Daily Kickoff: U.S. firms eager to enter Iran as Implementation Day nears | Hillary Clinton once took Yiddish lessons | Milbank talks Trump in Yiddish

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Ed note: Next Daily Kickoff is Monday. Enjoy the weekend!

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Iran deal nears a turning point: Sniping is growing on all sides” by Nahal Toosi: “Republican lawmakers, along with some Democrats, are expected to press legislative efforts to punish Iran for a range of alleged misbehavior, including its recent testing of ballistic missiles. Proposed legislation tackles everything from the finances of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to the right of U.S. states to level their own sanctions on Iran. Lawmakers also are likely to try to renew the Iran Sanctions Act, which expires at the end of 2016, early in the year.”

“Many of the proposals will likely go nowhere and some are symbolic at best. Still, even making some noise on Capitol Hill could send a strong signal to Iran that America is not its friend, no matter how wedded the Obama administration is to the nuclear deal. It also gives Republicans a chance to look strong and bash Obama during a presidential election year.” [Politico]

“Tensions Rise Over U.S. Visa Measure That Could Affect Iran Nuclear Accord” by Rick Gladstone: “Five congressional Republicans who strongly supported the new law delivered a sharp rejoinder to Mr. Kerry in their own letter on Wednesday. “Congress and the president strengthened the V.W.P. in order to protect the national security of the United States,” they wrote, using the initials of the visa waiver program. “Iran is impacted by this new law because it is a U.S.-designated state sponsor of terrorism. The simplest way to eliminate this restriction is for Iran to end its support of terrorism.” [NYTimes] • See the letter signed by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, Rep. Michael McCaul, Rep. Candice Miller, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte. [PDF]

“U.S. Firms Prepare for End to Iran Sanctions” by Benoit Faucon: “Ahead of an expected lifting of sanctions, several U.S. corporate giants including personal-computer seller HP Inc. and General Electric Inc.’s oil-services unit are actively exploring a market entry into Iran. Worried they could be left behind their European and Asian peers in the race to do business with a country of over 77 million people, some American companies have prepared to go as soon as the sanctions lift, drafting contracts and sending envoys to Iran as the country gets set to break decades of isolation.” [WSJ]

“Obama’s foreign policy goals get a boost from plunging oil prices” by Steven Mufson: “In Iran, cheap oil is forcing the government to ratchet down expectations. The much-anticipated lifting of sanctions as a result of the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program is expected to result in an additional half-million barrels a day of oil exports by the middle of 2016. But at current prices, Iran’s income from those sales will still fall short of revenue earned from constrained oil exports a year ago.” [WashPost]

“Sanctions Relief Is Not the Key to Iran’s Economy” by Patrick Clawson: “Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has been eager to schedule the nuclear deal’s Implementation Day before the February midterm elections in order to demonstrate that the economy is on the mend. But a December 21st International Monetary Fund (IMF) report documents the many challenges facing Iran’s economy even if sanctions relief arrives soon, and the 2016/17 budget that Rouhani sent to the Majlis on December 22nd does little to address those challenges.” [WashInstitute]

ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt: “Yet, for all of the fanfare over the summer about the consequences of the Iran deal, it seems like little attention has been paid to other Iranian policies. Alas, with the world’s focus on the immediate danger of the radical extremism emanating from the Islamic State, Iranian actions in recent months have affirmed the regime’s unchanged agenda — promoting illiberal policies that profoundly conflict with our core values and those of nearly every other member of the family of nations.” [Medium]

2016 WATCH: “Jeb Bush suggests World War II provides an example for how he’d handle the conflict in the Middle East” — by Hunter Walker: “How did we handle World War II? Pretty damn good. In fact, you know, we had a force that brought stability, created opportunities for the rebuilding of both Japan and Germany in a way that benefitted us and created stability for two generations. It’s different than an occupying force, clearly there’s no interest to do that.” [Yahoo]

“Oy vey! Enough of Trump” by Dana Milbank: “My grandmother, were she alive, would have had a choice phrase for such a vulgarian: Shemen zich in dein veiten haldz. Literally, this translates as “you should be ashamed in your far neck,” but that doesn’t quite convey the deep contempt the speaker has for the schmuck who committed such a shandeh un a charpeh (shame and disgrace). Alternatively, my bubbe might have opted to give Trump some classic and colorful Yiddish advice: “Gai kaken oifen yam” — go defecate in the ocean.”

“But since Trump has started us on this tour of Yiddishkeit, it’s worth noting that Yiddish insults are custom-tailored for the overbearing and boorish gantseh macher that Trump has made of himself. He’s a shmegegi and a mamzer, a fabrecher and a nudnik with a lot of chutzpah (and a tuches un a halb)… Enough is enough. End the shpilkes and tsores and settle on a responsible alternative who can cut Trump down to size with perhaps the greatest Yiddish aphorism of all: Du kannst nicht auf meinem rucken pishen unt mir sagen class es regen ist. You can’t pee on my back and tell me that it’s raining. Dos iz alts. Danken Got.” [WashPost]

Rand Paul tweets: “Where to start but @realDonaldTrump. If u bring the Yiddish, know what it means. Guess that’s more of a kvetch than a grievance #Festivus” [Twitter]

TOP TWEET — Howard Mortman: Hillary Clinton “once took a Yiddish lesson” .. during her 2000 Senate campaign… to say “kvell” but instead said “kavell” [CSPAN]

The Orthodox Union’s Rabbi Menachem Genack: “Why I Support Hillary Clinton For President” [JewishWeek]

“Rosenbaum: NJDC ‘More Active’ Than Ever” by Jacob Kornbluh: “When somebody tries to extrapolate from that, “Is NJDC about to close?” The answer has to be an emphatic no,” Rosenbaum told Jewish Insider. “In fact, NJDC is more active and certainly more effective than it has ever been.” During a panel at the JFNA General Assembly in D.C. last month, Rosenbaum said the NJDC has 4-5 paid staffers “in non-election years – some of those are full-time.” In the wake of the Forward report, Rosenbaum clarified his statement: “That is the number of staffers our contract with Bluelight Strategies makes available to us as a base.” [JewishInsider]

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: “Here’s Why Politicians Send Out Those Official Statements About Holidays” by Jillian Jorgensen: “The holidays are a time for tradition. Turkey on Thanksgiving. Lighting the menorah on Hanukkah. Decorating the tree for Christmas. For press officers who speak for elected officials, there’s another tradition: the issuing of an official statement on the holiday of the day to the media… And of course, every now and then the statements do find their way into news stories, particularly those published in publications focused on a particular religious or ethnic group. Jacob Kornbluh, a politics reporter for Jewish Insider, said he has used the statements—and said they’re often a way for politicians to identify with Jewish people on their holidays.”

“Stu Loeser, who served as press secretary for former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, recalled the subject coming up during a breakfast Mr. Bloomberg held with Muslim community leaders… One of the community leaders asked why the mayor’s office put out statements for Jewish and Christian holy days, but not for Muslim ones. “That’s a really good question, why don’t we, Stu?” Mr. Bloomberg asked. Mr. Loeser promptly replied that they’d changed their policy on the matter, and would start putting out those statements right away. The community leader was satisfied, Mr. Loeser recalled, but Mr. Bloomberg was not. “When did we change that policy?” Mr. Bloomberg asked. “About 60 seconds ago, Mr. Mayor,” Mr. Loeser responded.” [Observer]

Tevi Troy Edition: “Ghosts of Presidential Christmases Past: The holiday season is not always merry for the nation’s leader.” [WSJ] • “2015: My Year of Reading” [NationalReview]

**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**

SHELDON ADELSON INTERVIEW: “Macau Daily Times: Speaking about the United States, it’s all over the news: you started very early in your life selling newspapers, now you’re buying them. Sheldon Adelson: [Laughs] Not buying them, I just bought one. I didn’t buy it. MDT: …you and your family. SA: You know what I say when everybody says, “The family.  Oh, you’re the family?” Really, do you have grown children? [Yes] Can you tell them what kind of car to buy? [No] Can you tell them what clothes to wear? [No]. Right. Can you tell them what kind of house to live in? No. You don’t tell your children what to do, I can’t tell my children what to do. They wanted to buy the newspaper so, they bought the newspaper. I don’t have anything to do with it, I have no financial interest. My money that the children have with which to buy the newspaper is their inheritance. I don’t want to spend money on a newspaper.” [MacauDailyTimes]

STARTUP NATION: “Despite Unrest, The Israeli Tech Ecosystem Is Flourishing” by Hillel Fuld: Izhar Shay, General Partner at Canaan Partners summed it up perfectly, “These days, we are witnessing a record level of activity within the Israeli high-tech scene. The fact that this is happening amidst a period of unrest and violence is an impressive testament to our culture and character. Entrepreneurship and innovation will win over hatred and destruction. Always.” [TechCrunch]

SPORTS BLINK: “Joshua Harris’s Philadelphia story offers insight to Crystal Palace fans” by Steve Brenner: “There are billionaire owners – step forward Roman Abramovich and Mike Ashley – who will never be held accountable. Then there are investors such as Joshua Harris, the American worth $2.7bn who has added Crystal Palace to a sporting portfolio that already includes franchises in the NHL and NBA.” [TheGuardian]

SPOTLIGHT: “Brother sued for leaving family Hasidic clothing company and starting his own” by Selim Algar: “A popular Brooklyn Hasidic clothing company is in turmoil ​because one of its founders broke off and launched his own ​competing ​line of black coats, hats and trousers, ​and now his brothers are suing him for $2 million ​over the breach. The owners of ​Glauber’s Quality Clothing, established by a ​family of Brooklyn brothers in 1982, claim​ in their Brooklyn federal suit​ that an unnamed founding sibling ripped off their trademark and reputation by launching his own line of religious garb.” [NYPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Is Burning — Can He Put Out the Flames?” by Meribah Knight: “At a recent meeting with leaders of Chicago’s faith community, Chicago’s first Jewish mayor, Rahm Emanuel, admitted that mistakes were made in how city government handled the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. And then, the mayor stopped talking and listened. “My stock in the mayor went up” as a result, said Rabbi Capers Funnye Jr., spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, in Chicago.” [Forward]

“An Unsung Hero of Black Education” by Jason L. Riley: “Businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald helped build thousands of quality elementary schools in the segregated South. The Chicago-based Rosenwald, a son of German-Jewish immigrants, made his fortune in the early 1900s running Sears, Roebuck & Company when it was the nation’s largest retailer. The film’s main focus, however, is Rosenwald’s largely unsung philanthropic collaboration with Booker T. Washington.” [WSJ]

NYC SCENE: “Arab Countries Increase Ties With Diaspora Jews in Possible, Silent Approach to Israel” by Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt: “Attend a private Jewish event in Manhattan these days – and you may run into a Qatari or Omani diplomat snacking on canapés with a group of businessmen and rabbis. Backdoor channels of informal conversation between Jewish leaders and Muslim politicians seem to be multiplying.” [Haaretz]

TRANSITIONS: AIPAC’s Jason Koppel writes — “As we embark on 2016, I write to personally inform you that I have been named the next AIPAC Northeast Deputy Political Director and will be vacating my role as Director of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island… AIPAC’s Senior Development Director for New York Jay Haberman and the entire management of the AIPAC Northeast region are thrilled to announce the promotion of Dan Mitzner to be my replacement.”

INBOX — from Avi Mayer: “On Tuesday night, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky attended a state dinner honoring visiting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, hosted by President and Mrs. Rivlin at their residence in Jerusalem. While there, Sharansky and Ze’ev Jabotinsky—the grandson and namesake of the founder of Revisionist Zionism—engaged President Poroshenko in a lively conversation about Israelis of Ukrainian origin, themselves included (Sharansky was born in Donetsk, and Jabotinsky the elder in Odessa). Sharansky told the president that 2015 will see Ukrainian Aliyah hit a thirteen-year peak, with the arrival of some 7,300 immigrants brought by The Jewish Agency from the war-torn country.” [Pic]

Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week: “Eli Ben Zaken is one of the great pioneers of Israel wines. His wines were amongst the first to get recognition by the esteemed critic, Robert Parker, and he was also among the first to make great Israeli wine in a bordeaux style. When you visit the Castel winery, don’t plan on much small talk, he goes straight to discussing wine. Conversing with Eli will prove to be very engaging, and at time contentious should you not agree with him.”

“The 2012 Grand Vin is a remarkable wine. It is aged in new French oak for approximately twenty two months. It is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with a small blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. As the wine ages – and this has been true with almost all of Castel’s vintages — one can actually taste the earthy terroir of the Judean Hills where the grapes are grown. The wine is made in a Bordeaux style, and from time to time you can get heavy notes of plum and other bold fruits on the finish. I would drink this wine with lamb and venison and let it breathe for at least two hours. This wine will last a very long time.” [Castel]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Edward Samuel Miliband, former UK Labour Party Leader, turns 46… Former Director of the National Economic Council, Gene Sperling turns 57… Founder of BlueStar Indexes Steven Schoenfeld… Jodi Ochstein… Mordechai Finley… Musician Ethan Bortnick turns 15… Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain turns 46… Arthur Bard… Daniella Rilov of AIFL… Tim Miller, Comms Director for Jeb 2016… Fred Heim… Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin turns 69… Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, turns 3-0… George Blum… Rachel Parker… Andy Borans, Executive Director of AEPi…

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