Daily Kickoff: Again, why is everyone talking about chicken manure? Reactions to Goldberg’s Viral Post | US, Iran Détente | Biden to speak at the GA

TOP TALKER: “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here” by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic: “The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname. This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis.””One of the more notable aspects of the current tension between Israel and the U.S. is the unease felt by mainstream American Jewish leaders about recent Israeli government behavior. “The Israelis do not show sufficient appreciation for America’s role in backing Israel, economically, militarily and politically,” Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me. (UPDATE: Foxman just e-mailed me this statement: “The quote is accurate, but the context is wrong. I was referring to what troubles this administration about Israel, not what troubles leaders in the American Jewish community.”)

What does all this unhappiness mean for the near future? For one thing, it means that Netanyahu—who has preemptively “written off” the Obama administration—will almost certainly have a harder time than usual making his case against a potentially weak Iran nuclear deal, once he realizes that writing off the administration was an unwise thing to do. This also means that the post-November White House will be much less interested in defending Israel from hostile resolutions at the United Nations, where Israel is regularly scapegoated. The Obama administration may be looking to make Israel pay direct costs for its settlement policies.” [AtlanticMag]

BIBI RESPONDS: “I was personally attacked purely because I defend Israel, and despite all the attacks against me, I will continue to defend our country, I will continue to defend the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu told the Knesset on Wednesday.” [ToI]

HOW IT PLAYED: @DanSenor – “I’m in Tel Aviv. @JeffreyGoldberg piece dominating news here!?! All over Israeli radio this AM. No surprise: it’s helping BB politically” [Twitter] • @RepTedDeutch –“Re: @JeffreyGoldberg piece: Quotes about Bibi from unnamed Admin sources are outrageous. Criticism is one thing, name calling unacceptable.” [Twitter] • @Kampeas – “Whoever this official is, he created a narrative that is not about settlements, or an Iran deal, or even Bibi, but about name calling” [Twitter] • Mike @Doranimated – “But isn’t it weird that even as Obama succeeds in restraining Israel, he grows ever more angry and impatient with it. Whereas, as Obama’s policy to restrain Iran fails, he becomes ever more attentive to it. That’s a very bad sign.” [Twitter]

Goldberg’s Post Analysis: “Point of my piece: Israel can survive and flourish without sticking its finger in Obama’s eye” “Btw, as a veteran of Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek’s vast poultry apparatus, I have fond recollections of chicken shit.” [Twitter]

Jake Tapper: Obama Admin “Chickenshit” Comment About Netanyahu Will Be Big Issue For Jewish & Evangelical Voters [RealClearPolitics]

National Security Council spokesperson Alistair Baskey publicly rejected the column on Tuesday night, suggesting Goldberg’s assertion in the piece that relations are in “crisis” is a simplification. “We do not believe there is a crisis in the relationship,” Baskey said in an e-mail. “The relationship remains as strong as ever and the ties between our nations are unshakable.” “However, there are times,” he continued, “when we disagree with actions of the Israeli government and we must raise our concerns, such as our concerns about Israel’s settlement policy. We raise these concerns as a partner who is deeply concerned about Israel’s future and wants to see Israel living side by side in peace and security with its neighbors.” [JPost]

WSJ FRONT PAGE: IRAN TALKS — US // IRAN RELATIONS MOVE TO DÉTENTE: “The shift could drastically alter the balance of power in the region, and risks alienating key U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates who are central to the coalition fighting Islamic State. Sunni Arab leaders view the threat posed by Shiite Iran as equal to or greater than that posed by the Sunni radical group Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Israel contends the U.S. has weakened the terms of its negotiations with Iran and played down Tehran’s destabilizing role in the region.”

“Recent months have ushered in a change as the two countries have grown into alignment on a spectrum of causes, chief among them promoting peaceful political transitions in Baghdad and Kabul and pursuing military operations against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, according to these officials.” The Obama administration also has markedly softened its confrontational stance toward Iran’s most important nonstate allies, the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese militant and political organization, Hezbollah. American diplomats, including Secretary of State John Kerry , negotiated with Hamas leaders through Turkish and Qatari intermediaries during cease-fire talks in July that were aimed at ending the Palestinian group’s rocket attacks on Israel, according to senior U.S. officials.” [WSJ] • As Oil Prices Fall, Iran Feels Pressure to Seal Nuclear Deal [NY Times]

ROUHANI ADVISER — IS coupled with US’s ‘weakest president’ could mean nuclear deal:“Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s adviser, Ali Younesi, said that the combination of the Islamic State crisis and “the weakest president the US has ever had” provide an opportunity for a nuclear agreement on its terms. According to a report by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), Iran’s pragmatic camp, led by Rouhani’s mentor Hashemi Rafsanjani, is “pressuring the Obama administration to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran on the latter’s terms.” According to this view, “the Obama administration desperately needs a substantial achievement to show for its term in office, and therefore this is the time to pressure it.” [JPost]

HUMAN RIGHTS: “The Real Reason Iran Killed This Woman For Defending Herself” by Eli Lake [DailyBeast] • “The Exiled Heart: A New York Times Correspondent’s Story of Fleeing Iran with Her Family” [Vogue]

Bank Leumi Said to Face $300 Million Demand in Tax Case: “New York’s banking regulator will ask for more than $300 million to settle an investigation into whether Bank Leumi Le-Israel (LUMI) BM helped Americans evade taxes, a person familiar with the matter said. Benjamin Lawsky, head of the state’s Department of Financial Services, is seeking more than what the bank set aside to resolve a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. In June, Leumi said it allotted 950 million shekels ($254 million) for the federal matter, which would make it the first Israeli bank to settle a tax probe with the U.S… The Leumi probes are part of a seven-year U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion. About 100 Swiss banks are seeking to avoid prosecution by disclosing how they helped Americans dodge taxes, and 73 of those firms wrote to the Justice Department on Oct. 21 to object to terms of a proposed non-prosecution agreement.” [Bloomberg]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 6:30 PM Secretary Kerry hosts a dinner for EU High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton, at the Department of State. Wendy Sherman due to attend.  [State Department]

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REPORTER OR LOBBYIST? Said Arikat & Jo Biddle ask the following ‘questions’ at yesterday’s State Department briefing… “QUESTION: The European Union also condemned the plans, saying that it calls into question Israel’s commitment to negotiate a solution. But they actually went a step further than the United States has been prepared to go, saying that if it does go ahead, there’s going to be consequences for EU-Israel ties, some of which we’ve already seen in the past with previous announcements. Again, I guess this goes back to Matt’s question of yesterday. I mean, is the United States prepared to put in place consequences if these settlements go ahead? MS. PSAKI: I don’t think I have anything to add to what I’ve stated about our view. QUESTION: But why not? I mean, wouldn’t – if – you can say that you condemn the settlements, that they’re contrary to peace. I think you said it was, yesterday, “incompatible” with any peace plans. But if you don’t back it up with any kind of action, then the Israelis surely can just go ahead and do it for as long as they like.”

MS. PSAKI: Well, Jo, I would disagree with that. Obviously, there are a range of countries you just referenced that have indicated their plans to put in place consequences. Israel cares deeply about their place and role in the world. That’s obviously something they factor in. They’ve stated they want to see a peaceful society for their people. If they want to achieve that, then there are steps that they should take themselves. So — QUESTION: But the United States is the biggest backer – single backer of Israel. If the United States moved to do even halfway what some of the European countries are doing, would that not lend more weight to your cause to stop the settlement building? MS. PSAKI: Well, Jo, I think I’m going to leave it with what I said. QUESTION: Would there have come a moment when the United States will say you must stop settlements or we’re going to do X, Y, and Z? Or is this going to remain at the level. MS. PSAKI: I think Jo asked the same question. Let’s just try to get a couple of others, Said.” [Transcript]

GUNSENSE MONEY– BUCKS FROM BLOOMBERG BRING WAR CHEST OVER $10 M: “A $285,000 donation from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has pushed to more than $10 million the campaign war chest for Initiative 594, which would require criminal background checks for those purchasing firearms at gun shows and online.” [SPI]

2016: It’s on – Ken Vogel provides a rundown on candidates raising big bucks [Politico] • Meet the top (Jewish) tech donor dominating the midterms: “Paul Egerman, a retired software entrepreneur, topped the list, having donated $877,800 to political candidates and groups in 2014, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Egerman forayed into politics in 2012, when he led Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s finance committee during her campaign against Republican Scott Brown. Egerman’s (unverified) Twitter profile simply reads, “Enthusiastic supporter of Senator Elizabeth Warren.” Egerman is a millionaire in the school of Warren Buffett—he thinks people like himself should pay higher taxes. It costs a lot of money to fight money in politics.” [NationalJournal] • Egerman is also on J Street’s Advisory Council [JStreet]

Biden to speak at Jewish Federation General Assembly: Biden will speak on November 10 during the Jewish Federations’ three-day event in suburban Washington, the umbrella group said in a statement Tuesday. The U.S. vice president has a longstanding close relationship with the Jewish community and has been a frequent speaker at Jewish events, including at AIPAC and J Street conventions. Biden last addressed the General Assembly, an annual event, in 2010. [Haaretz]

Qatar Offers Cash to Pay Some Staff in Gaza Strip: “More than half the employees of the former Hamas government in the Gaza Strip will receive salaries this week for the first time in months, officials said Tuesday, addressing a major point of tension between Palestinian political factions that had threatened the reconciliation pact they signed this spring.” [NY Times]

TALK OF OUR NATION — Conversion bill passes in Knesset Constitution Committee: “After vigorous debate and despite the position of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice voted on Monday evening to pass the conversion bill authored by MK Elazar Stern (Hatnuah) for a second and third reading… Stern said after the vote that “the big winners today are the new immigrants who will be able to convert to Judaism in a respectable manner, our kids who will marry them, the babies who haven’t been born yet, and the Jewish people in the Diaspora.” [HaYom]

On ‘The Death of Klinghoffer,’ Justice Ginsburg Finds for the Defense: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday pronounced her verdict on “The Death of Klinghoffer”: Not guilty. The John Adams opera opened last week at New York’s Metropolitan Opera amid accusations that the 1991 work is anti-Semitic and glorifies terrorism. According to Justice Ginsburg, who is Jewish, the opera “is a most sympathetic portrayal of the Klinghoffers. Both of them come across as very strong, very brave characters….There was nothing anti-Semitic about the opera.” [WSJ]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Quixey CEO Tomer Kagan Says They Don’t Need Developers To Make Apps Searchable [Tech Crunch] • WhatsApp’s Jan Koum Has No Plans to Make Money [Re/code]

REAL ESTATE ROUND-UP: General Growth, Ashkenazy Pay for 20% Stake in Miami Retail Developer [WSJ] • Lerner Enterprises Push for FBI Site [CBS DC] • Silverstein Sells $1.6 Billion in Unrated Debt for 3 WTC [Bloomberg]

David Gregory and CNN couldn’t reach salary deal: “Dumped “Meet the Press” host David Gregory was close to landing at CNN, insiders say, but the network didn’t reach a deal to bring him onboard because of his big salary demands amid crushing company cost-cutting… Meantime, Gregory has a part-time gig with Yahoo, which announced it had snapped up the anchor for its midterm election coverage with fellow former NBC News vet Katie Couric.” [PageSix]

—Since his departure from the high-profile “Meet the Press” role, he has signed up with a public speaking agency, Leading Authorities, and has begun writing a book about his Jewish faith, according to his biography at American University, where he is a journalist in residence. He has also moderated at least one panel discussion. [NY Times]

SPORTS BLINK: Amar’e Stoudemire invites you to join him by pledging a dollar for each point he scores this season to United Hatzalah of Israel to help save lives [AmareSaves]

That’s all folks; have a great day!
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