Daily Kickoff: Eric Cantor’s Jewish Cousin vs. Israeli Gov’t; Talmudic Coders; U.S. Jewish Mayors Fulop & Garcetti; 27 Things Jewish Moms Love

Top Talker: American Jewish Family Accuses Israel of Caving In To China; Urges U.S. Court to Reject Israeli Attempt to Silence Witness: “An American family that is suing the Bank of China in a U.S. terrorism case accused Israel on Tuesday of caving in to Chinese pressure by blocking a key witness from testifying. The lawsuit revolves around allegations that Bank of China knowingly allowed Palestinian militants to use its accounts to finance their operations, including the suicide attack that killed 16-year-old Daniel Wultz, and 10 others. Bank of China denies the allegations. (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 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 Daily Kickoff – Nov. 7

Driving the Day – Geneva2 Iran talks expected to get underway with Zariff-Ashton breakfast at 8am, followed by 11am plenary – (via @lrozen)

West Close to Temporary Nuclear Deal With Iran, Official Says: “On the eve of a new round of talks between world powers and Iran, a senior Obama administration official said Wednesday that the United States was prepared to offer Iran limited relief from economic sanctions if Tehran agreed to halt its nuclear program and reversed part of it. The official said that suspending Iran’s nuclear efforts, perhaps for six months, would give negotiators time to pursue a comprehensive agreement.

–“Put simply, what we’re looking for now is a first phase, a first step, an initial understanding that stops Iran’s nuclear program from moving forward for the first time in decades and that potentially rolls part of it back,” the administration official told reporters on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic concerns. The official said that the details of such a step had already been discussed by international and Iranian officials and suggested that it might be agreed on as early as this week. It would likely include constraints on the level of Iran’s uranium enrichment, the country’s stockpiles of nuclear material and the abilities of its nuclear facilities, added the official, who declined to provide further details. It would also involve verification measures.” [NYTimes] (more…)