Daily Kickoff: Does Hillary have Christie’s ‘Occupation’ problem?; Bipartisan Senate Letter on PA GOV; Inside Story of (pending) Sterling Ballmer Deal
By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff
DRIVING THE DAY: UPSET IN ISRAEL’S PRESIDENT ELECTION: Dovish Knesset member Meir Sheetrit surprised everyone this morning by surging to 2nd place in the first round of voting. Out of 117 qualified votes, frontrunner Reuven Rivlin came in first place with 44 votes, Sheetrit in second place with 31 votes and former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik with 28 votes. The momentum has now shifted towards Sheetrit as the top two face each other in the second round. WATCH LIVE BROADCAST [Knesset Channel]
Exit Interview — Jodi Rudoren Profiles Outgoing President Shimon Peres: “Peres, at 90, Is Ready to Leave the Israeli Presidency, but Not to Retire”: “Officially, he aspires to be a global matchmaker between technology companies and problems like poverty, disease and development. In whispers, many around him also see him as a domestic kingmaker, scheming to unite feuding factions and revive Israel’s moribund left.” [NYTimes]
—After failed peace talks, Israel divided: “Key coalition allies are demanding a government initiative to extract Israel from the West Bank, while others say now is the moment for enhanced Jewish settlement and even annexation of some areas. The likely short-term outcome is a period of protracted gridlock in which hopes for peace will remain in deep freeze, and some are sensing that a government collapse and even early elections may follow suit.” [AP]
HAPPENING TODAY: At 10:00 am, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs holds a hearing on verifying Iran’s Nuclear Compliance: Witnesses include Stephen G. Rademaker, John A. Lauder, Olli Heinonen, and Joseph R. DeTrani. Chairman Ed Royce on the hearing: “A nuclear Iran is the gravest national security threat facing the U.S. today. Given Iran’s long record of deception, any nuclear agreement in which we cannot completely verify compliance would be an open invitation for Tehran to continue its secret nuclear weapons program, forcing the world to live with the permanent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. At this hearing, the Committee will examine, with top national security experts, the requirements that would be needed for the United States and international inspectors to comprehensively verify Iran’s compliance with its nuclear commitments.” Webcast [House.Gov]
—Iran says six-month extension of nuclear talks may be necessary [Reuters] — Israeli spy general says Iran serious in negotiations on nuclear deal: “Brigadier-General Itai Brun, military intelligence’s chief analyst, told the Herzliya Conference that Iran was honoring a November interim agreement that Netanyahu had condemned as an “historic mistake” for easing sanctions on Israel’s arch-enemy.” [Reuters] —— Amb. Ron Dermer: “Don’t expect inspectors to stop Iran nukes” [Haaretz]
—FIRST LOOK, ONLY LOOK: In yesterday’s Daily Kickoff, we previewed a Tablet Magazine article titled “Ron Dermer is Israel’s Rockstar Ambassador to American Evangelical Christians” by Elisheva Goldberg and Daniel Arnon. We were surprised to hear from some readers that we had a dead link to the full story but it turned out Tablet had pulled the article entirely. We inquired as to why and Tablet’s senior editor Matthew Fishbane responded that “the piece was published by accident — it was not supposed to go out at all, but by a clerical error it went live for a few hours in the middle of the night U.S. time. We removed it as soon as we realized the mistake. It’s just a hazard of the digital age, no different than leaning against a wall and turning off the light switch.” In the end, our ‘First Look’ turned out to be the ‘Only Look’.
HILLARY’S ‘HARD CHOICES’ OUT TODAY: In the book, Clinton sheds light on her dealings with world power players and how her ties with them often set the tone in negotiations. “The personal element matters more in international affairs than many would expect, for good or ill,” she writes… Hillary reserved poignant criticism for Iran’s Mahmud Ahmadinejad, whom she described as “a Holocaust denier and provocateur who… insulted the West at every turn.” The Iranian leader showed himself to be a “bellicose peacock strutting on the world stage,” and unwilling to thaw the chilled relations with Washington enough to engage in meaningful negotiations over its nuclear program.
—Knowing Bibi for years helped: Clinton wrote that her years of knowing Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu helped ease their occasionally strained debates over the Mideast peace process and Iran’s nuclear program, which she said Netanyahu believed “was a bigger and more urgent threat to Israel’s long-term security than the Palestinian conflict.” She writes, “I learned that Bibi would fight if he felt he was being cornered, but if you connected with him as a friend, there was a chance you could get something done.” [AFP]
—Hillary’s Christie Moment? On CNN’s Crossfire, co-host S.E. Cupp asked Tracy Sefl– “Does Clinton owe an apology for using the same language that Chris Christie used, then he had to apologize to pro-Israel voters and pro-Israel groups?” In her memoir, Clinton describes a 1981 trip to Israel with her husband. She writes: “When we left the city and visited Jericho, in the West Bank, I got my first glimpse of life under occupation for Palestinians, who were denied the dignity and self-determination that Americans take for granted.” Sefl retorted, “Hillary Clinton is going to stand by the words in her book. She is not going to apologize for something she need not apologize for… I’m unapologetically pro-Israel and Hillary is very, very strong on this…” [CNN]
Menendez Questions Administration’s Acceptance Of Palestinian ‘Two-Headed Dragon’:“Palestinians must choose between peace with Israel as a Jewish state and a marriage with Hamas, a terrorist organization,” Senator Robert Menendez declared Sunday night at the AJC New Jersey Region Annual Meeting. “We will not provide assistance to a Palestinian government in which Hamas has a role and exercises ‘undue influence,’” he said… Menendez also questioned the wisdom of the administration’s decision to give “this two-headed dragon” a chance, “based on the empty assurances of one man, President Abbas… Whatever its alleged role, Hamas will wield power and influence, and Hamas, under our law, is a terrorist organization opposed to a two-state agreement and supported by Iran.” [JP Updates]
—Bipartisan U.S. Senate Letter on PA Unity Government: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen Susan Collins (R-ME) have been circulating a letter among their colleagues that states such a government represents a serious blow to peace efforts. “Any assistance to the Palestinians should only be provided when we have confidence that this new government is in full compliance with the restrictions contained in current law.”
—Rep. Ted Deutch & Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: “Palestinian Unity Gov Backed by Hamas ‘Disturbing’ and U.S. Decision ‘Counterproductive’ – call for administration testimony in letter to Sec. John Kerry.” [PressRelease]
—President Obama on Monday signed into law H.R. 2939, awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres. President Peres will visit the United States at the end of the month to receive the award and meet with President Obama at the White House.
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BAHRAIN: “One Persian Gulf monarchy’s surprising embrace of Jews” by Soud Mekhennet in the Washington Post: “Until recently, Houda Ezra Nonoo was Bahrain’s ambassador to Washington. She is also Jewish, one of a few remaining members of her religious group. (Reliable data are impossible to come by, but a U.S. government estimate puts it under 1 percent.) Amazingly, the Jews of this Gulf monarchy are not just hanging on, but ascending to powerful posts. They had king-appointed seats in the parliament’s upper chamber. Bahrain’s ecumenical trappings are unusual enough, but this petro state even offers a whiff of philo-Semitism.” [WashPost]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Seth Klarman’s Baupost to Gain More Than $900 Million on Deal [Bloomberg] — Boca Raton apartments sell for $80.3 million to the family of Jewish financier George Lindemann [SunSentinel] — Schottenstein Real Estate Group bringing apartments to Carolinas [BizJournals] — Sale of Jared Kushner’s first Puck penthouse closes for $28M [RealDeal] — Last Look Inside The Crumbling Kutsher’s Resort Before It’s Razed [Gothamist] — Michael Stern & Joseph Chetrit look to build a 1,000-foot tower in Brooklyn [NYTimes] — Seth Weissman’s novel fund lets investors take it to the streets of B’klyn [Crain’s]
SPORTS BLINK: Page A1 of today’s NYTimes — The inside story of how Shelly Sterling and her team of advisors negotiated the (pending) sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer: “At 7 on a Saturday morning, four weeks after her life had erupted in scandal, Rochelle Sterling was awakened by a ringing phone. The voice at the other end was a high-energy buzz. But the man, a stranger, made it clear that he wanted to bid on the Los Angeles Clippers, the basketball team she owned with her estranged husband, Donald Sterling. The man on the phone offered to fly from Seattle to speak with her that afternoon. Mrs. Sterling agreed to meet him the next day. Then she hung up and went back to bed. When she got up later that morning, the conversation was fuzzy. She called a friend and asked, “Who is this man Bomber from Washington?” The friend explained that his name was Ballmer, Steve Ballmer, and that he used to run Microsoft.”
“On May 29, the day Mrs. Sterling and Mr. Ballmer agreed in principle on the deal, Mrs. Sterling and her advisers gathered in a conference room at the law offices of Greenberg Glusker in Los Angeles. Mr. Sterling was on speakerphone. He told the room that he refused to sell — at any price — and vowed to fight the N.B.A., which had barred him for life for making racist statements on recordings, according to participants in the negotiations. With little else to say, Mr. Sterling hung up. Pierce O’Donnell, Mrs. Sterling’s lawyer, turned to a roomful of lawyers, investment bankers and financial advisers and said, “Time to go to Plan B,” according to advisers who were in the room. It was a reference to a provision in the trust that controlled the Clippers that stipulated that if Mr. or Mrs. Sterling was found to have a cognitive impairment, the other had a fiduciary responsibility to become sole trustee.
“Mrs. Sterling has maintained that she was unaware of the provision until late in the process, according to her advisers. But on May 13, the day after she watched her husband give a rambling interview to Anderson Cooper of CNN, she called Mr. Sterling and urged him to undergo neurological testing, according to people with knowledge of the conversation. A neurologist affiliated with U.C.L.A. Medical Center and another from the San Fernando Valley found Mr. Sterling to be affected by cognitive impairment. From the perspective of her legal team, that documentation was the weapon they needed to strip the team from Mr. Sterling. (He will still get his share of proceeds from the sale.)” [NYTimes] — Sterling to sue NBA for $1B: ‘The team is not for sale’ [NYPost] —— Shelly Sterling Plans Charity With Share of $2B [Forward]
Jewish Billionaire’s Son (Nick Arison) Goes From Mopping Floor to LeBron James’s Boss[Bloomberg] — World Cup to Enhance Jewish Soccer Fans’ Religious Affiliation [Ynet] — Diamond minds: Baseball bonds generations of Shapiros – Ron, Mark & Caden [JTA]
TALK OF THE TOWN: Folks are buzzing about New York State Senator Simcha Felder’s session remarks yesterday on a special ed bill S.7691 [YouTube] State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. changed his vote from ‘no’ to ‘yes’ after hearing Felder [YouTube] “S.7691 requires parental appeal of placement of a child with a handicapping condition in a school district in a city of 1,000,000 or more be determined as required by federal law”
—-“When Gov. Chris Christie’s administration last year recommended directing $10.6 million from a state bond to Beth Medrash Govoha, a yeshiva in Lakewood, it helped to cripple his grade on a new report card from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.” [APP]
—Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) is expected to publish his first self-written novel book – a political satire – in January. “I’m publishing my first novel in January.. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Since I knew I couldn’t play centerfield for the Mets, which was my childhood dream, and since I couldn’t get a book published, I became a member of Congress. And now I’m publishing this book.. It’s a satire, a political satire.” Israel seemed to base some of the protagonist Morris Feldstein’s character on his own life. Feldstein, like Israel, “is a Jewish, Mets-loving inhabitant of Long Island.” Israel claimed “most of it” was written on his iPhone as he went about his day.‘” [Roll Call]
NEW BOOK OUT TODAY: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street – a novel by Susan Jane Gilman: “In 1913, young Malka Treynovsky flees Russia for New York with her family – only to be crippled and abandoned soon after she arrives. Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, Malka is determined to survive, quietly absorbing the secrets of his trade. Slowly, Malka transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, whom President Eisenhower christens “The Ice Cream Queen of America” — doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises. Yet she is nothing like the motherly “ice cream lady” portrayed in the media. Conniving and profane, Lillian is an indomitable businesswoman who prefers a stiff drink to a sundae.” [Amazon]
CALIFORNIA MAGAZINE: “Think an Old-Time Matchmaker is an Anachronism in Digital Age? Think Again”: “In an age of click-and-date, of fix-up apps and web sites, of TV romance carnivals such as The Bachelor, there is Judith Gottesman. Gottesman, a UC Berkeley psychology graduate who holds a master’s in social work from Yeshiva University in New York, is an old-fashioned matchmaker in a new age. Her business, Soul Mates Unlimited, concentrates on matches for Jewish singles all over California—including many in their golden years. Her clients are teachers, therapists, fire chiefs, entrepreneurs, rabbis. She’s had parents pay for their children’s matches and children pay for their elderly parent’s. And while the best things in life may be free, a successful soul match—hopefully a one-time investment—can cost upwards of $10,000.” [CaliforniaMag]
That’s all folks, have a great Tuesday!
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