Daily Kickoff: Pro-Israel Hawks Say It’s Time To Cut U.S. Aid to the Jewish State | Did Kerry Say New Iran Sanctions Needed? | Sam Nazarian Profile

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HAPPENING NOW: Secretary John Kerry meets with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations at the Department of State.
DRIVING THE DAY: “Some of Israel’s Top Defenders Say It’s Time to End U.S. Aid” by Eli Lake in the Daily Beast: “Israel’s economy is booming. So why is the United States still giving it $3.1 billion a year? That’s the question on the minds of some of Israel’s biggest supporters in Washington. “The experience of the Obama years has sharpened the perception among pro-Israel Americans that aid can cut against Israel by giving presidents with bad ideas more leverage than they would otherwise have,” saidNoah Pollak, the executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI)… Pollak is not alone.Elliott Abrams—a former deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush and leading pro-Israel writer and policy analyst—told The Daily Beast, “My view is over time it would be healthy for the relationship if the aid diminished.”—This is also the view expressed by leading Israeli politicians. Naftali Bennett, said in 2013, “I think, generally, we need to free ourselves from [U.S. aid]. We have to do it responsibly, since I’m not aware of all the aspects of the budget, I don’t want to say ‘Let’s just give it up,’ but our situation today is very different from what it was 20 and 30 years ago.”… Michael Oren, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Washington until 2013, said it was a mistake to view the aid to Israel as something exceptional. For Oren, the most important element of the U.S. aid is not the dollar figure, but what it represents politically. “The aid has a meaning that exceeds its dollar amount,” he said. “Because Israel does not have a defense treaty with the United States, the aid is a message to the region about the nature of the U.S.-Israel alliance. I see the message as more important than the aid.” [DailyBeast]

—BUSINESSWEEK: “Why More of Israel’s Iron Dome Will Be Made in the U.S.” by Peter Coy: “Most of the funding for Israel’s highly effective Iron Dome rocket-defense system has come from the U.S. In exchange for more funds, the Pentagon is now requiring Israel to buy more of the parts of the missile-defense system from American contractors, including Raytheon… Israel has expressed concern that sourcing parts in the U.S. could cost more. So there’s a provision allowing production of any part to revert to [Israeli defense contracter] Rafael if its U.S. price exceeds what it would cost to make in Israel by 5 percent or more, according to the documents. Israel gets more military funding from the U.S. than any other nation. It’s also allowed to spend more of it on non-U.S. sources than other recipient nations. A Congressional Research Service report in April said that the U.S. had provided more than $700 million to Israel for Iron Dome. The latest bill would lift that to about $1 billion.” [Businessweek]

BIBI’S FIRST WAR — ISRAEL LAUNCHES GROUND WAR IN GAZA IN 2ND PHASE OF OPERATION PROTECTIVE EDGE 

NYTIMES PAGE A1: “Israeli Military Invades Gaza, With Sights Set on Hamas Operations” by Jodi Rudoren and Anne Barnard: “Israeli tanks rolled into the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday night and naval gunboats pounded targets in the south as Israel began a ground invasion after 10 days of aerial bombardment failed to stop Palestinian militants from showering Israeli cities with rockets… Israeli leaders said the incursion was a limited one focused on tunnels into its territory like the one used for a predawn attack Thursday that was thwarted. They said it was not intended to topple Hamas, the militant Islamist movement, from its longtime rule of Gaza.” [NYTimes]

BI-PARTISAN — U.S. Senate Passes Unanimous Resolution In Support of Israel: The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a resolution expressing support for Israel as IDF troops enter Gaza for a limited ground offensive against Hamas and Palestinian militants. The lead sponsors for the resolution (S. Res. 498) were Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). “The United States Senate is in Israel’s camp,” Graham said on the Senate floor Thursday. [The Hill]

Hundreds Attend “Stand Strong with Israel” Rally In DC: The rally in Farragut Square was coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and sponsored by diverse organizations from the local Jewish community. “We want to be able to live in peace,” said Noa Meir, Director of Israel Action Center, “just like we want the Palestinian citizens to be able to live in peace.” [UPI]

SPOTTED AT RALLY: Rep. Trent Franks, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center; Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council and Irwin Cotler, MP for Mount Royal and Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Cruz said that when Israelis are attacked, “their fight is our fight,” and “their enemies are our enemies.” [YouTube]

IRAN SANCTIONS  Jewish Lawmakers: Kerry floats new sanctions on Iran: US Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers July 17 that passing new triggered sanctions on Iran might help unlock a nuclear deal, a complete reversal from the policy of the President Barack Obama administration until now, several House Democrats told Al-Monitor. Kerry made the remarks at a State Department meeting with a group of Jewish lawmakers who are regularly briefed on issues pertaining to Israel.”He said it might be useful as a spur,” one lawmaker said. “But he said he hadn’t checked with the White House.” [Al-Monitor— “State Dept. Backtracks Kerry Suggests New Iran Sanctions Needed” [FreeBeacon]
20 Years Ago Today: Hezbollah and Iran bombed the AMIA Jewish community center in Beunos Aires, Argentina. (H/T Matthew Levitt)


**Good Friday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share 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**


NBC Pulls Pro-Palestinian Reporter From Gaza: Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who has been perceived as a hero among Pro-Palestinian Americans, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately, the website First Look reported. According to an NBC source, the executives said the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion… He was one of the foreign journalists that had experienced first hand the incident on Wednesday that killed four young boys on a beach in Gaza City. [FirstLook] Others have noted that Mohyeldin deleted posts he’d made to Twitter and Facebook that were critical of the U.S. State Department’s reaction to the attack. [NYMag]MH17- Israeli Lone Soldier Among 298 Killed in Downed Malaysian Airlines Plane: An Israeli citizen is among the 295 fatalities reported in the Malaysian Airlines downed plane on Thursday. Itamar Avnon served as a lone soldier in the IDF during Operation Cast Lead in 2009, his father DovAvnon announced on his Facebook account. “Unfortunately, I must share with all my friends on Facebook that my son Itamar was on the plane that crashed over Ukraine,” the father wrote. “He was heading back to Australia after a visit to the Netherlands.” Itamar served during his Israeli military service in the Sabotage Detachment brigade and paratroopers. He also fought in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. [JP Updates]2014 MIDTERMS: Jewish Republican Elan Carr Outraised Democrat in Waxman District: Elan Carr, the Republican nominee vying for the 33rd District congressional seat that is being vacated by Democratic icon Henry Waxman, raised $434,873 in the second fundraising quarter of 2014, according to FEC reports filed Tuesday. Carr, an Orthodox Jew, finished the quarter with $245,822 cash-on-hand, while his Democratic rival Ted Lieu trails with $204,438. [Breitbart]BUSINESS PROFILE: Haute Magazine Cover Story – “The King of Hearts: Sam Nazarian” by Laura Schreffler: “Let’s be honest: SBE is going to do well (and already does) everywhere. At the rate he’s going, the only thing Sam Nazarian has to worry about is world domination. He is a man that believably speaks of making his hotel guests feel special, and who isn’t afraid to try new things, like serving gourmet food from master chef Jose Andres to serious gamers along with the prerequisite tableside cocktails. He is the man who knows his patrons will likely be  young and upwardly mobile weekend warriors, but who still caters specifically to local residents with special offers and event invites. What also sets Nazarian apart and makes both him and his company so successful is not only the fact that he is so hands-on with his properties, but also that he clearly cares for and respects those who work for and with him. If only he could find time to truly relax with said friends, life would be perfect. But he wouldn’t be the success story he is today if he took time to smell the roses.” [HauteMag]

STARTUP NATION: Israeli startup DAU-UP joins the race to help developers find mobile [VentureBeat]

SPORTS BLINK: Israel falls in world lacrosse quarterfinals: “Israel’s debut in the World Lacrosse Championships ended in the quarterfinals with a 9-8 loss to Australia.” [ToI]

TOP-OPS: Aaron David Miller: “Why Israel Launched a Ground War in Gaza” [Politico] — Charles Krauthammer: “Moral clarity in Gaza” [WashPost] — Dore Gold: “Israel Isn’t Targeting Civilians”[WSJ] — Eliana Rudee: “Our Response To Collective Tragedies – Choose Life” [JewishInsider]

TV REVIEW: ‘The Newburgh Sting’ on HBO: “On one level, “The Newburgh Sting” is a passionate plea from the defense perspective for the four men from Newburgh, N.Y., who were arrested in May 2009 (and later convicted) as terrorists after they planted what they thought were bombs in cars outside two Jewish synagogues in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx. On another, the film on HBO functions as propaganda for the view that the bigger danger to the U.S. is not terrorists but our own out-of-control government. Inevitably, if accidentally, it functions as a playbook of dos and don’ts on how to successfully recruit Americans for real acts of terror.” [WSJ]

That’s all folks, have a great Friday! 

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


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