Daily Kickoff: Dermer, Blinken talk sanctions regime | Ellison hosts Rubio today | Italian Parmigiano Reggiano Goes Kosher | Natalie Portman Birthday

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HEARD YESTERDAY at the AJC’s Global Forum: Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer — “I saw yesterday that at the Jerusalem Post conference Secretary Lew was booed. Personally, I think that’s wrong. He’s a real friend of Israel and we may have a disagreement with him about Iran. But we should not cross certain lines. We should not attack the motives of people with whom we disagree. We should be able to air this debate publicly in a way that’s befitting of the great alliance between our two countries… Israel has no better friend in the world than the U.S.” [SoundCloud]

Yair Lapid: “I was there when the crowd booed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. It was disgraceful. I know Jack. I’ve worked with Jack. He is a great member of the American Jewish community and a great friend for Israel. We do not need to fight to fight among ourselves, we need each other more than ever.” [Twitter]

Ari Shavit: “I felt embarrassed when I heard the way people treated Sec. Lew yesterday. We can’t survive a day without the U.S.” [Twitter]

Chemi Shalev: “The people who booed Lew on Sunday do not represent American Jews, of course. They don’t represent right wing Jews either. Nonetheless, the incident, so uncharacteristic of Jewish American norms of behavior, is not detached from what can only be described as incitement against Obama and his administration.” [Haaretz]

Amb. Dermer at the AJC Global Forum: “A lot of people were asking why Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to keep the foreign ministry portfolio… and the truth is the Jewish people already have a foreign minister, and so it wasn’t that important, because we have David Harris.”

“I used to tell the Prime Minister when he was having a particularly hard day sometimes… Occasionally the Israeli public may be less than grateful for his leadership. It happens one or two days a week (laughter)… I would say to him what are you complaining about? Moses did 10 plagues, he split the sea, he went up for 40 days and 40 nights, he was 8 hours late and got a golden calf (laughter). We’re a tough people to govern. There’s a great question why Moses didn’t enter the promise land? I think the answer might be because after 40 years he didn’t want to (laughter)… Israeli chutzpah that makes governing so difficult is what makes Israeli innovation so breathtaking.”

Harris: What’s at the top of your daily agenda? Dermer: “Iran, Iran and Iran. I spend 80% of my time on this issue… This deal is morally different than the deal with North Korea twenty years ago. A lot of comparisons are made but I haven’t heard frequently enough a very important difference. In the North Korean deal there were six parties involved but two of those parties were the South Koreans and the Japanese – the ones who were most vulnerable and most threatened were at the table. So it’s very hard to criticize either President Clinton or President Bush. It’s hard to criticize them for doing what the South Koreans and Japanese were telling them to do. In this case however, the countries that are most vulnerable and opposed to the agreement are not at the negotiating table and that is a big concern. We hope that at least people will listen to our voice.”

Q: If the deal doesn’t happen is there the will to keep sanctions in place? Dermer: “The U.S. has the power to keep the sanctions in place. It requires a credible military threat which may seem counterintuitive. The reason many of these countries came on board to begin with is because they see a potential military confrontation with Iran as worse than a nuclear armed Iran. They got on board the sanctions in order to prevent military actions. That’s why former President Bush passed two U.N. sanctions regimes against Iran because they thought after Afghanistan and Iraq that he might have a military confrontation with Iran. If the U.S. makes clear, if there’s no deal, that there’s still a military option. That if they abandon the sanctions regime then they’ll basically force that to happen then I don’t think they’ll abandon… Also, no German or Chinese bank will choose to do business with Iran over the U.S.” [JewishInsider]

Deputy Sec. Antony Blinken discussed Iran sanctions at the AJC: “I have to tell you that, unfortunately, it is a fantasy to believe that Iran will simply capitulate to every demand if we ratchet up the pressure even more through sanctions… Nor is it likely that our international partners – without whom our sanctions are not effective – would go along with such a plan… Up until now, we’ve kept other countries on board – despite the economic loss that it presents for some of them – in large part because they’re convinced we are serious about diplomacy and about reaching a diplomatic solution. If they lose that belief, it’s the United States, not Iran, that risks being isolated, and the sanctions regime we’ve worked so hard to build will crumble away.” [Transcript] • “In Iran Speeches, Lew Was Booed but Blinken Fares Better” [WSJ]

HAPPENING TODAY at the AJC Global Forum: At 8:45am, Avital Leibovich moderates a panel with Matt Friedman on “How the International Media Covers Israel.” At 10:15am, Jeffrey Goldberg and Bret Stephens discuss and debate whether Jews have a future in Europe.

UN: “Israel and Hamas Are Kept Off a Grim List” by Somini Sengupta: “Under unusual pressure from Israel and the United States, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, opted not to include either Israel or Hamas on a list of armies and guerrilla groups that kill and maim children in conflicts worldwide, despite the recommendations of one of his senior envoys, diplomats say.” [NYTimes] • “Secret Sheldon Adelson Summit Raises up to $50M for Strident Anti-BDS Push” [Forward]

IRAN TALKS: “With Backpacks and Exposed Skin, European Officials Roil Iranians” by Thomas Erdbrink: “The woman wore form-fitting clothes and a scarf wrapped around her head that revealed a few of her blond tresses. The men carried backpacks to official meetings. Nothing all that unusual in most places, but enough to touch off a firestorm of criticism this weekend from Iranian lawmakers, who accused their visitors of flouting Islamic law by, as one put it, wearing “extremely weird clothing.”” [NYTimes] • “The Campaign to Save Iran’s Endangered Noses” [DailyBeast] • “Iran is opening 150 alcoholism treatment centers, even though alcohol is banned” [WashPost]

“CIA chief makes secret visit to Israel ahead of Iran deal” by Barak Ravid: “United States Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan came to Israel last week for a secret visit dealing mainly with the agreement developing between Iran and the world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program, and Iran’s involvement in terror and subversive activities throughout the Middle East, two senior Israeli officials have told Haaretz… On Monday, a few days after Brennan’s visit, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, landed in Israel.” [HaaretzToI] • “Israel concerned about U.S. arms to Gulf states to deter Iran” [Reuters]

Eli Lake: “On Monday, a spokeswoman for the U.N. special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told me that the envoy estimates Iran spends $6 billion annually on Assad’s government. Other experts I spoke to put the number even higher. Such figures undermine recent claims from Obama and his top officials suggesting that Iran spends a relative pittance to challenge U.S. interests and allies in the region.” [BloombergView]

Seth Lipsky on our video of Sen. Schumer’s speech last week: “In speech to Orthodox Union, one of the most pro-Israel Democrats seems to be gearing up to back Obama in abandoning the military option on Iran.” [Haaretz] • ICYMI: “Schumer Says Controversial Egyptian President el-Sisi Is ‘Very Good’” by Ross Barkan: “Mr. Schumer, a Democrat, was addressing Orthodox Union, an advocacy organization for Orthodox Jews, in Washington yesterday. His praise of Mr. Sisi drew applause from the audience. (Jewish Insider, a Jewish news organization, recorded his remarks.)” [Observer]

TOP TALKER: “Court Sides With President Over Congress In ‘Jerusalem’ Passport Dispute” by Nina Totenberg: “In a 6-to-3 decision, the high court struck down a law requiring the State Department to indicate on passports that the city of Jerusalem is part of Israel. The decision was a blow to the pro-Israel lobby and to congressional power over certain parts of foreign policy. The case went twice to the Supreme Court. In the first round, the court held that courts had the authority to hear the case, but left it to lower courts to make a decision. The second time around, however, the justices did something they have never done before: They struck down a law passed by Congress in the field of foreign affairs.” [NPRWSJ] • SCOTUS Decision [SupremeCourt]

“Walking on a tightrope on Mideast policy” by Lyle Denniston: “Despite the Court’s efforts to narrow its ruling, this decision on passport policy may still play a role in the continuing tension between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and may contribute to ongoing sensitivity between the White House and Congress over major diplomatic issues.” [ScotusBlog]

NYTIMES EDITORIAL: “Justice Antonin Scalia, invoking the threat of a monarchy, claimed that the decision gives the president too much power. But decisions about recognizing foreign states and their territorial claims have long been the province of the president for reasons of both “common sense and necessity,” as Justice Kennedy wrote. The court was right to keep them there.” [NYTimes]

REACTIONS: “ADL Disappointed by Supreme Court’s Ruling in Zivotofsky v Kerry” [ADL] • “AJC Disappointed with U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Jerusalem Passport Case [AJC] • Conference of Presidents: “We do not believe that Jerusalem born American citizens having Israel on their passport would impinge on future negotiations or compromise the role of the United States.”

U.S. Amb. Dan Shapiro: “I know many people in Israel are unhappy about today’s ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court regarding how to list the place of birth in the passports of American citizens born in Jerusalem. I wanted to provide a little more information on what was, and what was not, decided. The decision was not about whether Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It was solely about the separation of powers between the Executive Branch (the President) and the Legislative Branch (the Congress) of our government, and which branch has the right to recognize foreign governments and their capitals.” [Facebook]

2016 WATCH: “Forget voters: Presidential rivals battle to win over billionaires” by Lisa Mascaro and Noah Bierman: “Not many people can prompt New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to apologize for his word choices or get former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to distance himself from a family loyalist. But Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate, has done both… There’s the “Adelson Primary” — not to be confused with the so-called Koch Brothers Primary, the Norman Braman Caucus or the Larry Ellison Event, named for the industrialist brothers, the South Florida car dealer and the tech entrepreneur, respectively, each of whom have all but guaranteed big payoffs to one or more candidates.” [LATimes]

HAPPENING TODAY: Larry Ellison will host Marco Rubio at his mansion in Woodside, California.

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Robert Kraft bets $30M On Antibiotics Startup Spero” [Forbes] • “Adelson’s Sands weighs up Wynn takeover option” [GamblingInsider] • “After Bloomberg, Daniel Doctoroff eyes billboard company” [Reuters] • “Ami Gal’s SQream Scores $7.4 Million to Analyze Big Data Faster” [WSJ

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Sony Building owners have sights set on adding luxury hotels” [NYPost]• “Doubling down on the rebirth of the American shopping mall” [CNBC] • “Hertz Investment Group has purchased six office towers in four Southern cities, including the Meridian Building in downtown Columbia, in a $417 million acquisition, the California-based company announced Monday.” [TheState]• “Ziel Feldman: It was worth every penny” [RealDeal]

DESSERT: “Less than 2% of the US population is Jewish. So why is 41% of the country’s packaged food kosher?” by Deena Shanker: “Many consumers go for kosher foods for completely non-religious reasons. Some “gravitate toward kosher products for positive health or taste perceptions, or for vegetarian reasons,” says Topper. Others buy kosher to avoid certain allergens, like shellfish. But not all of these reasons are based on a correct understanding of what “kosher” actually means. The word “kosher,” says Koegel, has connotations of healthfulness and cleanliness. But as she points out, plenty of kosher foods, like OU-certified candy, are decidedly unhealthy.” [Quartz]

“Italian Parmigiano Reggiano Goes Kosher to Grab U.S. Market” by Chiara Vasarri and Flavia Rotondi: “The first Kosher parmesan cheese wheels produced by Bertinelli will be available on the market in October and will be presented at the ongoing World Expo in Milan, dedicated to food. Making Kosher Parmigiano Reggiano costs about 30 percent more than producing the standard one, Bertinelli said. “Today about 58 percent of products on grocery shelves in the U.S. are Kosher, ” Bertinelli said. “Let’s imagine what will happen in Europe in a few years from now. I think in the near future many producers in the agricultural business will invest in the Kosher market.” [Bloomberg]

BIRTHDAYS: Natalie Portman turns 34… Benny Gantz turns 56… Jeff Berkowitz (h/t Playbook)

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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