Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Jewish Donors Back Jeb Bush After Annoucement | Rick Perry Compares Maccabees To Tea Party | White House Hanukkah Parties Today

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DRIVING THE DAY: “Palestinians to press UN statehood bid Wednesday” by Avi Issacharoff: “The Palestinians will press ahead Wednesday with a UN bid to boost their hopes of statehood, despite a warning that the US will block the move, officials said. US Secretary of State John Kerry has held three days of intense talks in Europe seeking to head off a pre-Christmas crisis at the UN Security Council. An unnamed Palestinian official described a meeting in London between chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and US Secretary of State John Kerry as “difficult.” During the meeting, Kerry asked the Palestinian delegation not to rush ahead with the demand for a two-year timetable, and, according to the source, indicated the US would veto the resolution at the Security Council if it called for a timetable for Israel’s withdrawal.” [ToIYNet]

Presure Remains On Israel As Kerry Declines Veto Guarantee At UN: “We’ve made no determinations about language, approaches, specific resolutions, any of that,” the secretary told the press in London. “This isn’t the time to detail private conversations. or speculate on a UN Security Council resolution that hasn’t even been tabled.” [JPost]

—Legal Impact Of Geneva Panel On Settlements, ICC Likely Only Symbolic: “Many experts say that the legal value of the conference, even with Palestine being a member for the first time, is still mostly not much more than symbolic, impacting at most non-legal questions of legitimacy. Experts were mostly unconcerned that this will help the Palestinians overcome other obstacles to bringing Israelis before the ICC and said that, even if the Palestinians overcame the other obstacles, the conference did not really create problems beyond what already existed.” [JPost] • “Canada Strongly Opposes Decision to Convene Anti-Israel Conference In Geneva” [Statement]

SURPRISED?: “EU Court Expected to Annul Hamas Terrorist Designation Today” by Matthew Levitt: “In the latest sign of the legal troubles facing the European Union’s designation regime — the authority under which governments can freeze funds and economic resources of illicit actors — the EU General Court is expected to annul the terrorist designation of Hamas on December 17. The judgment comes on the heels of a similar action in October that annulled the Council of the European Union’s designation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on similarly procedural grounds. Although the new judgment is not expected to acquit Hamas of charges related to violence, it comes at a time when the group’s terrorist and militant activities are on the rise. And like the LTTE, Hamas will surely point to the judgment as “evidence” that it is not a terrorist entity.” [WashInstitute]

2016 WATCH: “Jeb Bush Takes a Step Toward a Presidential Run” by Jonathan Martin:“Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida said Tuesday that he would “actively explore” a presidential run, immediately sending reverberations through the potential Republican field, tying up donors whom other candidates are courting and forcing contenders to accelerate their own considerations for 2016… Mr. Bush’s allies, for their part, have been asking donors to share what Mr. Romney’s loyalists have been saying about his own plans. Some contributors believe Mr. Bush is seeking to force Mr. Romney’s hand by stepping forward at this early date, raising pressure on donors with ties to both men to pick a side.”[NYTimesReuters

—Jewish Bundler Fred Zeidman: “I was back in New York on Sunday and everybody was going up tome: What about Jeb? What about Jeb? What about Jeb?” said Fred Zeidman, a Houston-based fundraiser who he has helped raise money for the Bush family in the past. (Fred’s son, Jay Zeidman, is also close to Bush’s son, George P. Bush, and served as national cochairman of his Maverick PAC. [In addition, Jay was a Bush 43 White House Jewish Liaison]) Zeidman said Bush’s impact will be felt from New York to Florida to Texas, where Bush’s older brother, George W. Bush, served two terms as governor in the 1990s. “What will be interesting to see is what happens with the Texans. Jeb has not had a natural constituency here in Texas. We’ll now see who out of the Bush loyalists will jump on the next Bush,” he said.​”[NationalJournal]

—Jewish Bundler Mel Sembler: “Former Republican National Committee finance chairman Mel Sembler says he’s “admirer” of Gov. Chris Christie. But Sembler is lining up behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 Republican presidential race. Had Bush ruled out a run, “I absolutely would have looked at Christie. I’m an admirer,” Sembler said in a telephone interview…  Rubio will be impacted more than anybody else, because they both come out of the same city and the same donor pool, at least in Florida, and Jeb has got a little bit further reach around the country. If I had to speculate, I bet he runs for reelection to the Senate and not for president.” [NJPolitico] • “Marco Rubio Won’t Back Down to Jeb Bush” [NationalJournal] • “Cruz on Jeb: GOP will lose with another moderate” [Politico] • “Rand Paul is Already Running an Ad Against Jeb Bush” [Time] • “Sen. Lindsey Graham Thinking About Presidential Run” [AP] • “Jeb Bush on Jeb Bush’s Liabilities” [Bloomberg]

—Jeb Bush posted a picture of him celebrating the first night of Hanukkah with friends. Pictured is Jewish donor Jason Lyons lighting the Menorah. [Facebook]

—“How Jeb Bush Stole Hanukkah” by Stephanie Butnick in Tablet: “‘Twas Erev Hanukkah, and I sat on my tush. Not expecting to hear from—of all creatures—Jeb Bush. The former Florida governor wanted to show he was with it, of a cool age, So he typed away on his Facebook page. He’d like to be the next leader of this country, he wrote, this was the case, Or, rather: “I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.” “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!” he’d begun; he knew what day it was, of course, As for the rest of his message, talk about a Trojan horse. But why would he do it, steal Hanukkah’s thunder?… Perhaps he thought his post would go viral and last not one day but eight, Or that he’d remind you of his own Maccabean clan—his fate. Whatever his reason, ’tisdefinitely not the season, We’re not even through Knesset elections! I literally can’t even.” [TabletMag]

TOP TALKER: Rick Perry Compares Hanukkah Rebels to the Tea Party: “Perry released a statement on the first night of Hanukkah comparing the plight of the Maccabees—Jewish rebels who fought back the Seleucid Empire in the second century B.C.—to that of American tea partiers under British rule. “It is fitting that the first night of Chanukah falls this year on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party,” Perry said in a statement Tuesday. “The same spirit of freedom that inspired the Maccabees to rise up against a foreign empire motivated our Founding Fathers to rebel against the Crown on that fateful night. They knew, as the Jewish people know, that the few can overcome the many, that right can defeat might, that faith can transcend persecution. No matter how vast the darkness, all it takes is one candle to spread the light.” Perry, who has hinted at a second run for the presidency in 2016, also used the occasion as a reminder of his support for the modern Jewish state, a must for any White House candidate.” [CNN;Statement] • “Gov. Scott Walker says he joked with rabbis about ‘molotov‘ error” [AP]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Vice President Joe Biden passed the torch to Rabbi Levi Shemtov at the Ellipse in front of the White House to assist with the 35th annual National Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony. [C-SPANVideo of Alex Clare singing at the ceremony [C-SPANPart2] • Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and members of the DC pro-Israel community celebrated the first night of Hanukkah with the Indian Ambassador at his residence in DC [Picture] • Canadian Foreign MinisterJohn Baird lit the menorah with Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor, WJC’s Ron Lauder, and RabbiArthur Schneier [Picture]

HAPPENING TODAY: President Obama will host, not one, but two separate Hanukkah receptions at the White House.

—Statement by the President on Hanukkah: “Over the eight nights of Hanukkah, Jews across America, Israel, and the world will remember an ancient triumph of freedom over oppression, and renew their faith in the possibility of miracles large and small. Even in the darkest, shortest days of winter, the Festival of Lights brims with possibility and hope.  The courage of the Maccabees reminds us that we too can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.  The candles of the Menorah remind us that even the smallest light has the power to shine through the darkness.  And the miracle at the heart of Hanukkah – the oil that lasted for eight nights instead of only one – reminds us that even when the future is uncertain, our best days are yet to come. May this Hanukkah embolden us to do what is right, shine a light on the miracles we enjoy, and kindle in all of us the desire to share those miracles with others.  From my family to yours, Chag Sameach.” [WhiteHouse]

SENATE CONFIRMS BLINKEN 55-38: “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Blinken’s confirmation endangers U.S. military service members. “[Blinken] is not only unqualified but, in my view, one of the worst selections of a very bad lot that this president has chosen,” McCain said. “He has been part of a failed foreign policy that has made America less safe.” Senate Foreign Relations Committee ChairmanBob Menendez (D-N.J.) defended Blinken, saying his nomination comes at a critical time for the United States’ global affairs and that he is “more than qualified.” “The list of challenges is long,” Menendez said. “If Mr. Blinken is not qualified than the bar set by my colleagues is too high for any human to reach.”[TheHill] • “Obama likely to sign two bills that could impact arms sales” [Reuters]

TOP-OP: “This Israeli Election Matters” by Thomas Friedman: “Netanyahu will still be a formidable candidate, but, interestingly, his popularity plummeted when he called for new elections. I know why: Israelis, though dubious about Palestinian intentions and terrified of their region, are tired of a leader who keeps telling them: there is no exit, everyone hates us and the future will be full of yesterdays. In a country whose national anthem is “Hatikvah” — “The Hope” — the prime minister came to symbolize the opposite to many Israelis, who still want someone with the attributes of Ben-Gurion to test and retest whether hope is possible. The Israeli candidate or party that understands that will have a great chance of winning.” [NYTimes]

—“Will U.S. Jewish groups pivot left if Herzog wins?” by Ron Kampeas: “A liberal U.S. Jewish community had to contend in 1977 with the election of Menachem Begin, then a Land of Israel maximalistwhose prestate career was as a Jewish paramilitary leader who ordered the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel. Fifteen years later, a pro-Israel community made hawkish through years of Likud-led governments suddenly contended with Yitzhak Rabin and his accelerated moves toward peace with the Palestinians. This time around, Jewish community leaders say, it won’t be so difficult: Pro-Israel groups have long-established and friendly ties with Herzog and his political partner, Tzipi Livni, and in any case, American Jews are likelier to favor the policies of the political left.” [JTA]

—“Widening Democratic Party divisions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue” by Shibley Telhami and Katayoun Kishi: “What is driving this gap, and how much is due to changing American demographics? Could Democratic leaders start to feel some of the heat from their publics on this issue? Findings among two segments of the public that are important for the future of the Democratic Party – Hispanics and young people – indicate that this gap may grow further.” [WashPost]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Sheldon Adelson‘s Las Vegas Sands appoints Robert G. Goldstein as CEO to take over for Michael Leven” [SBC] • David Rubenstein asks Donald Trump, “If you’re name was Rubenstein, would ‘Rubenstein Tower’ be as successful a name as Trump Tower?” Trump responds: “Hey,Michael Bloomberg‘s done very well, right?” [C-SPAN] • “American Apparel Executives Fight For Ousted CEO Dov Charney” [BuzzFeed] • Jeremy Smith‘s SpotHero on-demand parking app now available in San Francisco [FN] • “Q&A With The Israeli CEO Of YO Or Arbel” [BusinessInsider]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli Tech Startups Attract Chinese Investor” by Orr Hirschauge: “As China scours the world for tech investments, it is increasingly flocking to Israel for the next big thing. Politics may also factor in. “Israel is a bystander in the game between China and the U.S.,” said Alon Sahar, a partner at Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal law firm. “The competition between the two gives Israeli startups an edge,” he said. Over the next two years, China is expected to surpass the U.S. as Israel’s biggest collaborator in the number of joint government-backed development projects, said Avi Luvton. Up until 2013, Chinese investments in Israeli technology companies and venture funds that invest in them were rare. But the pace has accelerated rapidly over the past two years. Israel’s National Economic Council expects tech deals between Chinese and Israeli firms to total $300 million this year alone, up $50 million from 2013.” [WSJ] • “Israel Abandons Missile Firing in Arrow Defense System Test” [Bloomberg]

ALPHA HOUSE: “Lawmakers Are Roomates No More” by Ashley Parker: “They had packed up their comforters, antacids and Jimi Hendrix records. Then Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, pointed to a dusty item he did not recognize. Was it a piece of Asian art, he wondered? Not exactly. “In Christian families, that would be called a Christmas tree holder,” Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, wryly explained to his Jewish friend. It was the end of the real “Alpha House,” the crumbling gray-blue rowhouse in the shadow of the Capitol where a group of powerful Democratic lawmakers — including Mr. Miller, Mr. Schumer, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and a rotating cast of supporting players — have lived for more than three decades.” [NYTimes] • “Barney Frank on practically everything” [Reuters]

ABERCROMBIE UNITES JEWS & MUSLIMS: “Say what you want about Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F), the chain has done something special. No, I’m not talking some dazzling new clothing line for ultra hip young people. Something far better. A&F has brought American Muslims and Jews together. Of course, the bad news for A&F is that they have united some in these two communities against them. Last week seven orthodox Jewish groups joined with the Muslim civil rights group CAIR in filing briefs with the Supreme Court in support a lawsuit filed on behalf of Samantha Elauf against A&F. Elauf, who is Muslim, had applied for a job at an A&F store in Tulsa, Oklahoma when she was 17. The assistant manager at the A&F store had found Elauf qualified for the position and was apparently going to hire her. However, an A&F district manager then overruled the assistant manager because he didn’t think Elauf fit A&F’s “look policy.” What part of the “look” was the issue? The part that Elauf wore a hijab.” [DailyBeast]

DESSERT: “Show us your menorah! Peeks at how a New York Giant and celebs celebrate Hanukkah” [NYPost]

That’s all folks; have a great day!
**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**