Daily Kickoff: Bibi to the White House | Ben Rhodes on peace process | Forward 50 | Black gold under the Golan | Venetian Ghetto’s Hidden Gems

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DRIVING THE DAY: “Obama and Netanyahu: A Story of Slights and Crossed Signals” by Peter Baker and Jodi Rudoren: “The tortured relationship between Barack and Bibi, as they call each other, has been a story of crossed signals, misunderstandings, slights perceived and real. Burdened by mistrust, divided by ideology, the leaders of the United States and Israel talked past each other for years until the rupture over Mr. Obama’s push for a nuclear agreement with Iran led to the spectacle of Mr. Netanyahu denouncing the president’s efforts before a joint meeting of Congress. As Mr. Netanyahu arrives at the White House on Monday for his first visit in more than a year, both leaders have reasons to put the past behind them. They will discuss a new security agreement and ways to counter Iran.” [NYTimes]

–Quoted: Martin Indyk, Uzi Arad, Mara Rudman, Yaakov Amidror, Ben Rhodes, George Mitchell, Malcolm Hoenlein, Abe Foxman, Dennis Ross, Michael Oren.

Dennis Ross: “What Obama and Netanyahu Will Talk About” [PoliticoMag]

Aaron David Miller: “Don’t kid yourself. Beneath the cordiality, smiles and handshakes, there’s no love lost between these two. As they approach their meeting Monday, here’s what these two leaders would likely say about one another if honesty, not diplomacy, ruled the day.” [CNN]

Ben Rhodes to Barak Ravid on the peace process: “Rhodes admits the Obama administration made more than a few mistakes in its handling of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but feels that responsibility for the impasse ultimately rests with the Israelis and Palestinians. “If you look back at the last seven years, the president would say we haven’t done everything perfectly. I am sure that at this or that time you could say that this tactic by the U.S. didn’t work. But the president believes the main reason there hasn’t been a breakthrough is that no matter what the U.S. did, each time the Israeli and Palestinian leaders had an opportunity to take a leap forward together, neither of them took it.”

“If there’s one thing that really frustrates Rhodes, it’s Obama’s negative image among the Israeli public. The great enthusiasm and affection with which former President Bill Clinton was received in Israel two weeks ago only underscored this. Rhodes believes Israelis — leaders and the general public alike — are quite mistaken about Obama, and don’t properly appreciate what the president has already done and could yet do for Israel.” [Haaretz]

Jeffrey Goldberg: “Obama: ‘If Not Now, Bibi, Then When?’” [TheAtlantic]

Jonathan Greenblatt: “Getting the U.S.-Israel Relationship Back on Track” [HuffPost]

HEARD AT THE GA, Day One — by Jared Sichel: “Yes I am” — David Gregory‘s first words at the opening plenary. As in, “Yes I am” Jewish. He jumped off with a well-received imitation of presumably a Jewish mother or grandmother wondering how David Gregory could actually be Jewish–“He’s so tall!…What kind of name is Gregory?” Gregory’s father passed away last week, and his son’s bar-mitzvah is this weekend. [YouTube]

Dennis Ross on Palestinian Knife Attacks: “To all those who say they want one state, well this is what one state looks like.”

Biden at URJ: “Although we won’t always agree, we should always be respectful of one another. There is no excuse, there should be no tolerance for any member or employee of an Israeli administration referring to the President of United States in derogatory terms. Period, period, period, period! There is no justification for an official Israeli voice degrading the secretary of state, who has worked so hard, for so long for the security of Israel. But notwithstanding even those terrible comments, no one, no one, no one can undermine our relationship or our long term commitment to the security and the future of the Jewish and democratic State of Israel. We stand as one.” [YouTube]

David Horovitz: “Netanyahu, Obama and an offensive media adviser who must be dropped now” [ToI]

Yair Rosenberg: “In an unbalanced playing field, Israel’s Prime Minister can ill afford to continue provoking unnecessary scandals.” [TabletMag]

Biden On Recent Violence: “Both sides need to demonstrate restraint. We don’t want another intifada, we don’t want them escalating any further.” [Haaretz

“Biden, Yes, Trump, No: Who didn’t show up at the Reform Biennial” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “Biden’s address was a last-minute substitute for what was to have been a Presidential Candidate’s forum to be moderated by the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” Chuck Todd. None of the invited leading candidates – both Democrats and Republicans – agreed to appear. Pesner also stressed that it was important to remember that the URJ had also been let down by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both of whom would surely have been greeted with great enthusiasm by the largely progressive crowd. “Since none of the Democrats would come either, we have to be equal opportunity disappointed here.”[Haaretz]

2016 WATCH: “Republicans woo traditionally Democratic Jewish voters” by Anthony Man: “We will be well prepared to counter those messages,” said Andrew Weinstein, a Coral Springs lawyer and major fundraiser for national Democrats. Changing the outcome “doesn’t require a majority shift,” said Steven Abrams. “The Jewish vote only needs to change by a percent or two or three in order to make a difference in the outcome of the state.” [SunSentinel• “Obama-Netanyahu meeting could benefit Hillary Clinton” [CNN]

Florida donors on Jeb and Rubio: “Both are doing great. Sad they are both running for the same position,” Miami Beach developer Russell Galbut said in an email. “We will have to choose one shortly to be the candidate.”… “We want to help narrow the field to candidates who we find compelling and ultimately have a good chance of winning in the general election,” Richard Horvitz, a Miami Beach investor, said.” [MiamiHerald]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: On the sidelines of the GA, around two hundred “young Jews who are innovating for the future and others who are making it happen” gathered at Jack Rose for a Schusterman Network event. Spotted: Kosha Dilz, JSwipe’s David Yarus, Hillel’s Eric Fingerhut, Schusterman’s Lisa Eisen, Moishe House’s David Cygielman, Tamar Remz of the Grinspoon Foundation, Daniel Bonner of the Singer Foundation, Kahal Abroad’s Alex Jakubowski, Marilyn Goldman, Adam Simon, Ilan Toledano, Omri Baumer, David Rittberg, Tilly Schames, Hindy Poupko, Mary Ann Weiss, Liz Fisher, Joelle Berman, Chaya Glasner, Eric Lavin, Ilan Wagner, Hillary Krieger, and Harrell Wittenstein.

GA participants also converged on the National Portrait Gallery for an evening of live music and dessert. Notables included Amb. Danny Danon, William Daroff, Alisa Doctoroff, Jeffrey Goldberg, Alan and Andrea Solow, Suzy Appelbaum, Matt Nosanchuk, Beth Goldsmith, Howard Friedman, Eric Goldstein, Linda Hurwitz, Michael Lustig, Arna Poupko Fisher, Shalom Lipner, Yarden Golan, David Saperstein, Tim Cohen, Scott Shay. [YouTube]

Rob Eshman in Mexico City last night: “Mexican television and press turned out in force as 150 Jews from the United States and Latin America gathered to hear a panel of Catholic and Jewish leaders mark the 50 year anniversary of Nostra Aetate… “What we are celebrating is true teshuva,” said Rabbi David Rosen. The event kicked off a 3 day conference on Catholic and Latino-Jewish relations sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. Spotted: David Harris, Amb. Jonathan Peled, Dina Siegal Vann, Bruce and Madeleine Ramer, Steven and Julie Bram, Judge Nelson Diaz, Wendy Greuel, Dean Schramm, and Salomon Chertorivski Woldenberg.

Jacob Kornbluh covering Sen. Chuck Schumer in Staten Island: Schumer told the crowd, “I’ve had gotten some criticism on Iran, but because I believed I did the right thing, I haven’t had one day of regret about my decision.” Schumer added, “In the Jewish community, we don’t give the President enough credit when credit is due. Iran didn’t come to the table on its own. We passed the sanctions – the WH was not for it, to be honest with you. But then, the WH got all the nations of the world to come to the table. [Obama] did that, he did that.” [JIYouTube]

HAPPENING TONIGHT: “WJC President Ronald S. Lauder and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger to present Theodor Herzl Award to former Secretary of State George P. Shultz at a gala dinner at New York’s Waldorf Astoria.”

AEI Dinner: “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will receive the American Enterprise Institute’s 2015 Irving Kristol Award at the National Building Museum in D.C.”

**Good Monday 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 BRIEFS: “David L. Cohen isn’t leaving Comcast any time soon” [BizJournal] • “Ted Lerner on philosophy, family, philanthropy and Donald Trump” [WBJ] • “Rental Portion of Gary Barnett’s One57 Is for Sale” [WSJ] • “Third Point’s Loeb trades digs for diplomacy in Japan” [Reuters]

STARTUP NATION: “Mayor of London calls for stronger technology trade links with Israel” by Sophie Curtis: “Speaking at the beginning of a three-day trade mission to Israel, Boris Johnson said that London was the “natural tech partner” for Israeli firms looking to expand.” [TelegraphBusinessInsider]

SPOTLIGHT: “Black gold under the Golan: Israeli and American oilmen believe they have discovered a bonanza in this most inconvenient of sites. After three test-drillings, Yuval Bartov, the chief geologist of Genie Oil & Gas, a subsidiary of American-based Genie Energy, says his company thinks it has found an oil reservoir “with the potential of billions of barrels.” Genie’s founder and CEO is Howard Jonas, an influential American-Jewish businessman.” [Economist]

UPSTARTS: “Start-Up Genius Wants to Annotate the Internet” by Christopher Ross: “Genius is a platform for knowledge about knowledge—the Internet Talmud, if you will.” says Ben Horowitz, a co-founder of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which invested $15 million in Genius in 2012. Horowitz points out that the Talmud’s commentary on the Old Testament was the genesis of many key religious concepts. “Historically, the knowledge about knowledge has proven to be as important as the knowledge itself.” [WSJmagazine]

Zalmi Duchman: “The Lubavitcher Rebbe: The Ultimate Entrepreneur” [Forbes]

LongRead: “Eli Horowitz Wants To Teach You How To Read” [BuzzFeed]

FORWARD 50 — by Jane Eisner: “To those who read this list in print and online — be inspired. To those in the Forward 50 — you have our gratitude. Through your hard work, creativity, ingenuity and chutzpah, you showed us how mightily and effectively American Jews contribute to our national story.” [Forward• List includes American Pharoah

TALK OF OUR NATION: “The Venetian Ghetto’s Hidden Gems” by James McAuley: “In the context of Jewish history, the word ‘‘ghetto’’ carries with it an unmistakable fatalism… Often sites of mandated segregation ridden with poverty and plague, they also fostered cultural exchange and intellectual vitality. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Venice, which established one of Europe’s first Jewish ghettos in 1516 in the Cannaregio district, on a small island where the city’s cannons had previously been cast: the foundry, or ‘‘geto.’’ [NYTimes]

Pro-Israel Group Refutes Roger Waters’ Comments on Country: “In an exclusive statement to Rolling Stone, StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein responded to each of Waters’ claims about the organization.” [RollingStone]

DESSERT: “For Jewish Nashvillians Who Keep Kosher, Hot Chicken With A Twist” by Emily Siner: “The hot chicken tradition of Nashville was served with a cultural twist this weekend. The Jewish Community Center hosted the first Kosher Hot Chicken Festival, geared toward Jews whose religious dietary restrictions prevent them from eating standard meat.” [NPR]

ANNIVERSARY: William Daroff — “Today is my 10th anniversary at Jewish Federations of North America! I started at ‪#JFNAGA‬ in Toronto.” [Facebook]

BIRTHDAYS: David Wolfson, Baron Wolfson of Sunningdale, turns 80… Sir Victor Blank… Samara Hutman… Laurie Moskowitz (yesterday)…

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