Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Reps. Deutch, Israel & Lowey send letter to Boehner re: Bibi invite | Huckabee to Israel for 10 days | Aaron Keyak profile

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DRIVING THE DAY: “Nobel winner Elie Wiesel lends support to Netanyahu’s U.S. speech” by Will Dunham and Doina Chiacu: “Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel is lending his support to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress on the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program – an address that has antagonized the White House and divided American Jews. An outspoken New Jersey Orthodox rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, said on Thursday he is placing full-page advertisements in two of the leading U.S. newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, featuring Wiesel’s endorsement of Netanyahu’s speech. Speaking to Reuters by phone, Boteach said: “There’s no personality more respected in the global Jewish community and few in the wider world than Elie Wiesel. He is a living prince of the Jewish people.” [Reuters] • See the ad [Twitter]

—Many of the leaders and insiders we have talked with over the past week acknowledge that there is a narrative ‘battle’ going on. For more than three weeks, this drip-drop story surrounding the speech has allowed the discussion of “did Bibi snub Obama?, who’s attending?, who’s boycotting?, to dominate the conversation at the expense of actually talking about Iran’s nuclear program. All it takes is, each day, another Member of Congress making an announcement, as to whether they are attending or boycotting, for this story to dominate the news. It’s debatable if Wiesel’s announcement helps get the conversation back to focusing on substance, but it might just be an acknowledgement by some Bibi backers that, up until the day of the speech, the narrative is simply not going to change. If so, they might as well play some better defense when it comes to this ‘political football’.

But on Iran for a sec — “Nuclear negotiators lean in as the clock ticks on Iran deal” by Laura Rozen: In recent meetings, the United States has presented Iran with a few different ways an acceptable enrichment capacity could be achieved in a final deal that would meet Washington’s requirement for a minimum one-year “breakout” — the amount of time it would take Iran to produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. As they wait to see if Iran agrees to move forward with one of the proposed formulas, Iran is pressing for earlier sanctions relief in a deal. The two sides are also haggling over the duration of a deal, with the P5+1 reportedly asking for 15 years, and Iran for a shorter deal.” [AlMonitor]

AARON DAVID MILLER OP: “Obama Is Pursuing Regime Change In Israel” in Foreign Policy: “Welcome to regime change, Obama-style. There are few opportunities to change the mullahcracy in Tehran. But Jerusalem may be another story. By accepting Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress — now widely seen as a real bungle — the prime minister has given the Obama administration an opening. And you can bet the White House is taking advantage to make it unmistakably clear that Bibi is bad for the U.S.-Israeli relationship.” [FP]

Drip Drop — Rep. John Yarmuth’s turn to issue a statement: “As a Jewish member of Congress, and as someone who proudly supports the State of Israel, I am saddened by the breakdown of thetraditionally bipartisan cooperation on issues affecting that nation, precipitated by the impending speech of Prime Minister Netanyahu to Congress on March 3. ​Among the many reasons I will not attend are the following… [WDRB]

“Trio of Jewish House Dems ask Boehner to end ‘political firestorm‘ over Netanyahu” by Sean Sullivan: “A trio of Jewish House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday afternoon calling on him to end the “political firestorm” they claim he created when he invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress next month.​ But unlike some Democrats who are threatening to skip the speech, Reps. Steve Israel (N.Y.), Ted Deutch (Fla.) and Nita Lowey (N.Y.) say they will be there.​” [WashPost] • See the letter [Scribd]

“Republican Senators Back Resolution Welcoming Netanyahu: Senate Republicans on Thursday moved to officially welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.S. ahead of his planned speech to Congress next month. Almost all GOP senators were listed as co-sponsors of a resolution by Sen.John Cornyn (R., Texas) saying the Senate “eagerly awaits the address of Prime Minister Netanyahu before a joint session of the United States Congress” and reaffirms the U.S. commitment to standby Israel in “times of uncertainty.” [WSJ]

2016 WATCH: “Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivers a floor speech on U.S. foreign policy, including a critique of President Obama’s level of support for Israel. He also urges members not to boycott Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress.” [C-SPAN]

“Huckabee heads to Israel: Mike Huckabee heads to Israel on Saturday for a 10-day trip where he will see the sights and meet with government officials. Huckabee’s trip comes as the former Republican governor from Arkansas considers launching his second presidential bid. After visiting Israel “dozens of times,” Huckabee will lead a group of more than 250 people traveling to Israel with the governor.” [CNN]

“Joe Biden just gave a 2016 speech in Iowa” by Colin Campbell: “In a Thursday speech at Drake University in Iowa, Biden directly addressed the 2016 race and the economic vision he feels a Democrat should embrace to win… Biden has not yet taken any of the tangible steps serious candidates typically do, such as hiring potential campaign staff. He said in January that he’ll decide whether to launch a White House bid later this year.” [BI]

“Walker Draws Wall Street Cash: Several GOP fundraisers from the financial-services industry and other Manhattan business sectors are hosting donor events for Mr. Walker, a likely presidential candidate, when he visits New York next week.” [WSJ]

Ash Carter confirmed as defense secretary: “The vote was 93-5, with five Republicans voting no: Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas, and Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both of Idaho. Carter’s expected to be sworn into office on Tuesday.” [Politico]

—NJDC’s Greg Rosenbaum emails… “Knowing Ashton Carter from his time at the Harvard Kennedy School, I am confident that this is the right man for the job. His remarkable understanding of nuclear proliferation issues makes him uniquely qualified in the ongoing effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and Israeli leaders will be pleased to find they have another stalwart friend joining the administration.”

TOP TWEET: @RosLehtinen — “Gr8 2 speak w/ @J_Insider abt keeping #DC updated w/ the latest in the Jewish political & business world” [Twitter]

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT: “Shimon Peres, Israel’s former longtime president and two-time prime minister, appeared at a gala for top funders of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles on Feb. 11 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. In an onstage conversation with Sharon Nazarian, Peres reminisced about the founding of the State of Israel and dished about his fellow founding statesmen – including David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin— all now deceased.  He called Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, the “greatest leader of the 20th century.”[JewishJournal]

HAPPENING SUNDAY: “Power crowd expected at first annual Times of Israel Gala: Israeli babes and power players alike will show solidarity Sunday at the Waldorf Astoria for the first annual Times of Israel Gala. We hear guests will include Leo DiCaprio’s ex, Bar Refaeli, as well as the new “Wonder Woman” Gal Gadot — plus Shimon Peres, former Israel Defense Forces chief Dan Halutz, diplomats Ido Aharoni and Ron Prosor, and “father of the Iron Dome” Daniel Gold. Also attending:Uri Levin, creator of GPS-based traffic app Waze — who will no doubt get to the event quickest.”[PageSix] • Drop us a note — Editor@JewishInsider.com — if you’re planning to attend. We’ll try to say hi and maybe even include a mention in Monday’s DK.

—SPEAKING OF WAZE: “Cops flood Waze with fake police sightings: NBC in Miami reports that hundreds of local cops are reporting bogus police sightings and speed traps to undermine the app. It’s not hard to imagine that police departments across the country are probably doing this too; Waze is just as easy for coppers to use as everyday drivers. You sneaky police.” [GizmodoNBC Miami]

**Good Friday 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**

Hear this: “Every 11 days, Stewart Butterfield’s business collaboration software company adds $1 million in annual recurring revenue.” [Fortune]

WEEKEND LONGFORM: “The Stanford Undergraduate and the Mentor” by Emily Bazelon in the New York Times Magazine: “Joe Lonsdale, who also went to Stanford, made much of his fortune by helping to start Palantir Technologies, a major data-mining company. He was among the “top entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.”… He grew up in middle-class Fremont, Calif., surrounded by his father’s large extended Irish-Catholic family. He was raised Jewish by his mother, who died when he was 25… As a Stanford student, he edited the conservative Stanford Review, where he encountered Peter Thiel, its co-founder. Lonsdale advanced in a group of male libertarians who saw the valley as a meritocracy built on pure talent.” [NYTimesMag]

“The brave Israeli interviewing ISIS, Kurdish fighters in Syria” by Rob Eshman: “Last November, ISIS was cutting through northern Iraq and Syria like a hot knife through butter. The only force that stood in its way was the Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG. Anghel has a contact within the YPG. For 20 years he’s been covering conflicts across the world for Israeli TV — Bosnia, Rwanda, Congo, Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan.” [JewishJournal]

“How David Plouffe is tackling the biggest campaign of his life” by Nancy Scola in Politico Magazine: “there’s perhaps nobody in the United States today with more experience managing the transition from outside change-agent to establishment at whiplash speed than David Plouffe… Today the 47-year-old Plouffe is spending his time flying back and forth between the east and west coasts, doing what Google Chairman Eric Schmidt calls running “the same kind of insurgent campaign he did in 2008 for a Silicon Valley tech company.” He’s known as Uber’s “campaign manager.” [PoliticoMag]

“When Netanyahu closed the door on peace talks” by Avi Issacharoff: “The following story probably won’t dispel the widespread notion among the Israeli public and leadership that since the Second Intifada there has been no partner on the Palestinian side. This is a notion that is based on statements from politicians from the right, among others, who claim that every time the moment of truth comes, PA President Mahmoud Abbas rejects peace agreements. But in at least one instance, that preconception proved unfounded, even false. Less than four years ago, it wasn’t Abbas who ran away from the table, but rather Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who declined to advance talks between Abbas and then-president Shimon Peres.” [ToI]

“Gaza’s Rogue Islamists Pose Risk to Truce With Israel” by Nicholas Casey: “On a recent surveillance patrol, Israeli soldiers watched as a squad of Hamas militants approached the tense border between Gaza and Israel. But the commandos weren’t there to attack, but rather to block rogue militants seeking to launch rockets into Israel, an Israeli commander said. Such patrols, confirmed by Hamas, are aimed at stanching a series of attacks by extremists aimed both within and outside the enclave that the Islamist group runs.” [WSJ] • AP Report: “High Civilian Death Toll In Gaza House Strikes” [AP]

AARON KEYAK PROFILE: “San Francisco man helps launch progressive, Jewish PR firm innation’s capital” by Dan Pine: “Aaron Keyak was a blue diaper baby. Raised in a progressive household in San Francisco, he has childhood memories of stuffing envelopes for Democratic campaigns and tagging along with his mother when she spoke at Raoul Wallenberg Jewish Democratic Club meetings. He considers himself a proud liberal Democrat. He also wears a kippah, prays in a Modern Orthodox shul, keeps kosher and unplugs for Shabbat… Now, after working for independent public relations firms, Jewish organizations and members of Congress, Keyak, 30, is teaming up with political veteran Steve Rabinowitz to start a new D.C.-based company, Bluelight Strategies.” [JWeekly]

DESSERT: “The kosher haute cuisine restaurant hunting a Michelin star” [FinancialTimes] • “You Can Now Have Glatt Kosher Meal Kits Delivered Via Kitchn Synch” [VillageVoice]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Michael Bloomberg turns 73… Steve Tisch turns 66… Stephen Schwarzman turns 68…

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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