Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Jewish leaders at the White House today | Saban’s Hillary story | Lindsey Graham, Ron Paul attack Rand on Iran | Kim & Kanye in Israel

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DRIVING THE DAY: Jewish Insider’s Saturday Night Scoop — Jewish leaders to visit the White House: “Continuing their aggressive, proactive outreach strategy to the Jewish and pro-Israel community on the Iran agreement, the Obama administration has invited senior organizational leaders to visit the White House on Monday afternoon for two separate meetings, multiple sources have informed Jewish Insider. Attendees speculated there would be around a dozen individuals at each of the meetings, with one tailored to Jewish Democrats and the other for major organizational leaders.”

“The White House confirmed Sunday night that the President and National Security Advisor Susan Rice will attend a meeting with leaders of American Jewish organizations at 1:45PM and then the President will again meet with other Jewish community leaders at 4:45PM. Both meetings are scheduled to take place in the Roosevelt Room.” [JewishInsider]

From the Weekend — “Obama Takes Shot At Israel Deal: “Consistency Is The Hobgoblin Of Narrow Minds” — At a press held in Panama City, Panama on Saturday, President Obama dinged Israel for what he said is a contradiction in their criticism of U.S. and international negotiations with Iran over their nuclear proliferation. “The [JPOA] has proven to be highly effective, even by the assessments of critics of the policy like the Israelis. They’ve said, ‘Yeah, this actually has worked. Iran is abiding by the agreement.’ In fact, now, they’re saying why don’t we just stay here, it’s working so well. Despite the fact that they’ve made almost precisely the argument that they’re making now about the final deal. But, you know, consistency is the hobgoblin of narrow minds.” [RCPolitics] • “This was not a good week for Obama’s Iran policy” [BusinessInsider]

Barak Ravid: “Netanyahu said at the meeting that it would be impossible to catch the Iranians cheating simply because they will not break the agreement.” Netanyahu also told the ministers that in 10 to 15 years, when the main clauses of the agreement expire, most of the sanctions will be lifted and the Iranians will show that they met all their obligations. They will then receive a “kashrut certificate” from the international community, which will see Iran as a “normal” country from which there is nothing to fear.” [Haaretz] • “Going out of its way not to directly criticize Netanyahu, Zionist Union says in position paper that on issue of Iran’s nuclear program, there’s no ‘coalition or opposition.'” [Haaretz]

Aaron David Miller: “Whatever its intentions, the administration has created the impression that it is pursuing an Iran-centric policy in the Middle East. It is remarkable that even while Iran imprisons U.S. citizens and tortures and executes its own people, Washington’s tensions aren’t with Tehran but with Israel… Bottom line: This round goes to the mullahs.” [WSJ]

Peter Beinart: “Many in Congress want the chance to kill the Iran deal. President Obama doesn’t want to give them that opportunity. I’m torn. Like many liberals, I think America is generally better off when Congress has more oversight over foreign policy.” [TheAtlantic]

“New York, California Dems square off over Iran” by Alexander Bolton: “Democrats are badly split on geographic and political lines over whether to support or oppose a bill allowing Congress to review and possibly vote on a nuclear deal with Iran. The debate is pitting New York Democrats worried about losing Jewish donors to Republicans against California Democrats determined to back President Obama. Jewish Democrats such as New York Sen. Charles Schumer and New York Reps. Eliot Engeland Steve Israel worry that if the deal backfires their party could pay the price in future elections.” [TheHill] • “Sen. Cardin faces test on Iran nuclear bill as top Dem negotiator” [APBJL

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Seeking Voice in Iran Deal, Lawmakers Are Set to Act” by Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer: “After months of delicate negotiations with the Iranian regime, President Obama this week will face a high-stakes confrontation with defiant lawmakers — including members of his own party — who are intent on influencing diplomacy over the future of Iran’s nuclear program.” [NYTimes• “Corker tries to thread needle on Iran bill” [Politico• “Corker’s Fickle Friends on Iran” [WSJ]

“Deal or not, many U.S. states will keep sanctions grip on Iran” by Yeganeh Torbati: “As the United States and Iran come closer to a historic nuclear deal, many U.S. states are likely to stick with their own sanctions on Iran that could complicate any warming of relations between the long-time foes. In a little known aspect of Iran’s international isolation, around two dozen states have enacted measures punishing companies operating in certain sectors of its economy, directing public pension funds with billions of dollars in assets to divest from the firms and sometimes barring them from public contracts.”[Reuters]

2016 WATCH: Today’s Daily Kickoff was produced in Miami where we’ll be covering the ‘big’ Rubio announcement this afternoon…

“Marco Rubio Builds Political Career on Defying Establishment and Odds” by Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker: “Mr. Rubio, now 43, has built a remarkable career around big, even foolhardy, political bets that inflamed party elders, defied polls and, at times, went against his own gut instinct. On Monday, when he declares his presidential candidacy in downtown Miami, it will be by far his boldest gamble yet: giving up a coveted seat in the Senate to challenge a crowded field of rivals, many of them with deeper résumés, higher profiles and bigger campaigns.” [NYTimes]

“Lindsey Graham sees an opening as antagonist to Rand Paul” by Karen Heller: “Lindsey Graham spoke in his measured, mellow tenor as he stood recently in the sanctuary of a historic synagogue, reflecting on Iran and Israel, radical Islam, Nazis, and, of course, President Obama’s foreign policy… “Libertarianism,” he scoffed, “is to the left of Barack Obama.” [WashPost] • “Ron Paul criticizes Iran position taken by his son, Rand Paul” [HoustonChronicle] • Yair Rosenberg: “How Not To Talk About Rand Paul and the Jews” [TabletMag]

TOP TALKER: “Clinton strikes populist tone in long-awaited campaign announcement” by Anne Gearan: “Hillary Rodham Clinton entered the presidential race Sunday, saying she wants to fight for the economic futures of regular people and ending years of speculation about whether she would redeem the disappointment of her failed 2008 attempt to become the country’s first female commander in chief.” [WashPost] • “The power players behind Hillary’s campaign” by Katie Glueck [Politico]

“As Clinton launches race, a delicate dance on Israel and Iran” by Michael Wilner: “Should Clinton endorse legislation that would grant Congress oversight powers on an Iran deal, Democratic lawmakers will have sufficient political cover to vote for the bill – and against Obama – thus providing support for the bill beyond the two-thirds majority required to override a presidential veto. Such a move could be interpreted as a betrayal inside the Obama White House.” [JPost] • “Hillary’s agonizing choice on foreign policy” [CNN]

Haim Saban on Hillary: “Haim Saban on Sunday offered an inside story underlining what he called the would-be US president’s exemplary calm in a crisis, and thus her suitability for the job of commander-in-chief… Saban recounted the day when he gave Clinton a ride in his private plane from Los Angeles to New York. Five minutes after takeoff, the flight attendant told Saban that the pilots needed to speak to him in the cockpit. He went to the front of the plane, and they told him, “We’ve lost an engine. We’ll have to make an emergency landing.”

“Nervous and stammering, he went back to give Mrs. Clinton the news, and found her reading a book. “She said, ‘What’s up?’” Saban recounted. He gulped and told her: “I said, ‘We’ve lost an engine. We’re going to make an emergency landing.’” Clinton looked up at him, said, “Oh,” and went back to her book, he said… The incident, claimed Saban, sums op Clinton: “That’s her. She’s got self-control. She’s got guts.” [ToI• “Unlike in 2008, Hollywood Jewish heavyweights poised to unite behind Clinton”[Reuters]

O’Malley on Israel, Foreign Policy, Hillary: “Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East bar none. America’s security interests are very, very closely tied to the security interests of the people of Israel… Whatever the frictions are between individual leaders at a particular point in time, the fact remains that Israel is our strongest ally in the region and we are theirs.” Q: how do you compete on foreign policy against a former Secretary of State? O’Malley: “I’m not sure what Secretary Clinton will say were her major accomplishments as Secretary of State.” [IPTV] H/T Jacob Kornbluh • “He’s along for the ride with O’Malley” [WashPost]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “For American Israelis, rift between Obama and Netanyahu is family affair” by Ruth Eglash and William Booth: “For many American Israelis, binational life is the best of two worlds. They travel with U.S. passports. Live in sunny Israel. Vote in both countries! And they say they can love America and Israel at the same time. But lately, the relationship resides under a new strain.” [WashPost]

**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: “Reuters chief Andrew Rashbass to become executive chair of Euromoney” [TheGuardian] • “Jimmy Finkelstein is latest suitor for Mort Zuckerman’s Daily News” [NYPost] • “Barry Rosenstein’s Jana puts pressure on Qualcomm” [WSJ] • “Hedge-Fund Magnate Robert Mercer Emerges as a Generous Backer of Cruz” [NYTimes]

RUMOR MILL: “Mike for governor?” — “To keep coal-fired power plants in upstate New York and not frack doesn’t make any sense at all. . . Our strategy in New York state seems to be to open gambling casinos so we can rip the lungs out of the poor to subsidize upstate real-estate developers. . . That doesn’t help anyone in the area. I would certainly frack.” — Michael Bloomberg [NYPost]

JI Scoops: Reminder to always pay attention to the smaller items in the Daily Kickoff. Our tidbit on Biden stealing Bloomberg’s grandson’s pacifier, reported first in Thursday morning’s Daily Kickoff, went viral over the weekend with coverage from CNN, the Today Show, IJReview, Business Insider, TheHill, NYPost, and more. See our time-stamped tweet [Twitter]

SPORTS BLINK: “Miami Marlins Jewish exec says team ready to swim” by Hillel Kuttler: “For Joel Mael, the Shabbat-observing vice chairman of the Miami Marlins, the team’s free spending in the offseason was wise from a financial perspective… Mael spoke while visiting Miami, which he gets to twice monthly, staying in hotels, which he prefers to having a second home here. He lives with his family in suburban New York City and serves as deputy mayor of Lawrence, a neighborhood on Long Island in the heavily Jewish cluster known as the Five Towns. Mael is an active member of the Young Israel of Lawrence synagogue, and his four children graduated from a local Jewish school.” [ToI]

“NBA blindsides Heat owner Micky Arison with new Cuba initiative” by Greg Cote: “Longtime former NBA commissioner David Stern was extremely active in Democratic politics and a major financial contributor throughout his years in office. New commissioner Adam Silver also was an ardent early supporter of Obama and has donated to the party — the political leanings at the highest level of the NBA perhaps suggesting a climate that would lead to a goodwill tour as a show of support for Obama’s new policy of thawing relations with Cuba.”

“Arison happens to own and run Miami-based Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise-ship operator. Cruise stock prices spiked upward when Obama announced his thawing policy toward Cuba. People like Arison immediately imagined their majestic ships flowing lucratively in and out of Cuban ports. That could be another delicate spot for Arison, the idea that increasingly normalized relations with Cuba could be very good for Carnival and his already enormous bank account – but could also lead many Heat fans to angrily consider those profits to be Castro-dirty.” [MiamiHerald]

“Israel And Palestine Are Taking Their Fight To FIFA” by Aaron Gordon: “At the end of May, the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) will officially submit to the FIFA Congress their request for sanctions against the Israeli Football Association (IFA) for a laundry list of infractions. Like every other aspect of the Israel-Palestine conflict, there is a deep, complex history behind the PFA-IFA conflict with no clear moral high ground. It’s a total and complete mess, and now FIFA is smack in the middle of it.” [ViceSports]

HOLLYWOOD: “Kim Kardashian and Kanye West land in Israel: Reality television star Kim Kardashian and her superstar rapper husband Kanye West landed in Israel on Monday for a long-awaited visit in the Holy Land. The couple was accompanied by their 22-month-old toddler North West. The couple had been scheduled to stay at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem, but at the last minute they were taken to another Jerusalem hotel, after their plans to stay at the Waldorf were leaked to the press.” [JPost]

“At the Helm of a Philanthropist’s New Los Angeles Museum” by Robin Pogrebin: “Being the director of Eli Broad’s new museum might strike some people as a contradiction in terms. Mr. Broad is the headstrong billionaire philanthropist after all, whose influence and finances rescued the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and drove the redevelopment of Grand Avenue to revitalize downtown Los Angeles. How could someone running Mr. Broad’s private museum really have any power?” [NYTimes]

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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