Daily Kickoff: WH CoS promises fight against anti-Semitism | NYMag on Campbell Brown’s Judaism | Vanity Fair on the Lauder Brothers – Leonard & Ronald

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DRIVING THE DAY: “Iran’s Zarif seeks progress in nuclear talks with Kerry” by Arshad Mohammed: “Zarif, asked whether today’s meeting was key to setting the stage for the more detailed nuclear negotiations this week, told reporters minutes before his encounter with Kerry in Geneva: “I think it’s important. I think it will show the readiness of the two parties to move forward and to speed up the process.”… Kerry, accompanied by a team of U.S. negotiators including Acting Deputy Secretary of StateWendy Sherman, did not speak to reporters.” [Reuters] • “State Dept: New Iran sanctions violate deal, will be vetoed” [JPost] • “Samantha Power urges GOP Congress not to pursue Iran sanctions” [Politico]

—Senate bill seeks to force embassy move to Jerusalem: “Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Dean Heller (R-NV) ushered in the new Congressional session by proposing legislation Tuesday to force the Obama administration to change longstanding US policy and move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The bill, which stands little chance of surviving both Congress and the presidential veto pen, nonetheless represents the opening shots from a newly Republican Congress that has vowed to challenge presidential authority on key foreign policy questions.” [ToI]

“RIVLIN TO AIPAC: Tell Obama administration to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks”:“President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday asked members of a large AIPAC delegation to use their efforts and abilities with the US administration to help renew dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians with a view to reaching a final-status agreement. Rivlin said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom he referred to as “my good friend,” did not want to negotiate with Israel on a two-state solution unless there was parity between Israel and the Palestinians. “He wants an air force because Israel has an air force,” the president said. “He wants an airport like Ben-Gurion Airport and he wants a border with Jordan,” said Rivlin.” [JPost]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: “White House chief of staff promises Washington will wage ‘tireless’ fight against Jew hatred: “The violent assault on the Jewish community in France that took place on Friday afternoon was the latest in a series of very troubling incidents in Europe and around the world that reflect a rising tide of anti-Semitism,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said at an American Jewish committee event in a Washington synagogue. “On behalf of the president (Barack Obama) I am here to affirm our nations’ solidarity to the French people and the Jewish community in France, and around the world, to condemn in the strongest possible terms the violent attacks of last week,” McDonough said. “We will not waver in our commitment to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism,” McDonough stressed, adding that: “from the president on down, you have my commitment that we will wage this fight tirelessly, and together.” [TOI] — Also spotted: Alan Gross, French Ambassador Gerard Araud, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Congressman Ted Deutch (h/t Michael Wilner)

TOP OP: “What the Jews of France can teach the Jews of America” by Peter Beinart:“Compared to Jews at many other moments in history, and many other countries around the globe, our experience has been freakishly fortunate. Twenty-first-century America is not only not anti-Semitic; it’s wildly philo-Semitic… Our liberalism is a product of that experience. It naturally inclines us toward a more benign view of gentiles and of human nature itself. And it shapes our view of Israel. If you’re a young Jew living in the United States today, you may have contemplated moving to Israel out of ideological or religious fervor. But unlike many young Jews in France, you’ve never contemplated moving there out of fear. And if you see Israel as a political experiment rather than a potential refuge, you’re more likely to judge it harshly.” [Haaretz] • NYTimes Editorial: “France Without Jews Is Not France” [NYTimes]

—TOP TALKER: “Newspaper in Israel Scrubs Women From a Photo of Paris Unity Rally” [NYTimes;Mediaite]

—Weber apologizes for Hitler tweet: “GOP Rep. Randy Weber apologized Tuesday for a tweet that compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler… “Even Adolph [sic] Hitler thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris. (For all the wrong reasons.) Obama couldn’t do it for right reasons,” Weber tweeted on Monday. But on Tuesday, Weber apologized for the remark. “I need to first apologize to all those offended by my tweet,” Weber said. “It was not my intention to trivialize the Holocaust nor to compare the president to Adolf Hitler. The mention of Hitler was meant to represent the face of evil that still exists in the world today.” [Politico]

2016 WATCH: “White House Advisor Podesta to Join Emerging Hillary Clinton Campaign” by Peter Nicholas and Colleen McCain Nelson: “John Podesta, a top White House adviser, will take on a senior role in Hillary Clinton ’s emerging presidential bid after he leaves the administration in February, three people familiar with the matter said. The move is one of the most definitive signs yet that Mrs. Clinton is building the apparatus to launch a 2016 run.” [WSJ]

–“Third Chance for Romney? G.O.P. Is Torn” by Jonathan Martin: “Interviews with more than two dozen Republican activists, elected officials and contributors around the country reveal little appetite for another Romney candidacy. Beyond his enthusiasts — a formidable constituency given that many are donors — opinions range from indifference to openly hostility.” [NYTimes]

—Ken Abramowitz: “I don’t blame Romney. He came very close. He should have won last time. And he probably figures that whoever the Republican nominee is is going to be the next president. After eight years of President Obama, I don’t think the public is going to want another Democrat.” [DailyBeast]

—Fred Zeidman: “I have been telling everybody that we should all coalesce around one candidate. The only problem is they all think that they should be that candidate.” [ibid]

RoundUp: “Early 2016 moves by Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney spur other GOP contenders into action”[WashPost] • “Rand Paul looks to steal 2016 spotlight” [Politico• “Rand announces campaign manager for likely 2016 campaign – Chip Englander” [WashPost] • “Christie to Announce PAC as Republicans Eye Donors” [NYTimes] • Jerry Seib: Presidential Spotlight Turns to Christie” [WSJ]

CA SEN: “A Harris-Villaraigosa Senate Battle Could Split Hollywood” by Tina Daunt: “Past Villaraigosa supporters include sports agent Casey Wasserman (grandson of the legendary Lew Wasserman); Disney CEO Bob Iger; HBO Films president Colin Callender; media mogul Haim Saban; Laker great Magic Johnson; 20th Century Fox co-chairman Jim Gianopulos; director-producer Jerry Zucker; syndicated television mogul Michael King; writer-TV producers Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason (both longtime friends of Bill and Hillary Clinton); superagent Patrick Whitesell; DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg; then-William Morris chief Jim Wiatt; and News Corp.’s then-president Peter Chernin… Past donors to Harris include Kelly and Ron MeyerJ.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath, authors Lisa Jones Johnson andJarone Johnson, event producer Brent Bolthouse, director-producer Brett RatnerHaim and Cheryl Saban, and former studio head and longtime Democratic stalwart Sherry Lansing.”[HollywoodReporter]

HAPPENING TODAY: Capitol Hill screening of “Beneath the Helmet – a coming-of-age film about five Israeli soldiers” in the Rayburn House Building, room 2168, at 12pm. [IF]

**Good Wednesday 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**

LONG-READ: “Brown vs. … How ex-news anchor Campbell Brown became the most controversial woman in school reform” by Vanessa Grigoriadis in New York Magazine:““Don’t you love the energy here?” asks Campbell Brown, bouncing down the hall at the offices of “co-working” office-share WeWork. Forty-five and wearing a gray turtleneck sweater and mom jeans, Brown has small, curious brown eyes, a volleyball player’s carriage, and a deep voice that’s pleasant no matter what she’s saying. “You know, an Israeli guy [co-founder Adam Neumann] started WeWork with one office,” she says, swishing by row after row of glassed-in spaces for companies like Parking Panda, which helps find a spot for your car, and Unroll.Me, which has something to do with cleaning up a messy in-box. “And now it’s ­international and it’s huge!” To be massive, shiny, and new—these are the libidinal values of tech. Here at WeWork, Brown is busy reinventing ­herself, too. Over the past few years, she’s transformed herself from a TV journalist to a hero reformer for the teacher-tenure-busting crowd, a spinoff of the charter-school-and-make-education-a-business crowd.”

“In person, Brown gives off a swashbuckling-belle vibe. She grew up in small-town Ferriday, Louisiana—where major events are celebrated “with a pig roast or crawfish boil”—but she’s a convert to Judaism, via her husband, Dan Senor, a high-caste neocon who was a spokesperson for Iraq’s transitional government and whose mother was a modern-Orthodox Jew. At WeWork, where she has accumulated a fair amount of office space for staff that she’s in the process of hiring, she talks about ­Shabbat dinners and sending her kids to a Jewish day school, and when I ask whether she bought a Christmas tree, she laughs and says, “No! I’m all in. I’m all in.”

Quotable line: “I really do care about these kids, and they’re the ones I’m focused on. These parents are really the ones who are brave here.” And Brown knows she’ll be fine. “At the end of the day, I have my friends to go to Shabbat dinner with.” [NYMag]

FIRST LOOK: Vanity Fair’s February Issue — “Might at the Museum: With Leonard Lauder‘s $1 billion gift of Cubist masterpieces, a newly leased building, and plans to revamp its modern wing, the Met is upping its contemporary-art game. Is MoMa ready for the competition?” by Bob Colacello: “Beneath this glittering display of family and civic unity… the dinnertime chitchat was about the parrallel rivalries between the Met and the Modern and their respective benefactors Leonard and Ronald Lauder… As for the relationship between the brothers Lauder, as a longtime family friend (and regular Estee walker in the 1980s), I can attest that it has never been better. Likewise, the assumed alliances of Ronald and MoMA versus Leonard and the Met may be less ironclad than people think.” [VanityFair]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Interview with Eldad Blaustein [NYTimes] • “Chetrit plans $1.8B condo offering at Sony Building” [RealDeal] • “Jeff Sutton snags 5th Ave. retail co-op for $86M” [Crain’s] • “Lanx Management Partner Joins Sinclair Group Board” [FINalternatives]

STARTUP NATION: “Israel-based venture funds raised $914M in 2014, highest sum since 2008″ [IVC]• “Israel opens up 4G mobile market with bandwidth auction” [Reuters] • “Benchmark Capital Sells Wix Shares” [NoCamels]

RUDERMAN FOUNDATION: “Jewish advocacy group calls on CNN anchor to apologize for ‘criple‘” by Eddie Scarry: “A Jewish advocacy group’s leader is calling on CNN International anchor Jim Clancy to apologize for using the word “cripple” in a derogatory way. “If a news anchor had hurled a racial epithet, CNN’s response undoubtedly would have been swift,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “The disability community expects CNN to extend the same sensitivity to people with disabilities as it does to other minority communities.” [WashExaminer] • “With $1M Gift, Ruderman and Chabad Aim to Create Culture of Inclusion” [eJewishPhil]

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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