Daily Kickoff: Barney Frank joins Scott Shay’s board | LongRead: Life & Death of Steven Sotloff | Michael Douglas in Israel for ‘Jewish Nobel Prize’

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SCENE LAST NIGHT: Around 1,200 friends of the Anti-Defamation League gathered at the Waldorf Astoria to celebrate Abe Foxman’s 50 years of service to the organization. At the pre-dinner VIP reception, Bill Cunningham was seen snapping photos of guests – likely to appear soon in the NYTimes. The evening was hosted by Katie Couric, who began by asking “Why is this night different from all other nights?… Do I sound like a shiksa?” and featured close to 20 speeches from a group of esteemed friends of Foxman. Cardinal Timothy Dolan joked that “yes Abe, I’m jealous that you seem to have a lot better access to the Pope than I have.” In lieu of an Israeli government representative present, Couric read aloud a letter from Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Ambassador Susan Rice thanked Foxman for “being one of the first to call to support me and condemn when I was the target of an ugly attack ad in the newspaper earlier this year. Abe, I can’t tell you how much your support means to both me and my family. Not just in that moment but over the years.” At the conclusion of Rice’s speech, a pre-recorded video from President Obama was played. The President noted that “the Jewish tradition teaches us that we are not obligated to finish the work but neither are we free to distance from it. Congratulations Abe and thank you for never giving up here at home and around the world.”

Head Table Seating Order: Golda Foxman, Abe Foxman, Susan Rice, Ari Shavit, Thomas Friedman, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Jonathan Greenblatt, Elie Wiesel, Mort Zuckerman, Rikki Klieman, Bill Bratton, Diane von Furstenberg, Jon Meacham.

Spotted: Paul Begala, George Klein, Jane Eisner, Ken Bialkin, Mort Klein, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, S.A. Ibrahim, Roger Ailes, Joel Klein, Rabbi Steve Gutow, Alan Solow, Dovid Efune, Samuel Norich, French U.N. Amb. François Delattre, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, David Lobl, Ethan Bronner, Gary Rosenblatt, Stephen Greenberg, Daniella Rilov, Jerome Lippman, Rafi Rone, Todd Gutnick, Chemi Shalev, David Robbins, Michael Miller, Ron Kampeas, Richard Joel.

Another Day, Another Oren Storyline: “Netanyahu refuses U.S. request to disavow Michael Oren’s claims Obama abandoned Israel” by Barak Ravid: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected an American request to publicly disassociate himself from claims made by former Israeli Ambassador to Washington and current Kulanu MK Michael Oren accusing President Barack Obama of deliberately abandoning Israel.” [Haaretz] • “Obama Admin ‘Cheered’ Private Scolding of Israeli Ambassador” [FreeBeacon]

Ops: David Suissa – “Torn between two loves: A review of Michael Oren’s new book” [JewishJournal]• David Horovitz – “Michael Oren sees a US alliance in tatters, and Israel ‘on our own’” [ToI] • Matthew Duss – “Democrats Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Criticize Israel in 2016” [NewRepublic] • Peter Beinart – “Michael Oren’s wildly unconvincing, deeply trivial attack on Obama” [Haaretz] • J.J. Goldberg – “Why Michael Oren’s Blame Game on Israel Is So Wrongheaded” [Forward• Jeremy Ben-Ami – “Michael Oren, the problem isn’t U.S. critique of Israeli policies – it’s Israeli policies” [Haaretz]

IRAN TALKS: “As Iran deal takes shape, Israel plays up regional common ground” by Luke Baker and Dan Williams: “With a deal on Iran’s nuclear program drawing near, Israel is beginning to look at what comes afterwards and how best to position itself for the longer term. Publicly, Israeli officials have not given up trying to influence what appear to be the closing stages of negotiations, although gaps could persist beyond an end-June deadline. But away from the nitty-gritty of the negotiating table, Israeli officials broadly accept that a deal will be done and have begun examining how to align themselves to ensure Israel’s interests are best protected if sanctions on Iran are lifted.” [Reuters• “Saudi Arabia Reluctantly Finds Common Cause With Israel in Suspicions About Iran” [WSJ]

Rabbi David Wolpe: “Don’t Take an Iran Bomb Deal for Granted” [TimeMag]

Our JI video continues to make the rounds… “Is Chuck Schumer Waffling on Iran Nuclear Deal” by Nathan Guttman: “If you thought you knew where Chuck Schumer, the powerful U.S. senator from New York, stood on the impeding nuclear deal with Iran, think again. “The decision about Iran is one of the most serious I’ve had to make,” he told activists from the Orthodox Union who gathered on Capitol Hill on June 3 for a lobby day. For a Democrat who has been one of the staunchest critics of the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts to reach a deal with Iran, Schumer stuck a tone not heard before — nuanced and uncertain. It’s an approach that left some Jewish activists unpleasantly surprised and others elated… Schumer’s lengthy explanation provided participants, and later the entire public, via a cell phone recorded video of the speech on YouTube…” [Forward]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 12pm at the Kennedy Caucus Room, “Congress to mark 30th Anniversary of U.S. Commission for Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in Memory of Rabbi Zvi Kestenbaum: Kestenbaum, a Holocaust survivor, was greatly pained by the destruction of cemeteries throughout post-war Eastern Europe. In 1979, due to his advocacy efforts, a bill was introduced in Congress to create a commission to preserve the cemeteries.” Scheduled speakers at today’s event include Sen. Richard Burr, Sen. Mike Rounds, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Reps Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Eliot Engel, Grace Meng, Carolyn Maloney, Kay Granger, and Debbie Dingell.

2016 WATCH: “Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference today featuring Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.” [CSPAN]

“We Crashed Jeb Bush’s Super PAC’s Donor Call, And Here’s What They Said” by Andrew Kaczynski and Ilan Ben-Meir: “The super PAC tied to Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Florida Jeb Bush has raised $17 million so far in the New York-area alone, according to a conference call between the super PAC officials and donors on Wednesday.” [BuzzFeed]

“Biden Not Bowing Out, Will Decide on White House Run by August” by David Catanese:“Two sources close to the vice president’s family say a campaign remains possible even after Beau Biden’s death.” [USNews] • “5 Reasons Ivanka Trump Should Run For President Instead Of The Donald” [Bustle]

**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 SPOTLIGHT: Barney Frank Joins Scott Shay’s Signature Bank Board: “We are gratified to welcome Barney to the board, which is particularly engaged and energetic,” said Scott A. Shay, Chairman of the Board of Signature Bank. Frank noted: “I very much look forward to serving in this important position with Signature Bank. With the banking landscape constantly changing, and the ways in which regulations continue to affect both financial services entities and the overall industry, I am confident I can make a positive contribution to the Signature Bank board.” [BusinessWire] • “Barney Frank–Yes, THAT Barney Frank–Joins a Bank Board” [WSJTheHill]

STARTUP NATION: “How a New Wave of Tech Unicorns Is Rising Out of Israel” by John Boitnott: “Fresh off the success of some of Israel’s first ever tech unicorns — Waze, Wix and ironSource among others–“the startup nation’s” thriving tech-industry might be home to a new set of high-valued startups very soon. With solid backing from experienced entrepreneurs, new inflow of funds from Chinese investors, and industries needing innovation, companies like Webydo and Meta are aiming to be the next Israel startup unicorns.” [Inc]

LongRead: “The Life and Death of Steven Sotloff” by Jonathan Zalman: “How a freelancer’s Heaven turned into Hell. Inspired by a blend of bravery, wanderlust, and humanism, a budding journalist ventured—without the kind of institutional structure and support that would have been common a decade ago—into an inflamed Middle East.” [TabletMag]

“Is the Islamic State on the Rise in Gaza?” by Gregg Carlstrom: “Hamas is fighting a group that’s even more radical and violent than it is. For roughly six months, extremists have waged a slow but steady campaign of bombings and assassinations in Gaza. Their numbers are small, and casualties have been low, but their recent actions threaten to erode the fragile cease-fire with Israel. Hamas has clamped down hard, arresting dozens of people in frequent raids.” [ForeignPolicy] • “Why Israel Lets Qatar Give Millions To Hamas” [NPR]

“Teaching the Holocaust to Muslim Germans, or Not” by Alison Smale: “If there was no Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it would look different,” he said by telephone. The idea of Muslim Germans visiting former concentration camps “is more and more strongly accepted,” Professor Khorchide said. But the effect depends on family background. “Especially Arab children whose parents grew up in the Middle East have stronger prejudices” than, say, Turks or Kurds, he said. [NYTimes]

“To Celebrate 50 Years, the Israel Museum Looks Back Much Further” by Isabel Kershner:“In a country that seems be growing more insular in some ways, plagued by conflict, threatened by diplomatic isolation and focused on its internal divisions, the exhibit tries to convey a more universal message: the story of civilization’s origins and development in the region, and the rare ability Israel and its national museum have to tell this story to the world.” [NYTimes]

“Michael Douglas in Israel for $1 million prize” by Josef Federman: “When actor Michael Douglas learned that he had been chosen to receive the “Jewish Nobel Prize,” he pointed out a small problem: Under strict religious law, the Oscar-winning actor isn’t Jewish. Douglas, who only recently has embraced his Jewish roots, is vowing to use the $1 million Genesis Prize to build bridges between Israel and increasingly assimilated Jewish communities around the world.” [AP]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Scooter Braun turns 34…

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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