Daily Kickoff: Trump questions Israel’s commitment to peace | Inside Senate Dems meeting with Jewish leaders | Art Basel Miami Beach Scene

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DRIVING THE DAY: From 9AM – 5PM, the Republican Jewish Coalition hosts their 2016 Presidential Candidates Forum at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. All fourteen Republican presidential candidates will be given a half hour, in front of the influential crowd, to use as they wish. Tickets are sold out and there are approximately 700 folks paying $500 to attend. [CSPAN]

EXCLUSIVE — Each candidate will be introduced by a different RJC Board Member: Edward Czuker will introduce Ted Cruz; Kenny Bialkin will introduce Lindsey Graham; Wayne Berman will introduce Marco Rubio; Earle Mack will introduce George Pataki; Brad Kastan will introduce John Kasich; Abbie Friedman will introduce Donald Trump; Jeffrey Gunter will introduce Ben Carson; Lynne Lechter will introduce Mike Huckabee; Jeff Fox will introduce Chris Christie; Ron Weiser will introduce Rand Paul; Sam Fox will introduce Jeb Bush; Alan Miller will introduce Rick Santorum; Peter Forman will introduce Carly Fiorina; and Brad Wine will introduce Jim Gilmore.

ADELSON PRIMARY — by Patrick O’Connor: “Republican presidential contenders traveling here this week hoping to impress GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson may leave disappointed. Mr. Adelson will be halfway around the world in South Africa, and he isn’t ready to back any of the candidates who will address a Jewish group he helps fund.” [WSJAP]

Jennifer Rubin: “Thursday’s RJC event is more important than a debate” [WashPost]

Ron Kampeas: “9 questions GOP Jews want answered” [JTA]

PRE-DINNER: Around 100 RJC board members and donors from around the country gathered for dinner at Covington & Burling’s D.C. office last night. The featured speaker of the evening was Sen. Tom Cotton who, according to a source, provided a “thorough and comprehensive breakdown and intelligence of Iran’s nuclear program.” On the menu? A choice of “kosher double cut medium-rare lamb chops or sea bass.”

SIDELINE EVENTS: Over breakfast, Eric Cantor and Mike Murphy will update Jeb’s Right to Rise supporters attending the RJC Forum… Chris Christie will have lunch with supporters at the Reagan Building… Ted Cruz met with supporters at Morton’s last night and will travel to Englewood, New Jersey this evening for a fundraiser hosted by Elizabeth and Avi Samuels… Marco Rubio will attend a fundraiser at the Upper West Side apartment of Douglas and Melissa Hahn and will then meet up with other supporters, including Mark Teixeira, Wayne Berman, Phil Rosen, for a reception at the Conrad Hotel.

NJDC’s Greg Rosenbaum emails… “Today’s RJC Presidential Candidates Forum will undoubtedly showcase how out of touch the Republican Party is with the American Jewish community. It seems that on every major issue about which the Jewish community cares, the Republican candidates are on the other side. Disappointingly, the GOP as a whole, and these candidates in particular, have continued to politicize the U.S.-Israel relationship, and complex, serious policy matters like preventing a nuclear armed Iran, for partisan purposes. The Republican candidates for President have proven to be largely treif to the Jewish community —  today’s forum will, once again, show us why.”

Jeb Bush Op: “As leader of the free world I will stand with Israel in terror fight” [FoxNews]

“Trump says he plans to visit Israel to meet with Netanyahu” by Antonio Olivo: “I love Israel” Trump said, during a campaign rally at the Prince William County Fairground. “Israel is our great partner. Trump said he planned to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a trip to Israel “sometime after Christmas, probably.”[WashPostCSPANJI]

“Trump calls Mideast peace ‘toughest deal'” by Julie Pace, Jill Colvin and Steve Peoples: “Donald Trump says that if he’s elected president, he’ll know within six months whether he can achieve an elusive peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians, one of the world’s most vexing challenges. But the Republican presidential candidate says he has doubts about each side’s commitment to the peace process. “A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things,” Trump said. “They may not be, and I understand that, and I’m OK with that. But then you’re just not going to have a deal.” [AP]

“Hillary Sends Letter of Support to United Hatzalah Founder” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Beer bumped into Clinton last month during a flight to Chicago. “You’re a big supporter of Israel, you know that?” Beer told the presidential hopeful as she nodded her head in agreement in a video he posted on Facebook. “[You should] continue.” “I will,” Hillary replied… On November 19th, Hillary sent a letter to Beer. “Thank you for the information you shared about United Hatzalah, and please know how grateful I am for your leadership of such an important organization,” Hillary wrote.” [JewishInsider]

INSIDE LOOK — HEARD ON THE HILL: The U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee hosted Jewish organizational leaders yesterday morning on Capitol Hill. The meeting, from 9AM to 10:30AM, was chaired by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and featured remarks from Minority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Diane Feinstein, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Al Franken, AIPAC’s Bob Cohen, Conference of Presidents Stephen Greenberg, NJDC’s Greg Rosenbaum, JFNA’s William Daroff, J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami, JCPA’s Susan Turnbull, JWI’s Loribeth Weinstein, AJC’s Jason Isaacson, Bend the Arc’s Stosh Cotler, Orthodox Union’s Martin Nachimson, HIAS’ Mark Hetfield, Rabbinical Assembly’s Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, and B’nai B’rith’s Dan Mariaschin.

Other participants included Senators Cardin, Menendez, Carper, Kaine, Wyden, Bennet, Casey, Shaheen, Whitehouse, Coons, Hirono, Markey, Brown, Stabenow, Boxer, Blumenthal, Merkley, Mikulski, Udall, King. Additional Jewish leaders included Howard Kohr, Ester Kurz, Nathan Diament, ADL’s Stacy Burdett, Michael Lieberman, Hadar Susskind, Jared Feldman, and Mary Ann Stein. [Pic]

The Orthodox Union’s Martin Nachimson told the Senators, according to notes from a few participants, that “most of the members of my segment of the Jewish community – who, by the way, are still, mostly registered Democrats – remain deeply dismayed by the Iran nuclear deal the President negotiated…. and that most of you voiced your approval for it. The feelings about this have not abated…”

“Like others in this room, I would like to see bipartisan support for the US – Israel relationship. But there is a reality that needs to be addressed, and frankly, like any other ruptured relationship — without real engagement that involves serious listening and conversation — the feelings won’t change and our important relationships won’t be healed. So, I am not here to ask you to vote for a multi-million-dollar MOU or co-sign a letter to the Secretary of State. I am asking you to commit to working with us at the OU – and our member synagogues in your home states: come to an Orthodox synagogue in your state and have a conversation with your constituents about these issues.”

J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami emailed supporters after the meeting… “I emphasized to the Senators that opponents of the two-state solution from both the right and the left are now trying to blur the distinction in US policy and law between Israel and the territories it occupies. These moves are sometimes cloaked in misleading language that makes them seem as if they are designed to protect Israel, while doing the opposite – and I urged the assembled Senators to watch out for them.”

“Reid says McConnell kept pro-Israel language out of Ex-Im revival” by Burgess Everett:“Democrats say there’s only one reason that pro-Israel language is not included in the revival of the Export-Import Bank: Mitch McConnell. The Senate majority leader has been wary of Democratic maneuvering around Israeli politics, and he’s recently warned that the minority party might attempt to “get well” with the Jewish community after they backed the nuclear accord with Iran.” [Politico]

White House Jewish Liaison Matt Nosanchuk: “We Can Disagree but Respect Each Other’s Opinions” [Haaretz]

Dennis Ross: “Misreading the Middle East, Again: The U.S. keeps making three fundamental mistakes regarding Israel and its Arab neighbors” [USNews]

IRAN DEAL: “Nuclear Agency Says Iran Worked on Weapons Design Until 2009” by David E. Sanger and William J. Broad: “Iran was actively designing a nuclear weapon until 2009, more recently than the United States and other Western intelligence agencies have publicly acknowledged, according to a final report by the United Nations nuclear inspection agency.” [NYTimesWSJ]

“Ted Deutch to run in Broward-based district, leaving Lois Frankel to run in all-Palm Beach County district” by Anthony Man and Dan Sweeney: “Andrew Weinstein, a prominent national Democratic political fundraiser who lives in Coral Springs — part of Deutch’s new district and the new one he’ll be running in — said he was “beyond thrilled” about the development. And he signaled Deutch would have plenty of money if anyone challenges him in the Democratic primary. “I’m prepared to do whatever is necessary to help the congressman help introduce himself to his new constituents.” [SunSentinel

**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 BRIEFS: “Billionaire David Tepper Threatens Lawsuit Over SunEdison’s Coup At TerraForm Power” [Forbes] • “Penny Pritzker takes the millennial quiz” [WashPost• “Israeli Firm Perion Acquires Undertone for $180 Million” [WSJ] • “Chinese Investors Back Israel Startups Amid Silicon Valley Froth” [Bloomberg]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: American Friends of Magen David Adom held their annual gala at the Grand Hyatt in NYC. Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced Ron Perelman for the 2015 Humanitarian Award: “If you still don’t know what to get someone for Chanukah, Ron Perelman just told me a great idea – a lifetime supply of Revlon products.” Ron Perelman thanking Mike Bloomberg: “There is no more generous person than Mike Bloomberg. He gave up how many years of his life to serve as our Mayor – 18 years?” AFMDA Chairman Mark Lebow: “I know you are all happy to be here. If you weren’t here, you’d be standing outside in the rain in Rockefeller Center waiting for the tree lighting. It’s better to be here!”

–SPOTTED: Patti Harris, Mark Lebow, Krystal Ball, Mike Bloomberg and Diana Taylor, Ron Perelman, Christine Taylor, Eli Bin, Jessica and Stu Loeser, Yitshak Kreiss, AFMDA CEO David Frankel, and Marjorie Tiven.

Rabbi Evan Moffic: “Mark Zuckerberg’s Stunning Act of Jewish Piety” [HuffPost]

“PJ Library Jewish book program expanding to Russia: The monthly book club founded by American Jewish philanthropist Harold Grinspoon is launching a pilot effort distributing Russian-language books in Moscow, it announced in a news release Wednesday. The program, in partnership with the Genesis Philanthropy Group, will initially serve Jewish children ages 4 through 8 and their families, with the first books to be distributed during Hanukkah. Its goal is to reach up to 2,000 children and families by August.” [JTA]

INBOX — “The board of the Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center today announced a transformative capital campaign gift of $6.5 million from Ginny and Irwin Edlavitch, for whom the center will be renamed.”

PRESS RELEASE: “United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Warns of Danger in Hungarian Plan to Honor Antisemitic Holocaust-Era Government Minister” [USHMM]

DESSERT: “Art Basel Miami Beach serves VIPs an artistic feast” by Andres Viglucci: “This fair survives on the basis of quality,” said prominent Miami collector, businessman and activist Norman Braman, an early backer of the Beach fair, hands clasped behind his back as he cooly surveyed the pre-opening scene in the collector’s lounge. “People have to remember — it’s a commercial enterprise. The galleries are here from all over the world with their best art. It’s not the parties, it’s not anything else.”

“New York gallerist Howard Greenberg said he had sold one photograph, a stern portrait of an 11-member Israeli Orthodox Jewish family by French photographer Frédéric Brenner, for $27,000… It wasn’t all about the art, of course. There was plenty of stargazing, too, as usual. Sly Stallone, Tommy Hilfiger, Elle Macpherson, Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez, Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Leonardo DiCaprio were among the luminaries on hand, along with Los Angeles mega-collector Eli Broad.” [MiamiHerald]

QUOTE: “My nice Jewish mother was traveling in Tibet,” Mr. Boehm said. “She came up with the idea that we should not do construction in December. We should do a Christmas bar in December and do construction in January.” [NYTimes]

VIRAL: “Here’s a Hanukkah Parody of ‘Whip/Nae Nae’ and ‘Hotline Bling’” [TimeMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Sandra Wharton… Howard Krizer… Sandy Stackler… Malinda Marcus…

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