Daily Kickoff: Belzberg, Falic, Bronfman, Abramowitz top biggest donors to Israeli politics list | Mandy Grunwald to Hillary | Bush 43 to headline RJC

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DRIVING THE DAY: “Security Strategy Recognizes U.S. Limits” by Peter Baker and David E. Sanger: “President Obama plans to release his second, and final, national security strategy on Friday, laying out a blueprint for robust American leadership for his remaining time in office while recognizing limits on how much the United States can shape world events… One area where Mr. Obama seems to have narrowed his goals, or at least his expectations, is nuclear nonproliferation, a major focus of his first two years in office… But the document all but acknowledges that with Mr. Putin not interested in further arms cuts and Republicans in control of the Senate, Mr. Obama’s hopes of ratifying a long-stalled test ban treaty or negotiating new treaties are largely dead… That leaves only one big effort to alter the nuclear landscape: a deal with Iran, which the president clearly wants but that has proved highly elusive.” [NYTimes]

—At 1PM, National Security Advisor Susan Rice will speak at the Brookings Institution. Watch the webcast here [Brookings]

—“Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, Slavery at prayer breakfast” by Juliet Eilperin: “At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone. “Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” [WashPost]

IRAN TALKS: “In Iran, as in U.S., Nuclear Deal Is Hotly Debated” by Bill Spindle: “As sanctions hawks in the U.S. Congress butt heads with President Barack Obama over negotiations with Iran, a similar battle on the Iranian side has been playing out between President Hasan Rouhani, who has staked his political future on cutting a deal with the West, and his ultra-hard-line opponents. Just as in the U.S., the fervent maneuvering in Iran reflects deeper anxiety, particularly among the ruling elite, over the direction of the larger relationship between the two countries.” [WSJ]

REPORT: “Uruguay expels Iranian envoy suspected of helping place bomb near Israeli embassy” by Barak Ravid: “Uruguay expelled a senior diplomat in Iran’s embassy in Montevideo two weeks ago, following suspicions that he was involved in placing an explosive device near the Israeli embassy in early January, according to senior sources in Jerusalem… Alertness at Israeli embassies has been raised to maximal levels since the assassination of Hezbollah’s Jihad Mughniyeh and an Iranian general two weeks ago, an attack attributed to Israel.​” [Haaretz]

Washington Post Editorial: “The emerging Iran nuclear deal raises major concerns: The Obama administration is signaling that it will seek to implement any deal it strikes with Iran — including the suspension of sanctions that were originally imposed by Congress — without seeking a vote by either chamber. Instead, an accord that would have far-reaching implications for nuclear proliferation and U.S.national security would be imposed unilaterally by a president with less than two years left in his term.”[WashPost]

“Menendez’s Views on Cuba and Iran Show Rifts With Obama” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Ashley Parker: “Mr. Menendez also said he took “personal offense” at the president’s suggestion during a closed-door exchange last month that supporters of the Iran sanctions bill were motivated by politics. Some of the people there interpreted the comment as a thinly veiled reference to pressure from pro-Israel groups that back a hard line against Iran. (Mr. Menendez has received $341,170 over the last seven years from such groups, more than any other Democrat in the Senate, according to Maplight, a nonpartisan research group.)” [NYTimes]

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spent thirteen minutes (more than half) of her weekly press briefing yesterday discussing Israel. Pelosi detailed her Wednesday meeting with the Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and how she advocated for him during the Soviet Jewry movement well before they knew each other. Pelosi related her ‘sadness’ about the current state of U.S. – Israel relations and her objections to the word ‘boycott’ with regard to lawmakers not attending Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. As for her, she plans to attend the speech, but still hopes that it will not happen. [C-SPAN Video] — [BloombergReuters

“Leading members of Congressional Black Caucus to skip Netanyahu speech: “Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the civil rights icon, and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the chairman of the CBC, said they won’t attend Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech before Congress to protest Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to invite the prime minister without first consulting President Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.” [TheHillAP] • “Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) discusses her concerns with Netanyahu’s speech” [C-Span]

—At the White House Press Briefing yesterday, Josh Earnest was jokingly asked whether the Pope’s visit and planned address to a joint session of Congress in September was coordinated in advance with the White House? Earnest responded, “didn’t have to used to ask those questions, did we? (laughter)” [C-SPAN Video]

The Correction: “NYT Admits Major Screw-Up on Bibi’s So-Called Breach of Protocal” by Liel Leibovitz: “For one whole week, I’ve been staring at The Correction. I’m a fairly seasoned reader of the New York Times, and a frequent critic of the paper, but the more I gazed at The Correction, the more it gazed back at me, defiant. What the hell? You might have seen it yourself. It was affixed on January 30 to a story that ran the previous day about Bibi Netanyahu’s fraught relations with the Democratic Party. Here it is, in its entirety: “An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress. He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.” [TabletMag] • “Israeli official suggests Boehner misled Netanyahu on Congress speech” [Reuters]

Eric Yoffie Op: “While the Obama administration’s desire to reach a deal with Iran is admirable, I am not certain that it will insist on the right deal. More importantly, if the terms of a deal are violated or no agreement is reached at all, I am not sure that it will have the necessary resolve to take military action. Still, I see no such resolve on the Republican side either. On the subject of the Iranian threat, Republicans offer grandiose rhetoric, to be sure, but are no less vague than the Democrats when it comes to tachlis— real, practical solutions that might include a military response.” [Haaretz]

Bloomberg Businessweek: “Israel’s U.S.-born Ambassador Tangles with the White House” by Dave Weigel [BW]

—Dore Gold on “Understanding Netanyahu’s Security Policy” [MosaicMag]

ISRAELEX: “Support for Netanyahu hits peak” [JPost] • “Malcolm Hoenlein Warns American Groups To Stop Funding Israel Parties” [Forward]

“Who are the biggest contributors to politics in Israel? Many live in New York and Miami” by Shuki Sadeh: “Marc Belzberg, who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s from Canada, has given money to Likud figures Moshe Ya’alon, Gilad Erdan, Zeev Elkin and Yuli Edelstein… Nily Falic and her sons Simon, Joel and Jerome, gave 180,000 shekels ($46,700) to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s primary campaign ahead of this year’s general election… Kenneth Abramowitz has donated to Ya’alon, Elkin and Ofir Akunis of Likud as well as Danny Danon… Charles Bronfman, a Canadian businessman and philanthropist identified with left-of-center causes, gave 11,000 shekels to the primary election campaign of venture capitalist and Labor Party MK Erel Margalit…”

Michael Eisenberg, 43, a venture capitalist, was the first investor in Naftali Bennett’s startup, theantifraud-software company Cyota. Apart from Bennett, Eisenberg is close to political figures MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), Eldad Yaniv (Labor) and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who was a venture capitalist himself before entering politics… Joseph Gutnick, a 62-year-old Australian businessman and mining industry entrepreneur, belongs to the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic movement. He first attracted headlines during the 1996 election season when he funded a campaign whose slogan was “Netanyahu is good for the Jews.” [Haaretz]

2016 WATCH: “The Secret World of a Well-Paid ‘Donor Advisor’ in Politics” by Nicholas Confessore: “A constellation of left-leaning nonprofits and “super PACs” are raising tens of millions of dollars to pave the way for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign — and nearly all of them have paid Mary Pat Bonner a cut. Over the past several years, the groups, which include American Bridge 21st Century, Media Matters for America and the super PAC Ready for Hillary, have paid Ms. Bonner’s consulting firm in excess of $6 million to help them cultivate wealthy donors and raise money, according to tax filings and campaign disclosures.” [NYTimes]

—“Mandy Grunwald to join Hillary Clinton’s team: Grunwald is a veteran of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 bid. She had recently been working for Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has often been mentioned as a challenger toClinton but who insists she will not run in 2016.” [PoliticoNYTimes]

“Financier Henry Kravis to host New York fundraiser for Jeb Bush: The former Florida governor, who leads the packed field of potential GOP hopefuls, will appear Feb. 11 at the Park Avenue home of Kravis, co-founder of private equity firm KKR & Co.” [DailyNews] • “The Education of Jeb Bush” [NJ• “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s Administration Facing New Criminal Investigation” [ABC News]

“George W. Bush will headline Republican Jewish Coalition meeting” by Rebecca Berg:“Former President George W. Bush will be among the keynote speakers at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring meeting, the group announced in an email to supporters Thursday. The announcement could suggest that Bush, who has been largely absent from the political arena since the end of his presidency, is heading back onto the campaign trail to help his brother Jeb Bush, who will likely run for president… In addition to George W. Bush, House Speaker John Boehner and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is thought to be mulling a presidential bid in 2016, are also slated to speak at the RJC meeting. The meeting will be held April 24-26 in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel, which is owned by political mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.” [WashExam]

**Good Friday 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: “Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal gets a graceful exit”[JewishJournalWashPost] • “Blackstone’s Schwarzman Gets $500 Million Leading Buyout Titans”[Bloomberg] • “Josh Kopelman leads $5M round for startup with needle-free way to draw blood”[BizJournal] • “Raquel Regalado and Norman Braman Join Forces to Block Skyrise Miami, Create Political Intrigue” [MiamiNewTimes] • “Ira Rennert denies looting firm to build huge mansion”[Crains] • “Zeil Feldman plans major revamp of the Shore Club” [RealDeal] • “Eli Tabak purchases 19-story Sacramento office building on J Street” [BizJournal] — Part of a larger office portfolio that Tabak purchased for $250M that includes office buildings in Washington, D.C., Houston, and San Diego. [CPE]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli Breezometer Will Tell You The Air Quality On Your Street Before You Leave The House” [FastCompany] • “Myndlift: An Israeli app being developed to treat ADHD”[Globes] • “Israeli tech will reinvent the microwave, says start-up” [ToI] • “Israel’s EndyMed a top stock on FDA wrinkle treatment approval” [Reuters] • “Intuit to buy Israeli cloud security company Porticor”[Globes]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Abrupt demise of major Jewish social service organization stuns community” [JTA] • “For US Orthodox, ‘upper-class’ incomes often not enough” [ToI] • “Longtime Israel advocate Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi shifts focus to disabilities” [JTA]

WEEKEND READS… “Occupy Burning Man: Class Warfare Comes to Desert Festival” by Felix Gillette: “For his 50th birthday, Jim Tananbaum, chief executive officer of Foresite Capital, threw himself an extravagant party at Burning Man, the annual sybaritic arts festival and all-hours rave that attracts 60,000-plus to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada over the week before Labor Day.Tananbaum’s bash went so well, he decided to host an even more elaborate one the following year. In 2014 he’d invite up to 120 people to join him at a camp that would make the Burning Man experience feel something like staying at a pop-up W Hotel. To fund his grand venture, he’d charge $16,500 per head.”[Businessweek]

“The Surprisingly Mainstream History Of The Internet’s Favorite Anti-Semitic Image” by Joseph Bernstein in BuzzFeed: “Spend any time in the murkier bogs of the social internet — message boards, chans, far-right Eastern European political comment threads, Islam versus the International Zionist Conspiracy LiveJournals — and it won’t be long before you come across some version of this image: Obviously, it’s a derogatory caricature of a Jew, and a fairly rote one at that. All of the tropes established by centuries of anti-Semitic iconography in Europe are here: the grotesquely hooked nose, the scheming hands, the evil smile, the wild beard, the misshapen spine, the bulging eyes. It’s vile, but familiar.​.. So where did it come from, and how is it used?” [BuzzFeed]

Tevi Troy and Scott Gottlieb: “How Not to Bungle an ObamaCare Opening” in the WSJ:“Republican congressional leaders were wise to propose an alternative to the Affordable Care Act this week, as the Supreme Court may strike down a key provision of the law after hearing King v. Burwell next month… If the plaintiffs prevail, President Obama would undoubtedly blame Republicans for “taking away” the subsidies. And GOP governors might cave to political pressure and create state exchanges they had previously rejected. To avoid this outcome, ObamaCare’s congressional critics need to come up with an alternative that’s ready to go if the Supreme Court’s ruling goes their way.” [WSJ]

POLITICS & PARSHA — presented by Howie Beigelman: “It may well be—after Joseph’s famine relief planning agency—the next most crucial creation of a government bureaucracy in history. Yisroteaches Moses that he can’t do it alone. The lawgiver must step back, and allow other lesser, less expert judges to rule as well. That is one critical lesson. The other—that Moses was still the final word. It’s true that Moses couldn’t be expected to rule on every case, settle every dispute. He needed a cadre of civil servants to help him… He couldn’t do it alone. But they couldn’t do it without him. A leader needs a team, helping him execute his vision. And a team needs a leader, helping them execute their vision. It’s a lesson governments and those being governed need keep in mind.” [JewishLink]

DESSERT: “Portland Community Supported Kosher Beer from Leikam Brewing” [TheDailyMeal]

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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