Daily Kickoff: NYTimes covers top Jewish donors on both sides of Iran deal | Jonathan Kessler’s ‘Uber for trucking’ | Kosher tacos on Mexico border

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2016 WATCH — In the Hamptons: Senators Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham will both address the Hampton Synagogue on Saturday. Rubio, who will speak to the congregation during morning services, has at least three other Long Island fundraisers planned for the weekend. His hosts include Marlene and Daniel Arbess, Carol and Jerry Levin, Terri and Andrew Herenstein, and Jorge and Francesca Madruga. Lindsey Graham will be interviewed by Jeffrey Wiesenfeld and Hank Sheinkopf during the synagogue’s ‘Seudah Shlishit’ on Saturday evening, according to Rabbi Marc Schneier. [JewishInsider]

–Flashback: “In Westhampton, N.Y., Rabbi Schneier’s synagogue has private sponsors each week who shell out $7,200 for food and $1,800 or more for the ever-changing bar—which may, incidentally, include rum-based mojitos, Champagne-infused Bellinis and the like. The L’chaim liquor table costs an additional $1,800—so the total can exceed $10,000 for a single Sabbath.” [WSJ]

“Scott Walker approves spending $250 million on Milwaukee Bucks arena” by Jenna Johnson: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed legislation Wednesday to spend $250 million from taxpayers on a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team — a deal he has championed for months despite fierce opposition from fiscal conservatives who usually agree with him… Many conservatives are also annoyed that one of the two main ­co-owners of the Bucks is Marc Lasry, a top bundler for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid.” [WashPost]

“Walker Compares Inspecting Iran’s Nuclear Facilities To Inspecting Teen Boys’ Bedrooms” by Christopher Massie: “Throughout the process, I’ve spoke out repeatedly about it,” the Wisconsin governor told Iowa radio host Simon Conway. “I’ve got two boys in college now, but when they were in high school, we’d have a rule that they could have friends over, including girls, as long as the door to their room was open.” He added that “the provisions in this deal” would be like allowing teen boys keep their doors closed and warning them before entering the room. [BuzzFeed]

IRAN DEAL: “In Efforts to Sway Iran Debate, Big-Money Donors Are Heard” by Jonathan Weisman and Nicholas Confessore: “In the weeks before Senator Chuck Schumer’s decision to oppose the Iran nuclear accord, John Shapiro, a New York financier and a leader of the American Jewish Committee, had his ear, plying him with reasons to oppose it…. S. Daniel Abraham, a Jewish philanthropist who made billions on SlimFast drinks, dispatched emails to Senate Democrats while vacationing in St.-Tropez, urging their support… Mr. Schumer said some Democrats are discussing ways to pressure the administration to somehow toughen the deal on its own, but he said he is not involved. He also stressed that while he has made courtesy calls to some 30 senators on his decision, he is not trying to influence their vote.” [NYTimes]

“Here Are The Wobbly Democrats Who Could Make Or Break The Iran Deal” by Jessica Schulberg and Ryan Grim: “Seventeen Democrats have publicly indicated they will vote against a resolution of disapproval, meaning they will back the agreement with Iran. This means Obama is 17 votes shy of the number he needs.” [HuffPost• “After Schumer, Cardin holds the most cards on Iran” [PowerPost• “Liberals poised to give Barack Obama a win on Iran” [Politico]

“Bipartisan Group of Ex-Senators to Run Ads Against Iran Deal” by Alan Rappeport and Maggie Habermas: “American Security Initiative, which was founded by former Senators Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, is spending $6.2 million to blanket the airwaves in nine states.” [FirstDraft] • “Opponents of Iran Deal Try to Reach Young Voters on Snapchat” [NYTimes

“98 Prominent Hollywood Jews Back Iran Nuclear Deal in Open Letter” by Seth Abramovitch: “A coalition of 98 prominent members of Los Angeles’ Jewish community — most with ties to Hollywood — have signed an open letter supporting the proposed nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers led by the United States. Identifying themselves as “American Jewish supporters of Israel” in the full-page ad, which will appear in the Thursday edition of L.A.’s Jewish Journal, the group urges Congress to approve the agreement because it “is in the best interest of the United States and Israel.” [HollywoodReporter]

Twitter Reaction: Jeffrey Goldberg — “Have left-handed Jewish gastroenterologists taken a position on the Iran nuclear deal yet?” [Twitter• Mike Doran — “BREAKING | 77 of the best dentists in Florida sign petition in favor the Iran deal, b/c it blocks all the pathways to a bomb.” [Twitter]

ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt: “Having worked in the Obama White House, I have the extra benefit of knowing the President and his staff, what motivates them and the values they hold. They are not anti-Semites, and in fact have a record of standing with the Jewish community and supporting Israel even when they have felt pressure not to. Yet as the debate over the Iran deal has gone forward, the administration has at times waded into characterizations that in the eyes of many members of the Jewish community recall malicious accusations about Jews.” [JTA]

DRIVING THE DAY: “At 2PM, Secretary Moniz to address Jewish community via webcast: U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz will address the North American Jewish community in a live webcast hosted by Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council of Public Affairs. Sec. Moniz will deliver remarks directly from Washington, D.C., which will be transmitted to computers and cell phones. Following his remarks, Sec. Moniz will also answer questions from participants as time allows.” [Webcast]

“Give Bibi the Nobel Peace Prize” by Aaron David Miller: “The Israeli Prime Minister has been against a nuke deal with Iran for decades. Too bad he helped lay the groundwork that made it happen.” [ForeignPolicy]

Leon Wieseltier, at Greg Rosenbaum’s box at Nationals Park, told Israeli reporters: “I can’t stand Bibi but he’s right on Iran” [ToI]

Nicholas Kristof: “I asked David Petraeus, retired four-star general and former head of the C.I.A., about that. “I strongly believe,” he told me, “that there will continue to be a viable military option should Iran seek to break out and construct a nuclear device after the expiration of many of the elements of the inspections regime at the 15-year mark of the agreement.”… Gen. Brent Scowcroft, the patriarch of Republican security experts, tells me that he supports the Iran deal in part because it exemplifies American leadership on a crucial global issue. [NYTimes]

Orde Kittrie’s proposal — “Congress Can Rewrite the Iran Deal: The Iran nuclear deal could be significantly improved by a supplementary agreement containing amendments and understandings designed to mitigate the deal’s key gaps and ambiguities regarding verification and compliance.” [WSJ]

“Democrats, Republicans Tour Israel Ahead of Iran Vote” by Emma Dumain: “This is the first time that the Democratic and Republican trips to Israel have overlapped,” Hoyer’s spokeswoman, Katie Grant, told CQ Roll Call, “and the two senior members on the trip thought it important to highlight this joint visit and bipartisan support for Israel.” [RollCall] • “Whip Hoyer and Leader McCarthy Joint Statement on Iron Dome” [PressRelease]

MD SEN: “Liberal Jewish group J Street decides to back both Van Hollen and Edwards” by Rachel Weiner: “J Street is adding Rep. Chris Van Hollen to its roster of approved candidates, which means supporters can donate to his campaign directly through the organization’s Web site. “Whoever is the nominee would be an excellent senator on our core issues,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said. “It made sense not to endorse for or against either of them.” [WashPostRollCall]

FL SEN: “Alan Grayson just can’t seem to follow rules; this time it’s copyright infringement” by Peter Schorsch: “On fundraising material, as well as in the “Alan Grayson’s Emails” Tumbler blog, Grayson has been cribbing copyrighted images from some of America’s most well-known brands: Disney’s Minions; Austin Powers; shows on CBS, FOX, and HBO and more.” [StPetersBlog]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Israel Investors Brush Off Deficit Warnings as Bond Risk Drops” [Bloomberg• “Israel says reaches deal to develop Leviathan natural gas field” [Reuters] • “Beware of American econ professors! How Krugman, Sachs and Stiglitz led the Greeks astray” [PoliticoEU] • “Bronfman E.L. Rothschild grows with acquisition” [JSonline] • “James Packer steps down as chairman of Crown Resorts casino group” [TheGuardian• “Mark Cuban: I want to be a Republican, but the party has one big problem” [BusinessInsider• “Stephen Ross’s RSE Ventures Invests in Drone Racing” [WSJ]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Clipper Equity’s David Bistricer raised $144M to form REIT” [RealDeal]• “‘I am as much an environmentalist as anybody,’ developer David Flaum said.” [EPochTimes] • “Larry Silverstein’s Three World Trade Center Gets Height Cut, Will Stand 1,079 Feet Tall” [NYYimby• “Ben Shaoul no longer looking to sell Bloom 62” [RealDeal]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Jonathan Kessler’s ‘Uber for trucking’ launches in New York City” by Erik Engquist: “When Cargomatic’s founders looked at local trucking, they saw inefficiency everywhere: vehicles with unused space, shippers unable to track their goods, recipients guessing at when deliveries would arrive. The big, long-haul carriers had tracking technology, but 85% of short-haul trucking is handled by firms with six or fewer vehicles operating much as they did decades ago. Cargomatic debuted its service in Los Angeles in 2014 and formally launches in the New York today. CEO Jonathan Kessler said it chose New York as its second U.S. city because of the metro area’s size and customer demand.” [Crains]

“Merlin Kauffman’s On-Demand Massage Startup Soothe Unwinds With $10.6M In New Funding” by Catherine Shu: “Soothe, which sends massage therapists to clients’ homes, is smoothing its expansion with $10.6 million in new funding. The startup’s new round was led by The Riverside Company and will be used to hire key employees, improve its platform’s technology, and acquire new users with the goal of turning Soothe into a ”trusted household name,” says founder and CEO Merlin Kauffman.” [TechCrunch• Jewish Journal profiled Kauffman last year [JJ]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Anti-Semitism Czar Doubles Down on ‘Delegitimizing Israel’ Definition” by Nathan Guttman: “The State Department has doubled down on its policy of defining delegitimization of Israel as a form of anti-Semitism, but is seeking to stay out of a raging debate over whether the definition should be used in the U.S. Ira Forman, the administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism backed the use of the State Department’s “working definition” of anti-Semitism in its ties with foreign countries.” [Forward]

“US government intervenes in lawsuit payments over Palestinian terror attacks: The Obama administration has intervened in a lawsuit over Palestinian terror attacks that have killed Americans, advising a judge that requiring a hefty bond payment in the case could financially destabilize the Palestinian government.” [TheGuardian]

“Orthodox Jewish enclave faces growth, conflict” by Shannon Mullen: “Not everybody is celebrating Lakewood’s big surge. At the same time the Orthodox infrastructure is expanding, familiar touchstones for the non-Orthodox community are being lost. Orthodox residents now account for more than half of Lakewood’s population, community leaders estimate, though no official figures are available. Meanwhile, other towns have taken steps to restrict where schools can be built. BMG president Rabbi Aaron Kotler thinks it’s obvious that these moves are aimed at keeping the Orthodox bottled up in Lakewood.” [ReligionNewsService]

Mazel Tov! “Jewish sisters give birth at the same hospital just minutes apart” by Leonica Valentine: “Two baby cousins entered the world more like twins — as their sister moms gave birth to them just minutes apart in adjoining rooms in the same Staten Island hospital. The as-yet-unnamed boy and girl were born over 32 wild minutes Tuesday at Staten Island University Hospital North, where their doctor scampered between rooms to help in the unexpected miracle that occurred when the mothers went into labor on the same day.” [NYPost]

DESSERT: “This Texan Jew Is Bringing Kosher Tacos to the Border” by Jose Ralat: “In 2013, with the help of an artist incubator grant through the City of El Paso Museum and Cultural Affairs Department, Svarzbein created the Conversos y Tacos Kosher Gourmet Trucks est. 1492 food truck. It doesn’t keep regular hours in a gas station’s parking lot. Taco aficionados don’t line up for their late-night drunk tacos fix of tortilla-wrapped Yom Kippur dishes. Conversos y Tacos is an art installation rolled out for special events. In the past two years, it has slung tacos at local food truck rallies and even made a trip to New York City in 2014, where Svarzbein had attended the School of Visual Arts.” [Vice]

BIRTHDAYS: Fed Chair Janet Yellen turns 69… Mort Algaze… Jonathan Gerber… Michael Landau… Dana Marlowe… Ruthie Kellerman… Elaine Hall…

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