Daily Kickoff: RJC vs. J Street tonight in Vegas | Biden tells Bibi in Israel: ‘We both married up’ | Dearborn, Mich. votes for Jewish Bernie Sanders

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DRIVING THE DAY — Vegas Showdown: Brooks vs. Ben-Ami at 7PM (10PM EST) in Las Vegas at Temple Beth Shalom: From J Street’s advertisement of the event — “Discussing Israel on Sheldon Adelson’s Home Turf. J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks will be sitting down in Las Vegas for the first time. Both leaders feel very passionately about securing Israel’s future — they just disagree on how to do it. The frank and civil conversation will be moderated by well known PBS political commentator Jon Ralston.” [Flier] • Watch the livestream tonight [YouTube]

Moderator Jon Ralston tells us: “I hope for a spirited debate over issues from the Iran deal to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the presidential race. Hoping audience will participate, too.”

Matt Brooks: “When Jeremy and I meet tonight I look forward to a very engaging conversation on what it means to be pro-Israel in today’s climate and how we as a community can be most effective in representing the issues of concern within the Jewish community. There is a big difference in the views and tactics of RJC and J Street and tonight’s conversation will highlight and showcase those differences in a way that the community can discern and choose which is most effective and in the best interest of the Jewish people. This will be a civil discourse but no doubt I’m sure that we’ll see some real fireworks. The stakes are now more important than ever.”

Jeremy Ben-Ami writes… “My case is straightforward, based on data and experience from decades of national elections: Jewish voters support candidates who best reflect the values on which they were raised and policy positions that advance those values. Most Jewish voters support policies that make Israel safer not just against rockets but against some of the more fundamental threats to its future as a democratic Jewish homeland… Looking at the Republican field and particularly the present front-runner, I don’t envy Mr. Brooks — putting the metaphoric football down to yet again make the case that, yes, Charlie Brown, this is the year Jewish Americans will switch their allegiance to the Republican Party.” [LasVegasSun]

REPORT: “Iran Continues Ballistic-Missiles Tests” by Asa Fitch: “Iran test fired two types of medium-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday, extending a barrage of tests this week following vows by officials to press ahead with its missile program despite U.S. pressure to curtail it.” [WSJCNN]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “White House: Israel showed bad manners in canceled trip” by Eliza Collins: “The White House chided Israel on Tuesday for the way it canceled a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying it would have been “good manners” for Israeli officials to tell the White House directly. Earnest on Tuesday was adamant, though, that the latest snub won’t hurt the relationship between the two countries.” [PoliticoJI] • Watch the briefing [CSPAN]

BIDEN IN ISRAEL: According to the pool reports, “VPOTUS and wife Dr Jill Biden were greeted at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning by PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu. After a short private meeting, Biden and Netanyahu returned to a pair of podiums and made brief remarks to the press. Biden called the Palestinian attacks against Israelis, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, “heinous.” The vice president said United States is committed to guarantee that Israel with maintain a “qualitative military edge” in the region.” [Instagram] • Biden tells Bibi: “We both married up.” Bibi tells Biden: “I hope you feel at home here in Israel because the people of Israel consider the Biden family part of our family. Part of our mishpucha” [YouTube]

From Yesterday: “The Vice President met today with former Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv. The two leaders have a longstanding friendship, and spent time discussing a wide range of regional issues. The Vice President condemned in the strongest possible terms the brutal attack which occurred in Jaffa during his meeting with President Peres, and commented that there is no justification for such acts of terror.” [WhiteHouse]

TRAGIC DAY: “Palestinian attacks kill American student, wound 12 Israelis” by Ian Deitch: “Palestinian attackers unleashed a series of shooting and stabbing assaults on Israelis on Tuesday, including a stabbing spree in the ancient Mediterranean port city of Jaffa that killed an American student near where Vice President Joe Biden was meeting with Israel’s former president, police said.” [APNYTimes] • “A quick-thinking 26-year-old stunned a Palestinian man on a stabbing spree in Tel Aviv, Israel today when he smashed his acoustic guitar over the attacker’s head.” [DailyMail]

State Dept. Statement: “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s outrageous terrorist attacks in Jaffa, Petah Tikvah, and Jerusalem, which tragically claimed the life of U.S. citizen Taylor Allen Force and left many others severely injured. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Taylor and all those affected by these senseless attacks, and we wish a speedy recovery for the injured.”

“Obama Seeks to Pave Way to Mideast Deal After He Leaves Office” by Mark Landler: “The White House is debating whether the president should lay down the outlines of an agreement, several officials said, perhaps through a resolution at the United Nations Security Council or in a presidential speech. The objective would not be to revive direct negotiations — almost nobody believes that is likely now — but to enshrine the proposals Secretary of State John Kerry made during his last failed effort at peacemaking in 2014.” [NYTimes]

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer on reports of Obama Administration’s final push on peace process: “With news reports today that the Administration is exploring its options with regard to next steps in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is important to reiterate that peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties as part of a negotiated process. I will continue to advocate for that objective.” [Statement]

Hillary’s foreign policy advisor Laura Rosenberger: “Asked to comment on reports the administration is preparing to cooperate on Security Council action, Rosenberger said that Clinton “believes that a solution to this conflict cannot be imposed.” [JPost]

Sanders: Israeli-Palestinian Peace Needed to End Decades-Long ‘Hatred’ — by Jacob Kornbluh: “Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Monday pledged to make every effort to pursue peace between Israel and the Palestinians, although he seemed to imply that the existence of Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians may be the cause of “hatred and warfare” in the Middle East. Speaking at a campaign rally in Dearborn, Michigan, on Monday, Sanders said the U.S. must take an evenhanded approach to broker a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians because “we cannot continue to have for another sixty years the kind of hatred and conflict that exists in the Middle East.” [JewishInsiderCSPAN]

Former Clinton advisor Ann Lewis emails us: “Every time I hear any of the other candidates speak about foreign policy, I am reminded how important it is that we elect Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States.”

Dem strategist Hank Sheinkopf: “Treat your allies and your enemies equally is the Sanders doctrine? Should be a good recipe for foreign policy disaster.”

Heard on NBC: “Maybe the stat of the night: NBC reports Dearborn Michigan, 40% Arab, goes to Jewish candidate in Democratic primary.” — Brian Lehrer [Twitter]

“Bernie Sanders is Jewish. Why isn’t that convincing Jews to vote for him?” by Julie Zauzmer: “The people I know who are supporting Sanders don’t seem to be doing it because he’s Jewish. Then there are many people I know who are supporting Hillary Clinton, even though they’re proud that Sanders is Jewish,” Berg said. “That’s unusual.” Unusual indeed. In 2000, when then-Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.) ran for vice president, chosen by Vice President Al Gore to complete his ticket, Jews swelled with naches, and many observers thought that that pride translated into at least a small uptick at the polls for Gore among Jewish voters.” [WashPost]

“Kinky Friedman’s fiercely independent politics: a unique Jewish take on 2016” by Jacob Kamaras: “I think I support Bernie because I want to see a Jeeeeeeeeeeeeew in the White House. (Editor’s note: That isn’t a typo on “Jew.” That’s exactly how Kinky said it.) If he wins, it’ll be the first time a Jewish family ever moved into a place a black family moved out of.” [JNS]

SCENE YESTERDAY — Bill Clinton stumps for Hillary at Beth Emet – The Free Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois: “Proclaiming Hillary Clinton “the best change-maker I have ever known,” former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday told a crowd at an Evanston synagogue his wife was the most experienced and best-qualified candidate to serve as the nation’s next commander in chief.” [ChicagoTribuneSunTimes]

SNEAK PEAK: “Rubio Supports Israeli Annexation of Golan Heights” by Jacob Kornbluh: “I believe at this point [in regard to] the Golan Heights, Israel should take a position that it is now something they will permanently hold, especially given what’s happened in Syria,” Rubio said in an interview with Ami Magazine, published on Wednesday… In the interview, Rubio said he stands by his statement that Donald Trump’s positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are ‘anti-Israel.'” [JewishInsider]

Martin Sweet, Rubio’s Director of Jewish Outreach, emails after last night’s results: “All eyes are now turning to Florida, and Marco Rubio is poised to stand in the way of a Donald Trump takeover of the Republican Party. Senator Rubio has already defeated an orange faced fake conservative in Florida in Charlie Crist, and will do so again next week. Any votes for Cruz or Kasich in Florida are simply votes for the con artist Donnie J.”

Dana Milbank: “Trump’s flirtation with fascism” [WashPost]

Michael Lind Op: “Quit Comparing Trump to Hitler! In American politics everyone at some point gets compared to Der Fuhrer.” [PoliticoMag]

California Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition Joel Geiderman: “Why I can’t vote for Donald Trump” [JewishJournal]

Chemi Shalev: “How Donald Trump Won the U.S. Elections, Scared the Jews and Saved Israel” [Haaretz]

“Wiesenthal Center Explains Silence on Trump Lately” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Goldstein, according to the organization, sent a barrage of emails about Donald Trump and has refused to accept the explanation that the Center, as well as other human rights organizations, can’t be in a position to respond to every remark made by a politician every single day. “We are disappointed that Mr. Goldstein, who has done fine work for the Center in the past, singled us out to create the impression that we support a particular candidate,” the statement read.” [JI]

Cory Booker on Shmuley Boteach: “The book is not about my relationships with lots of friends or even different communities, such as the Latino community which embraced me, that have been impactful. He certainly was impactful. It’s not about that. It’s a book about a specific path. I am not sure why he’s reacting the way he is.” [HuffPost]

Uber for campaigns: “For instance, because Bloomberg may not have gotten the support of unions, as Democratic candidates typically do, or of evangelicals, as Republican candidates typically do, Tusk and his team were seeking the backing of the sharing economy and its vast fleet of workers. The idea was that the Bloomberg campaign would pay these drivers, delivery people, and others to be their field staff, campaigning for Bloomberg as they went about their routes.” [WiredMag]

**Good Wednesday 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: “Zuckerberg plans to deliver Internet to the third world by using drones” [NYPost• “The diamond district has become a playground for Gary Barnett’s Extell Development and foreign investors” [Crains] • “David Tepper Still Has Concerns About TerraForm as Vivint Cancels Deal” [Bloomberg] • “Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity’s bankruptcy plan may be in trouble” [NYPost] • Michael Eisenberg: “The thing about cycles” [TechCrunch]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “500 Years of Jewish Life in Venice” by David Laskin: “Established by decree of Doge Leonardo Loredan on March 29, 1516, the Venice ghetto was one of the first places where people were forcibly segregated and surveilled because of religious difference. The term itself originated here; the area had been used as a foundry (“geto” in Venice dialect) and over time the neighborhood’s polyglot residents corrupted the word to ghetto… How, I wondered, did deep-rooted Jewish families feel about their past — and future — in this ancient, vulnerable city?” [NYTimes]

HOLLYWOOD: “Sacha Baron Cohen’s Secrets to Outsmarting Hollywood Authorities” by Julie Miller: “The controversial comedian came clean about how he has pulled fast ones over other Hollywood institutions, like the MPAA, who he managed to manipulate into giving Bruno an R rating, and MTV, who he convinced to let him host one of their award shows without signing a contract beforehand.”[VanityFair]

SPORTS BLINK — Peyton Manning at his retirement press conference on Monday: “There’s just something about 18 years, 18 is just a good number. And today I retire from pro football.” H/T Ezra Friedberg [NPR]

DESSERT: “It’s all kosher at Jerusalem’s annual wine fest” by Jessica Steinberg: “When Wine Jerusalem 2016, Israel’s annual and only completely kosher wine fair, opens Wednesday night at the city’s International Convention Center, the crowd won’t only be kippah-wearing locals. Some 8,000 oenophiles are expected to head to the convention center to taste wines from 40 wineries on Wednesday and Thursday nights, the two nights of the expo, up from about 5,000 during the first few years of the event. They come because Wine Jerusalem offers the opportunity to taste the pricier kosher wines, said Kaplan.” [ToI]

BIRTHDAYS: WNET CEO Neal Shapiro turns 58… Member of Knesset Amir Peretz turns 64… Former Toronto Mayor and entrepreneur, Mel Lastman, turns 83… Stephen Lent… Physicist and Nobel laureate who arrived in England as a 15 year old on the Kindertransport, Walter Kohn, turns 93…

** Iron Dome developer completes $20M raise: mPrest, the company behind Israel’s Iron Dome command and control technology, completed a $20 million Series A round of funding led by GE Ventures and OurCrowd, a world-leading equity-based crowdfunding platform. OurCrowd is a startup investing platform built for accredited investors to provide venture capital funding for Israeli and  global startups. Learn more [OurCrowd] **

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