Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Saturday Night Live at Saban14 Featured Martin Indyk vs. Naftali Bennett | Mark Dubowitz Profile | Moline steps down from NJDC

Have our people email your people. Share this sign up link with your friends.

SABAN 2014 RECAP: This past weekend, the Brookings Insitute Center for Middle East Policy hosted its 11th annual Saban Forum, “Stormy Seas: The United States and Israel in a Tumultuous Middle East.” featuring remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (via satellite), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition, and Naftali Bennett, Israeli Minister of Economy. “Forum sessions focused on the future for Israelis and Palestinians, the nuclear negotiations with Iran and how Israel and the United States are coping with the turmoil in Syria and the threat from ISIS.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I will never pass legislation that will undermine ‪Israel’s democratic nature.” [Videoh/t Natan SachsHaaretzJPost]

Secretary Kerry: “Our Engagement in the World Isn’t a Choice. It’s a Necessity.” [Video; Transcript] • “Kerry: U.S. will not interfere in Israeli election” [HaaretzTime]

Joe Biden: “There is no daylight. None. None. None. Between Israel’s security and the United States.” “You all are very familiar with and occasionally use the word hutzpah. I hope I made you aware of an Irish phrase “malarkey.” Malarkey. There’s been a lot of malarkey around our position on Iran. So let me state it absolutely clearly. We will not let Iran acquire a nuclear weapon, period. Period. End of discussion. It will not happen on our watch.” “There is no more threat that worries me though than the rising tide of anti-Semitism around the worldyou know, anti-Semitism goes hand- in-hand. It’s bad in any circumstance, but now it goes hand-in-hand with what I would call an overall effort to delegitimize Israel.” [Video]

Martin Indyk & Naftali Bennett: Indyk: We have a real treat tonight and I want to start by expressing my appreciation to Naftali Bennett, who came especially for the forum at a time of unusual turmoil or exceptional turmoil in Israel. And so we’re very grateful to you for joining us tonight. Bennett: That’s the first time I’ve been called a treat.” [Video] • “Bennett Asks Indyk: How Many Need to Die Before You Wake Up?” [INS]

Naftali Bennett: “By no means ever will I agree to divide Jerusalem. By no means will I ever agree to share the sovereignty of Jerusalem. Israel without Jerusalem is Israel without a soul.” “Israel’s not the safest place in the world for Jews. You know, Perth in Australia is safer and it’s got great water sports. Right? (Laughter) There’s better places, Teaneck, New Jersey. We’re in Israel because… It’s our homeland, and I want every Israeli child to know our history.”

Isaac Herzog: “I’m here to present, also to each and every one of you, and break this notion that Netanyahu is unbeatable. I am here to tell you that I will form the next government and I will lead Israel to a different direction. And it’s feasible if we build the proper coalitions in Israeli politics.” [Video]

Michael Oren: “The Israeli Left ‘Has Crashed’; Israeli Right ‘Doesn’t Have Courage'” “The Left in Israel has crashed, because it has not yet internalized that the Palestinians are not part of the negotiations, and aren’t interested in being so,” said Oren. “The Palestinians have chosen a different path, the destructive path of delegitimization of Israel.”​ “On the other hand, the Right doesn’t yet have the courage to admit that Israel isn’t able to protect its identity and its alliance with the US, while ruling 2.5 million Palestinians,” Oren continued.​” [INS]

Hillary Clinton: “We have some tough decisions to make here at home, about how we make sure that our economic good news is broadly shared, and then how we, you know, think of our own leadership globally in a way that makes us more secure, helps our friends and allies, like Israel, have as much security and stability as possible. Grow the global economy, and do the work that will sustain American leadership in the 21st Century.” [Video]

—Spotted: U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Nita Lowey, Rep. Ted Deutch, Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Rep. Jane Harman, former Ambassador Michael Oren.

2016 WATCH: “Hillary Clinton sticks with President Obama on Israel” by Katie Glueck:“Hillary Clinton had several opportunities to distance herself from the Obama administration during an appearance Friday before a heavily pro-Israel crowd, but she didn’t take them. Instead, she defended President Barack Obama’s dealings with the Jewish state at a time of tense U.S.-Israel relations, insisting the White House is committed to Israel’s security and supporting America’s nuclear talks with Iran.”[Politico]

PM to Kerry: Pollard’s life in danger, time has come to free him: “Netanyahu told Kerry during a phone call Saturday evening that Pollard’s life was in danger. “After 30 years in prison, the time has come for him to be released and allowed to live out the remainder of his life as a free man.” [Haaretz]

—American Jewish leaders have also urged the president to free Pollard due to his failing health. “We urge President Obama, especially in this holiday season and given Mr. Pollard’s worsening health, to take steps immediately to expedite gain Mr. Pollard’s release and to commute his life sentence to the more than 29 years he has already served,” the Conference of Presidents, the umbrella organization of U.S. Jewish groups, said in a statement.” [ibid]

REPORT: Israel strikes near Damascus; “probably aimed at Hezbollah”: “Syrian state television said on Sunday that Israeli jets had bombed areas near the Damascus international airport and in the town of Dimas, near the border with Lebanon. Israel has struck Syria several times since the start of the three-year conflict, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for their long-time foe Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.” [ReutersWashPost] • DRUDGE headline “YNet: Iran is playing with fire” [YNet] • “Syria, Iran Condemn Israeli Airstrikes” [ABC News]

—It’s Election Season: “Yesh Atid MK: IDF Attack on Syria a Political Ploy” [INS]

DRIVING THE WEEK: “John Kerry to face off with senators” by Burgess Everett: “President Barack Obama’s war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — and the lack of congressional action on it — will come to a head this week as Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” [Politico] • “‘Daesh‘: John Kerry starts calling the Islamic State a name they hate” [WashPost]

IRAN TALKS: “The Wonks Waging Financial War on Iran” by Byemily Cadei: “The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank, is small, nonpartisan and little known outside of Washington, D.C. So is its lead Iranian sanctions guru, Mark Dubowitz, a soft-spoken lawyer turned tech exec turned Middle East finance wonk. But Dubowitz and FDD are well-known among the people who matter most right now on Iran policy: the members of Congress and their staff contemplating new sanctions against Iran.” [Ozy]

—Republicans push Obama on Israel ‘sanctions’ claim: “Recent reports suggest that your administration has held classified meetings over the past several weeks to discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions against Israel for its decision to construct homes in East Jerusalem,” said the letter sent Friday and signed by 48 members of the US House of Representatives led by Republican Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina. “Israel is one of our strongest allies, and the mere notion that the administration would unilaterally impose sanctions against Israel is not only unwise, but is extremely worrisome.” [ToI]

TRANSISTIONS: “Moline out at NJDC” by Suzanne Pollak: “Rabbi Jack Moline is out at the National Jewish Democratic Council following what is being called “an amicable split.” Moline, who was NJDC’s executive director since January of this year, left the political organization Nov. 18… A spokesperson for NJDC said, Moline “and NJDC decided mutually to move in different directions. The split was amicable, and NJDC remains active. It’s just happening without Jack.” A decision has not been made on how best to replace Moline. “The board is considering its next steps with regard to senior staffing,” the spokesman said.” [WJW]

—Hagee Clarifies ‘Anti-Semitic‘ Jibe at Obama: “After discussing the controversy with Jewish leaders, Pastor John Hagee “clarified” that he did not mean to call President Obama anti-Semitic, but anti-Israel. “The prepared text of my remarks before the Zionist Organization of America called President Obama one of the most ‘anti-Israel’ presidents in U.S. history,” the Christians United for Israel founder said in a statement Friday, referring to his speech Nov. 23 to the ZOA annual dinner in New York. “During my speech, I inadvertently called him one of the most ‘anti-Semitic’ presidents in history,” he said. Hagee said he was issuing his clarification after “conversations with friends in the pro-Israel community,” including Robert Sugarman and Malcolm Hoenlein.” [Forward]

TOP-OPS: Shibley Telhami – “Do Americans Care About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?”[ForeignPolicy] • Eric Edelman, Dennis Ross and Ray Takeyh: “A nuclear deal with Iran will require the West to reevaluate its presumptions” [WashPost]

HAPPENING TODAY: The UJA Federation of New York’s Wall Street Dinner honoring Jacques E. Brand, CEO of Deutsche Bank, and Brett H. Barth, managing partner of BBR Partners, at the Hilton Midtown. General David Patraeus, chairman of the KKR Global Institute, will deliver the keynote address. Last year’s dinner raised $26 million.

**Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI]. Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

HEADLINE OF THE DAY: “Sheldon Adelson Looks To Harry Reid For A Big Favor” [HuffPost]

New Power: “2016 Rivals Woo Silicon Valley” by Julian Hattem: “Potential candidates are cultivating allies in the tech sector at a frenetic pace, making frequent trips to California for fundraising dinners, company tours and bull sessions. So far, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has made the most aggressive attempts to win support among the Internet elite. The libertarian lawmaker is widely expected to announce his bid for president in the coming months, and is in the midst of opening an office in the Silicon Valley area… Salesforce co-founder Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynn, have contributed $50,000 to the pro-Clinton Ready for Hillary super-PAC, and other icons such as Craigslist founder Craig Newmark have said they would be on board.” [TheHill]

STARTUP NATION: “Mobileye Rallying as Deutsche Bank Declares Tech Supreme” by Gabrielle Coppola: “Even after suffering a 15 percent stock rout last month, Mobileye NV’s valuation is six times richer than industry peers. That’s cheap enough for Deutsche Bank AG, which upgraded the shares to a buy last week. Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based maker of driverless car software, trades at 120 times 12-month projected earnings, compared with an average ratio of about 20 for global auto-part suppliers. Founded 15 years ago by Hebrew University professor Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, Mobileye makes a chip and a system that alerts drivers to pedestrians and unintended lane departures. The company’s products will help enable hands-free driving on the highway by 2016, according to its IPO prospectus.” [Businessweek] • “Cybersecurity unit drives Israeli Internet economy” [CSMonitor]

JPost Editorial: “UNRWA vs the ‘Post’ – “The Israeli government and local media should send an unequivocal message that Gunness’s boycott call is an unacceptable attempt to intimidate a reputable newspaper.” [JPost]

“Pro-Palestinian Group Lectured On Skirting Terror Laws” by Shane Harris in the Daily Beast: “A prominent Palestinian-American rights group that ordinarily advocates nonviolent protests held a conference in Chicago last month that included a lecture on how to “navigate the fine line between legal activism and material support for terrorism.”… it was unclear why the conference sponsor—which is outwardly committed to legal forms of protest, including boycotts, and sanctions, and rallies on college campuses—felt the need to provide advice on how to provide financial assistance without running afoul ofwell-established anti-terrorism laws. “I think this speaks to the fact that you have a new generation of charities and activist groups that now understand, very clearly, where that line is, and they’re very careful not to cross it,” said Jonathan Schanzer.” [DailyBeast]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Fearing violence, U.S. Jewish groups create security infrastructure” by Michelle Boorstein: “More visible European anti-Semitism, increased anger towards Israel and a rise in Islamist extremism have led to the expansion of the  security infrastructure around U.S. Jewish institutions, with thousands of synagogues, student centers and other places seekingequipment and training to defend themselves against potential attacks. Last month’s attack on a Jerusalem synagogue popular with Americans is the kind of thing that spurs U.S. institutions to look at their security. Since 2004, a primary clearinghouse for information and training on how to handle potential threats has been the Secure Community Network – a nonprofit created that year to beef up security at U.S. Jewish institutions.​” [WashPost]

France, U.S. Reach Accord on Holocaust Reparations: “France and the United States have reached a $60 million agreement under which Holocaust victims who were transported to Germany by the French national railway will receive reparations, defusing a long-running dispute in Annapolis. The State Department announced the agreement Friday. It said the agreement, which will be signed Monday, will benefit several thousand U.S. citizens as well as nationals of other countries who were deported from France… As part of the agreement, the United States agreed to “recognize and affirmatively protect the immunity of France and its instrumentalities” from further Holocaust deportation claims. The State Department said SNCF is such an instrumentality and that the agreement is binding on the 50 states.”[TheSunCNNAP] • “France Pledges More Action To Fight Anti-Semitism” [AP]

PARTNERS IN EVIL: “Hitler’s Henchmen in Arabia” by Guy Walters: “Nazi Alois Brunner’s confirmed death in Damascus reveals an uncomfortable truth: Egypt and Syria have long ties to Nazi Germany and long provided sanctuary to fugitive war criminals.” [DailyBeast]

BOOK REVIEW: Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist – “The Avenger: As a sixth-grader in Brooklyn, Yossi Klein Halevi procured sewer maps for when the Jews would have to go underground again” by Bari Weiss: “‘My father lived in a hole,” this book begins. In that hideout—4 feet deep and shared with two other Jews in the woods of Transylvania—Yossi Klein Halevi’s father outlasted the Nazis. Many lessons from that hole passed from the European father to his American son. One: “Only individualists survive.” Two: “A Jew must always expect the worst.” Three: Even the kindest gentile “might one day reveal the Nazi within.” [WSJ]

OBIT: “Ralph H. Baer, Inventor of First System for Home Video Games, Dies at 92” by Douglas Martin: “Ralph Henry Baer was born on March 8, 1922, into a Jewish family in Pirmasens, Germany, where his father worked in a shoe factory. His family emigrated to New York in 1938 to escape Hitler and settled in the Bronx. Within a week, Mr. Baer, then 16, was working from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a factory that made leather cases for manicure kits. He soon invented a machine to speed the process bystitching five or six at once… He then worked for a company that made surgical cutting machines, before joining Loral Electronics in the Bronx as a senior engineer. Assigned to design a state-of-the art television set in 1951, he suggested adding a game-playing feature. “Forget it,” he recalled his boss saying. “Just build the damn TV set; you’re behind schedule as it is.” [NYTimes]

LESSONS FROM A JEWISH SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR: F-Cancer’s Yael Cohen on Success –“Attitude is a huge part of success. If you don’t first believe in yourself, why should anyone else? On the flip side, we millennials, as a generation, have a kind of arrogance—we all want to be entrepreneurs, which sounds so glamorous. We want to own our work. There’s so much freedom of choice and so many options today that there’s almost a burden of opportunity, whereas in generations past you picked your job and that’s what you did. We’re all about reinventing the wheel. And when there’s a wheel that needs to be reinvented—hell yeah, go for it. But often, joining someone else’s team and working with them can be so much more valuable. We have to look at the success we can create together, instead of always wanting to own what we’re doing. If people hadn’t chosen to come and join me, I would just be some lunatic running around swearing.” [WSJ]

SPORTS BLINK: “Israeli Gal Mekel signs with New Orleans Pelicans” by Justin Jalil: “Israeli basketball player Gal Mekel signed a two-year contract with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, a month after visa troubles kept him from signing with another team. The Ramat Hasharon-born Mekel became the second Israeli ever to play in the NBA when he signed a three-year minimum contract with the Mavericks in 2013.” [ToI]

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**

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered daily in a must-read newsletter.