Daily Kickoff: SXSW Edition | Jonathan Sarna on “Lincoln and the Jews” | Michael Douglas faces anti-Semitism | Jeffrey Goldberg on European Jews

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FIRST LOOK: “Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?” by Jeffrey Goldberg in the April Issue of The Atlantic: “For half a century, memories of the Holocaust inoculated the Continent against overt anti-Semitism. That period has ended—the recent fatal attacks in Paris and Copenhagen are merely the latest in a mounting tide. Today, right-wing fascist strains of Jew-hatred are merging with a new threat from radicalized Islamists, confronting Europe with a crisis, and its Jews with an agonizing choice.” [TheAtlantic] • “Two Months After Attack, Paris Kosher Market Reopens” [NYTimes]

Jewish Insider is live from Austin this week for South by Southwest: A glimpse of the annual gathering’s diversity; yesterday we ran into both Jason Statham and Grover Norquist on the streets of downtown Austin. We also heard from Rand Paul who was interviewed by the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith. Rand discussed his appeal to the “leave me alone coalition,” Hillary’s emails, and a potential Iran nuclear deal. Asked if there’s anything he could imagine would keep him from running in 2016 at this point, Rand responded “my wife. It’s a work in progress.”

Rand on Iran Talks: “I’ve said for my entire career that the separation of powers is very important. The sanctions that we put on Iran, I voted for. Congress passed them. They are law. To undo a law, Congress will have to undo them. I signed Cotton’s letter which said to remove sanctions, they have to be voted upon… There’s no one in Washington more against war and more for a negotiated deal than I am. I want the negotiated deal to be a good deal. I signed onto the letter because I want the president to negotiate from a position of strength. I want peace but I want Iran to say we’re done with terrorism in the middle east.”

Vincent Harris, Rand’s media guru who is also helping out the Likud party, told us that he’s flying to Israel this morning to be there for the election.

ISRAELEX: “Netanyahu Pleads for Voter Support in Close Israeli Election Race” [WSJ] • “Prevent ‘left-wing’ government, Netanyahu tells campaign rally” [ReutersWashPost] • “Bibi Faces Political Oblivion As Israel’s Election is Too Close To Call” [DailyBeast] • Dan Ephron: “Has Bibi Lost His Magic?” [PoliticoMag] • “In Israel’s Upcoming Elections Is It (Finally) The Economy, Stupid?” [BuzzFeed] • Last day before Israeli vote [AP• “Winning first place no guarantee of becoming premier”[NYTimes]

Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Michael Oren: Q – “A few years ago, we thought that J Street, the Jewish left, was going to drive the agenda. But now people to the right of AIPAC (the mainstream pro-Israel lobby) are doing much of the driving. How did that happen?” Oren: “There’s a very simple answer to that. J Street’s power derived from the fact that it is an extension of the Obama administration. The Obama administration invited J Street into the room with other Jewish organizations and sent high-level officials to speak at their conventions. But the reservoir of support for J Street is not particularly large.”

“The American Jewish community is 5 million people. What percentage of that number is actually involved in Jewish affairs? What percentage of those are involved with Israel, and what percentage of people involved with Israel wake up in the morning saying, ‘I care about Israel but I’m pained by Israel’s policies.’ That’s a very low percentage. The right is growing much more rapidly, even as a percentage within the Jewish community.” [TheAtlantic]

—Report: Netanyahu Canceled Intel Briefing for U.S. Senators on Iran Dangers” by Massimo Calabresi: “After Netanyahu’s office stripped the meeting from the trip schedule, Corker threatened to cut his own Israel trip short in protest… Netanyahu relented after the personal intervention of Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, and allowed the briefing to go forward, sources say.” [TimeMag

IRAN TALKS: “Diplomats Take Aim at a Tentative Iran Deal” by Laurence Norman: “U.S. and Iranian negotiators set to resume talks Monday are hoping to seal a tentative political agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program, though Western diplomats said serious negotiations over substance would still be needed in the months ahead.” [WSJ] • “West hopes for Iran concessions in nuclear talks” [ReutersBloomberg• “Lesser Announcement on Table” [AP] • “Breaking Up Sanctions Is Hard To Do”[ForeignPolicy]

“Democrats prepared to buck White House on Iran nuclear deal: Damage from Cotton’s letter has been contained, lawmakers of both parties say” by Burgess Everett: “Even as the White House ramps up pressure on Congress to stay out of its negotiations with Iran on a nuclear agreement, Republicans are on the brink of veto-proof majorities for legislation that could undercut any deal. Though several Democratic senators said they were offended by the missive authored by Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, none of them said it would cause them to drop their support for bills to impose new sanctions on Iran or give Congress review power over a nuclear deal.” [Politico]

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough’s letter to Congress on Saturday night: “The Administration’s request to the Congress is simple: let us complete the negotiations before the Congress acts on legislation… We understand that Congress will make its own determinations about how to respond, but we do not believe that the country’s interests are served by congressional attempts to weigh in prematurely on this sensitive and consequential ongoing international negotiation aimed at achieving a goal that we all share: using diplomacy to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.”

WSJ Editorial: “Obama’s Iran Jam: One unfortunate side effect of last week’s letter from 47 GOP Senators to Iran is that it has helped the White House and its media friends obscure the far more important story—the degree to which President Obama is trying to prevent Congress from playing any meaningful role in assessing his one-man Iran deal.” [WSJ] • Jackson Diehl Op: “A deal bigger than Iran” [WashPost]

2016 WATCH: Lindsey Graham in New Hampshire: “I’m gonna do weddings,” he says, “bar mitzvahs—anything it takes to get known in New Hampshire.” [Bloomberg]

“Evangelicals Aim to Mobilize an Army for Republicans in 2016” by Jason Horowitz: “For David Lane, a onetime Bible salesman and self-described former “wild man,” connecting the pastors with two likely presidential candidates was more than a good day’s work… They say you’re anti-Israel,” Mr. Lane said he told Sen. Rand Paul when they met, and asked if he had ever been to Israel. When Mr. Paul said he had not, Mr. Lane, whose daughter now works for Mr. Paul, asked if the senator would be interested in going on a tour with evangelical leaders from Iowa and South Carolina.” [NYTimes]

“Hillary Set to Staff Up Fund-Raising Team” [NYTimes] • “Boehner to investigate Hillary email practices” [ABC News] NYPost Report: “Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett behind lead of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal” [NYPost] • “White House frets return of ‘Clinton way” by Edward-Isaac Dovere: “To sum up the feelings, all the way up to the highest levels: What. The. Hell.” [Politico] • “A Young Manager for Clinton Juggles Data and Old Baggage” [NYTimes

RoundUp: “Rubio’s house of horrors” [Politico] • “Southerner. Wonk. Immigrants’ son. Can Bobby Jindal win at every role?” [WashPost• “Former Sen. Jim Webb eyes 2016” [ABC News] • “Huckabee Pursues Unconventional Ways to Fund a Campaign” [NYTimes]

**Good Monday 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: “Guy Oseary and Ashton Kutcher Launch Sound Ventures, The Successor To A-Grade Investments” [TechCrunch] • “Blackstone Strikes $1.3B Deal on Chicago’s Willis Tower from Chetrit & Gluck — highest for office tower outside New York” [WSJ] • “Behind Jared Kushner’s record deal for 666 Fifth Avenue” [RealDeal] • “Israel Immigration Seen Fueling Real Estate Boom Amid Shortage” [Bloomberg• “Video: Fly over Ira Rennet’s $500M Hamptons mansion” [BusinessInsider] • “Gazit hired Citigroup Inc. to advise on “strategic alternatives” for its Israeli business” [Bloomberg] • Israel’s Gigawatt Global, responsible for East Africa’s first solar field, nominated for Nobel Prize” [JPost] • “Ghermezian’s American Dream Miami mega mall aims to defy grim fate of others” [MiamiHerald]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Is Tracx The Next Big Thing In Israeli Tech?” by Eyal Bino: “Based in NYC, Tel-Aviv and London, Tracx is a social media management platform for enterprises, providing brands with monitoring, engagement, analytics, and actionable data insights… In many ways, the story of Tracx is the story of Startup Nation. It’s a story about fearless entrepreneurs, superior technology, deep friendships, intense competition, cultural nuances, and… one Gorilla.” [Forbes]

HAPPENING TODAY AT #SXSW: The Government of Israel Ministry of Economy hosts an innovation showcase and networking reception titled “Israel: Land of Creation” at The Madison with a keynote address from Igal Elbaz, VP at AT&T… Or Arbel, co-founder & CEO at YO, speaks on “Dumb App Design: Yo and the Magic Of Minimalism” [SXSW]

“Michael Douglas finds Judaism and faces anti-Semitism” by Michael Douglas in the LA Times: “My father, Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, is Jewish. My mother, Diana, is not… While some Jews believe that not having a Jewish mother makes me not Jewish, I have learned the hard way that those who hate do not make such fine distinctions. Anti-Semitism, I’ve seen, is like a disease that goes dormant, flaring up with the next political trigger… In my opinion there are three reasons anti-Semitism is appearing now with renewed vigilance.” [LA Times]

BOOK PREVIEW: “Lincoln and the Jews: A History” by Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell: “Lincoln and the Jews: A History provides the first full-scale history of Abraham Lincoln’s relationship with Jews and the Jewish community. It focuses especially on how Lincoln promoted the inclusion of Jews into the fabric of American life and helped to transform Jews from outsiders in America to insiders.” Pre-order — $19.99 Kindle; $30 hardcover [Amazon]

Jonathan Sarna previews the book exclusively for Jewish Insider readers… “Readers of JewishInsider will be especially interested in how Lincoln went after the Jewish vote in 1860 and 1864.  His Jewish friend and fellow Illinois lawyer-politician, Abraham Jonas, put Lincoln’s name forth for the presidency in 1858, and urged the nascent Republican Party to pursue political outsiders like “the liberal and freethinking Germans,” and “the Israelites.” Jonas also played an important backstage role in the maneuverings that led to Lincoln’s nomination. While the majority of Jews voted against Lincoln in 1860, individual Jews like Jonas and the New York lawyer Abram Dittenhoefer played a significant role in his election.”

Four years later, Jonas was dead but Lincoln was even more determined to win the Jewish vote. His liaison to the Jewish community, Issachar Zacharie, worked tirelessly to win Jews to the Republican Party and on October 23, 1864, Lincoln himself met with “certain gentlemen of the Hebrew faith” to discuss the Jewish vote—possibly the first time that any president had ever formally discussed that subject in the Executive Mansion. Publicly the White House insisted that “no pledge of the Jewish vote was made by these gentlemen,” but behind-the-scenes we now know that wealthy Jews like Samuel A. Lewis advised Lincoln to direct any “Jewish committees” seeking political funds straight to him.  “I will furnish them such amounts as we see can be used to advantage,” he promised.”

SPORTS BLINK: “Hammer Time: Al Rosen (1924-2015) [TabletMagAP] • “Israeli baseball bringing Jewish and Arab youth together” [JPost] • “Aaron Liberman must balance life as Orthodox Jew and college player” [SportsIllustrated]

DESSERT: “A Tinder for Modern-Day Yentas” by Clare Malone: “As soon as I touched Tinder, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is the next step that needs to exist in the Jewish community,’ ” said David Yarus, a 28-year-old entrepreneur who said he made the app “kind of as a joke.” But he is taking it seriously now. “I’ve unlocked this alignment of truth in my life where my passion and my profession and my expertise is all the same thing right now,” he said. Mr. Yarus describes typical JSwipe users as “millennial Jews around the world whose grandparents and mothers are saying, ‘When are you going to marry someone Jewish?’ ” [NYTimes]

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**


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