Daily Kickoff: Eric Schmidt & Israel’s 8200 Spymasters Launch Cyber Incubator | Jewish fan to Knicks owner: “One is tangerines & other is matzo balls

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OBAMA ADDRESSES NETANYAHU VISIT: “With respect to Prime Minister Netanyahu, as I’ve said before, I talk to him all the time, our teams constantly coordinate. We have a practice of not meeting with leaders right before their elections, two weeks before their elections. As much as I love Angela, if she was two weeks away from an election she probably would not have received an invitation to the White House — (laughter) — and I suspect she wouldn’t have asked for one. (Laughter.)”

“So this is just — some of this just has to do with how we do business.  And I think it’s important for us to maintain these protocols — because the U.S.-Israeli relationship is not about a particular party.  This isn’t a relationship founded on affinity between the Labor Party and the Democratic Party, or Likud and the Republican Party. This is the U.S.-Israeli relationship that extends beyond parties, and has to do with that unbreakable bond that we feel and our commitment to Israel’s security, and the shared values that we have. And the way to preserve that is to make sure that it doesn’t get clouded with what could be perceived as partisan politics. Whether that’s accurate or not, that is a potential perception, and that’s something that we have to guard against.”

ON IRAN: “Now, I don’t want to be coy. The Prime Minister and I have a very real difference around Iran, Iran sanctions. I have been very clear — and Angela agrees with me, and David Cameron agrees with me, and the others who are a member of the negotiations agree — that it does not make sense to sour the negotiations a month or two before they’re about to be completed. And we should play that out. If, in fact, we can get a deal, then we should embrace that. If we can’t get a deal, then we’ll have to make a set of decisions, and, as I’ve said to Congress, I’ll be the first one to work with them to apply even stronger measures against Iran.”

“But what’s the rush — unless your view is that it’s not possible to get a deal with Iran and it shouldn’t even be tested? And that I cannot agree with because, as the President of the United States, I’m looking at what the options are if we don’t get a diplomatic resolution.  And those options are narrow and they’re not attractive.  And from the perspective of U.S. interests — and I believe from the perspective of Israel’s interests, although I can’t speak for, obviously, the Israeli government — it is far better if we can get a diplomatic solution.  So there are real differences substantively, but that’s separate and apart from the whole issue of Mr. Netanyahu coming to Washington. All right?” [TranscriptVideo]

Less All Right: The following sentence was noticed in President Obama’s interview with Vox… orrandomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris”

—Context: “Look, the point is this: my first job is to protect the American people. It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris. We devote enormous resources to that, and it is right and appropriate for us to be vigilant and aggressive in trying to deal with that — the same way a big city mayor’s got to cut the crime rate down if he wants that city to thrive. But we also have to attend to a lot of other issues, and we’ve got to make sure we’re right-sizing our approach so that what we do isn’t counterproductive.” [Vox]

—Obama’s View: Iran Deal = Middle East Stability: “If we can make progress in restoring a functioning, multi-sectarian Iraqi government, and we’re able to get a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, then we have the basis, I think, for a movement towards greater stability.”… “People are right to be suspicious of Iran. Iran has sponsored state terrorism. It consistently has, at the highest levels, made deplorable anti-Israeli statements.” [Vox]

—Kissinger on Iran: “Mr. Kissinger always speaks with care not to undermine a U.S. Administration, and the same is true here. But he is clearly worried about how far the U.S. has moved from its original negotiating position that Iran cannot enrich uranium or maintain thousands of centrifuges. And he is concerned that these concessions will lead the world to perceive that such a deal would put Iran on the cusp of being a nuclear power.” [WSJ]

Chemi Shalev Op: “Breakthrough in Iran talks might be terrible for Israel but wonderful for Netanyahu: In the coming weeks, the Obama administration has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver a potential coup-de-grace to Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral prospects. What it needs to do is make sure that nuclear talks with Iran plunge into crisis a few days before Netanyahu’s controversial speech to Congress; that would be tantamount to pulling the political rug out from under him…”

“At the same time, however, a contrary scenario – which seems much more plausible, if you listened to Obama’s press conference with Angela Merkel on Monday – could very well produce diametrically opposite results. The closer the P5+1 powers appear to be to a nuclear agreement in the days before Netanyahu is scheduled to take to the podium on Capitol Hill, the more rational and justifiable Netanyahu’s speech will start to seem.” [Haaretz]

David Horovitz Op: “Why not, in the spirit of bipartisanship, extend an invitation, too, to Israel’s opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, to address our allies in Congress? And why not have the US president, when the speeches are done, invite both rivals for the prime ministership to talks at the White House?”[ToI]

“Isaac Herzog still mulling AIPAC DC speech” by Gil Hoffman: “Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog has not yet decided whether to accept an invitation from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to speak at its policy conference in Washington two weeks before the March 17 election, Herzog said Monday in a meeting with Jerusalem Post staff.” [JPost]

Yesterday’s Bibi Speech Timeline: Reuters released a report in the morning citing unnamed Israeli officials that Netanyahu was considering making changes to his speech. One idea floated was for Netanyahu to speak to Members of Congress behind closed doors and to then make his Aipac speech the public address… But then Netanyahu told voters from the Russian speaking community on Monday evening that he was determined to discuss Israel’s objections in Washington to an emerging deal with Iran… Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks at the Likud event were broadly viewed as a denial of the report.”[ReutersBuzzFeedNYTimes] • Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer landed in Israel yesterday for further consultations on the speech.

According to Bloomberg’s Jonathan Allen, President Obama plans to discuss Netanyahu’s visit with the Congressional Black Caucus today after prominent members Reps. G.K. Butterfield, John Lewis, and James Clyburn announced they plan to skip the Israeli leader’s speech. [Bloomberg]

Bernie Sanders to skip Bibi speech: The Vermont Senator told a Brookings Institution Q&A that, “I’m not thinking about it. I’m not going. I may watch it on TV.” Sanders, who is considering a run for President in 2016, is the first U.S. Senator to announce his planned absence. [CSPAN Video] • “Whip List: Dems skipping Netanyahu’s speech” [TheHill]

WATCH: Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe defends Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to speak to Congress [MSNBC]

SHOTS FIRED: ZOA’s Mort Klein to the Forward’s Nathan Guttman on the ADL’s Abe Foxmanand Reform’s Rick Jacobs — “ZOA: Foxman and Jacobs “reminiscent of Jewish condemnation of Peter Bergson and Ben Hecht for trying to speak to Congress about Nazi threat” [Twitter] • [ZOA Statement]

Bibi-Style ‘Breach of Protocol’?… “Israel denies knowledge of reported Putin visit: Israeli government’s spokesperson on Thursday said Jerusalem had no knowledge that Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to visit Israel during his tour to the Middle East next month. The report sayingthe strongman leader will visit Jerusalem to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ramallah for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appeared on Thursday in al-Quds, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian broadsheet. Putin visit, the report claimed, was aimed to kickstart the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, currently in deep crisis, following the failure of the latest US-backed push last year.” [i24JPost

ROGIN SCOOP: “Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers during a private reception in Germany that he personally supports sending lethal aid to the Ukrainian military, even though President Barack Obama has yet to make a decision on whether to say yes to Ukraine’s arms request.” [BloombergView] • “Democrats are now pushing Obama to give guns to Ukraine” [DailyBeast]

2016 WATCH: “David Brock resigns from HIllary Clinton PAC” by Kenneth P. Vogel: “In a resignation letter obtained by POLITICO, Brock, a close Clinton ally, accused Priorities officials of planting “an orchestrated political hit job” against his own pro-Clinton groups, American Bridge and Media Matters. Those groups — along with another pro-Clinton group, the super PAC Ready for Hillary — had their fundraising practices called into question last week by a New York Times report… The in-fighting is an ominous sign. It calls to mind the squabbles that helped sink Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. It, too, was regarded as an unrivaled cash juggernaut, but feuding among cliques of supporters stymied efforts to launch a planned big-money outside effort in time to neutralize a surprisingly robust insurgent primary challenge from Barack Obama.” [Politico]

ROUNDUP: “Rubio, Eye on 2016, Hires Jim Merrill – a Coveted Former Aide to Romney” [FirstDraft] •“Democratic wise man John Podesta splits loyalties between Obama, Clinton” [AP] • “Ted Cruz staffs up with Gingrich veteran Rick Tyler” [USA Today] • “Would Biden really be ‘a player’ in Iowa?”[DailyBeast] • “O’Malley breaks elbow while lifting weights” [BaltimoreSun] • “Jeb Bush Website With 250,000 Emails Will Start Tuesday” [NYTimes]

—Drop us a note at editor@jewishinsider.com if you find anything noteworthy in Jeb Bush’s emails.[JebEmails]

—Here are some random items we found, on Sat, Feb 1, 2003, after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, you could see how Jeb responded… Interesting to note that the Gov’s staff wrote to Jeb, “that because of the Israel astronaut, security was increased, which minimized any outside terrorism.”[Feb1• On Jan 5th, 2004, Jeb was sent a note, “The meeting between Commissioner Tunnell and the American Jewish Committee Representatives has been set for February 23 at 2PM in Tallahassee.” Jeb responded, “Great. Make sure Steve Lauer is there as well.” [Jan5] • Jeb received an email titled, “Muslim confab invited anti-Semitic cleric” [Jan7• Email chain on Jan 30th titled, “Hamas in Florida Classroom” Frank Brogran’s University” [Jan30] • “Just a follow-up. The meeting you suggested between Commissioner Tunnell and Donna Delapaz of the American Jewish Committee took place this afternoon. Also present were, Joseph Mendels, Dan Pollock, William Gralnick and Ruth Young from the American Jewish Committee.” [Feb23]

POLITICAL PULSE: “Vouchers have new champions on the Hill” by Maggie Severns: “Stars of the GOP — from George H.W. Bush to John Boehner — have long endorsed using federal dollars to send children to private schools, but now a gang of newcomers is rolling up their sleeves to try to make it a reality. GOP lawmakers including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Rep. Luke Messer of Indianaare busy lobbying peers, proposing sweeping voucher bills and nudging school choice into conversations around the 2016 primaries. The issue is still considered a long shot for Republicans in Congress, but they hope to shorten the odds.” [Politico]

ISRAELEX INTERVIEW: “Michael Oren lends foreign policy bona fides to new Israeli party Kulanu”[JTA]

GET SMART QUICK: 36 Days To Go – “Netanyahu Fights Israeli Media” [TalSchneider] • “Israeli right ditches effort to topple Netanyahu” [AlMonitor]

TOP-OP: “Why the CIA Killed Imad Mughniyeh” by Matthew Levitt: “The CIA doesn’t assassinate often anymore, so when it does the agency picks its targets carefully. The story uncovered last weekend by the Washington Post and Newsweek the CIA’s reported role in the February 2008 assassination of Hezbollah master terrorist Imad Mughniyeh is the stuff of a Hollywood spy thriller. A team of CIA spotters in Damascus tracking a Hezbollah terrorist wanted for decades; a custom-made explosive shaped to kill only the target and placed in the spare tire of an SUV parked along the target’s route home; intelligence gathered by Israelis, paired with a bomb built and tested in North Carolina, taking out a man responsible for the deaths of more Americans than anyone else until 9/11.”[PoliticoMag]

**Good Tuesday 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**

STARTUP NATION: “How Eric Schmidt, Cisco, And An Israeli Spymaster Launched A New Cybersecurity Incubator” by Neal Ungerleider: “A new cybersecurity incubator named Team8 Ventures that is exiting stealth mode today has an unusual pedigree: Co-founded by the recently departed chief of Israel’s cyberspy program, the incubator is launching with a $18 million funding round from Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Marker LLC, along with input from Cisco and Lucent Technologies. Team8’s apparent goal? To leverage the offensive and defensive skills of veterans of Israel’s cyberwar efforts to build new security startups which the company describes as “disruptive.”

As for Team8, the incubator’s co-founder, Nadav Zafrir, headed Israel’s Unit 8200 (an elite surveillance unit roughly equivalent to America’s NSA) until 2013. Two of Team8’s three other co-founders, according to publicity materials, are also 8200 alums; the other, Ronni Zehavi, founded cloud app deployment firm Cotendo, which was sold to Akamai in 2011 for $268 million. In a telephone conversation with Fast Company, Zafrir said that Team8 (get it: Teammate?) plans to raise additional funds in 2015, and has initial plans to launch between four and six cybersecurity companies.”[FastCompanyReuters]

0 to $1B in 2 years: “Slack’s Founder Stewart Butterfield On How They Became a $1 Billion Company in Two Years” — “You’ve probably heard about Slack’s exponential growth. And you may have read about how the internal-communication platform—now just two years old—is already used by more than 30,000 teams and valued at over $1 billion. But have you visited its Twitter Wall of Love? These tweets are real, and they’re the stuff of founders’ dreams. And yet Slack hasn’t run any big integrated marketing campaigns—they don’t have an elaborate email strategy or buy million-dollar billboards. (In fact, they hit those user numbers without a CMO.) So how did the company not only launch with enviable momentum, but so quickly win users’ hearts?” [FastCompany]

“Zuckerberg Bedroom Privacy Hinges on Claim of Broken Promise” by Joel Rosenblatt: “The e-mail was blunt: Mark Zuckerberg had no interest in playing nice with the guy from next door. “How do we make this go away?” a Zuckerberg adviser wrote to his real estate agent. “MZ is not going to take a meeting with him … ever.” Now that 2013 e-mail, and others like it, are at the center of property war gone rogue. On one side is Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder of Facebook Inc. On the other is the businessman from next door, a real estate developer who hoped to profit from Zuckerberg’s desire for privacy.​” [Bloomberg]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Loews Chief Jim Tisch Says Drilling Recovery a Matter of Time” [Bloomberg] •“Madoff Victims Begin Receiving $355.8 Million Payout” [WSJ] • “Estimated 6,500 Israelis held $10 billion in secret HSBC bank accounts” [i24] • “The new Palestinian city that lacks only one thing” [BBC] • “Itzhaki Acquisitions pony up $50M for five rental buildings in Murrary Hill” [DailyNews] • “Israel’sOurCrowd leads $19M funding round to expand Borro’s online pawnshop for luxury goods”[TechCrunch] • “Israeli company to build 20-hour-per-day solar panels” [Reuters]

QUOTABLE: Former NBA Commissioner David Stern to NYU Students Last Night…“Growing up in New York, I read from the back of the newspaper, and that’s not because of my inclination to Hebrew” [H/T @Ezmo22]

JEWISH MEDIA PIONEER: “A Jewish magazine is testing an unusual solution for toxic internet comments” by Chris Plante: “Want to comment on a story on Tablet magazine’s website? You’ll have to pay. The Jewish “daily online magazine of Jewish news, ideas, and culture” is testing a new monetization method that scans like a modern day Indulgence: to leave a comment, you must select and pay a rate: $2 a day, $18 a month, or $180 a year. “[T]he Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion,” writes Tablet editor-in-chief Alana Newhouse, “sometimes allowing destructive — and, often, anonymous —individuals to drag it down with invective (and worse). Instead of shutting off comments altogether (as some outlets are starting to do), we are going to try something else: ask those of you who’d like to comment on the site to pay a nominal fee — less a paywallthan a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation.” [TheVergeTabletMag]

—Top Tweet: Tablet’s @Yair_Rosenberg — “I am officially christening @tabletmag’s new pay-to-comment policy as “the wailing paywall.” [Twitter]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Kars 4 Kids Rakes in the Buckz—by Not Touting Its Jewish Beneficiaries” by Zachary Schrieber: “Kars 4 Kids—officially listed in tax documents as “JOY for Our Youth”—was founded by Rabbi Chaim Mintz in the mid-1990s to help finance Mintz’s charitable endeavors by turning old unwanted cars into cash… As for why the organization goes by the name Kars 4 Kids, instead of its official charitable name, Kirwan said that “branding-wise,” Kars 4 Kids “is a little more catchy.”.. So, while the commercials cloud—or at least don’t trumpet—the true nature of the charity, Kars 4 Kids remains open about it when pressed for more information. And none of this is to say that Kars 4 Kids does not also provide some important services. Are donors being misled? “No regulations will ever stop this,” said White. “We just have to raise awareness so the public understands” whom they are giving to when they give their car away. Without that, Kars 4 Kids, the most successful car-donation charity, has little incentive to be more forthcoming, or to alter the perfect jingle, the envy of all advertisers.”[TabletMag]

“German Jews Upset About Government Group On Anti-Semitism: Leading Jewish groups have slammed the German government for creating a new commission on anti-Semitism without including a single Jew. Anetta Kahane from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation against anti-Semitism says: “Nobody would even think of creating a conference on hatred of Islam without Muslims or a round table on the discrimination of women without women.” [AP]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Museum of Jewish Heritage Faces Struggle Over Pace of Change” by Sophia Hollander: “When Bruce Ratner took over as chairman of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in June, he and museum officials expressed optimism that a new era was beginning for the 17-year-old institution perched at the tip of lower Manhattan. Nearly eight months later, there is little disagreement over direction. The museum, which explores Jewish life before, during and after the Holocaust, needs to boost annual attendance, which is far below that of comparable city institutions, despite a respected collection. It must stabilize its balance sheet, which has been in the red five of the last six years. And it needs to undertake significant projects, such as reimagining key sections of its core exhibit.” [WSJ]

SPORTS BLINK: “70-Year-Old Jewish New York Knicks Fan Hits Back at Owner James Dolan: A 70-year-old lifelong Jewish New York Knicks fan hit back at team owner James Dolan after the mercurial boss slammed him as an “alchoholic” and a “hateful mess.” Irving Bierman, who has been a fan of the team for six decades, said Dolan is a disgrace for making excuses about the sorry state of the once proud basketball franchise.​ “I wanted to throw up. The words he was using, I couldn’t believe it,” Bierman told the Wall Street Journal. “What he wrote in his email had nothing to do with what I mentioned in my email. Like one is tangerines and the other is matzo balls. I mean, it’s ridiculous.” [ForwardWSJDeadspin]

DESSERT: “Holy Rollers” — New Kosher Sausage Cart in NYC: “There’s a new kosher sausage cart launching in midtown Manhattan today — HOLY ROLLERS — both the first Glatt kosher meat cart and the first kosher sausage cart (or truck)… The cart will be taking a position on the NW corner of 48th st& 6th Ave. around the corner from the Diamond District during the daytime.” [YTK]

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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