn and Richard LeFrak to greet the former secretary of state. “It was a very benign conversation, it was happy,” LeFrak, chairman of New York-based real estate firm LeFrak Organization, said afterward. “It was a completely social occasion, just exchanging pleasantries.” [Bloomberg]

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH STEVE ISRAEL: “For Steve Israel, Democrat Charged With Protecting House Seats, a Rout Hits Close Home” by Jason Horowitz: “Over the last six months, Steve Israel, the Long Island congressman in charge of defending Democratic House seats from the coming Republican onslaught, used his phone to call candidates, email donors and type 40,000 words of his second novel, a sendup of National Rifle Association lobbyists titled “Big Guns.” “I write on planes, I write in cars. I write well into the night and in the early morning,” said Representative Israel, who, as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, suffered a devastating and perhaps career-endangering rout on Tuesday, both nationally and in his New York backyard. “I love writing. I hope that I can spend more time doing that.” …adding that in January he was to begin a book tour in support of his first satirical novel, also tapped out on a smartphone, “The Global War on Morris,” about a Republican administration that accidentally identifies a Jewish Mets fan from Great Neck as a terrorist.” [NYTimes] • “Rep. Steve Israel Leaving DCCC” [Politico]

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER: “Prices too high? Let Israelis Drink Grape Juice” by David Shamah: “Although most can’t vote for him, New York Senator Charles Schumer has got Israelis’ back – fighting to lower prices on at least one product. In this case, what’s good for most Israelis is good for New York State grape growers — though local vineyard owners probably wouldn’t go along with that. Schumer announced last month that he would seek to pressure Israel to lower its steep 22% tariff on large imports of foreign-made grape juice. At an event in upstate New York’s Chautauqua County, – one of the biggest grape-growing regions in the eastern US, and the largest Concord grape crop in the world – Schumer said that a lower Israeli tariff would not only make grape juice cheaper for Israelis, but would also enable farmers to export more of their crop instead of destroying it, as will happen this year.” [ToI]

DOWN-TICKET: “Jewish Democrat activist wins D.C. council seat: Brianne Nadeau, prominent in Washington D.C.-area Jewish advocacy, won a seat on the capital’s city council. Nadeau, a Democrat, on Tuesday secured the seat representing Ward 1, a diverse and youthful area in the city’s Northwest known for its alternative culture. Nadeau, 34, until her election worked with Rabinowitz Communications, a public relations firm that handles the accounts of major Jewish organizations as well as a number of groups affiliated with the Democratic Party.” [Haaretz; JTA] • @Yair_Rosenberg: “.@EricLesser, who organized the famous Obamas seder, just won his Massachussetts state senator election. Our interview [TabletMag]”

RISING STAR: “A Pritzker Sets Out With Ideas of Empire” by David Gelles: “Adam Pritzker strolled through a spacious SoHo loft, pausing to admire a fake narwhal tusk. Handblown glass chandeliers from the Czech Republic dangled overhead, and vintage Moroccan rugs covered expansive hardwood floors. The apartment, a minimalist luxury jewel box, was not Mr. Pritzker’s home, and the furnishings were not his own. Instead, these were the building blocks of what Mr. Pritzker, a 30-year-old scion of the Hyatt hotels family, hopes will one day be a consumer goods and hospitality conglomerate that caters to wealthy jet-setters around the globe… If successful, Mr. Pritzker will build on the business legacy of a family that boasts 11 living billionaires. Mr. Pritzker’s grandfather, Jay, who died in 1999, was the architect of the family empire. His father, John, is a billionaire hotelier. Another relative is Penny Pritzker, the commerce secretary.” [DealBook]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Inside The Phenomenal Rise Of WeWork” by Alex Konrad in the Nov. 24th issue of Forbes: “Mort Zuckerman, the 77-year-old billionaire chairman of Boston Properties, controls $19.6 billion (market cap) worth of prime office buildings in cities like New York, Washington and San Francisco, and in June 2013 he took a walk through a little real estate business called WeWork that Adam Neumann and his partner, Miguel McKelvey, were building. Neumann, then a 34-year-old former Israeli naval officer with a thick mane of black hair, met Zuckerman at the elevator of his second WeWork office in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. “Surprise, surprise–another upstart wanted in on the office rental game,” Zuckerman remembers thinking to himself. Neumann explained the business model: WeWork takes out a cut-rate lease on a floor or two of an office building, chops it up into smaller parcels and then charges monthly memberships to startups and small companies that want to work cheek-by-jowl with each other.”

“Zuckerman asked Neumann to lunch. Then another. By their fourth meeting he made Neumann promise to let him invest personally in WeWork the next time it raised money. And in 2015, almost two years since that first tour, a 200,000-square-foot WeWork will be the anchor tenant of the $300 million redevelopment co-owned by Boston Properties in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Plans are afoot for another partnership in San Francisco and perhaps Boston down the road. WeWork’s founders have been content to stay quiet about their story until now, swearing investors to secrecy. No longer. Over the next 12 months the company expects to triple its membership from 14,000 to 46,000 and expand to 60 locations from 21 today and 9 just a year ago.” [Forbes]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Israel Corp.’s Idan Ofer Reiterates Support  for Chinese Car Maker Qoros” [WSJ] • “Israel Backs Cyprus’ Offshore Oil & Gas Search” [AP] • “Israel Probes ‘Millions of Euros’ Hidden in Switzerland” [Bloomberg] • “American Beagle Outfitters” [Bloomberg] • “Inside Jared Kushner’s Puck Building’s $66M Penthouse” [NYPost] • “Real estate developer buys beloved Clinton Hill kosher bakery for $23.5M” [DailyNews] • “Later, Caryl Englander, wife of hedge-fund manager Israel Englander, found herself searching out a vegetarian plate after she was presented with a tray of oysters and a whole piglet.” [Bloomberg]

SPORTS BLINK: “Lasry’s embrace of Democrats bugs Robin Vos, but state funding for arena still possible: Powerful Republican state legislator Robin Vos supports a state role in retaining the Milwaukee Bucks as an economic development initiative, but Vos says he was bothered by Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry’s public appearance with President Barack Obama when Obama visited Milwaukee to support Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. The concerns of Rep. Vos, who this summer signaled his switch from negative to positive on the arena-funding question, adds a wrinkle to newly re-elected Gov. Scott Walker’s deliberations on possible arena funding. Bucks majority owners Lasry and Wes Edens are well-known in national Democratic fundraising circles, so it was not surprising when Lasry joined Burke in greeting Obama at the airport Oct. 25.” [BizJournal]

ON THIS DATE IN… (via the AP): 2001 – “Billionaire Republican Michael Bloomberg was elected New York City mayor.”

BIRTHDAYS: Dan Senor turns 43…

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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