Daily Kickoff: Eric Cantor’s Loss Stuns – ‘Jewish Insiders’ React; J Street Donors to Host President Obama Today; Rising Jewish Star Raises Millions

By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff

SHOCKED! – The One Word To Describe How Everyone Felt Last Night When They Heard That House Majority Leader & Sole Jewish GOP Congressman, Eric Cantor, Lost His Primary Election – The First House Majority Leader to Lose Renomination Since The Office Was Created in 1899. Tea Party Challenger Dave Brat, an economics professor for the past 18 years at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Va., defeated Cantor 55.5% to 44.5%.

Several Prominent ‘Jewish Insiders’ Sent Us Their Reactions… (more…)

Daily Kickoff – Dec. 10th

Driving the Day: Bipartisan Senate group nears deal on new Iran sanctions – “A bipartisan group of Senators is close to an agreement on tougher Iran sanctions in opposition to the White House, which is easing them as part of an interim accord Tehran struck with world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions, CNN has learned. A Senate deal would include a new round of sanctions to begin in six months and would not allow for the enrichment of uranium. But it would permit commercial nuclear power as long as it was monitored by the international community. The bipartisan group includes Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York; Robert Menendez of New Jersey; Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mark Kirk of Illinois.” [CNN] “Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Time magazine in Tehran during the weekend that new sanctions – even if delayed – would kill the agreement reached in Geneva. “The entire deal (would be) dead,” Zarif said, adding that Iran’s parliament could also adopt legislation that would go into effect if talks fail. “But if we start doing that, I don’t think that we will be getting anywhere.” [Reuters]

Secretary of State John Kerry to Visit Israel, Again! – According to the State Department, John Kerry will travel to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Tacloban, and Manila from Dec. 11-18, 2013. In Jerusalem, Kerry will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss a range of issues including Iran and the ongoing final status negotiations with the Palestinians. In Ramallah, Kerry will meet with President Abbas, where he will also discuss the ongoing final status negotiations, among other issues. [StateDept]

Last Night: John Kerry and David Brooks addressed the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Centennial Celebration Dinner in DC — Kerry: “We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Not now. Not Ever.” “Spoke today with Netanyahu, after my 8th trip to Israel, back for dinner with Bibi on Thursday – this is a commute folks.” David Brooks: “When we do philanthropy, it’s not enough to give money. It’s important to communicate the soft and squishy things.” [JewishInsider] — (Also watch David Brook’s Keynote at Yeshiva University’s Hanukkah Convocation [YouTube]) (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…)