Daily Kickoff: SOTU Preview | Russia arming Hezbollah | Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery | End of The New Republic?

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DRIVING THE DAY: “Balancing Terror and Reality in State of the Union Address” by Peter Baker: “When President Obama speaks to the nation in his final State of the Union address on Tuesday night, he will offer a familiar reassurance that the country is expending enormous effort to protect Americans against international terrorism… He will presumably not say this, either: Given how hard it is for intelligence and law enforcement agencies to detect people who have become radicalized, like those who opened fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., a certain number of relatively low-level terrorist attacks may be inevitable, and Americans may have to learn to adapt the way Israel has. By all accounts, Mr. Obama is sympathetic to this view…” [NYTimes]

Brian Katulis: “Five National Security Issues to Watch in the State of the Union and Beyond” [WSJ]

Bret Stephens: “At his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Mr. Obama is expected to make the case for opening our doors to Syrian refugees. As the son of a displaced person who arrived with her mother in the United States after World War II with seven dollars, I’m sympathetic to immigrants, particularly the lowliest among them… No amount of vetting is going to find all the bad apples in the new wave of Middle Eastern refugees. So here’s my modest proposal, for Mr. Obama and Ms. Merkel. Let’s open our doors wide to women, young children and the elderly. And let’s close it shut to the men. They have a mess to clean up in their own countries. And much to prove in the horrifying wake of Cologne.” [WSJ]

“Muslim group’s officials invited to State of the Union” by Harper Neidig: “Reps. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) and Alcee Hastings (Fla.) will both be hosting representatives from CAIR chapters in their respective states, the group announced Monday.” [TheHill] • “Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the first Jewish congresswoman from Florida, said Monday she hopes to counter some of the hate-filled rhetoric in recent months by inviting a Muslim-American constituent to this year’s State of the Union address.” [SunSentinel] • Cory Booker writes… “My State of the Union Guest: Ahmed Shedeed” [Medium]

“Sen. Gillibrand says U.S.-Israeli relations are still strong” by Brian Tumulty: “U.S.-Israeli relations are as strong as ever despite the recent nuclear agreement with Iran, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Monday after returning from a trip to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey last week.” [LoHud• Booker with Bibi [Pic]

“Democratic lawmakers lose patience as Obama hesitates to punish Iran for missile tests” by Tom Howell Jr.: “Sen. Christopher A. Coons added his voice Monday to a chorus of other Democrats who have called on the Obama administration to quit waffling and punish Iran for testing a pair of ballistic missiles this fall, flouting international sanctions even as Tehran began to implement the nuclear deal it struck with the U.S. and other leading nations.” [WashTimes]

IRAN DEAL: “Iran Reports Removing Core From Reactor” by Peter Baker and Rick Gladstone: “Iran reported Monday that it had removed the core of its plutonium-producing nuclear reactor at Arak as part of its efforts to complete its obligations under a new international agreement, even as President Obama moved to guard the deal against action in Congress. In a written veto threat, the White House said the bill would go beyond the terms of the agreement and thus unravel it “based on activity that may have taken place and ended” long ago. Sabotaging the agreement would “deal a devastating blow to America’s credibility as a leader of international diplomacy,” the message said.” [NYTimes• “EU’s Mogherini: No set date for dropping Iran sanctions, could be soon” [Reuters]

“Russia Is Arming Hezbollah, Say Two of the Group’s Field Commanders” by Jesse Rosenfeld: “Lebanese Hezbollah field commanders with troops fighting in Syria tell The Daily Beast they are receiving heavy weapons directly from Russia with no strings attached. The commanders say there is a relationship of complete coordination between the Assad regime in Damascus, Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia.” [DailyBeast]

HEARD YESTERDAY: Aaron David Miller interviewed Dore Gold at the Wilson Center. Gold responded to the Daily Beast report — “In our discussions with the Russians, we’ve made it very clear that the supply of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, chiefly by Iran, is a serious problem for Israel and puts our vital interest at risk.”

–On Israel’s Policy Re Syria: “We have been very careful not to intervene in the Syrian civil war except if certain Israeli vital interests are affected, such as the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah by Iran or by anybody else… We’re not getting drawn into the question of who should replace Assad or how a future Syrian government may be selected. That is not something which we want to be pulled into.” Aaron David Miller asks: “If I were to ask you if you want the black flag of ISIS flying over Damascus, you would probably say no.” Gold responds: “Well, if I told you I didn’t want to be afflicted with cancer, it wouldn’t mean I would be an advocate for heart attacks. (laughter)” Miller: “I think you answered the question.”

–On the U.S. Israel relationship: “We have a problem: Israelis come to the U.S. for 2-3 days and return to Israel as experts and the same is true with Americans who visit Israel. It doesn’t make you an expert on the relationship; the relationship is far deeper than a current conversation. And there’s real glue binding these countries… Sometimes old ideas just don’t work. If you go back and just revisit the same idea and the same approach because it’s inherited from government to government and administration to administration, that locks you in. So, I think we have to find the capacity to have that discussion.”

–On the Israeli-Palestinian peace process: “While the Prime Minister has accepted the principle of a two states for two peoples’ resolution, Israel in no way has accepted the 1967 lines as the basis for a division between Israel and a future Palestinian State.” Watch the event [WilsonCenter]

HAPPENING TODAY: The Hudson Institute hosts a luncheon with Ambassador Dore Gold in D.C.

2016 WATCH: Rubio explains Netanyahu’s policy on Syria: In an interview with the Daily Caller, Rubio countered Cruz’s assertion of the Israeli Prime Minister’s policy of not intervening in the Syrian conflict. “[Netanyahu]’s talking about in the context of Iran versus ISIS that in essence we shouldn’t be aligning ourselves with Iran in order to defeat ISIS. In the context of Syria, Assad is an enemy of Israel’s, but Assad is more than just an enemy of Israel’s, he’s an enemy of the United States. And as long as there’s Assad or an Assad-like leader in power, there is going to be a Sunni-like movement resisting him. Whether it’s al-Nusra or ISIS now, there is going to be some Sunni movement that’s going to use Assad’s brutality as a recruiting tool to grow and prosper within Syria and ultimately to attack the West.” [DailyCaller]

Shmuel Rosner: “How an American Jew should vote in 2016” [JewishJournal]

David Brooks: “The Brutalism of Ted Cruz” [NYTimes]

Anthony Weiner on Trump: “The Republicans have outsourced their party to the wackadoo wing. Good for them,” he said during an interview on Huffington Post Live.. “And If he’s the nominee, halevai (I wish) – that’s a good thing for us. He represents, kind of, the Republican Party.” [JI]

TOP TALKER: “Father of Koch Brothers Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery, Book Says” by Nicholas Confessore: “The father of the billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch helped construct a major oil refinery in Nazi Germany that was personally approved by Adolf Hitler, according to a new history of the Kochs and other wealthy families… Fred C. Koch.. found some of his earliest business success overseas in the years leading up to World War II. One venture was a partnership with the American Nazi sympathizer William Rhodes Davis, who, according to Ms. Mayer, hired Mr. Koch to help build the third-largest oil refinery in the Third Reich, a critical industrial cog in Hitler’s war machine.” [NYTimes• Joel Rubin tweets: “This seriously challenges the PR truism that there’s no such thing as bad press.” [Twitter]

**Good Tuesday 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: “Sumner Redstone: Appeal Filed to Gain Deposition of Media Mogul” [Variety] • “Former DailyMail Exec Jon Steinberg Joins Bustle’s Board” [WSJ• “From WeWork to WeLive: Startup Moves Members Into Its First Residential Building” [FastCompany] • “Israel’s Best-Performing Tech Stock Hasn’t Sold a Single Product” [Bloomberg]

MEDIA WATCH: “Is This the End of ‘The New Republic’?” by Lloyd Grove: “In what some knowledgeable observers characterized as the death knell for a nearly 102-year-old American institution, Facebook millionaire Chris Hughes announced on Monday that he’s putting The New Republic up for sale. The alarming announcement comes 13 months after the forced resignations of longtime top editors Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, and the resulting mass exodus of two dozen New Republic writers and editors, over Hughes’s efforts to transform the venerable Washington-based journal of politics, policy, art and culture into a more broadly pitched general interest enterprise.” [DailyBeast] • Hughes’ post: “The New Republic’s Next Chapter” [Medium]

Top Tweet: Jeffrey Goldberg — “If an anonymous buyer moves The New Republic to Las Vegas….”[Twitter]

TRANSITIONS: “Michael Salberg Joins Conference of Presidents as Director, International Affairs Policy & Planning: Salberg, joins the Conference after more than a decade with the Anti-Defamation League serving for nearly 10 years as Director of International Affairs. He will be the senior staff person responsible for providing strategic direction, policy planning and managing the work of the Conference’s National Task Forces on Iran, BDS, Lawfare, Campus and Israel’s Security and on US-Israel Relations. He also will oversee the agenda for the Conference’s UN Committee and its activities.”

ADL Appoints VP of Leadership & External Partnerships: “Shari Gersten, an experienced nonprofit and Silicon Valley executive has joined the management team at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in a newly created role as Vice President of Leadership and External Relations for the organization, reporting directly to Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO.”

AJC Los Angeles Announces Janna Weinstein Smith as new Regional Director: “Janna comes to AJC from the position of Los Angeles Director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington-based think tank. Prior to that role, Janna spent several years working for AIPAC both in Northern and Southern California, most recently as the Los Angeles Area Director.” [AJC]

ON THE GROUND: “Israel Faces New Brand of Terrorism, This Time From Young Settlers” by Isabel Kershner: “The existence of the network, known as the Revolt for the title of its manifesto, became known about six months ago, after the arrest of several suspected members. This latest manifestation of Jewish terrorism is the creation of young extremists rebelling against what they view as the inertia of the Israeli establishment.” [NYTimes]

SPORTS BLINK: “Omri Casspi continues to inspire Israel as he represents his homeland in NBA” by Jake Fischer: “Omri Casspi digested the devastating news inside the Sacramento Kings’ home locker room in Sleep Train Arena. He has the Red Alert application on his cell phone, which shrieks with every fired rocket, mortar or missile into Israel. Such is life for the first Israeli-born player in NBA history. “It’s hard having my family so close to the border, in the line of fire, we call it,” Casspi told SI. “It’s really hard to focus.” [SportsIllustrated]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Kosher Restaurant is Victim of GrubHub Fraud: The show’s producer Ann Givens is seen in the video ordering vegetable dumplings and edamame from a restaurant named “Mike’s Bistro Asian Fusion” located on West 72nd Street. However, as the camera crew went to the location, they noticed the kitchen is closed. “I am confused because this place looks like it’s closed,” Givens is seen telling the delivery person as she points at the location across the street. NBC’s I-Team investigators took the delivery to the real Mike Bistro’s that moved 20 blocks away 18 months ago. David Zinstein, the restaurant’s manager, told NBC4 that they do not sell vegetable dumplings.” [JewishInsider]

DESSERT: “From ‘Millionaire Matchmaker’ to a Giant Challah Bake for Kids, Bryce Gruber’s Done it All” by Joanna Valente: “Meet Bryce Gruber, Jewish mom and founder of The Luxury Spot. She’s one of the creators of the Mega Kids Challah Bake, one of the largest simultaneous baking classes ever given to children (the Guinness World Records has been invited to observe the event) taking places January 12th at the New York Hilton in Midtown.” [Kveller]

BIRTHDAYS: Sirius XM star, Howard Stern, turns 62… Israeli born Dorrit Moussaieff, First Lady of Iceland, turns 66… Identical twin comedians and actors, Randy Sklar and Jason Sklar, turn 44… Daniel Silvermintz…

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