Daily Kickoff: U.S. may cooperate with Iran-backed militias | Manilow, Pritzker host Hillary | Soffer & LeFrak dynasties team up to build $4B SoLeMia

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IRAN TALKS: “Iran’s Khamenei rules out interviews with nuclear scientists” by Parisa Hafezi: “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday Tehran would not accept “unreasonable demands” by world powers during negotiations over its disputed nuclear program, and ruled out letting inspectors interview its atomic scientists.” [Reuters]

“Sen Ron Johnson: Ayatollah Could Be More Trustworthy Than Obama On Iran Deal” by Andrew Kaczynski: “I don’t know, I hate to admit it, but in terms of this framework, do I trust President Obama, or do I trust the Ayatollah? In terms of what the framework actually says? I’m not so sure I’m trusting President Obama on this.” [BuzzFeed]

“Iran, 6 World Powers Launch New Round Of Nuclear Talks” by George Jahn: “Diplomats said ahead of Wednesday’s meeting that progress is being made but significant gaps remain on a main document and technical annexes ahead of an end-of-June deadline.” [AP]

“New Tensions Build Between U.S. and Iran in Waters off Yemen” by Dion Nissenbaum: “Two Iranian warships have linked up in the waters off Yemen’s coast with an Iranian vessel believed to be carrying humanitarian aid for civilians… That has raised concerns that Iran will ignore international pressure and send the ship directly to Yemen without agreeing to United Nations inspections. If Iran defies the U.N. and U.S., it could set the stage for a showdown in which Saudi ships might try to block the flotilla from reaching Yemen.” [WSJ]

“U.S. May Cooperate With Iran-Backed Militias” by Jacob Siegel: “In the battle against ISIS, the U.S. has refused to support militias that take orders from Tehran. The fall of Ramadi may have just changed that.” [DailyBeast] • Noah Feldman: “U.S. Needs Iran to Beat Islamic State” [BloombergView]

“Arab, Israeli diplomats said to hold secret powwow in Jordan” by Avi Lewis: “Envoys from the European Union and the United States also attended the meeting, which focused among other things on regional security cooperation should American influence in the Middle East diminish.” [ToI]

TOP TALKER: “Israel Cancels Project Barring Palestinians From Some Buses” by Isabel Kershner: “Responding to intense criticism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Wednesday abruptly shelved a contentious pilot project introduced this week that prohibited Palestinians returning to the West Bank from riding on the same buses as Israelis.” [NYTimesAP]

SPORTS BLINK: “Palestinians Plan New Tack Against Israel: Soccer Sanctions” by Jodi Rudoren: “It is, of course, as much about politics as sport, a novel arena in the Palestinians’ broader campaign to leverage membership in international institutions to punish Israel and build their sovereign state. Israel argues that soccer should be a bridge for coexistence, not a diplomatic weapon: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday that “the thing that could destroy the football association is politicizing it.” [NYTimes]

Abe Foxman’s letter to the NYTimes editor re “The Vatican and the Palestinians” — “There you go again, blaming Israel alone for the absence of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Yes, the Vatican has changed dramatically in its relations with the Jewish people. We are pleased with that and hail it. But its decision to prematurely recognize a Palestinian state will only give Palestinians another disincentive from doing what they have to do to bring change: Negotiate an agreement with Israel that will not only create a Palestinian state, but will also result in peace and security for Israel and the end of the decades-long war against the very existence of the Jewish state.” [NYTimes]

2016 WATCH: Marc Lasry on WADR: Asked about the Hillary fundraiser he hosted last week, Lasry responded “it was a great fundraiser. It was oversold, we had more people that wanted to come than could actually fit in our townhouse… She is moving a little bit to the left and I think that’s fine and people who are giving money to her understand that. Obviously some will have issues but the vast majority will not… I think Democrats will raise a little less than Republican Super PACs.”

“Who will be the best nominee on the Republican side? I think Jeb Bush would be very strong. As would Walker and Rubio… You definitely want Hillary to be president but I think Jeb Bush would be viewed as reasonable, he’d make a good president. I would look at it very differently with some of the other candidates.” [Bloomberg]

“Hillary hits Chicago for two days of fundraisers” by Rick Pearson: “Last night Hillary held a reception at the Chicago home of Barbara Manilow, a longtime fundraiser for President Barack Obama and chairwoman of the board of the Crown Family Philanthropies in Chicago. On Wednesday evening, Clinton will hold back-to-back fundraisers at the home of major Democratic donors Fred Eychaner and J.B. Pritzker.” [ChicagoTribune] • “Fundraiser puts spotlight on Clinton Foundation finances” [Politico]

“Give $1 Million to a Super PAC and Here’s What You Get” by Rebecca Ballhaus: “Want to attend swanky retreats, private dinners and exclusive briefings about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s nascent presidential campaign? Just give $1 million to the super PAC backing him… The document also lists some upcoming fundraisers for the super PAC. On Tuesday evening, Michael Epstein, president of the Jewish Policy Center and a partner at a real estate firm in Washington, D.C., was set to host a fundraiser in Potomac, Md. On Wednesday, Todd Ricketts—son of billionaire Joe Ricketts and CEO of conservative group Ending Spending—will host a “backyard BBQ” at his home in Wilmette, Ill.” [WSJ] • Republican Senate Candidate Adopts Charlie Spies’ Super PAC Strategy [NationalJournal]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 12pm, a Jewish Heritage Month celebration, in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building, coordinated by the Friedlander Group. Scheduled speakers include Senators Ben Cardin, Kelly Ayotte, Bill Cassidy, Ben Sasse, Richard Blumenthal, Ron Johnson, and Reps John Lewis, Ted Deutch, Chris Van Hollen, Joe Kennedy, Jerry Nadler, and Eliot Engel.

**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: “No one wants to take the Daily News off Zuckerman’s hands” by Keith J. Kelly: “Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman is said to be not too happy about the low level of interest in buying his troubled tabloid. “I’m sure there is a fair amount of disappointment,” said one knowledgeable source. “Everyone thinks they have Park Place. Sometimes you have Baltic Avenue,” said the source, referring to the difference between high-value and low-value properties on the board game Monopoly.” [NYPost]

“Channel 10 at risk of closure after potential buyers back off” by Nati Tucker: “On Tuesday afternoon, RGE Media – whose shareholders include the U.S. billionaire Len Blavatnik – said it was no longer interested just days after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the subject. Hours later Ilan Shiloah, an Israeli high-tech and communications entrepreneur and investor, said he was reconsidering his bid.” [Haaretz]

“Israeli Billionaire Offers Tips; Some Will Surprise You” by Devin Thorpe: “Shari Arison new book, The Doing Good Model, provides a thoughtful look at 13 values that are intended to help business leaders rethink their impact on individuals, their communities and the globe.” [Forbes]

“Warren Buffett invests in Israeli company eVolution Networks” by Tzahi Hoffman: “Israeli energy savings solutions company eVolution Networks today announced that it has raised $22.5 million from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary IES Holding, and GE Ventures. With the funding, eVolution Networks, which develops energy savings solutions for Mobile Network Operators, plans to expand its worldwide presence.” [Globes]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli Startup Zeek Lets You Buy And Sell Unwanted Gift Vouchers” by Steve O’Hear: “Today the Tel Aviv-headquarted company is disclosing that it’s closed a $3 million Series A round from Blumberg Capital, Qualcomm Ventures (the chip maker’s venture arm), and Waze founder and existing Zeek investor Uri Levin.” [TechCrunch]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Property Dynasties Team Up to Fund Miami Project” by Peter Grant: “Two prominent families, the LeFraks of New York and the Soffers of South Florida, are teaming up on a $4 billion, 183-acre development on a former landfill and Superfund site in North Miami. Over the next two decades, the builders plan to create 4,390 apartments, more than 1 million square feet of commercial space and two swimmable 10-acre lagoons as part of the project they have named SoLeMia.” [WSJ]

“Yale President Calls on Graduates to Commit to Tikkun Olam” by Yair Rosenberg: “When Peter Salovey, a professor of psychology, became president of Yale University in 2013, the school paper quickly noted that he was a scion of the Soloveitchik family, the great Orthodox rabbinic dynasty that has shaped Europe, America and Israel… In his Baccalaureate address to Yale’s graduating seniors, titled “Repair the World!,” Salovey opened with a reference to the Mishnaic sage, Hillel the Elder… Salovey closed with a final reference to Jewish texts, this time to Pirkei Avot, the rabbinic moral tract. It is hard to imagine the president of a prestigious university anywhere else in the world delivering such an unabashedly proud Jewish address.” [TabletMag]

“The New Jews of Harvard Admissions” by Jason L. Riley: “Asian-Americans are rebelling over evidence that they are held to a much higher standard, but elite colleges deny using quotas.” [WSJ] • “Harvard discriminates against Asians as it once did to Jews” [NYPost]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “In New York, Many Holocaust Survivors Struggle to Get By” by Sophia Hollander: “With family networks wiped out during the Holocaust, many survivors live alone, experts say. Others suffer from medical issues that can be traced to malnutrition and torture during the war. For some, their trauma has been revived by the Sept. 11 attacks and superstorm Sandy, which forced them to flee their homes. Now a coalition of 15 groups is seeking $1.5 million in City Council funding to help them reach the neediest Holocaust survivors.” [WSJ]

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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