Daily Kickoff: Danny Danon to UN, Mark Regev to UK | Haim Saban clarifies stance on Iran deal | Republican candidates outsource their foreign policy

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TOP-OP: “What if we stopped ‘hasbara’?” by Daniel Gordis: “Who are the people we are most trying to reach? Those who care about Israel and the future of the Jewish people are already in our camp… Over whom are we really battling? We’re battling over that small, middle ground, composed of many young American Jews who, while not entirely hostile to Israel, just don’t care that much. And the “Israel can do no wrong” song turns them off. Nothing else in their lives that truly matters is always right. So they are suspicious of this Israel advocacy world.”

“What they want is nuance. What they (rightly) demand is a serious engagement with the intellectual and moral issues at the core of Zionism. What they want to know is that Zionism is for smart people, not for robots. Loving a country, like loving a person, means loving it warts and all – and being willing to demand that the object of our love be better. In these critical days, what is more likely to draw American Jews into serious engagement with Israel? I think we know the answer. The question is whether we have the guts to try.” [JPost]

TRANSITION: “Netanyahu to Appoint Danny Danon as Israel’s Next UN Envoy” by Barak Ravid: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Friday that he will appoint Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon as Israel’s next ambassador to the United Nations due to the UN platform’s current significance. “The UN platform is very important at this time, and I’m sure Danny will fight with all his might to present the truth in the international arena,” Netanyahu said.” [HaaretzJPost]

“Mark Regev to be announced as Israel’s next UK ambassador: Melbourne-born Regev is a well-known face on international television screens, where he defended Israel’s position during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, and during the IDF’s Gaza campaigns in 2008, 2012 and 2014.” [ToI] • Flashback profile: “Mark Regev, World’s Best Known Spinner, In An Unwinnable War Of Words” [HuffPost]

IRAN DEAL: “Dems Undeclared On Iran Deal Heed Voters, Not August Ads” by Andrew Taylor: “It’s not lost on observers in both parties that AIPAC and its donor base tilts toward Democrats… A tougher approach from the group could have backfired and damaged relationships that the group has long nurtured.” [AP]

RoundUp: “Al Franken Is Fifth Jewish Senator To Back Iran Deal” [Forward] • “Haaretz falsely tweets (and promptly deletes) ‘Gay Jewish U.S. Senator Al Franken’” [MarketWatch] • “Alcee Hastings on Iran: ‘I cannot support this deal'” [TampaTimes] • “Jon Tester announces support for Iran deal” [GreatFalls• “Himes backs nuclear deal with Iran” [CTPost• “N.J.’s Cory Booker caught between Obama and Israel backers on Iran deal” [NJ]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: “We stress that ADL cannot support the JCPOA in its current form. Without offering a robust set of measures to account for its vulnerabilities, the JCPOA presents too great a risk to the U.S. and for our critical allies like Israel. Until the administration acts to address these concerns, and whether or not it is approved by Congress, we urge a new path forward that convinces Iran to eschew its agenda of bigotry and violence.” [HuffPost• “All over the map: Where 49 U.S. Jewish groups stand on the Iran deal” [JTA]

Robert Satloff: “A Better Deal With Iran Is Possible: Here’s what it might look like — The “deal or war” thesis propounded by supporters of the agreement suggests that Iran, in the event of U.S. rejection of the deal, would prefer to bypass that financial and political windfall and instead put its nuclear program into high gear, risking an Israeli and American military response. But that volte-face makes little sense… The key point is that a “no” vote on the Iran deal has little practical impact until next year. Between now and then, such a vote buys time, adding up to nine months to the strategic clock.  “No” doesn’t necessarily mean “no, never.” It can also mean “not now, not this way.” It may be the best way to get to “yes.”” [TheAtlantic]

Jacob Lew: “Those calling on Congress to scrap the deal argue that the United States could have gotten a better deal, and still could, if we unilaterally ramped up existing sanctions, enough to force Iran to dismantle its entire nuclear program or even alter the character of its regime wholesale. This assumption is a dangerous fantasy, flying in the face of economic and diplomatic reality.” [NYTimes]

Eli Lake: “How the U.S. Will Ease Europe’s Iran Sanctions Jitters” [Bloomberg]

Daniel Benjamin: “Is Iran About to Unleash a Wave of Terrorism Against the United States?” [ForeignPolicy]

Moniz to Jewish groups: “The nuclear deal with Iran will give the U.S., Israel and other countries the “freedom” to confront Tehran’s support for terrorism and violations of human rights, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told Jewish groups Thursday.” [TheHill]

Chemi Shalev on Bibi’s thinking: “Analysts maintain that Netanyahu would be able to secure higher rewards for Israel now, when his implied acquiescence to a deal is valuable to the Obama administration, rather than later, when the deal is either done or undone and Netanyahu’s attitude is far less important. Netanyahu sees things differently. He believes that passage of the Iran accord by virtue of a Democratic bloc that supports the president will strengthen his hand, not weaken it. According to his view, after the dust settles in Congress, Democrats will be desperate to mend fences with Jewish voters and donors in advance of the 2016 elections.” [Haaretz] • “Republicans Meet With Netanyahu to Discuss Iran Nuclear Deal” [FirstDraft]

“Top Hillary Clinton Donor Clarifies Stance on Iran Nuclear Deal” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis: Haim Saban, a top donor to Hillary Rodham Clinton who came out last week against the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, says his comments about the deal were taken “out of context.”… “I do believe that the deal is far from perfect,” wrote Mr. Saban, who declined repeatedly to be interviewed to elaborate further on his views. “And ‘must fight it’ is an option for the opponents to the deal. “But that is not the issue at this point in time, because I believe the deal is now a fait accompli,” he said, calling it “a done deal.” [NYTimes] • “You can listen to the original Saban interview in Hebrew here” [JP• “Mega-donors opposing Iran deal have upper hand in fierce lobbying battle” [PowerPost]

2016 WATCH: “Lindsey Graham: Defund inspection agency unless Iran ‘side deals’ revealed” by Lauren French: “The 2016 long-shot Republican presidential candidate warned Secretary of State John Kerry this week that unless the White House allows lawmakers to review the agreements forged between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran, he will work to strip the IAEA of U.S. funding.” [Politico]

“Republican Candidates Outsource Their Foreign Policy” by Josh Rogin: “There’s a good reason so many GOP candidates seem to be well-prepared yet uncannily in sync when it comes to foreign policy: Most of them have tapped the same group of experts for guidance, a shadow foreign policy campaign infrastructure just waiting for a nominee to emerge.” [Bloomberg]

DRIVING THE DAY: “In another symbol of thawing ties, Kerry to raise U.S. flag at restored Havana embassy: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Cuba on Friday to raise the U.S. flag at the recently restored American embassy in Havana, another symbolic step in the thawing of relations between the two Cold War-era foes.” [ReutersWSJ] • At 9:30am, U.S. Embassy in Cuba Flag-Raising Ceremony [CSPAN]

“A Secretive Path to Raising U.S. Flag in Cuba” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Peter Baker: “Driven by the ambitions of a President eager to make a fresh start with a Cold War-era adversary and eventually blessed as a moral imperative by Pope Francis, it was fueled at crucial points by more human considerations: the mounting desperation of Alan P. Gross, an American government contractor jailed in Havana, and the wish of the wife of a Cuban man imprisoned in California to bear his child before it was too late. It was shadowed at every turn by suspicion and mistrust, calcified over decades.” [NYTimes]

“In Speech Today, Rubio Will Slam Obama’s Outreach to Iran and Cuba” by Sergio Bustos:In a blistering speech Friday to the conservative-leaning Foreign Policy Initiative in New York, set for delivery the same day Secretary of State John Kerry re-opens the U.S. embassy in Havana, the Florida senator will say that Obama has made no efforts “to stand on the side of freedom.”… “He has been quick to deal with the oppressors, but slow to deal with the oppressed,” Rubio says in excerpts of prepared remarks released by his campaign. “And his excuses are paper-thin.” [APPolitico] • At 8:30am, Rubio discusses his strategy to deal with tyrannical regimes at a special event hosted by the FPI in New York City. [CSPANMedium]

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STARTUP NATION: “The startup scene in Israel is going bonkers, and the Chinese are swooping in” by Julie Bort: “This summer, it’s raining unicorns — tech startups valued at more than $1 billion — and as a result the Israeli tech scene is going absolutely crazy. Everyone is dreaming of becoming the next unicorn. Instead of selling their startups for $1 million to $30 million, founders are turning down multimillion acquisition offers, wanting to build big companies.” [BusinessInsider• “Jon Medved, founder at OurCrowd, talks with Betty Liu about the fate of China’s tech investments in Israel” [Bloomberg]

“Waze cofounder tells us how his company’s $1 billion sale to Google really went down” by Julie Bort: “In the weeks that preceded Google’s $1.15 billion purchase of the Israeli map app Waze, there was a constant stream of leaks about the deal, and about a bidding war between Google, Facebook, and Apple. Among Israel’s tight-knit tech scene, some say the leaks were orchestrated by Waze’s top PR person at the time. Business Insider recently met with Waze cofounder and former CEO Uri Levine… We asked him to tell us about those leaks and what happened. He was as open about it as he could be.” [BI]

FAST FORWARD: “Are Driverless Cars Safer Cars?” by Orr Hirschauge: “Jerusalem-based Mobileye develops machine-vision chips and software. According to Mr. Shashua, its chips by 2018 will be used on a car that takes over steering if the driver has a heart attack, falls asleep at the wheel or becomes otherwise incapacitated.” [WSJ]

“Meet the King of Israel’s Medical Marijuana Industry” by Hagai Amit: “‘There is a great deal of excitement when you see how much it helps people,’ says CEO of Tikun Olam, Israel’s largest grower of prescription cannabis. Yet the unusual business is not without its challenges.” [Haaretz]

“Judaism’s Power Struggle” by Noah Feldman: “Should the Jews have a pope? For most of the last 2,000 years, the answer has been “no.” Rabbinic authority has been decentralized, with each community choosing its own religious leaders to follow. But now Israel’s Chief Rabbinate is seeking to monopolize and centralize control over Jewish law through the power of the State of Israel… And the stakes are big for 300,000 Israelis, descendants of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who identify as Jews but whose religious status under Orthodox Jewish law remains in question.” [BloombergView]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Former NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to Serve as East Ramapo Monitor” by Leslie Brody: “The district about 30 miles north of New York City is run by a school board controlled by Orthodox Jewish men who send their children to private schools. Most public-school families are poor and black or Latino, and many have complained for years of crippling cuts to services, arts programs and Advanced Placement courses.” [WSJ]

HOLLYWOOD: “The Jewish humor television matrix” by Joanna Weiss: “When Jon Stewart signed off from “The Daily Show” last week, American television lost its most Jewish comic figure. (Larry David, you say? He’s been off the air for years.) But in a medium that has long been fueled by Jewish writers and comedians, you can still find shades of the Borscht Belt in unexpected places — and a lack of Jewish humor where you might expect it.” [BostonGlobe• “Embattled hedgie Steve Cohen inspires Showtime series” [NYPost] • “Trailer: Natalie Portman’s Movie About the Formation of the State of Israel” [RelevantMag]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Mila Kunis turns 32… Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer turns 77… Chaim Chesler… Ezra Mosseri… Margot Atlas… David Summer…. Selwyn Gerber… Joshua Bolton turns 61… Noah Silverman… Leona Zions… Gerald Platt…

Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week: “On many occasions, I have traveled to the Northern tip of the Golan Heights to visit the Bazelet Winery. Bazelet, Hebrew for basalt, is named for the mineral-rich volcanic soil from which the grapes grow. When you arrive, via helicopter or car, you will find yourself looking at a deceptively small and humble façade. However, once inside, you realize how deep the winery really is. You will meet Yoav Levy who will provide a unique wine tasting experience. Yoav brings together the best of what the Golan has to offer. Remarkable olive oil, home grown cheeses, great breads and, of course, outstanding wines.”

“Bazalet’s top wine is its special reserve 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Grape. It spends approximately 20 months aging in a mixture of French and American oak. One of the unique aspects of the Cabernet is its remarkably earthy overtones provided by the mineral-rich soil, high altitude and heavy sun exposure. The wine has charcoal notes in the mid pallet and deep tones of berries on the finish and goes well with cured meats and hearty stews.”

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