Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Details of Iran talks emerge | Who will the White House send to AIPAC? | Nir Barkat pulls a Cory Booker | Israel’s SodaStream hits reset

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

IRAN TALKS: “Phased Iran-US nuclear deal taking shape” by Bradley Klapper and George Jahn: “The idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement, by gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment program imposed as part of a deal that would also would slowly ease sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The U.S. initially sought restrictions lasting for up to 20 years; Iran had pushed for less than a decade”

If the sides agree on 15 years, for instance, the strict controls could be in place for 10 years with gradual lifting over five. Possible easing of the controls could see Iran increasing the number of enriching centrifuges back toward the 10,000 or so it now has operating, and increasing the level of enrichment while keeping it well below levels approaching weapons-grade. The U.N. nuclear agency would have responsibility for monitoring, and any deal would depend more on technical safeguards than Iranian goodwill to ensure compliance. But the accord will have to receive some sort of acceptance from the U.S. Congress to be fully implemented.” [AP]

“Massive leak said to reveal Mossad’s ‘true’ assessment on Iran nuclear program: Hundreds of confidential documents penned by South Africa’s intelligence agency that detail meetings with Mossad operatives on Iran’s nuclear program are expected to be published in the coming days.” [HaaretzAlJazeera]

“Document Reveals Growth of Cyberwarfare Between the U.S. and Iran” by David E Sanger: “A newly disclosed National Security Agency document illustrates the striking acceleration of the use of cyberweapons by the United States and Iran against each other, both for spying and sabotage, even as Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart met in Geneva to try to break a stalemate in the talks over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.” [NYTimes]

“The big money behind Iran’s Internet censorship” by Patrick Howell O’Neill: “In Iran, anti-censorship is big money. While the Iranian government spends millions of dollars to build and maintain one of the strictest censorship regimes on the planet, its citizens spend their own millions on anti-censorship software that allows them to see the Internet more freely. Anti-censorship is so much money, in fact, that many of the same government authorities that do the censoring then turn around and allow the sale of censorship-beating software—in order to line their pockets, offer a false sense of security to Iranians, and even to make their surveillance jobs that much easier.” [DailyDot]

“Kerry and Iran’s Zarif meet for two hours in nuclear talks” by Lesley Wroughton: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif met for two hours in Geneva on Sunday in another round of nuclear talks to try to narrow gaps as they pressed against a March 31 deadline to reach a political agreement. The meeting included for the first time U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who spent most of the day separately negotiating technical details of curbing Iran’s nuclear program.” [Reuters] • “US warns it is ready to walk away from Iran talks” [APToI] • “Obama Parries Questions on Iran Deal From Arabs as Well as Israelis” [WSJ] • “Russia offers Iran its latest anti-aircraft missiles” [Haaretz]

Dennis Ross Op: “Incorporating these measures in legislation would send a clear signal and demonstrate that the president and Congress are unified on this issue. It would also serve as a deterrent to Iran and reassure the Israelis about the certainty of our action — removing a key source of their fear of the agreement.” [WashPost]

WEEKEND TOP TALKER: “Unwelcome mat: White House tries to counter Netanyahu visit” by Matthew Lee and Julie Pace: “Administration officials have discarded the idea of President Barack Obama himself giving an Iran-related address to rebut the two speeches Netanyahu is to deliver during his early March visit. But other options remain on the table. Among them: a presidential interview with a prominent journalist known for coverage of the rift between Obama and Netanyahu (why not just say Jeffrey Goldberg), multiple Sunday show television appearances by senior national security aides and a pointed snub of America’s leading pro-Israel lobby, which is holding its annual meeting while Netanyahu is in Washington, according to the officials. The White House is now doubling down on a cold-shoulder strategy, including sending a lower-ranking official than normal to represent the administration at AIPAC” [AP]

Left unmentioned: Who the White House will send to J Street’s conference taking place later in March. Joe Biden was a featured speaker during J Street’s 2013 conference.

—Michael Oren: “Should the American government choose to boycott AIPAC, it will essentially choose to boycott its strategic alliance with Israel.” [JPost]

—Jeb Bush: “Very disappointed the White House would try to undermine @netanyahu’s speech, our strongest ally in the Middle East” [Twitter]

Senior U.S. official: White House won’t boycott AIPAC over Netanyahu’s speech: “The official refrained from divulging the name or rank of the administration representative who will speak at the conference, though many believe it will be U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.” [Haaretz]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 12:30PM, the Washington Institute hosts a policy forum with Jonathan Rynhold and Elliott Abrams on “U.S.-Israel Relations: A Changing Landscape?” [Livestream]

REPORT: “Netanyahu did not consult top security aide on Congress speech” by Tal Shalev:“According to well-informed sources, just like the US administration, Yossi Cohen learned about Netanyahu’s plans only a short while before Boehner’s public announcement of the scheduled speech… According to the law governing the responsibilities of the National Security Council and its head, Cohen’s job includes providing advice to the prime minister and his government on Israel’s strategic relationships.” [i24]

Joe Lieberman Op: “In sum, there is too much on the line in the negotiations with Iran for members of Congress to decide not to listen to what Netanyahu, or any other ally, has to say on this subject… At this very unstable moment in history, we cannot and must not avert our attention from what remains the greatest threat to the security of America and the world.” [WashPost]

Shelley Berkley Op: “Obama administration officials are calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to speak to a joint session of Congress a politicized breach of protocol, and some pundits have argued that it threatens bipartisan support for Israel. But by failing to take a stand against Iranian aggression and making grave concessions in the Iranian nuclear program negotiations, while refusing to meet and consult with Israeli leaders about a critical life-and-death issue that affects their country’s national security and very survival, it is the White House that has been undermining bipartisan support for Israel, and the values of the Democratic Party.” [LVRJ]

Mort Klein Op: “Of course there’s a crisis in US/Israeli relations” [JPost]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Mideast Crash Course for the New Defense Secretary” by Michael S. Schmidt: “Ashton B. Carter will hold a closed-door conference on Monday in Kuwait, where he is scheduled to meet with senior American military and diplomatic officials who are leading the fight against the Islamic State.” [NYTimes]

“Marie Harf Wrote Thesis on How Conservative Support for Israel Complicates US Foreign Policy” by Patrick Howley: “McGinnis said he still remembers a paper he wrote for Jim Harf, an analysis of the neutron bomb then under consideration by the Carter administration, and the honors thesis Marie later wrote at IU on how conservative evangelical support for Israel complicates U.S. foreign policy.” [DailyCallerIndianaU]

“First Jew sworn in as US ambassador for religious freedom” by Michael Wilner: “David Saperstein has been sworn in as US ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, the first Jew to hold the post. Saperstein was ushered into the Obama administration at a small ceremony at the State Department where US Secretary of State John Kerry praised him as President Barack Obama’s “chief adviser on religious liberty.” “Either David Saperstein was created with the job of ambassador- at-large for international religious freedom in mind, or the job was created with him in mind,” Kerry said.” [JPostStateDept]

2016 WATCH: “The Making of Hillary 5.0: Marketing wizards help re-imagine Clinton brand” by Phillip Rucker and Anne Gearan: “Is Hillary Rodham Clinton a McDonald’s Big Mac or a Chipotle burrito bowl? A can of Bud or a bottle of Blue Moon? JCPenney or J. Crew? Clinton and her image-makers are sketching ways to refresh the well-established brand for tomorrow’s marketplace. In their mission to present voters with a winning picture of the likely candidate, no detail is too big or too small — from her economic opportunity agenda to the design of the “H” in her future campaign logo.” [WashPost]

ROUNDUP: “Biden’s Trips Fan 2016 Race Speculation” [WSJ] • “Chris Christie and the New Jersey Booze Train” [DailyBeast] • “Bernie Sanders not eager to ’tilt at windmills’ in 2016” [Politico] • “The Libertarian Network That Rand Paul Hasn’t Walked Away From And Can’t Totally Control” [BuzzFeed] • “Mike Pence still considering presidential race” [Politico]

—“Obama loves America? Dan Senor calls this an ‘insane debate'” [NBC News

FL SEN: “Debbie Wasserman Schultz denies claim, despite messages” by Marc Caputo:“Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Friday denied claims that her staff offered a deal to reverse her opposition to medical marijuana in order to silence a Florida donor’s criticisms — attributing the controversy to a misunderstanding.” [Politico] • “Senate bid could be solution for DWS” [Politico]

Chicago: “Mayor Rahm Emanuel facing tough campaign” by Bob Secter: “With Emanuel at his side, Obama bestowed the honor on remnants of the Pullman factory district, a historic slice of Chicago that played a critical role in the Great Migration of blacks from the rural South during the era of Jim Crow. The political choreography for Emanuel was about as subtle as one of the profanity-laced tirades he became known for over his years as a Washington powerbroker.” [ChicagoTribune]

ISRAELEX: “Meet the underdog Israeli candidate who might dethrone ‘King Bibi'” by William Booth: “If he wins the upcoming elections, incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu will serve a historic fourth term as prime minister of Israel, earning his sobriquet “King Bibi.” But there is a challenger to the coronation, the underdog of Israeli politics, a scion of rabbinical, military and political aristocracy: the dogged lawyer Isaac Herzog, who might deny his opponent another victory.” [WashPost]

“Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat Wrestles Knife Attacker to Ground: Nir Barkat, 55, was riding in his car when he saw the attack unfold in front of him, said his spokesman, Brachi Sprung. Security camera footage showed the attacker swinging at a crowd of pedestrians with a knife near city hall when he struck an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man, Reuters reported. The video then shows Barkat and his bodyguard holding the attacker down at a pedestrian crossing… The alleged attacker, an 18-year-old Palestinian, was arrested. He didn’t have authorization to live in Israel.” [NBC News]

—Michael Oren: “Not surprised to see @NirBarkat take down the terrorist. We served together in the paratroopers; he courageously demonstrates our values.” [Twitter]

**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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Israel’s SodaStream Hits Reset as Its Sales and Profit Fall” by Stephanie Strom: “SodaStream, the once-hot device for do-it-yourself sodas, is betting on the growing thirst for bubbly water to bring some sparkle back to its business… “There is a blurring of the space between soda and water, and we’re in the perfect position to capitalize on that,” said Daniel Birnbaum, the company’s chief executive… “No more Super Bowl ads,” Mr. Birnbaum said. “We don’t belong there — or need one scandal after another.” He said the company had no plans for a major advertising campaign around its reintroduction as a sparkling water business and instead would rely on social media.” [NYTimes]

Terror Threats Issued Against “American and Jewish-Owned” Shopping Centers: “A propaganda video released by militant group al-Shabaab on Saturday called for strikes on five shopping centres: Oxford Street and two Westfield malls in London; the Mall of America in Minnesota; and Canada’s West Edmonton mall. It urged followers to carry out attacks on “American and Jewish-owned” shopping centres similar to the siege at the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2013, in which 67 people were killed and more than 175 wounded by four gunmen.” [TheGuardian]

STARTUP NATION: Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd forges Maryland partnership: “OurCrowd plans to extend its reach through a new partnership with the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC), which is a partner of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED). OurCrowd has pledged to look at Maryland companies for investment opportunities. The MIDC will assist OurCrowd’s portfolio companies with their U.S. market entry. The organization will also help attract them to business opportunities in Maryland and introduce OurCrowd to potential investors.” [MDBizNewsCFInsider] • “Predicting where to park? Israel’s got an app for that” [Reuters] • “US Ambassador Invites Israelis to Invest in America” [INN]

“Israel to buy 14 F-35 stealth fighters from US: Israel is to purchase 14 F-35 stealth fighters from US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin at a cost of around $110 million each, the defence ministry said Sunday.” [Yahoo]

JEWISH AGENCY: “Anger simmers over ouster of Jewish Agency fundraising chief” by Sam Sokol: “The triannual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency opened on Sunday following days of quiet and not so quiet grumblings regarding the leadership of director-general Alan Hoffmann… In the wake the JFNA’s decision to reevaluate its fiscal relationship with the agency, the agency hired former federation CEO Misha Galperin to head its newly established North American fund-raising arm, the Jewish Agency International Development.”

“Galperin, who helped raise millions for the agency, recently announced that he was stepping down from his position… Hoffmann didn’t want Misha but couldn’t do anything because Misha didn’t work under him,” the source said. However, Hoffmann had enough influence to make sure that Galperin would not be able to renew his contract at his current salary level, which is substantial, forcing him out, the source added. “I think the announcement that Misha was leaving triggered a backlog of anger. Everything written was real and true,” said one member of the board of governors with knowledge of the matter. “Misha was the straw that broke the camel’s back.” [JPostHaaretz]

TOP TALKER: “Norway Muslims Encircle Synagogue to Support Jews” by Kjetil Malkenes Hovland: “A group of young Muslims embraced the Jewish synagogue in Oslo in a “ring of peace” Saturday, protesting anti-Semitism and denouncing violence after terrorist attacks targeting Jews in neighboring Denmark and in France, in what Jewish leaders described as a unique and heartwarming event.” [WSJ] • “Oslo synagogue ‘peace ring’ marred by organizer’s anti-Israel remarks, some Jews say” [JPost]

“Rothschild Family Treasures Find a Resting Place in Boston” by Judith H. Dobrzynski:“The painting, confiscated by the Nazis in 1938 along with some 3,500 other treasures from the family’s palaces, was discovered in Austria’s salt mines by Allied forces after the war. Returned to the Rothschild family in 1947, it is among 186 pieces of jewelry, jeweled boxes, furniture, prints, drawings, miniatures, paintings and rare books that Ms. Burr and other family members are now donating to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. About 80 of the items will go on view at the museum on Sunday in “Restoring a Legacy: Rothschild Family Treasures,” which will recount how the objects were collected, looted and finally recovered by the Austrian wing of the family.” [NYTimes]

“’60 Minutes’ pays homage to Bob Simon in moving tribute: Fellow “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft introduces the segment, which traces Simon’s 47-year career at the network before he was killed in a car crash on the West Side Highway in Manhattan fewer than two weeks ago. “He was a brilliant combination of sophistication and street smarts who liked to tell people he was just a Jewish kid from The Bronx,” Kroft says. “He didn’t tell you that he was also Phi Beta Kappa and has been a Fullbright Scholar or that he came to become television’s quintessential foreign correspondent.” [NYPost]

HOLLYWOOD: “New York real estate magnate Charles Cohen builds a movie studio” by Danielle Berrin: “Launched in 2008, Cohen Media Group (CMG) quickly established itself as a full-scale film production company with serious ambitions. Backed by the weight of Cohen’s vast real-estate empire, CMG has pounced upon the scene, snapping up films and taking them to market, rapidly transforming Cohen’s cherished hobby into a legitimate business.” [JewishJournal] • ” Holocaust-Related ‘Ida’ Wins Oscar For Best Foreign Language Film” [AP]

SPORTS BLINK: “Rocco the Hockey-Playing Jew Meets Sugar Land, Texas” by Louie Lazar: “The puck drops; the game is swift and violent. Wearing No. 4 for Sugar Land is an 18-year-old forward from New Jersey named Joshua Rocco. About six months earlier, Rocco was on a stage on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, singing in Hebrew with his high-school a cappella group, the Heschel Harmonizers. A Jewish kid who attended Solomon Schecter Day School of Bergen County—not exactly a pipeline for elite hockey prospects—Rocco’s pursuit of his dream has brought him here, to this unlikely place about 20 miles southwest of Houston.” [TabletMag]

DESSERT: “One Afternoon and Two Lunches With Former White House Chef Sam Kass” by Adam Platt: “In my mind’s eye, I’d imagined welcoming the First Family’s former nutrition guru to New York City with a gracious, high-calorie luncheon in one of Manhattan’s white-tablecloth restaurants, followed, possibly, by a stroll through the Greenmarket to inspect the morning’s crop of duck eggs. But Sam Kass, who’s just moved to town after six eventful years in the White House as, among other things, the Obamas’ gardener, craft brewer, and private chef, has suggested, in his ebullient, persuasive way, that we visit one of his favorite new neighborhood enterprises, the online farmers’-market delivery service called Good Eggs.” [NYMag]

“Medical Marijuana May Soon Get Kosher Stamp of Approval” by Paul Berger: “Kosher marijuana could soon be available to Orthodox Jews in New York State — but only on doctor’s orders. Rabbi Moshe Elefant, head of the Orthodox Union’s kosher certification agency, said he has held “preliminary discussions” with several companies interested in obtaining a kosher seal of approval for medical marijuana. The move comes as legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes spreads across the country, with many of the leading pro-legalization activists, philanthropists and entrepreneurs drawn from the Jewish community.”

“Ean Seeb, one of the owners of the oldest marijuana dispensaries in Denver, Colorado, where marijuana was legalized in 2012, compared Jewish marijuana activity today with Jewish involvement in the prohibition-era alcohol industry, gambling during the early years of Las Vegas and the civil rights movements of the 1960s. Seeb was one of several Jews who led the charge for marijuana legalization in Colorado, including Steve Fox, a lawyer, and Mason Tvert, the executive director of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation. Nationwide, Jewish philanthropists including Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer and billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis have funded legalization efforts.” [Forward]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Ads highlight poor secular education at Orthodox Jewish schools” by Gary Buiso: “The battle over secular education for ultra-Orthodox Jews has flared in the Hasidic enclave of Williamsburg after a reform group unveiled a massive billboard questioning the quality of a yeshiva education. Young Advocates for Fair Education’s controversial cartoon on a Flushing Avenue building shows a young boy learning in a yeshiva in 1988, disgustedly saying in Yiddish that “English is profane.” The next panel shows him as an older man wrestling with a mountain of unpaid bills — presumably because the shoddy schooling he received as a lad prevented him from making enough dough as an adult. “Oy, what was I thinking?” he kvetches.” [NYPost] • “NYC, Orthodox Jews in talks over ritual after herpes cases” [WSJ]

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.