Daily Kickoff: Saudis vs. Iranians | Story of Trump’s brother joining a Jewish fraternity | New Yorker profiles Adam Fogelson | Borowitz BDay

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DRIVING THE CONVERSATION — WSJ Front Page: “Obama’s Mideast Plan Faces a New Hurdle” by Jay Solomon: “The sudden upheaval that shattered ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia over the weekend also saddled the Obama administration with unexpected complications in what already was a long-shot bid to ease the crises of the Middle East. Administration officials voiced rising concern that the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia could undermine their broader regional efforts—in particular ending the Syrian civil war.” [WSJ]

White House angry with the Saudis: “Privately several senior administration officials expressed anger at the Saudis, both for what one called “an apparent absence of due process” in the executions, and another for “negligent disregard” for how it could inflame the region. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the diplomatic engagement with both countries.” [NYTimes]

Aaron David Miller: “Fallout From Saudi Cleric’s Execution Underscores Mideast Challenges” [ThinkTank]

“White House says more work needed before any Iran sanctions” by Kevin Freking: “The White House said on Saturday it has more diplomatic and technical work to do before it will announce any sanctions in response to ballistic missile launches by Iran. Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, said the pact that the U.S. and others negotiated with Iran last year to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon will not impede future sanctions.” [AP]

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer: “I am disappointed that the Administration has delayed punitive action in response to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests. We are always in a sensitive moment in our dealings with Iran, and there is never a perfect time to undertake such actions. But Iran must know with certainty that violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, both inside and outside the scope of the JCPOA, will be met with serious consequences.” [Statement]

“Nadler: Iran’s Missile Tests Underscores Importance of Nuclear Deal” by Jacob Kornbluh:“Nadler pointed to a recent IAEA report on Iran’s past nuclear activities to underscore the value of the international accord despite the concerns raised by the regime’s recent actions. “This showed — the fact that they were dishonest, which is no great surprise — how important the agreement is to making sure that they don’t get a nuclear weapon,” he stated.” [JewishInsider]

WSJ Editorial — The Mullahs Thank Mr. Obama: “Opponents of the nuclear accord predicted this. Mr. Obama says the deal restricts Iranian action, but it does far more to restrict the ability of the U.S. to respond to Iranian aggression. If the U.S. takes tough action in response to Iran’s missile tests or other military provocations, Iran can threaten to stop abiding by the nuclear deal. It knows the world has no appetite for restoring serious sanctions, and that Mr. Obama will never admit his deal is failing. The mullahs view the accord as a license to become more militarily aggressive.” [WSJ]

Matthew Levitt: “U.S. Sanctions Delay Could Open Door for Iranian Weapons Violations” [ThinkTank]

“Hillary Clinton’s challenges in the fight against terrorism” by Fred Hiatt: “On issues of U.S. leadership, Clinton seems disinclined to compromise, despite pressure from a dovish primary electorate… Her views have the added virtue of being right. Americans can see that Obama’s policy of premature disengagement hasn’t worked in Libya, Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan. Will they also see through Cruz’s phony alternative? That is one of the key questions to be answered in 2016.” [WashPost]

Hillary in New Hampshire yesterday: “Hillary offered an assessment of the GOP’s foreign policy: “Number one, send American troops anywhere at any time to do something and, while you’re at it, bomb something – preferably carpet bomb, whatever that means. Or, don’t do anything.” Hillary plugged her recent book, Hard Choices… “I sent them all a copy of my book with a little note saying, ‘You may want to read about how you put together crippling sanctions on Iran in order to get them to the negotiating table to put a lid on their nuclear weapons program. You can read about it. Or maybe you could read how you negotiate a ceasefire to stop rockets from Hamas attacking Israel,’” Hillary said.” [JewishInsider] • Hillary quote: “It takes a lot of Chutzpah” to say “this is the slowest recovery in history.” [Video]

Ben Carson on ABC’s This Week: “The Saudis have been one of our strongest allies in the Middle East and I think it’s unfortunate that we put them in the position that we have by showing the support to Iran that we have with this foolish deal. And, you know, there’s no reason for the Saudis to believe that we’re really on their side when we do things like that. And it won’t be surprising if they’re not looking to have a nuclear program soon and everybody else in the Middle East also.” [ABCNews]

Trump on the White House postponing sanctions on Iran: “Can you imagine that? They are embarrassed to put on the sanctions because how do you put on sanctions so soon.. It’s very, very sad. What’s going on with our country – the incompetence of our leadership is beyond belief, beyond belief.”[WashPostJewishInsider]

2016 WATCH: “One year, two races: Inside the Republican Party’s bizarre, tumultuous 2015” by Dan Balz, Philip Rucker, Robert Costa and Matea Gold: “It is clear now that there were two halves to the year for the Republican Party: BT and AT, Before Trump and After Trump. From January to mid-June the story of the Republican race was mostly conventional, with Bush the focal point for good and ill… Longtime Bush family fundraiser Fred Zeidman recalled: “Everyone was enthusiastic, everyone was writing checks. That had always been the benchmark. Money has been the way you keep score.” [WashPost]

“For Donald Trump, Lessons From a Brother’s Suffering” by Jason Horowitz: “Freddy Trump was less concerned with ethnic distinctions. When he enrolled at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, the boy with blond hair who had attended an Episcopalian boys’ preparatory school on Long Island joined a Jewish fraternity. “It may have been Freddy’s first attempt to make his own statement to his father,” said his best friend at Lehigh, Bruce Turry, who, like several other former fraternity brothers, remembered Freddy claiming that his father, the son of German immigrants, was Jewish. (He was not.) The Jewish fraternity brothers kidded Freddy about his middle name, Christ. He found the ribbing, like much else in life, hysterical.” [NYTimes]

“Chuck Schumer Seems to Relish Role as Republicans’ Chief Villain” by Alexander Burns:“For Mr. Schumer, it reflects a new stage in his career: Over the course of his four decades in politics, Mr. Schumer has steadily transformed himself from an overeager Brooklyn congressman and cable-television personality into one of his party’s chief political strategists and a powerful Washington deal maker.” [NYTimes]

“Kudlow Nearing Announcement on Run Against Sen. Blumenthal” by Jacob Kornbluh: “I can’t announce it today, there are all kinds of legal and financial ramifications, but I can only tell you that [my wife] and I are looking at it very carefully,” Kudlow told John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” radio program on AM 970 in New York.” [JewishInsider]

MEDIA WATCH: “Calculated Candor Inside Obama’s Off-the-Record Briefings” by Michael Shear: “Technically off the record, the president’s extended conversation in the Roosevelt Room that afternoon with 18 prominent columnists was part of a White House tradition aimed at influencing Washington thought leaders without leaving fingerprints — and without fear that an offhand comment from the commander in chief would spark the latest social media firestorm.” [NYTimes]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Mark Zuckerberg’s House Is Going to Be So Much Smarter Than Your House” [ReCodeMashable] • “Internet Of Things Is The Next Big Thing In Israeli Tech — Here’s Why” [Forbes] • “Sheldon Adelson’s Purchase of Las Vegas Paper Seen as a Power Play” [NYTimes] • “Mikhail Khodorkovsky: From Russian Multi-Billionaire to ‘Murderer’?” [DailyBeast] • “Samuel Lehrman’s D.C. Mansion Sells for a Record $18 Million” [WSJ• “Joseph Ravitch’s Raine Group Finds Deals for Clients, and Itself” [DealBook]

HOLLYWOOD PROFILE: “The Mogul of the Middle: As the movie business founders, Adam Fogelson tries to reinvent the system” by Tad Friend: “Fogelson has an opportune temperament for the job, because he firmly believes that the world will love what he loves, once he gets its attention. Stacey Snider, the co-chairman of Twentieth Century Fox, told me that, when she worked with him at Universal, “if the tracking said we open a movie at ten to twenty”—million dollars—“I’m thinking ten, and Adam is thinking twenty. I used to say to him, ‘I don’t believe you’re Jewish, because you’re too optimistic.’” [NewYorker]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Conservative Judaism hires marketers to give it a makeover” by David Kaufman: “Down to roughly 1 million adherents — having lost one-third of its members over the past 25 years — the moderate movement has hired a team of marketers to give it a new look. New York’s Good Omen agency is interviewing hundreds of Conservative Jews to get their views on the movement in order to develop a new “position statement” for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.” [NYPost]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “New York’s Orthodox Jewish Community and Mayor Bill de Blasio Are In Step” by Josh Dawsey: “The Orthodox Jewish community, politically potent and known for reliably showing up to vote, has lobbied the de Blasio administration on a number of issues—and won. While the Orthodox are more socially conservative than the mayor, their leaders say they have been satisfied with several compromises on their issues made during Mr. de Blasio’s first two years in office.” [WSJ]

“In Israeli City of Haifa, a Liberal Palestinian Culture Blossoms” by Diaa Hadid: “At Elika, a bar in the Hadar neighborhood of this hilly port city, a 30-something psychodramatist rolled a cigarette and sipped coffee with her father, a well-known actor in Israel… They were among the many coifed, pierced and tattooed women and men who populate a slice of Haifa’s social scene that resembles that of the well-heeled hipsters of Tel Aviv. But here the cool kids are Palestinians, and they have unfurled a self-consciously Arab milieu that is secular, feminist and gay-friendly.” [NYTimes]

SUNDAY PROFILE: “How Aerin Lauder, Cosmetics Scion, Spends Her Sundays” by Alix Strauss: “Aerin Lauder is a granddaughter of Estée Lauder, who started her cosmetics company in 1946 with a mere four products. Ms. Lauder, 45, spent 25 years working for the family business before introducing Aerin, her own beauty, home and luxury lifestyle label, in 2012. “Beauty is my heritage, but my passion is home, so I love spending time there,” Ms. Lauder said of her Sundays. She lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with her husband of 20 years, Eric Zinterhofer, 44, an investment banker, and their sons, Jack, 16, who attends boarding school, and Will, 15.” [NYTimes]

DESSERT: “Jewish Colorado helps bring kosher meals to seniors” by Jennifer Brown: “The matzo ball soup delivered to 97-year-old Arnie Sherwood was prepared in a kosher kitchen and blessed by a rabbi before it arrived on his doorstep. Five days each week, Sherwood receives a hefty meal — enough for lunch and dinner — through Jewish Colorado’s nutrition maintenance program.” [DenverPost]

BIRTHDAYS: Comedian and satirist, Andy Borowitz, turns 58… Best selling mystery author, Harlan Coben, turns 54…

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