SCENE YESTERDAY — Jewish leaders and campaign supporters met with President Obama at the White House: President Obama met with two separate groups of Jewish leaders at the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing yesterday.
–The first meeting, held at 1:45PM, featured National Security Advisors Susan Rice and Colin Kahl. The organization leaders who attended include… Conference of Presidents’ Malcolm Hoenlein, AIPAC’s Lee Rosenberg and Robert Cohen, ADL’s Abe Foxman, OU’s Allen Fagin, JCPA’s Steve Gutow, Wiesenthal’s Marvin Hier, URJ’s Rick Jacobs, AJC’s Jason Issacson, WJC’s Ronald Lauder, Israel Policy Forum’s Peter Joseph, NCJW’s Nancy K. Kaufman, B’nai B’rith’s Dan Mariaschin, NJDC’s Greg Rosenbaum, Rabbinical Assembly’s Julie Schonfeld, Federations’ Jerry Silverman, past CoP Chair Alan Solow, J Street Vice-Chair Alexandra Stanton, and CoP’s Chairman Robert Sugarman. According to a source, the two hour long meeting, featured Potus speaking for around an hour with some time for questions and answers with the President and Rice.
–The second meeting, tailored more for the President’s longtime supporters in the Jewish community, was held at 4:45PM and lasted around an hour and forty minutes. The meeting featured President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, and Robert Malley. According to two sources with knowledge of the meetings, the President began by detailing the day’s previous meeting, with no notes, for around twenty minutes and then went around the room allowing each attendee to ask multiple questions on issues including Iran, Israelis and Palestinians, and the U.S. – Israel relationship. One source told Jewish Insider that they had never seen the President as “passionate, emotional and connected to the issues” as he was [today] but added that the President was also candid and honest about expressing frustration with the way some of his views have been portrayed and attacked by others.
–Two individuals attended both meetings yesterday: Alan Solow and Alexandra Stanton. For those of you keeping track, Solow was also one of the few who attended both White House Hanukkah parties this past year. Stanton was J Street’s representative at the first meeting, as Jeremy Ben-Ami was out of town, and attended the second meeting because of her own personal support of Obama. Stanton hosted the President at her NYC home for a DNC fundraiser in 2013.
–Second meeting attendees: Former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic and Obama’s law school classmate Norm Eisen, AIPAC’s first female president Amy Friedkin, AIPAC’s first Orthodox president Howard Friedman, Levi Strauss heir Doug Goldman, Jewish Dem donor and J Street supporter Victor Kovner, Rabinowitz Communication’s Steve Rabinowitz, Endeavor Real Estate’s Kirk Rudy, media mogul Haim Saban, Alan Solow, Alexandra Stanton, former U.S. Amb. to the UK and J Street board member Louis Susman, Sterling Group founder and OU activist Gary Torgow, Florida trial lawyer Andrew Weinstein, and Robert Wolf of UBS.
2016 WATCH: “Marco Rubio announces he’s running for president” by Alex Isenstadt and Marc Caputo: “In a historic building that symbolizes the United States’ promise and past, Marco Rubio on Monday announced his candidacy for president, playing up his family’s immigrant roots and promising to usher in a “new American century.”.. “While our people and economy are pushing the boundaries of the 21st century, too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the 20th century,” Rubio said. “We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.” [Politico] • Watch the announcement [CSPAN]
Notable line: Rubio called for “abandoning this administration’s dangerous concessions to Iran and it’s hostility to Israel.” [CSPAN]
SCENE: Immediately prior to Rubio’s speech, the words ‘Mazel Tov’ were heard over the speakers repeatedly thanks to The Black Eyed Peas’ ‘I Gotta Feeling’ [Video] • Rubio began his remarks by noting “That is a lot of cell phones. Thank you” [Video] • Spotted: Florida Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Romney alums Lanhee Chen and Bettina Inclan, Norman Braman, AIPAC board members Carlyn and Lothar Mayer, Getaroom founder Bob Diener, Eytan Laor, Jeffrey Zipper, David Ben-Hooren, and NFL wide receiver Wes Welker. [Twitter]
Corey Breier, a Republican Jewish Coalition activist from Aventura, said he thought Rubio’s speech was “marvelous and I’ll be supporting him.” Asked about Jeb Bush, Breier told Jewish Insider that, “it was a difficult decision but the problem is Mr. James Baker. Jeb having Baker as an advisor on foreign affairs is a bit scary considering his support of the Iran deal.”… Yanky Rodman, 23, visiting from Crown Heights, NY, told us that he came to show support because “Rubio believes in all the things I believe in, both domestic and foreign policy issues.”
JI SCOOP: Rubio’s first New York City event as a Presidential candidate will be a ‘Jewish’ fundraiser hosted by real estate attorney Andy Albstein on Thursday morning at 8:45.
But first… “Rubio will fly to Washington on Tuesday to push an amendment making any Iran deal dependent on Tehran’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist, which is considered a nonstarter.” [NYTimes] • “The power players behind Rubio’s campaign” [Politico]
DRIVING THE DAY: “Bob Corker says bipartisan deal has been reached on Iran bill” by Nick Gass: “We have reached a bipartisan agreement that keeps the congressional review process absolutely intact, full of integrity,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Corker also said it is his understanding that the bill includes language that addresses concerns over whether Iran should recognize the state of Israel as part of the agreement.” [Politico; HuffPost] • At 2:15pm today, watch the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act Markup Hearing [CSPAN] • At 9am, Cabinet Secretaries John Kerry, Ernest Moniz, and Jack Lew meet with the House Democratic Caucus on the hill… At 10:30am, the group moves to the other side of the Capitol to brief Senators [State]
Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Sen. Tom Cotton: “Confrontation is what it seems Cotton is after. Though he pays lip service to the notion that the alternative to this deal is not war but a stronger deal, he clearly appears to believe that an American- or Israeli-initiated military confrontation soon—one that would not resemble the Iraq War, he thinks, but instead would be a strike of short duration and limited regional fallout—could prevent a nuclear confrontation sometime in the years to come.” [TheAtlantic] • “Republicans Are Making Foreign Policy The Obamacare Of The 2016 Election” by Steve Inskeep [NPR]
TOP TALKER: “Putin Lifts Ban on Russian Missile Sales to Iran” by Neil Macfarquhar:“President Vladimir V. Putin on Monday approved the delivery of a sophisticated air defense missile system to Iran, potentially complicating negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program and further straining ties with Washington. The sale could also undermine the Obama administration’s efforts to sell Congress and foreign allies on the nuclear deal… military experts said the highly capable S-300 system would make it much harder for the United States or Israel to stage airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.”[NYTimes] • “Abdullah’s warning” [NYPost]
“Hillary Clinton’s Israel Challenge” by Aaron David Miller: “Israel presents one of the greatest challenges for how Hillary Clinton walks the line between endorsing Barack Obama‘s foreign policy and separating herself from the president she served on issues that could damage her chances of winning the White House. But here’s why Mrs. Clinton is likely to be fine…” [WSJ] • Eric Yoffie: “Hillary guarantees Democrats will keep the U.S. Jewish vote” [Haaretz]
“Biden says he’s in no rush to decide on presidential race” by Nicole Gaudiano: “The day after Hillary Rodham Clinton officially entered the 2016 race for the White House, Vice President Joe Biden said he still has “plenty of time” to make up his own mind about running.” [USA Today] • Biden didn’t mention anything 2016-related at yesterday’s meeting with top Jewish supporters, according to a source…
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Sapir bests Kalisman for Mondrian SoHo” [NYPost] • “Hedge-fund magnate Mercer backing Cruz is major investor in Breitbart News Network” [Politico] • “James Packer’s Israel home [PropertyObserver] • “Sheldon Silver’s Son-in-Law Is Arrested and Charged With Securities Fraud” [NYTimes] • “Man couldn’t report jewelry theft for days because of Passover: cops” [NYPost]
STARTUP NATION + HOLLYWOOD: “Israel Ranks #3 in Hollywood Imports” by Millie Dent: “Roughly 16 years ago, Israeli producers and writers started looking at the entertainment industry from a new angle—and with the kind of ingenuity that has led to Israel being called Start-Up Nation. Realizing that well-funded shows with expensive graphics were out of reach, the creative community, based largely in Tel-Aviv, began producing concepts for television shows (also known as formats) which they could then sell to countries with big budgets to produce them.” [Forbes]
DESSERT: “Two Italian cheese makers to produce authentic kosher Parmesan” by Anna Momigliano: “If you’ve been eating kosher Parmesan for the past five years, the chances are it’s not been the real thing… Currently, there is no kosher Parmigiano-Reggiano available. Soon, however, the “king of Italian cheeses” will be able to claim its spot on the tables of observant Jews, as two local producers launch their own kosher lines.” [Haaretz]
That’s all folks; have a great day!
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