Daily Kickoff: Inside FDD – ‘The Little Think Tank That Could’ | Yeshiva student ID’d as Cruz megadonor | The Fat Jew – Internet Plagiarist?

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HALFTIME — DAY 30: “Lobbying Fight Over Iran Nuclear Deal Centers on Democrats” by Julie Hirschfeld Davis: “From his rented vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, President Obama has been making phone calls to Democratic members of Congress, trying to rally support for the nuclear deal with Iran that faces a vote next month. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, a fierce critic of the agreement, also is leaning on lawmakers from afar. The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, who is close to Mr. Netanyahu, has been contacting scores of lawmakers to make the case against the agreement.” [NYTimes]

“Calling in the God squad to save the Iran deal” by Nahal Toosi: “Over the weekend, the Rev. Al Sharpton called on black churches to mobilize in support of the nuclear deal. On Monday, a group of 340 rabbis from multiple strands of Judaism released a letter, urging lawmakers to vote for the agreement. And plans are in the works for a coordinated rollout of endorsements by a number of religious groups next week, an organizer said.” [Politico] • “Rabbi Shmuley to Reverend Al: Stop Telling Black Churches to Support Iran Deal” [Observer]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Robert Menendez sets Iran decision announcement date” by Tal Kopan: “Menendez is expected to announce he is against the deal. The New Jersey Democrat’s office said Friday that he will deliver a “major address” on the Iran deal Tuesday in New Jersey, where he will announce his decision on whether to vote for a congressional measure of disapproval on the deal.” [CNNReuters]

“Harry Reid makes Obama wait on Iran” by Alexander Bolton: “Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) has yet to say whether he’ll support President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, angering liberal groups who want to see congressional Democrats rally around the agreement.” [TheHill]

Mark Dubowitz: “Don’t listen to the naysayers. Congress can still force Iran back to the negotiating table — and the world will be a safer place for it.” [ForeignPolicy]

Carl Levin and John Warner: “Why hawks should also back the Iran deal” [TheAgenda]

Rob Eshman: “5 Questions for Robert Satloff on the Iran Deal” [JewishJournal

Robert Satloff: “Answering Rob Eshman’s questions on the Iran Deal” [JewishJournal]

DEEP DIVE: “Inside the small, pro-Israel outfit leading the attack on Obama’s Iran deal” by John Judis: “Opponents of the deal, if they are to carry the day, need crisp talking points and plausible arguments; they need credible experts who will back up their position in congressional hearings, on opinion pages, and on TV and radio. And no organization has been better at providing this kind of intellectual firepower than the little-known Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a relatively small Washington think tank that is devoting itself to defeating the Iran deal.” [Slate]

Eli Lake: “The president should use his time after office to nurture and support Iran’s democratic opposition in its struggle against Iran’s dictator. As an elder statesman, Obama should busy himself with the fate of that regime’s political prisoners the way Jimmy Carter has taken up the cause of Palestinian statehood. Obama’s legacy in foreign policy depends not on the success of the nuclear deal in the short term, but on the success of Iran’s democracy movement in the long term.” [BloombergView]

“When Reagan Trusted Iran’s Moderates” by Gil Troy: “President Obama is not the first American leader to be wooed by the potential for Iranian moderates to take control.” [DailyBeast]

“Ayatollah Khamenei Says Talk of U.S. Influences in Iran Is ‘Hollow Fantasy’” by Thomas Erdbrink: “Iran’s highest leader lashed out at the United States on Monday, saying talk that American influences would pour into the country on a wave of positive feelings over the nuclear deal is nothing more than a “hollow fantasy.”” [NYTimes• “Are Ayatollah Khamenei’s Views of the Iran Nuclear Deal Emerging?” [WSJ]

ON/OFF THE GROUND: “Off the Coast of Iran, a High-Stakes Version of Spy Versus Spy” by Helene Cooper: “In the crystalline waters of the Arabian Sea, it is spy versus spy between the United States and Iran. Ever since the United States, Iran and other world powers signed a pact to rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, skeptics of the deal — which is subject to congressional approval — have feared that the United States and Iran, longstanding regional adversaries, might let up on decades of vigilance. But in the skies and waters of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the two continue to constantly watch each other.” [NYTimes]

2016 WATCH: “Ted Cruz Megadonor Identified as Jewish Cellphone Executive” by Kitty Bennett: “Cruz spokesman, Robert Barletta, said in the statement that “V3 231 LLC, of which Ben Nashis a member of the ownership group, donated $250,000 to Stand for Principle” in January. “The donation was transparent and fully within federal campaign finance laws,” Mr. Barletta said. “Senator Cruz has been a strong supporter of Jewish issues, and this was the basis for the donation.” Mr. Nash, a former Yeshiva student, co-founded PCS Wireless in 2001 as a teenager and built it into a major global distributor of new and used phones and mobile devices. [FirstDraft] • Flashback: “This high-school dropout built a $1 billion business selling phones nobody wanted” [BusinessInsider]

Simon Falic to host Huckabee in Israel: “Huckabee will travel to Israel Tuesday and hold an afternoon fundraiser in the West Bank settlement of Shilo. The event – a rare one for US presidential candidates – was arranged by Miami-based Simon Falic, who with his brothers owns Duty Free Americas, Inc., the largest duty-free operator in the US.” [HerbKeinon]

“Facing Money Gap, Hillary Clinton Slowly Warms to ‘Super PAC’ Gifts” by Amy Chozick and Eric Lichtblau: “Mrs. Clinton’s allied super PACs, mindful that to resist the tide is to drown, are soliciting giant donations in earnest now, with her blessing. But the disparity, which has worried many Democrats, also has to do with the ambivalence, or outright disdain, that Mrs. Clinton’s donors say they feel, and that some say they have picked up from her, about the role that super PACs should play. “We’ll see what’s happening later in the campaign, and some people may join those who have put money into the PACs, but the bottom line is we have to change the system,” said Sarah Kovner, a prominent Democratic fund-raiser and donor in New York.” [NYTimes]

Stu Loeser on 2016: “The anger at the established politicians is so intense that it almost arcs around and meets in the back — the intellectual and ideological space between Bernie Sanders and Trump is really narrow,” said Democratic strategist Stu Loeser. Both candidates drive the narrative that “formerly respected power structures aren’t telling them the truth and they’re suffering for it,” he said. Whether it’s “the financial system is against you or the immigrants are stealing your jobs, it is fundamentally the same thing.” [MSNBC]

LongRead: “The Meaning of Kissinger: A Realist Reconsidered” by Niall Ferguson [ForeignAffairs]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Four Seasons Leader Isadore Sharp: Treat Employees Right So They Treat Customers Right” [Forbes• “Korean Sovereign Fund Asks Paul Singer’s Elliott to Stop Investing in Korea” [WSJ• “John Paulson’s hedge fund buys Starwood Hotels stake” [Crains] • “Gary Barnett: Nordstrom Tower design still up in the air” [NYPost] • “Ghermezian’s Triple Five financial puzzle coming together in East Rutherford” [NorthJersey• “Liz Wessel and JJ Fliegelman’s College Job Finder Campus Job Rebrands As WayUp” [TechCrunch• “Ben Rubin’s Meerkat says users are more engaged than ever, but data suggests lackluster growth” [VentureBeat

STARTUP NATION: “It’s incredibly easy to be an American traveling alone in Israel” by Julie Bort: “Israel is literally in the center of the never-ending turmoil of the Middle East. So it may surprise you that it’s extremely easy and safe to travel there and it’s an extraordinarily fun place to visit, even if you’re an American traveling alone who doesn’t speak or read Hebrew… I felt as safe (or safer) as wandering around San Francisco by myself.” [BusinessInsider]

“Israeli startup Gett Declares Taxi App War With New Anti-Uber Ad Campaign” by Sage Lazzaro: “Uber is our biggest competition in NYC and their customers have a major point of frustration—surge! Our campaign highlights Gett’s surge-free guarantee,” Nathan Roth, Gett’s spokesperson, told the Observer when we asked why they targeted Uber.” [Observer]

TOP TALKER: “The Internet Plagiarist Taking Over the World: The Fat Jew Is Thriving, and Comedians Are Pissed” by Luke O’Neil: “Josh Ostrovsky, aka ‘The Fat Jew,’ rakes in six figures from his joke-sharing Instagram account and just signed with CAA. But his joke-stealing ways have irked the comedy world.” [DailyBeastGawker]

CAMPUS BEAT: “Eric Fingerhut Says ‘Sorry’ to J Street — But Rift Remains” by Nathan Guttman: “Hoping to “wipe the slate clean,” Hillel International’s president and CEO Eric Fingerhut stepped into the lion’s den Monday for a face-to-face meeting with campus leaders of the dovish lobby J Street. “If I have done anything to cause personal hurt or pain in this past year to anyone in this room, I ask that you forgive my transgression,” Fingerhut told the student leaders gathered outside Washington D.C. for their summer conference.” [Forward]

“The Soldier, the Settler, and the Journalist: Remembering Israel’s Withdrawal From Gaza” by Harriet Salem: “Ten years ago, on August 15, 2005, Israel sealed its border with Gaza, marking the beginning of a painful “separation” process. Over the next eight days, the military evacuated thousands of Israeli settlers from the territory. Many refused to leave voluntarily and had to be carried out by soldiers.  To mark the decade anniversary VICE News met with a soldier, a settler, and a journalist who were there when the evacuation took place.” [ViceNews]

“Matisyahu Responds to Spanish Fest Dropping Him Over Israel-Palestine Questions” by Joe Lynch: “Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements,” he wrote. “Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people.” [BillboardFacebook]

“English Neo-Nazis Were ‘Completely Humiliated’ at a Liverpool March This Weekend” by Oscar Webb: “Members of the Nazi group brag online about attending ISIS-inspired training camps where they practice fighting, learn to use weapons and discuss Nazi ideology. In the flesh, they were not particularly scary: Fights that broke out when the crowds met were mostly won by the anti-fascists, dispelling the hype NA has built up about itself online as a group that “only bullets will stop.” In fact the truth is they can be stopped with some well-aimed eggs and punches.” [Vice]

“’Jewish Schindler’ rescues Iraqi girls from slavery” by Christopher Reynolds: “Montreal businessman Steve Maman is battling the Islamic State militant group with a campaign to free young women and girls from sexual captivity.” [TheStar]

Kippahs Spotted In The News: Standing behind Russian President Vladimir Putin and his spokesman Dmitry Peskov [ForeignPolicy] • Sitting behind Tracy Morgan at a Yankees game [GawkerPic] • At John Kerry’s U.S. Embassy in Cuba announcement [Twitter]

Jewish Batman Is Dead: “Lenny B. Robinson, the Batman of Route 29, will be remembered not for his untimely death, but for a lifetime of saving the day.” [DailyBeastWashPost• Funeral is tomorrow at Har Sinai Congregation [SL]

DESSERT: “Is Johnnie Walker Whiskey Still Kosher? Maybe, Maybe Not: It seems the Rabbinate is accusing a major Israeli importer of alcohol of fraudulently labeling the bottles they import as kosher – but there are still bottles of Johnnie Walker with a proper kosher certification imported by the brand’s official representative; they just may be harder to find.” [Haaretz]

BIRTHDAYS: Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, turns 45… Andy Samberg turns 37… Aaron Taxy (yesterday)…

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