Daily Kickoff: Israel says Iran violated U.S. sanctions with aircraft purchase | Uber debuts in Jerusalem | The Jewish Origins of Kentucky Bourbon

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TOP TALKER: “Libya Role of Clinton Friend Blumenthal Blurs Lines” by Nicholas Confessore and Michael S. Schmidt: “Now, as Hillary Rodham Clinton embarks on her second presidential bid, Sidney Blumenthal’s service to the Clintons is again under the spotlight. Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, a Republican who is leading the congressional committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, plans to subpoena Mr. Blumenthal, 66, for a private transcribed interview.”

“In an August 2012 memo, Mr. Blumenthal described the new president of Libya, Mohamed Magariaf, as someone who would “seek a discrete [sic] relationship with Israel” and had “many common friends and associates with the leaders of Israel.” “If true, this is encouraging,” Mrs. Clinton wrote to Mr. Sullivan. “Should consider passing to Israelis.” [NYTimes] • “What Sidney Blumenthal’s Memos to Hillary Clinton Said, and How They Were Handled” [NYTimes] • “Benghazi probe to focus on role of Sidney Blumenthal” [Politico]

Meanwhile, Sidney’s son Max Blumenthal recently announced that he’s coming out with a new book next month titled “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza” [Twitter]

“State Department won’t release Hillary’s emails until January 2016” by Josh Gerstein: “The State Department is proposing a deadline of January 2016 to complete its review and public release of 55,000 pages of emails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanged on a private server and turned over to her former agency last December.” [Politico]

“Hillary Clinton was paid millions by tech industry for speeches” by Matea Gold, Rosalind S. Helderman and Anu Narayanswamy: “The blurred line between personal and political is apparent in the cases of companies that hired Clinton to speak and are led by executives who are now prominent backers of her campaign. Salesforce, for instance, paid Clinton $451,000 to deliver two talks last year, and its CEO, Marc Benioff, is a major donor to Ready for Hillary, a super PAC that laid the groundwork for her presidential bid. Another major backer of the PAC is Irwin Jacobs, he former chairman of Qualcomm, which shelled out $335,000 for Clinton to speak in late October.” [WashPost]

“Norman Braman charity Marco Rubio’s wife works for wasn’t very giving in 2013” by Alex Leary: “In a profile of Jeanette Rubio we reported how the charity she works for paid her at least $54,000 in 2013. But another figure stands out: $250. That’s how much the Braman Family 2011 Charitable Foundation gave out that year. In an interview, Debi Wechsler, who is Norman Braman’s daughter and works on the charity, said that was a time when her parents were doing more philanthropy on their own and that Mrs. Rubio was involved.” [TampaBayTimes]

Headline: “Jewish Conservatives Form Infrastructure of Graham’s Potential 2016 Donor Base” by Alex Lazar [OpenSecrets]

“Chris Christie says Obama’s approach to Israel ‘shameful’: “Our commitment to Israel must be absolute. Israel is a beacon of freedom in a sea of autocracy and our friendship should be unshakeable. Over the last few years this administration has taken our Israeli partners for granted and it is shameful how the president has treated them.” [JPost] • “Chris Christie touts expertise, aims to be ‘policy candidate’” [Politico]

Ash Carter interview: “Cyberspies, Nukes, and the New Cold War: Shane Smith Interviews Ashton Carter” [ViceNews]

“Bob Gates: U.S. has no Middle East strategy ‘at all'” by Nick Gass: “We’re basically sort of playing this day to day,” Gates said in a discussion on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I think our interests remain important in the Middle East.” Gates also touched upon the stir over presidential hopeful Jeb Bush’s answers to the question over whether he would invade Iraq given the information that is known now. “The right answer,” Gates said, is evaluating the lessons from the mistakes that were made when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. “One of those lessons is, it seems to me, we overestimate our ability to shape events there.” [Politico] • Bret Stephens: “Everything Is Awesome, Mideast Edition” [WSJ]

“Obama Admin Shrugs at Netanyahu’s Appointment of Peace Process Opponent” by John Hudson: “The State Department on Monday shrugged off a decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to appoint Silvan Shalom, a politician who has publicly opposed the creation of a Palestinian state, as his chief negotiator for the long-stalled peace talks.” [ForeignPolicyAP] • Ruth Eglash: “Israel’s Netanyahu stops short of creating a Ministry of Magic” [WashPost] • Former AJC head Henry Siegman: “Give Up on Netanyahu, Go to the United Nations” [NYTimes]

At 12PM, the JCPA and JCRC hosts a conference call today on “The New Israeli Government – Can it Last?” with Israeli journalist Tal Schnieder [JCouncil]

“Vatican Seeks to Quiet Uproar Over Pope’s ‘Angel of Peace’ Remark” by Isabel Kershner and Elisabetta Povoledo: “Every word counts in the delicate diplomacy of the Middle East, where negotiators have often resorted to creative ambiguity. So Pope Francis’ sotto voce greeting to President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority during a meeting at the Vatican on Saturday, in which he referred to Mr. Abbas as an “angel of peace,” but with an uncertain verb, has caused a linguistic and political furor that is still resonating days later.” [NYTimes]

“Israel says Iran violated sanctions by purchasing aircraft” by Jeffrey Heller: “A senior Israeli official took a swipe at Washington on Tuesday over Iran’s purchase of second-hand civilian aircraft, saying the acquisition violated U.S. sanctions and went ahead despite a tip-off from Israel.” [Reuters]

COMPETING OPS — George J. Mitchell: “Having been involved in high-profile negotiations in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, I’m aware that they are difficult to manage. To date, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have struck the appropriate balance. Their achievement in the interim agreement was significant. They now need and should have our patience and encouragement as they try to obtain a final agreement that will be worthy of our continued support.” [BostonGlobe]

Michael Doran: “To the president, foreign policy isn’t just about safeguarding the country. It’s also, as the Iran deal makes clear, about fashioning a creative personal narrative of the effort.” [MosaicMag]

**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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Deal for Sapir’s Manhattan tower could be among biggest in NYC history”[NYPostWSJ] • Avi Shaked’s 888 in high-stakes battle for bwin.party [FinancialTimes] • “White Flint Mall Owners Lerner Enterprises Expect to Begin Exterior Demolition Soon” [BethesdaMag] • “Aby Rosen’s RFR looks to sell Paramount Hotel” [RealDealWSJ] • Mort Zuckerman’s Daily News bidding extended [NYPost]

LongRead: “A long way from Moscow” by Christopher Miller: “‘Russia’s Mark Zuckerberg’ took on the Kremlin – and lost his country and the business he built… The morning after authorities raided VKontakte, Durov awoke to news that two original investors, Vyacheslav Mirilashvili and Lev Leviev, had sold their joint 48% stake in the company (then valued at around $2 billion) to United Capital Partners (UCP), a private Moscow investment firm with close ties to the Kremlin.” [Mashable] • Russia Chief Rabbi and friend of Putin, Berel Lazar turns 51 today…

“The Man Bitcoin Built – and Then Destroyed” by Nathaniel Popper: “Charlie Shrem sits in prison in central Pennsylvania, the cautionary face of the futuristic movement that developed around the virtual currency Bitcoin. This can seem a rather unlikely position for a 25-year-old college graduate who grew up in the cloistered world of the Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn and kept a copy of the Israeli Declaration of Independence on his bedroom wall. But his past was, in fact, an integral part of the journey that has left him in USP Lewisburg Satellite Camp.” [Forward]

JERUSALEM RIDE-SHARING BATTLE: Uber started operating in Jerusalem this week with a 50% off promotion for all passengers. Yesterday, passengers were able to take two free rides worth up to 50 NIS each.

“Gett hiring 300, 150 in Israel” by Roy Goldenberg: “Just one month after GetTaxi’s announcement of its rebranding as Gett, and a month before it adds new services to its existing taxi-ordering service, Gett is planning to significantly increase its manpower. The company announced that it intends to recruit 300 new workers by year end, half of them for the company’s Tel Aviv development center in Ramat Hachayal.” [Globes]

“Wikipedia founder supports Israel, but keeps site neutral” by Ben Sales: “Wales was in Israel — he’s been here more than 10 times, he says — to accept the Dan David Prize, an international award of $1 million given yearly at Tel Aviv University. Wales prizes neutrality on Wikipedia, which is translated into 288 languages, including Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino. Few topics present as great a challenge to that value as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where every word or snippet of information can be imbued with ideology. His response is to provide as many facts as possible, aiming to overwhelm any chance of bias.” [JTA]

“Illinois passes bill that bans BDS participants from state pension funds: The Illinois State House of Representatives on Monday unanimously passed a bill that prohibits state pension funds from including in their portfolios companies that participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said on Twitter that he will sign the bill into law.” [JNS]

Jacob Baime emails… “Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, providing a legislative model for the rest of the country. At its core, the BDS movement is rooted in anti-Semitism and the denial of Israel’s right to exist. Israel on Campus Coalition applauds Illinois for leading the way in the fight against the growing BDS movement.”

HOLLYWOOD: “Natalie Portman’s Zionist Manifesto” by Dana Kennedy: “You have to be Jewish to understand it,” said my seatmate, in tears, at the end of the premiere of Natalie Portman’s quietly devastating new film, A Tale of Love and Darkness. It helps, too, to be Israeli-American and speak Hebrew, like Portman, to bring Amos Oz’s international bestseller to the screen in her feature directorial debut—in Hebrew no less. The Harvard-educated, Oscar-winning Portman, born Neta-Lee Hershlag in Jerusalem, stars in the adaptation of Oz’s memoir about a boy coming of age in the tumultuous period just before and after Israel’s independence from the British mandate.” [DailyBeast]

SPORTS BLINK: “Farms offer Zayat more than $20M for American Pharoah’s breeding rights” by Darren Rovell: “He’s not a Triple Crown winner yet, but offers are pouring in to own American Pharoah’s breeding rights. The 3-year-old colt, who won the Kentucky Derby earlier this month and, on Saturday, the Preakness by an impressive 7 lengths on a sloppy track, has had interest from “nearly every single farm in the world,” said Justin Zayat, racing manager for Zayat Stables.” [ESPN]

“Robert Kraft is Talking, and He’s Pretty Peeved” by Peter King: “Kraft spoke for 50 minutes Saturday by phone from his home outside Boston. He sounded alternately defiant and angry. He is convinced the league does not have a smoking gun that would prove anyone connected with the organization deflated a bag of footballs to make them more to Brady’s liking in the AFC title game four months ago. He is convinced the Wells Report distorted the science to fit a conclusion that doesn’t work. He thinks the league has nothing but what he called “ambiguous circumstantial evidence” on the Patriots.” [MMQB]

DESSERT: “The Jewish Origins of Kentucky Bourbon” by Reid Mitenbuler: “In 1867, a Jewish immigrant by the name of Isaac Wolfe Bernheim arrived to America from Germany. He rode in steerage during his trip across the Atlantic and survived on potatoes—a humble beginning to the bootstrapping success story he would tell decades later, after building one of the biggest whiskey brands in the world.” [TheAtlantic]

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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