Daily Kickoff: Iran Spies on “Members of US/Israeli lobby”; Adelson to host fundraiser for Carr; White House honors Camp Simcha alum Elana Simon

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By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Matt Nosanchuk hosted a Jewish Heritage Month reception/panel at the White House last night. Among those at the event: Reps Debbie Wassermann-Schultz, Henry Waxman and Eliot Engel, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker,and U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor & Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman. Panelists included: Sarah Eisenman, Executive Director of Entwine, JDC; Mark Levin, Executive Director of NCSJ; Melanie Nezer, Vice President, Policy and Advocacy of HIAS; and Becky Wasserman, Director of Campaigns and Organizing, AJWS. Sandy Cardin – President, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network served as moderator.

WEST POINT SPEECH: Diplomacy Is More Effective Than Use Of Military Force In Dealing With Iran: President Barack Obama on Wednesday defended his foreign policy approach and the path the U.S. has taken in dealing with Iran’s nuclear threat. “We have an opportunity to resolve our differences peacefully. The odds of success are still long, and we reserve all options to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.. the said during a commencement address at West Point. “But for the first time in a decade, we have a very real chance of achieving a breakthrough agreement – one that is more effective and durable than what would be achieved through the use of force.”

Silver Lining: “No one noticed, but Obama speech contained a strong rationale for potential unilateral military action against Iran.” [Jeffrey Goldberg]

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING TODAY: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to announce the formation of a Palestinian unity government with Hamas today. Abbas is also planning to visit the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2007.

CRUZ DOCTRINE: Overseas, Senator Ted Cruz, considered one of the top potential Republican contenders in 2016, began outlining his vision for U.S. policy on Israel, Iran etc. Cruz blasted the Obama administration’s relationship with Israel: “There’s been a tendency with this administration to alienate and abandon our allies and to accommodate and appease enemies and those who are antagonistic to us,”Cruz said on a conference call with reporters yesterday. “The U.S. needs to stand with Israel. No one wants to see peace more than Israel. But consistently, the Obama administration has criticized and attacked the leadership of Israel. Over the last five years, America is receding from leadership in the world, and Russia, Iran, and China have stepped into that vacuum and made the world a more dangerous place.” [Business Insider]

—J Street Fundraises Off Cruz’s ‘Pander Express’ Israel Trip: “Last we heard from Ted Cruz on our issue, he was demanding Sec. Kerry resign for warning of the consequences for Israel should it fail to realize a two-state solution. Now the presidential hopeful is on the ground in the Holy Land and once again doing his best to pander to the far right elements of the pro-Israel community,” J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami said in the email asking supporters to chip in $25.”

HAPPENING TODAY: Sheldon Adelson to host a dinner fundraiser for Elan Carr in Los Angeles: Carr is running as a Republican for California’s 33rd district in a rather liberal area. Tickets for the general reception and dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills range from $1,000 to $2,600. A VIP reception ticket starts at $5,200. Host Committee members include Beny & Adele Alagem, Elliot & Robin Boridy, Robert & Beverly Cohen, Edward & Elissa Czuker, Shawn & Dorit Evenhaim, Larry Field, Sam & Ardyth Freshman, Fred & Dina Leeds, Arie Lipnick, Marvin Markowitz, Adam & Gila Milstein, Ron & Annette Plotkin, Fred & Carla Sands, Naty & Debbie Saidoff, and Mark & Pam Teitelbaum.[JewishInsider] — As a result of running in a nonpartisan primary against a raft of Democratic candidates, Carr is “very likely” to finish first on June 3,” according to Scott Lay, a former Democratic Party activist who writes a daily newsletter about California politics and policy. [JewishJournal]

2016 WATCH: How to woo big bundlers? Bring them to Israel: “Rand Paul asked Morris to accompany him on a weeklong trip to Israel in January 2013, a journey that forged a friendship.”[Bloomberg] —— Cruz: “I’m no Rand Paul on Israel”: “Cruz has pledged to Jewish leaders that the United States must do whatever it takes to defend Israel’s national security interests. Cruz plans to speak after the Israel Day parade in Manhattan on Sunday and at the Conference of Presidents for Major American Jewish Organizations the following day.” [TheHill

TIKKUN OLAM: Tisch Donates $10 million as Obama focuses on concussions today:“Readying for a White House event Thursday focusing on youth sports and brain safety, officials announced a fresh commitment of $65 million in private funds to boost clinical and scientific work. In addition to $30 million from the NCAA and a new pledge of $25 million from the NFL for separate endeavors, a $10-million gift to UCLA from Hollywood executive and New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch will help get a national tracking system for concussions off the ground.” [LA Times]

–Camp Simcha alum honored by President Obama: “Camp Simcha alum and childhood cancer survivor Elana Simon was honored by President Barack Obama at the White House for her cancer research work. At just 18-years-old, Simon from Manhattan has beaten a rare form of cancer, co-authored a study on the disease and been accepted to Harvard University. “Can I just say, I did not do this at 12, or 18,” President Obama told her during the fourth annual White House Science Fair. “We’re so proud of you.” Video [JewishInsider]

Manchester United, Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer passed away at 85:“Glazer, who as a teenager sold watch parts from a suitcase before building a wide-ranging business empire, bought the Buccaneers in 1995 for a then-NFL record of $192 million… Glazer, the fifth of seven children born to Jewish Lithuanian immigrants, turned to sports after a successful business career… Glazer no longer had any day-to-day connection to the clubs and the ownership is in the hands of Glazer’s children, Avram and Joel Glazer.” [Reuters]

**Good Morning! 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**

STARTUP NATION: Drones gain ground in Israel after U.S. Cobra helicopters cut [Reuters] — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick Courts Israeli Companies On His Trip to the Middle East [BloombergTV] — Joshua Mitnick: Israeli Tech Sector Soaring Despite Boycott [JewishWeek] — Microsoft Ventures partners with Israel’s Jerusalem Venture Partners for cyber-security accelerator, one startup to get $1M investment [TheNextWeb]

IRAN: Post on Facebook, get 20 years in prision. Torture included. [VentureBeat] — Iranian hackers use fake Facebook accounts to spy on U.S. and Israel: “ISight Partners, which uncovered the operation, said the hackers’ targets include a four-star U.S. Navy admiral, U.S. lawmakers and ambassadors, members of the U.S.-Israeli lobby, and personnel from Britain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.” [Reuters]

The Elders of Zion – A ‘Secret Society’?: Huffington Post Listicle Confuses Fact with Fiction, Calls Elders of Zion a Real Secret Society [TabletMag]

Virginia state Senator praises Syria’s Bashar Assad: “In a letter to Bashar Assad, Virginia state Sen. Richard Black called the Syrian president “heroic” and commended him and the country’s armed forces for “exhibit[ing] extraordinary gallantry in the war against terrorists.” Assad posted Black’s letter to his Facebook page on Sunday. The Washington Post later confirmed that Black, a Republican from the 13th District in Northern Virginia, had sent the letter. “You have followed the practice of your father by treating with respect all Christians and the small community of Jews in Damascus,” Black wrote.“You defended their churches and the Jewish synagogue and you have permitted them to worship freely according to their beliefs. I am grateful for that.” [Politico] — Flashback to last week: Assad Destroyed Syria’s Oldest Synagogue [DailyBeast] —— Related: House Passes Meng Bill to Make Desecration of Cemeteries a Violation of Religious Freedom [JPupdates]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Ziff Brothers Shut Down Hedge Fund, Shift Way Wealth Is Managed [WSJ] — Fischer sworn is as member of U.S. Federal Reserve’s board [Reuters] — Outerstuff, Ltd. Announces Blackstone Equity Investment [WSJ] — Adelson Seeks to Woo Japan Prime Minister in Casino Visit [Bloomberg]

SPORTS BLINK: Shelly Sterling receives at least three offers to buy Clippers: “Racing to sell the Clippers before being stripped of ownership by the NBA, co-owner Shelly Sterling received at least three preliminary offers for the team that could reach up to a record $2 billion, according to three people familiar with the process… Among the likely bidders are: A group that includes Chicago-based Guggenheim Partners, which bought the Dodgers two years ago for more than $2 billion. Guggenheim has joined with a trio of billionaires: Larry Ellison, David Geffen and Oprah Winfrey…. A partnership with ties to major league sports: Tony Ressler, the Los Angeles-based co-founder of the investment firm Ares Management and a minority owner of baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers; Bruce Karsh, co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management and a minority owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and chairman of Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times; and Grant Hill, a former NBA All-Star who finished his career with the Clippers…. Steve Ballmer, former chief executive of Microsoft, who left in February after leading the company for 14 years… — A group backed by money from Middle Eastern investors is expected to make an offer.” [LA Times]

TRIPLE CROWN: California Chrome’s Jewish Trainer hopes to run away with history: “It’s a great time to be Art Sherman. At 77, he’s the oldest horse trainer to have won the Kentucky Derby. When 3-year-old California Chrome raced to victory two weeks later in the Preakness Stakes on May 17, it meant he had trained the winner of the first two legs of this year’s Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. On June 7, Sherman will attempt to become the 11th trainer — and second Jew, after Max Hirsch in 1946 — to complete the trifecta by winning the Belmont Stakes. California Chrome would be the 12th horse overall, and first since Affirmed in 1978, to win all three races.” [JewishJournal]

TRIPLE THREAT: “Justin Timberlake gets LoveStoned in Tel Aviv”: “Forty-six thousand screaming fans, 32 hit songs and one surprise (fake) marriage proposal were on tap Wednesday night at Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon for Justin Timberlake’s debut concert in Israel. Timberlake, who arrived in Israel at 3 a.m. Tuesday night and went straight to the Western Wall accompanied by his wife Jessica Biel, his parents and entourage, told the crowd repeatedly how excited he was to be in Israel and even how he had heard Tel Aviv was a city for lovers. He even threw in a bit of Hebrew, saying “Shalom” at one point, as well as “Yalla Balagan” and a slightly mangled Hebrew version of “I love you all.” [ToI] — Israeli couple dupes Timberlake with fake marriage proposal [Video]

That’s all folks, have a great Thursday!

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


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