TOP TALKER: “Aipac Urges Support for Corker Bill in Senate on Iran Nuclear Deal” by Kristina Peterson: “We know that senators will offer amendments on a wide range of initiatives, many of which Aipac would ordinarily support,” the group wrote in a letter signed by Chief Executive Howard Kohr and two other officials. “However, our paramount objective during Senate consideration of this bill is to ensure speedy enactment of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act by preserving its broad, bipartisan support—so that Congress assures itself a seat at the table in deliberations on any nuclear agreement with Iran.” [WSJ]
“Senate rejects tying terrorism support to Iran sanctions relief” by Patricia Zengerle: “A handful of Republicans joined Senate Democrats to reject by a 54-45 vote a proposed amendment offered by Republican Senator John Barrasso that would have added the terrorism clause to a bill subjecting an international nuclear agreement to review by the U.S. Congress… Sen. Ben Cardin had a heated exchange with Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential hopeful, on Wednesday over one of the seven amendments Rubio has filed seeking to toughen the bill.” [Reuters]
“Marco Rubio won’t back away from Iran amendments that could scuttle deal” by Burgess Everett: “In an interview on Wednesday afternoon, the Florida senator and GOP presidential candidate said he has no plans to forgo his amendments to the bill, the most controversial of which would require Iran to acknowledge Israel’s statehood and present a tough vote for both parties.” [Politico] • Rubio Op: “Iran nuclear deal: Obama’s desperation is showing. And it’s dangerous” [FoxNews]
What does the Iran bill have to do with firefighters? “The Senate on Thursday will resume its crucial debate of the closely watched “Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act,” a measure with far-reaching foreign policy implications. You’ve never heard of the big firefighters bill? Well, that is actually the title of the legislation being used in the Senate to consider the bipartisan measure giving Congress the authority to review any deal with Iran over its nuclear abilities. Here’s why…” [FirstDraft]
HEARD YESTERDAY: “Iran’s Zarif Says Congress Can’t Stop Obama” by Josh Rogin: “In a set of blustery and self-righteous remarks, Iran’s top diplomat assured the crowd at New York University that President Barack Obama would be compelled to stop enforcing sanctions only days after any nuclear agreement was signed and would have to figure out how to lift congressional sanctions on Iran within weeks, no matter what Congress has to say about it. He also said that any future president, even a Republican, would be compelled to stick that agreement.” [BV]
TWITTER EXCHANGE: @SenTomCotton — “Hey @JZarif, I hear you called me out today. If you’re so confident, let’s debate the Constitution. Here’s offer: meet in DC, @JZarif, time of your choosing to debate Iran’s record of tyranny, treachery, & terror. I understand if you decline @JZarif after all, in your 20s, you hid in US during Iran-Iraq war while peasants & kids were marched to die. Not badge of courage @JZarif, to hide in US while your country fought war to survive-but shows cowardly character still on display today.” [Twitter]
–@JZarif responded: “Serious diplomacy, not macho personal smear, is what we need. Congrats on Ur new born. May U and Ur family enjoy him in peace [email protected]” [Twitter]
HAPPENING TODAY: At 6:45pm, Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Washington Institute’s Soref Symposium Gala Dinner. [Livestream]
2016 WATCH: “Bernie Sanders on Hillary Clinton: ‘We’re going to win this thing'” by Nick Gass: “Hillary Clinton can be beaten in the Democratic primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in an interview aired on the day he begins his bid for the White House. “I think we’re going to have a surprise for you,” Sanders told ABC’s Jon Karl in an interview that aired Thursday on “Good Morning America.” “We’re going to win this thing.” [Politico] • “Bernie Sanders is more serious than you think” by Matt Taibbi [RollingStone]
“Rand Paul’s Top Pro-Israel Backer Goes All in for Walker” by Alana Goodman: “Rich Roberts, a major Republican donor from New Jersey, has been central to Paul’s Jewish outreach efforts… “I like Rand Paul a lot, our relationship goes back now about three or four years. I like him as a person, I think he’s very well-intended,” said Roberts. “But I think that Scott Walker is [a greater] likelihood of being the next president. I think Scott Walker is also a tremendous individual.”
“Last Monday, media mogul Mort Zuckerman held a private reception for Walker at his home in New York. The meeting was hosted by the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations, and attendees included the Conference’s executive vice president Malcolm Hoenlein, former Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chair Cheryl Halpern, and American Friends of Likud President Gerald Platt.” [FreeBeacon]
“George Pataki, possible presidential candidate, has longstanding Jewish ties” by Jacob Kamaras: “From his childhood, to his time as mayor of his birthplace, to his three terms as governor of New York State, George Pataki fostered a close relationship with the Jewish community. If he decides to run for president in 2016, a much broader Jewish constituency will get acquainted with Pataki.” [JNS]
“Former Christie Ally David Wildstein Set to Plead Guilty” by David Voreacos: “David Wildstein, a former ally of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, is set to plead guilty, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, suggesting he may be cooperating with prosecutors probing traffic jams he ordered near the George Washington Bridge.” [Bloomberg]
**Good Thursday 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[email protected]**
LongRead: “ZPM Espresso and the Rage of the Jilted Crowdfunder: What happens when a Kickstarter project fails to launch?” by Gideon Lewis-Kraus: “Polyakov met ZPM’s original engineer, Igor Zamlinsky, when they were children in Atlanta’s Russian-Jewish émigré community. In Russia, their parents were artists and scientists; in Atlanta, Polyakov helped his mother run a “European” deli.” [NYTimesMag]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “George Soros’s Tax Bill: Deferring income helped the billionaire hedge fund manager build his fortune” by Miles Weiss:“George Soros likes to say the rich should pay more taxes. A substantial part of his wealth, though, comes from delaying them. While building a record as one of the world’s greatest investors, the 84-year-old billionaire used a loophole that allowed him to defer taxes on fees paid by clients and reinvest them in his fund, where they continued to grow tax-free.” [Bloomberg]
“Best buyer for Marc Benioff’s Salesforce?” by Heather Clancy: “With a market cap of more than $47 billion, the cloud software giant doesn’t come cheap. Topping the list of who could pull it off: Microsoft.” [Fortune]
“SpotHero’s Jeremy Smith leaves company after ‘best time of my life'” by Meg Graham: “Entrepreneur Jeremy Smith says the meter has expired on his time with on-demand parking app company SpotHero.On Friday, co-founder Smith left the Chicago-based company, which he launched with CEO Mark Lawrence in 2011.” [ChicagoTribune]
“Sexism and Anti-Semitism Charged in Al Jazeera America Lawsuit” by John Koblin: “In the suit, Mr. Luke asserted that Mr. Mahmud mistreated female employees and exhibited anti-Semitic behavior, including expressing a desire to replace an Israeli cameraman with a Palestinian… The suit further claims that Mr. Mahmud said that “whoever supports Israel should die a fiery death in hell.” [NYTimes]
“Anti-Semitism on Campus: Old Wine in New Bottles” by Abraham Foxman: “As someone who has been critical about the sometimes overheated reaction to what is taking place regarding Jews on campus, I also believe it is vital to monitor the situation closely and to be able to reevaluate as things may change.” [HuffPost]
REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Protesters Rally Against Gary Barnett’s Lower East Side Extell Tower”[Curbed] • “Joe Sitt, a real estate investor, says it’s a mistake for New York and New Jersey to regard investment in the airports as a regrettable necessity when it can be a source of competitive advantage.” [Businessweek] • “Harbor Group grabs Flatbush retail properties for $22M” [RealDeal]
SCENE AT MILKEN — by the Jewish Journal’s Ryan Torok: On Wednesday morning, about 30 people discussed California-Israel water-focused partnerships, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and more during a private breakfast at Circa 55, the Beverly Hilton restaurant. Glenn Yaho of the Milken Institute ran the meeting, and attendees included L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfeld, Hillel International’s Tim Cohen, the Israeli Consulate’s Dana Erlich, Roger Kasenbaum, Michelle Moskowitz, Lee Wallach, SoCal Israel Chamber of Commerce’s Jacob Segal, Chairman of Kaenaat Yariv Cohen and others. Others spotted at Milken yesterday include… Gov. Jerry Brown, OurCrowd’s Jon Medved, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and former Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad.
STARTUP NATION: “How Israeli Desalination Technology Is Helping Solve California’s Devastating Drought” [NoCamels]
SHADCHAN LAUTENBERG: “Beginning Again: The Love Story of Leonard Lauder and Judy Glickman” by Katherine Rosman: “Lauder received a call from a longtime family friend, Bonnie Lautenberg, the widow of Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey. “I said, ‘Leonard, you know there is nothing nicer than going out with an old friend, and I think Judy Glickman is the girl for you,’ ” Mrs. Lautenberg said… In early January 2014, Mr. Lauder made his move. “I called Judy and invited her to spend the weekend with me in Palm Beach,” he said. She declined.She then called up her friend Mrs. Lautenberg to tell her that Mr. Lauder had invited her to Florida and that she had said no. “You said what?” Mrs. Lautenberg replied. “Call him back!” “So I did,” the new Mrs. Lauder said.” [NYTimes]
“Josh Bolten’s married” by Kate Glassman Bennett: “Josh Bolten—the former Bush White House chief of staff and one of Washington’s most confirmed, eligible bachelors—stupefied family members and close friends at what they thought was his girlfriend’s 45th birthday party earlier this month with even more of a reason to celebrate: The party was actually a surprise wedding… Vance Wilson performed the ceremony which included vows written by the couple and Jewish elements from his faith.” [KGB File]
WASHINGTON SCENE — by JI Readers: Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe hosted an intimate dinner for his D.C. friends last night in the courtyard of the Freer Gallery of Art. Guests included Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Justice Anthony Kennedy and spouse Mary Davis, Japanese Amb. Kenichiro Sasae, U.S. Amb. Caroline Kennedy, Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz, Bob Schieffer, Fred Hiatt, David Ignatius, Brent Scowcroft, Dennis Hastert, Kurt Campbell, Paul Tagliabue, Jim DeMint, Sandy Berger, Lewis Libby, Albert Horvath, Michael Auslin, Julian Raby, Sen. Ed Markey and spouse Susan Blumenthal, Ken Weinstein, Michael Sonnenreich and Stephen Schneider.
Amb. Alfred Moses, past President of the AJC, announced his second major charitable gift of the week during a black-tie dinner held last night at the National Gallery. Moses, together with his wife Fern Schad, donated a major gift of photography as the Gallery celebrated The Memory of Time, a new collection of major photographs. Earlier in the week Moses announced a $20M gift to the Jewish Primary Day School. Spotted: Justice Antonin Scalia, former Israeli Gen. Amos Yadlin, Robert P. Kogod, Conrad Cafritz, Amy Kauffman, Rusty Powell, Rusty Powell, and artists from the exhibit including Adam Fuss, Deborah Luster and Wally Mann.
TALK OF THE TOWN: “Locals Lend a Hand During Baltimore Unrest” by Marc Shapiro: “Members of the Jewish community were out in west Baltimore helping clean up trash and debris on Tuesday morning after protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned to rioting and looting.”[JewishTimes] • “Heaps of donations for first responders, residents affected by riots” [BaltimoreSun]
SPORTS BLINK: “Jewish Boxers and Wrestlers, and Yiddish Fighting Words, at Yivo Institute Exhibition” by Joseph Berger: “It was as if Samson had been reincarnated. In the 1950s and early 1960s, many Jewish men and their children were transfixed by their black-and-white television screens on nights when wrestling was televised and the featured fighter was Rafael Halperin. After a war in which six million Jews were slaughtered, here was a Jew, sinewy and fearless, who could vanquish most of his opponents, some of whom were chosen because they looked like comic-book villains.” [NYTimes]
DESSERT: “Israeli restaurant in London tops GQ food and drink list: London-based Israeli-owned restaurant The Palomar — known for its modern Jerusalemite cuisine — won “Best Restaurant” at the inaugural GQ Food and Drink Awards on Wednesday.” [IsraelHayom]
ON THIS DATE IN… 1945: “Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler committed suicide along with his wife of one day, Eva Braun, as Russian troops approached his Berlin bunker.” [AP]
BIRTHDAYS: Cheryl Saban turns 64… Canadian PM Stephen Harper turns 56… Rob Bassin (yesterday; h/t Playbook)
Free gift idea: Know anyone who might enjoy receiving the Daily Kickoff? Share us with them and they’ll probably love you for it!