Daily Kickoff: NYTimes on Cantor’s Jewish Donors; Senate Hearing on Iran Today; Pulver’s Zula Raises $3M; David Yarus’s ‘Kosher Tinder’ App – JSwipe

By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff

TOP TALKER: Eric Cantor announced at a press conference yesterday that he will step down as House Majority Leader and will not attempt to run as a write-in candidate in the fall. Cantor began the press conference by invoking his Judaism: “Growing up in the Jewish faith, going to Hebrew school, reading the old testament, I learned a lot about individual setbacks but I also learned that each setback is an opportunity and that there’s always optimism for the future. While I may have suffered a personal setback last night, I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future of this country.” [Video] In a closed door meeting of the House Republican Conference, Cantor said, quoting a Holocaust survivor: “Suffering is part of life, misery is a choice.”  (more…)

Daily Kickoff: Israel & Lebanon trade gunfire; Saudi Prince bashes Obama’s Foreign Policy; List of Jewish leaders’ salaries; Bloomberg Associates

David Ignatius: Q&A with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister – Washington Post: Q: David Ignatius: Let me begin by asking about the state of the negotiations. After your delegation left technical negotiations in Vienna on Friday, your colleague Abbas Aragchi said that the U.S. announcement of a move to strengthen enforcement of existing sanctions “is against the spirit” of the Geneva deal” and said that Iran was evaluating an “appropriate response.” Can you clarify that and explain what you think Iran’s position should be.

A: Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian foreign minister: We are committed to ensuring that the process that we started — and it required a lot of courage on our side to reach his agreement — will lead to a satisfactory conclusion that would address the requirements as stated in the [Geneva interim] agreement — that is, to have an enrichment program in Iran while at the same time both concerns as well as restrictions imposed by the international community will be removed. This is the objective. Since we believe our program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, we have no desire to leave any ambiguity about the exclusively peaceful nature of our program. So on our side, we believe it is very easy to reach an agreement. Of course it requires serious political will and good faith in order to reach that agreement.” [WashPost]

Iranian Foreign Minister says no trace in Iran of missing Jewish ex-FBI agent: “There are no traces in Iran of the former FBI agent who disappeared there six years ago, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday.” [Reuters] (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…)

Jewish Insider Kickoff

New Yorker Mag First Look – Letter From Budapest – Anti-Semite and Jew, The Double Life of a Hungarian Politician: “The day was chilly but clear, the crowd energetic. Some were in quasi-military uniform, others in hooded sweatshirts emblazoned with patriotic symbols. Dozens of flags fluttered in the breeze. The red-white-and-green tricolor of modern Hungary was prominent, but so was a flag with red and white stripes, remembered by most Hungarians as the symbol of the wartime Fascists. There were hundreds of banners bearing the word “Jobbik,” shorthand for Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom—Movement for a Better Hungary—the name of Hungary’s far-right political party.

–Jobbik’s supporters had gathered outside the offices of the European Commission in Budapest to denounce the European Union. Like many other Euroskeptic parties, Jobbik objects to the multinational European project, and to criticisms of any sort from Brussels. Unlike others, Jobbik dresses up its attacks on Europe with theatrics. This demonstration, in January, 2012, was no exception. Gábor Vona, the Party’s photogenic young leader, stood in front of a giant slogan, “Shall We Be Members, or Shall We Be Free?”—a pun on a famous line by Sándor Petőfi, the great poet of Hungary’s 1848 revolution, “Shall we be slaves or shall we be free?”—and called for Hungary’s withdrawal from Europe. Another Jobbik leader, Előd Novák, dressed in what appeared to be a black Mao jacket, doused a European Union flag with lighter fluid and set it on fire. As the crowd shouted “Let it burn!,” a Jobbik member of parliament stamped on the flag. “Perish, European Union!” he cried. . . .

​—Blatant anti-Semitism is a risky electoral strategy—the majority of Hungarians would not support it—and so Jobbik’s leaders deny that they are anti-Semitic. But they drop hints that their voters understand. Jobbik loudly and frequently criticizes Israel, and has ostentatiously invited Iranian businessmen to Budapest to meet with party leaders. In 2010, Vona and Szegedi held a rally around a statue of Mihaly Karolyi, a Roman Catholic aristocrat who was Hungary’s Prime Minister during the First World War. In an almost avant-garde mashup of symbols, they put a kippah on the statue’s head and a sign in his arms that read, “I am responsible for Trianon” — implying that the peace treaty signed in 1920 in Trianon, which diminished Hungary’s territory by two-thirds, was the fault of the Jews.” [New Yorker]

Transition – Peter Beinart leaving the Daily Beast for The Atlantic and Haaretz; Open Zion blog to be shut down: “Peter Beinart, the liberal Jewish blogger, is leaving The Daily Beast for The Atlantic Media Company, where he will serve as contributing editor for both The Atlantic and National Journal. Beinart will also join the Israeli newspaper Haaretz as a senior columnist. Beinart, a former New Republic editor, joined the Daily Beast in November 2008 and in 2012 launched “Zion Square” — later changed to “Open Zion” — a blog dedicated to “an open and unafraid conversation about Israel, Palestine, and the Jewish future.” Formerly a fixture on the AIPAC speaking circuit, he has in recent years become a hero on the Israeli left — and a pariah on the right — for advocating against Israeli settlements and in support of a two-state solution.” [Politico] (more…)

Jewish Insider Kickoff

FIRST LOOK – Vanity Fair September issue, “GOLDMAN’S GEEK TRAGEDY: A month after ace (Jewish) programmer Sergey Aleynikov left Goldman Sachs, he was arrested. Exactly what he’d done neither the F.B.I., which interrogated him, nor the jury, which convicted him a year later, seemed to understand. But Goldman had accused him of stealing computer code, and the 41-year-old father of three was sentenced to eight years in federal prison. Investigating Aleynikov’s case, MICHAEL LEWIS holds a second trial” – “[I]n early 2009 [Aleynikov got an offer] to create a trading platform from scratch for a new hedge fund run by a 39-year-old Russian fellow named Misha Malyshev [who was] willing to pay him more than a million dollars a year … He agreed and then told Goldman he was leaving. … Four times in the course of [his final six] weeks he mailed himself source code he was working on. (He’d later be accused of sending himself 32 megabytes of code, but what he sent was essentially the same 8 megabytes of code four times over.) The files contained a lot of open-source code he had worked with, and modified, over the past two years, mingled together with code that wasn’t open source but proprietary to Goldman Sachs. As he would later try and fail to explain to an F.B.I. agent, he hoped to disentangle the one from the other, in case he needed to remind himself how he had done what he had done with the open-source code, in the event he might need to do it again. (more…)