Daily Kickoff: Schumer on Iran | Bennett, Saban defend Orange Israel | Sheryl Sandberg marks husband’s sheloshim | BDays: Mort Zuckerman, Bar Refaeli

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TOP TALKER: “No, Mr. President, you don’t fully understand our fears” by David Horovitz: “Don’t just blame Israelis for seeing danger where you see possibility, as you did in your latest TV interview. Work to give us a tangible basis upon which to rebuild our hopes for a peaceful future.” [ToI] • “The Obama-Netanyahu Wars Continue” by Aaron David Miller [WSJ]

SHUL TALK: “What’s behind Amb. Ron Dermer’s outreach to synagogues?” by David Holzel: “The American-born envoy, who came to his post in Washington two years ago, appeared at the Reform congregation at the end of its annual meeting.  He’s scheduled to speak Sunday at the annual meeting of the synagogue that hosted Obama, Adas Israel Congregation. What’s behind this spate of appearance by an envoy who is known more for courting Republican politicians than the American Jewish community? In a word: Iran.” [WashingtonJewishWeek]

Josh Earnest on Axelrod’s ‘closest thing to a Jew’ comment: “White House Spokesman Josh Earnest did not go so far as to confirm ex-Obama senior adviser David Axelrod’s recollection that the president said he considered himself “the closest thing to a Jew” who’s served in the Oval Office. The White House spokesman said “the president does feel that kind of kinship” with the Jewish people thanks to the US’s close ties with the Jewish state and foundation on Judeo-Christian values. “So for a direct response or for questions about that specific comment, I’d refer you to the remarks that the President delivered just a week and a half ago or so,” Earnest said, referring to Obama’s speech last month at the Washington synagogue.” [ToICSPAN]

HEARD YESTERDAY: Sen. Chuck Schumer, addressing the Orthodox Union’s annual mission to D.C., began his remarks with a disclaimer explaining that he had wanted “to talk a lot ‘tachlis’ about Iran but I’m not going to do that because you’re filming the whole thing. Some things should be said in the mishpacha. But let me say a few things here…” The cameras in the room did not seem to hold Schumer back as he talked for the next 23 minutes describing his Iran position to the group. Watch the full speech[YouTube]

Schumer highlights: “Kerry, Sherman told Schumer the Iranians quietly agreed to two pages of conditions before sanctions are lifted” [Twitter] • “Bibi made a mistake when he came out against the interim agreement the day after it was announced” [Twitter] • “Says he consults with Bougie Herzog, Amos Yadlin, Henry Kissinger on Iran” [Twitter] • “I will be getting briefings, I haven’t yet, on the psychology of Khamenei to see what he might do” [Twitter] • “Egypt’s Sisi is very good (applause). He’s so much better than Mubarak was & certainly Morsi” [Twitter]

IRAN TALKS: “The Kerry Factor” by Aaron David Miller: “Kerry’s injury can always be used as an elegant justification to slow this down and as a way of buying more time if need be. I don’t much care for this deal because I think the mullahs get more out of it than we do. But it’s coming. And no biking accident in France — even one that involves America’s top diplomat — is going to change that painful reality.” [ForeignPolicy] • “Iran, six powers resume nuclear talks as June 30 deadline looms” [Reuters]

Transition: “Tony Blair Takes New Role In Fighting Anti-Semitism: Blair revealed Thursday he will chair the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, a group which champions legislation and dialogue on tolerance.” [AP]

David Suissa: “BDS is a sneaky movement that is exploiting one contentious issue (the occupation) to undermine all of Israel. Well-meaning people have been sucked in. The movement has an evil strain that must be exposed. This is not about defending or promoting Israel. It’s not about Hasbara. It’s not about engaging or arguing. It’s about exposing a poison. Instead of complex, multi-organizational campaigns, I can’t think of a simpler or clearer approach to fighting BDS than to launch a global campaign telling it exactly like it is: “BDS doesn’t want Israel.” [JewishJournal] • Michael Oren: “BDS isn’t about settlements. BDS wants to erase Israel from the map. It’s a strategic danger.” [Twitter]

Nathan Guttman with more details on Sheldon’s Anti-BDS Summit: “The list of invitees and panel members, obtained by the Forward, reveals a roster of speakers and presenters representing a narrow political spectrum, ranging from several mainstream or nonideological organizations, such as Taglit-Birthright Israel and the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, to a majority of organizations aligned with right-wing and hawkish political views. Among the participants are Christians United for Israel, the Zionist Organization of America, the right-wing website Washington Free Beacon and the Clarion Project, which has been accused by mainstream Jewish groups of Islamophobia.” [Forward]

2016 WATCH: “With some donors doubting Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio seizes an opening” by Matea Gold and Sean Sullivan: “It is not just veteran bundlers coming aboard. Rubio has recently gained the backing of heavyweight players such as Oracle founder and billionaire Larry Ellison — who is hosting a campaign fundraiser in Silicon Valley on Tuesday — and Randy Kendrick, an influential Arizona donor and the wife of Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, who hosted the senator at their Phoenix home last month.” [WashPost] • “Jeb Bush to announce for president June 15 in Miami” [TampaBayTimes]

“Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Run for President” by Nathan Koppel: “Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who presided over the Lone Star State during a period of dramatic economic expansion but ran an error-plagued presidential campaign in 2012, formally declared Thursday that he is making a second run for the White House.” [WSJ] • Announcement at 12pm [CSPAN]

@MarkLeibovich: “BREAKING NEWS: Another candidate who has been running for president for several months will announce today that he’s running for president.” [Twitter]

Josh Rogin: “Hillary’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, gave an interview to Bloomberg View’s Al Hunt in April in which he said holding up the “major accomplishments” from her State Department tenure would be a centerpiece of her campaign. Podesta may want to reconsider that plan. Running on Clinton’s signature diplomatic initiatives is fraught with risks because, on closer inspection, most that he mentioned don’t hold up to scrutiny.” [Bloomberg]

WSJ Editorial: “Graham for the Defense: Mr. Graham’s chance of breaking out of the GOP pack depends on security threats spreading even more than they already have. His quick wit will keep the debate lively, and he’ll be especially useful as a blunt counter to Rand Paul on foreign affairs. Whoever emerges from the GOP field will want to put global disorder front and center in 2016, and Mr. Graham can explain to the public how we got here.” [WSJ]

**Good Thursday 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: “23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki may be an outsider in Washington but is royalty in Silicon Valley” [FinancialTimes] • “Patrick Drahi Altice Seen Acquiring Verizon’s Local FiOS Business” [IBD] • “Founder of 1871 J.B. Pritzker Envisions The Future Of Chicago” [Medill] • “Honest Buildings raises $5M, partners with Milstein Cos.” [RealDeal] • “Bucks development plan would tie up Park East parcels for 9 years” [JSonline] • “Emanuel Blocks Uber From Making Airport Pickups” [CBS• Elliot Cohen’s PillPack raises $50M [BetaBoston• “Rubin Schron adding commercial building to Coney Island project” [RealDeal] • Mitch Rudin In as Mack-Cali’s New CEO [GlobeSt] • “Ashkenazy’s Plan for Faneuil Hall makeover runs into resistance” [BostonGlobe]

“Fast Fashion Giant Zara Faces $40 Million Anti-Semitism, Anti-Gay Discrimination Suit” by Clare O’Connor: “A former in-house counsel for Zara claims the cheap-chic giant’s corporate culture is as anti-Semitic as these incidents would suggest. On Wednesday, lawyers for Ian Jack Miller, the first and only corporate attorney for Zara’s U.S. and Canada business, filed a $40 million discrimination suit in New York’s Supreme Court alleging he was fired because he’s Jewish, American and gay.” [Forbes]

UPROAR: “Mobile giant Orange seeking to join Israel boycott, CEO says” by Brian Rohan: “French telecoms giant Orange SA would end its relationship with an Israeli operator that pays to use its name “tomorrow” if it could, but to do so would be a “huge risk” in terms of penalties, its CEO said Wednesday.” [AP]

“Bennett urges Israelis not to punish local operator for Orange CEO’s remarks: Bennet urged Israelis who might seek to boycott Partner due to its connection to Orange not to hurt the livelihood of thousands of Israelis. Partner said in response that it regrets Richard’s comments. “We wish to highlight that Partner Communications is an Israeli company owned by Saban Capital Group, which is owned by Haim Saban, and not by France Telecom (Orange).” [Haaretz] • “Israeli minister says Orange CEO should be fired” [AP]

STARTUP NATION: “How Bureaucracy Bogs Down Israel’s Economy” by William Galston:“As any Israeli will tell you, the most pervasive hindrance to economic vitality is a somnolent and often obstructionist bureaucracy. For example, it takes on average six working days in the U.S. to start a new business. The OECD average is 13 days. In Israel, this task takes 34 days.” [WSJ]

TOP TALKER: “John Paulson Gives $400 Million to Harvard for Engineering School” by Tamar Lewin: “Harvard announced on Wednesday that the billionaire hedge fund manager John A. Paulson has given a $400 million endowment to support the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences — the largest gift in the university’s history.” [NYTimes]

@Gladwell: “If billionaires don’t step up, Harvard will soon be down to its last $30 billion.” [Twitter] • “Next up for John Paulson: volunteering at the Hermes store on Madison avenue. Let’s make this a truly world class retail outlet!” [Twitter]

Sheryl Sandberg posts to Facebook: “Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first thirty days. Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse. A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.” [Facebook]

Rabbi David Wolpe: “What Sheryl Sandberg’s Post Teaches Us: One thousand years ago the mystic Yehuda HaChasid wrote, “I will build an altar from the broken fragments of my heart.” Sandberg offers a prayer from the fragments of her shattered heart. Each person she touches with her words does her honor, and is a tribute to the sweet soul she, her children, and her community lost.” [TimeMag]

MEDIA WATCH: “Philadelphia Jewish Paper Lays Off Entire News Staff: The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent has laid off its entire newsroom staff after handing editorial operations over to a media group that publishes Jewish papers in Baltimore and Washington D.C. The dramatic move was announced by Steve Rosenberg, chief marketing officer for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, which publishes the Exponent. He said the paper was losing $300,000 annually.” [Forward]

Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36: “A debate in our community about the nature of Jewish values hovers over our annual 36 Under 36 section. Would those values best be put to use in the service of Jews or for the good of the wider world? Should they be expressed in a particularistic way or a universal one? How far does repairing the world extend? In a sense, the young social entrepreneurs, activists, educators and artists profiled here in the eighth installment of our “36” section attest to the hollowness of the debate. They’re local and they’re global. Some have worked both inside and outside the Jewish community. Some have overcome great odds. All are inspiring.” [JewishWeek]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Out of the Ashes, a Rebuilt Synagogue With a Basketball Court on Top” by David Dunlap: “Anyone else might be able to enter the rebuilt synagogue of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun at 125 East 85th Street later this summer, take a quick look around and think: “It’s just like it used to be, only spruced up a bit.” Members of the Manhattan congregation, however, will be under no such illusion. They could not possibly forget the four-alarm fire that ravaged the building on July 11, 2011.” [NYTimes]

“Rabbis join push to legalize marijuana in mission of social justice” by Manya Brachear Pashman: “The marijuana decriminalization bill that could soon go to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk has an array of supporters, including civil libertarians, prosecutors and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Its supporters also include clergy. Protestant pastors and Jewish rabbis are lobbying lawmakers in Illinois and in states across the Northeast as part of a push toward legalization, which they see as a moral cause encompassing issues such as race, fair housing and employment.” [ChicagoTribune]

SPORTS BLINK: “In Israel, Cavaliers Coach David Blatt Remains King” by Joshua Mitnick:“Blatt’s arrival to the NBA was preceded by two other Israeli players, but his role alongside James in Cleveland has shifted the spotlight. Over the past year, he’s appeared in a men’s soap commercial and granted Hebrew language interviews the Israeli sports media who have dubbed the team “David Blatt’s Cavaliers.” [WSJ] • Sen. Rob Portman told members of the Orthodox Union yesterday in D.C. that “since Bibi declared ‘we’re all Cavs fans’ then so are you!” [Twitter]

DESSERT: “‘Late, Late Show’ Host Hilariously Takes Shift at LA’s Western Kosher Market” by Shiryn Ghermezian: “Late, Late Show host James Corden covered an employee’s shift at a kosher butcher in Los Angeles in the latest installment of his show’s segment “Take a Break.” [AlgemeinerWSJ]

“Behind the Veil with Kleinfeld’s Modest Bridal Consultant” by Chavie Lieber: “When Rochel Leah Katz, a consultant at iconic New York bridal boutique Kleinfeld, was hired for her job nearly 16 years ago, she assumed the position would be temporary. Katz had no formal education in fashion, much less bridal fashion. But in her tight-knit, Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, she’d always been known by family and friends as “that person” to take along to fabric shops and dressmaker appointments. A decade and a half later, Katz is still up to her elbows in modest bride consultations.” [Racked]

“Five Cantors and How They Got Into the Soul Business” by Ralph Gardner Jr: “You’ve no doubt heard of the Three Tenors. But how about the Five Cantors? They would be Avraham Fried, Netanel Hershtik, Yanky Lemmer, Joseph Malovany and Lipa Schmeltzer. And on June 16, they’re giving a free concert of cantorial and contemporary Hasidic music at SummerStage in Central Park. It’s part of KulturfestNYC, a weeklong festival of Jewish performing arts.” [WSJ]

TBT: @HowardMortman — “30 years ago today Rabbi Joshua Haberman gave the House opening prayer. The video is the oldest of Congress rabbi prayer” [Twitter]

ON THIS DAY IN… “1939, the German ocean liner MS St. Louis, carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees from Germany, was turned away from the Florida coast by U.S. officials.” • “1986, Jonathan Jay Pollard, a former Navy intelligence analyst, pleaded guilty in Washington to conspiring to deliver information related to the national defense to Israel. (He is serving a life prison term.)” [AP]

BIRTHDAYS: Mort Zuckerman turns 78… Bar Refaeli turns 30… Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle turns 62… Marlene Greenly…

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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