Jewish Insider Daily Kickoff – Dec 6.

First Look – The Tower Magazine December Issue: Jonathan Schanzer – We Really Need to Talk About Corruption: The U.S. has made Israeli-Palestinian peace into a top priority. But how can you build a legitimate, peaceful state out of a kleptocratic regime? — Michael Ledeen: Dare We Say It? The Mullahs Must Go – In dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, there are many options besides capitulation and war. — Benjamin Kerstein: What You Can Lose When You Try Too Hard – Twenty years later, the dashed hopes of the Oslo Accords still feel to many like an open wound. Will the diplomats learn from past mistakes? [TowerMag]

Nelson Mandela, 95, first democratic president of South Africa, was close to country’s Jews [JTA] —  Jewish Groups Had Complex Relationship with Mandela: Mourning Today, but Criticism in Years Past [Forward] — Nelson Mandela was close to Jews, resolutely loyal to Palestinians [ToI] — One Jewish South African on the Moment Mandela Walked Free [TabletMag] (more…)

Jewish Insider Kickoff – Nov. 6

Top Talker – Report: Iran and Israel met for secret talks – “Iranian and Israeli diplomats, as well as those from the U.S. and Arab countries, participated in a secret meeting last month to discuss the possibility of an international conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East, according to The Jerusalem Post. Diplomats told the Israeli newspaper Tuesday the meeting occurred Oct. 21-22 in a hotel in Glion, Switzerland. The envoys expressed their positions, but the Israeli representatives had no direct communication with the Iranians and Arabs, the report says. An Arab diplomat told Reuters, however, “that they were there, the Israelis and Iran, is the main thing.”

–More than a dozen delegations attended the meeting along with Jaakko Laajava, Finland’s undersecretary of state, who is responsible for organizing the conference, a diplomat said in the reports. The source also described the meeting as “quite constructive,” and suggested another meeting would take place in November. “This was a completely procedural meeting,” a foreign ministry official in Jerusalem told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. President Obama tasked Secretary of State John Kerry with navigating peace talks with the Iranians on their nuclear program. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in September he would not produce nuclear weapons and told Obama he’s open to negotiating the limits of his country’s program with the international community. During his international trip Tuesday, Kerry said in Poland the U.S. does not yet have a deal with Iran. The G-5 — the U.S., France, Britain, Russia and China, plus Germany — are slated to hold a new round of negotiations in Geneva on Thursday and Friday.” [The Hill] (more…)