Daily Kickoff: Proposed deal to let Iran keep 10,000 centrifuges? | White House advisor to visit Israel | Israeli rivals Outbrain & Taboola look to IPO

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AP BIG STORY: “US, Iran discussing nuclear talks compromise” by George Jahn: “With time for negotiations running short, the U.S and Iran are discussing a compromise that would let Iran keep much of its uranium-enriching technology but reduce its potential to make nuclear weapons, two diplomats tell The Associated Press. Experts warn that any reduction in centrifuge efficiency is reversiblemore quickly than a straight decrease in the number of machines, an argument that could be seized upon by powerful critics of the talks in the U.S. Congress… According to the diplomats, the proposal could leave running most of the nearly 10,000 centrifuges Iran is operating but reconfigure them to reduce the amount of enriched uranium they produce.” [AP]

DRIVING THE DAY — the whole day, in fact: Ash Carter confirmation hearing to be the next SecDef: Carter will be introduced to the Senate Armed Services Committee by former Sen. (& JI-er) Joe Lieberman. “I have promised President Obama that, if I am confirmed, I will furnish him my most candid strategic advice,” Carter says in his opening prepared remarks, obtained by POLITICO. “The law also prescribes the chain of command and, if I am confirmed as secretary of defense, I will be a stickler for the chain of command.” Carter’s comments allude to Republican criticisms that the White House micromanages Pentagon affairs, making it difficult for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — or Carter, or anyone else — to effectively carry out the job… Wednesday’s hearing, though, is expected to stretch from morning to night. “It will go for a long time,” McCain said.” [PoliticoAP] • Watch live starting at 9:30am [C-SPAN]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 9am, the Republican Jewish Coalition holds their Winter Leadership Meeting at The W Hotel in D.C. RJC leadership will hear from Sen. Lindsey GrahamCarly Fiorina, Frank Luntz, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Rep. Elise Stefanik, and Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

—RJC’s Matt Brooks tells Jewish Insider… “The central theme of our meeting is the issue of Iran sanctions. We had Sen. Mark Kirk address our Board of Directors and major donors this evening [Tue.night] and tomorrow we have Sen. Lindsey Graham to help focus our leadership on where things are and next steps. Also, Frank Luntz will be leading a discussion on the messaging of Iran and how to maintain and expand support in opposition to Iran developing a nuclear weapon.”

REPORT: “Democrats might skip Netanyahu speech” by Edward-Isaac Dovere and Jake Sherman: “Vice President Joe Biden won’t commit to attending Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress next month. He’s not the only one. He’s not the only one. Dozens of House Democrats are privately threatening to skip the March 3 address, according to lawmakers and aides,… Democrats have had to balance publicly supporting Israel with backing Obama” [Politico]

“White House advisor Philip Gordon will visit Israel despite unprecedented Netanyahu-Obama tensions” by Tal Shalev: “As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to address Congress on Iran, raising tensions between Washington and Jerusalem to unprecedented levels, a senior White House advisor is expected to arrive in Israel. Philip Gordon, who has been serving for the past two years as a special assistant to the President and as White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf, is arriving in Israel on February 15 and will meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials. His talks are expected to focus on the status of negotiations between Iran and world powers on the Iranian nuclear program, ahead of a March deadline for a draft agreement, as well as such topics as the Palestinian diplomatic offensive and its accession to the International Criminal Court.” [i24]

—David Makovsky: “Is 2015 the Year the Palestinians Internationalize the Conflict with Israel?” — “Today’s PA approach consists of relying on international support in its campaign for national legitimacy and against Israel. In Gaza, it is waiting for Hamas to weaken, a tack that has thus far not succeeded. Perhaps prospects for direct Israeli-Palestinian engagement could brighten with the election of a new government in March, but the prevailing Palestinian rhetoric suggests otherwise.” [WashInst]

—House Hearing Today: At 2pm, the House Subcommitte on the Middle East and North Africa chaired by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen will host a hearing titled, “The Palestinian Authority’s International Criminal Court Gambit: A True Partner for Peace?” Witnesses include Jonathan Schanzer, Eugene Kontorovich, Danielle Pletka, and David Makovsky. Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen: “Many legal questions about the PA’s ICC gambit remain, but one thing is certain, and that is that the U.S. must suspend all funding to the PA and the administration must seriously redefine its policies toward the PA.​”[ForeignAffairsComm]

2016 WATCH: “For Christie, a trip to boost foreign policy portfolio has little talk of foreign policy” by Philip Rucker: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie began an overseas trip Sunday exclaiming how much he loved being back in London, one of his favorite cities to visit. The Republican ended it Tuesday by refusing to answer questions lobbed at him all day by reporters. Journeying to England for three days to polish his foreign policy résumé ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign, the likely candidate ended up having little to say about foreign policy.” [WashPost] • “Scott Walker’s Foreign-Policy Beliefs” [TheAtlantic]

Peter Beinart OP: “The Cost of Disowning Jimmy Carter” in National Journal: “By conventional Washington calculations, Obama’s shunning of Carter is shrewd, because the distance between the two men makes it harder for Republicans to link them. In giving the former president the 10-foot-pole treatment, however, Obama and his party have acceded to a narrative about Carter’s foreign policy that is wildly inaccurate and weakens Democratic foreign policy today. The principles that guided Carter three decades ago remain strikingly relevant. And by refusing to defend them, Obama makes it harder to defend his own.” [NJ]

Michael Doran Op: “Obama’s Secret Iran Strategy: The president has long been criticized for his lack of strategic vision. But what if a strategy, centered on Iran, has been in place from the start and consistently followed to this day?” [MosaicMag]

Eli Lake: “Iran’s Militias Are Taking Over Iraq’s Army” in Bloomberg View: “In an interview this week, Hadi al-Amiri, the founder and leader of Iraq’s oldest and most powerful Shiite militia, the Badr Organization, told me the U.S. ambassador recently offered air strikes to support the Iraqi army and militia ground forces under his command. This has placed the U.S. in the strange position of deepening an alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran for its war against Islamic extremists.” [BV] • “Iraq’s Christians Take Up Arms to Fight Islamic State” [WSJ] • “United Arab Emirates, Key U.S. Ally in ISIS Effort, Disengaged in December” [NYTimes

TOP TALKER: “Draft of Arrest Request for Argentine President Found at Dead Prosecutor’s Home” by Simon Romero: “Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor whose mysterious death has gripped Argentina, had drafted a request for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, accusing her of trying to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center here, the lead investigator into his death said Tuesday. The 26-page document, which was found in the garbage at Mr. Nisman’s apartment, also sought the arrest of Héctor Timerman, Argentina’s foreign minister.”

“Underscoring the tensions surrounding the death of Mr. Nisman, who was buried at a Jewish cemetery last week, anti-Semitic posters began appearing in central Buenos Aires this week. “The good Jew is the dead Jew,” the posters read. “The good Jew is Nisman.” Julio Schlosser, the president of the Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations, said, “These posters represent a current of anti-Semitism seeking to insult the prosecutor Nisman, who worked and dedicated his life to the AMIA case.” He added, “It is also a provocation to the Jewish community.” [NYTimes]

—“In Israel, a source close to military intelligence said Israel has “heavy suspicions” that Iran may be implicated in Nisman’s death. “We are sure there is a local connection, but we have significant concerns about Iran’s involvement,” the source said.” [DailyBeast]

Ben-Ami, Boteach Battle: Shmuley Boteach Op (with a third person headline to boot) — “Rabbi Shmuley Extracts Apology from J Street’s Jeremy Ben Ami on CNN” [Observer] • Jeremy Ben-Ami response — “Boteach’s Choice” [HuffPost]

Top Democrat, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Walks Back Critiques of Jewish Intermarriages: “”At an annual Jewish community event in my congressional district, I spoke about my personal connection to Judaism and in a larger context about the loss of Jewish identity and the importance of connecting younger generations to the institutions and values that make up our community. I do not oppose intermarriage; in fact, members of my family, including my husband, are a product of it,” the Florida Demorat said in a statement.” [NBC NewsMediaite] • Wasserman-Schultz and Alan Grayson eye Florida Senate seat [TheHill]

—Andrew Silow-Carroll Op: “According to Michael Kinsley a “gaffe” is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. In Yiddish, the closest term to gaffe is “bulbe” – literally a potato, but colloquially a faux pas. With apologies to Kinsley, a “bulbe” is when a politician accidentally tells the truth about the Jews… If Wasserman Schultz was a run-of-the-mill Jewish leader, her words would hardly have caused a stir. Yes, outreach professionals, who believe that stigmatizing interfaith couples drives them away from Judaism, would have objected. But comments like hers are often heard in synagogues and in the pages of newspapers like mine.” [ToI]

John Baird’s last speech to Canadian parliament: “And now today, after serving 10 years in provincial politics, 10 years here in federal politics, in 10 ministerial portfolios, and with more grey hairs than I choose to admit, I can step back and say that we have an Ottawa that is vibrant and strong… A country that is the best in the world… Today Canada stands tall in the world. United with our allies and partners in the fight against terror. Side by side with the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.”[Transcript]

AXELROD’S NEW BOOK: Former Obama advisor David Axelrod‘s 488-page memoir, “Believer: My 40 Years in Politics,” is due out Feb. 10 from Penguin Press. An advance copy was obtained by the Daily News… According to Axe – “Shortly after winning the Democratic primary in 2008, Obama briefly considered appointing Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court… Former chief of staff Rahm Emanuelwas uncomfortable with senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, because of her close personal relationship with the Obamas. “‘I don’t want to manage the president’s best friend,” Emanuel said. To get rid of her, he campaigned for Jarrett to run for Obama’s Senate seat. But Obama wanted her in the White House and convinced her to abandon the idea.”

“On a trip to New York City in 2009, then Mayor Mike Bloomberg offered unsolicited advice about Obama’s demeanor. “‘You know what his problem is? You have to like people to be successful. You have to connect,” Bloomberg told Axelrod. “I saw him greet people at the golf course. You probably told him to do it. But he doesn’t feel it. You have to have that!” [DailyNews]

SCENE THE OTHER NIGHT: “A Japanese Knight? Well, Close Enough” by Marshall Heyman: “To combat the slush, there was sushi aplenty Monday night at the Upper East Side residence of Japanese Ambassador Sumio Kusaka and his wife, where the couple held a formal medal ceremony to bestow the billionaire investor Wilbur L. Ross with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star from their government. Several of Mr. Ross’s high-profile friends came to the medal ceremony, including David Koch, Leonard Lauder, Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder, Allison and Leonard Stern, Doug Peterson, Rodgin Cohen, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Michael Bloomberg, Lauren and John Veronis, Paul Volcker and Richard and Karen LeFrak… In congratulations, Mr. Bloomberg added, “As the Japanese like to say, ‘L’Chaim.’ ” [WSJ]

**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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “U.S. Real-Estate Investors — Related Co., Barnett’s Extell, Lichtenstein’s Lightstone — Turn to Israel for Cash” [WSJ] • “Hillary Clinton looking at Bruce Ratner’s downtown Brooklyn office space for campaign HQ” [DailyNews] • “Joe Sitt’s Thor buys Benetton Paris store for €140m” [PIE] • “Sitt scoops up bottom floors at 470 Broome” [NYPost] • “Gary Barnett’s Extell sells Carlton House penthouse for the discounted price of $52M” [Real Deal• “Billionaire hedge funder Noam Gottesman to wed Reed Krakoff’s director of sales” [PageSix] • “Josh Kushner, Founder of Oscar Health: ‘A Lot Of People In This Industry Are Just Evil’ [Forbes• “Billionaire Phillip Frost Is Flab’s New Enemy With Diet Drug Bet” [Bloomberg] • “Israel’s Stratasys Stock Slides as It Outlines More Spending on 3-d Printers” [WSJGlobes] • “Tel Aviv Faces Glut of New Office Space” [WSJ]

STARTUP NATION: “Turning Shark Attacks and Hair Style Tips Into a Big IPO” by Gabrielle Coppola: “If you’ve come across stories like “13 Things Your Hairstylists Won’t Tell You” and, the “Top 10 Most Terrifying Shark Attacks!’’ when surfing the Internet, then you’re already familiar with what may be the next big initial public offering out of Israel. Critics may love to accuse Outbrain Inc. and Taboola of degrading publishers’ websites with tacky content, but the Israeli companies have investors’ attention because readers are clicking away. They served up articles, videos and lists (or ‘listicles’ in the industry’s vernacular) that were viewed by more than one billion people worldwide in December, according tocomScore Inc.” [Bloomberg]

ON THIS DAY IN 2004: Mark Zuckerberg launched the social networking website Facebook [AP]

SPOTLIGHT: Clinton son-in-law Mezvinsky’s hedge fund suffers huge setback: “Eaglevale Partners LP, founded by Marc Mezvinsky and two former colleagues from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., told investors in a letter sent last week they had been “incorrect” on Greece, helping produce losses for the firm’s main fund during two of the past three years, according to the letter… Among investors in Eaglevale’s main fund is Goldman Sachs Chairman and Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein… The dedicated Greek fund manages $15 million, including an investment from Marc Lasry, the billionaire co-owner of the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks. Mr. Lasry formerly employed Chelsea Clinton at his $13.3 billion New York hedge-fund firm, Avenue Capital Group, and is a longtime Clinton donor.” [WSJPolitico]

—“Obama throws curveball at team owners” –especially targets longtime supporter and Bucks owner Marc Lasry: “The budget proposal released on Monday would eliminate tax benefits that make it easier for cities to raise money for new, luxurious sports facilities… Obama’s proposal is unlikely to become law, but it may be more designed to spark a political debate that would force Republicans to decide whether they want to stand up for a tax break that some conservatives deride as a corporate handout… The issue is already causing headaches for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is mulling over a presidential bid, based on his conservative record. Last week, he proposed issuing $220 million of state-backed debt for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. If Wisconsin does not raise money to help the Bucks pay for a new arena by 2017, then the team is under obligation to consider moving elsewhere, Walker said.” [Politico]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Yeshiva Revives Deal To Offload Einstein College of Medicine” by Paul Berger: “Yeshiva University has revived a deal to offload its costly medical school. Students learned today that Montefiore Health System is close to finalizing the on-again off-gain agreement take over the operations and financial responsibility for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.” [Forward] • “JTS To Sell Dorm Buildings To Fund Expansion” [JewishWeek]

—Happening Today in DC: “Should religious colleges be bound by the same union and labor rules as secular universities? Or be rated by the same criteria? Those questions and more will be tackled by the presidents of three major universities who say they are united in supporting the values that faith-based schools bring to higher education even as they grapple with government regulations that can challenge them. For the first time, the top officials of Baylor University, Catholic University of America and Yeshiva University will lead a discussion Wednesday in Washington on the “calling” of faith-based universities.”

“Yeshiva University President Richard Joel — whose New York-based Jewish school was the subject of a 1980 Supreme Court decision about NLRB regulations — said there is always “ferment” about such religious freedom issues. He said leaders of “purpose-driven” institutions are concerned not only about overreaching government but also accrediting agencies that need to “respect faith-based universities’ rights to remain true to their ideals.” [WashPost]

DESSERT: Boeuf & Bun Officially Open in Brooklyn: “The most beautiful kosher burger restaurant we’ve ever seen” — [YeahThatsKosherBoeuf&Bun]

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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