Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Al Jazeera is bad news… Just ask Lindsey Graham | IDT to open Cybersecurity ‘Yeshiva’ | Kohr, Ben-Ami, RJC’s Brooks on DC Power List

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SCENE LAST NIGHT: “Over 500 guests gathered at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts last night in Beverly Hills to benefit the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Insitute of Israel Studies at UCLA. Before dinner Natalie Portman presented Amos Oz with an institute award. Oz said earlier that day Portman had screened for him and his wife Nily a cut of her movie version of his best-selling book Tales of Love and Darkness. Oz praised Portman’s movie, in which she plays his mother. “Natalie is now family,” he said. After the award, Oz sat for an on-stage interview with Ari Shavit, author of My Promised Land. Spotted: Israeli Consul General David Siegel, Sharon Nazarian, Sam Nazarian, Haim Saban, Rabbi David Wolpe, Richard Sandler, and LA Federation CEO Jay Sanderson.

DRIVING THE DAY: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must put together a governing coalition today or face the prospect of being forced out of office by day’s end. His party won elections in March, but he needs to secure a 61-seat majority in the 120-seat Parliament to avoid having the president give someone else the job.” [NYTimesReuters] • “Jewish Home said to get Justice Ministry, ending coalition standoff” [ToI] • “Revenge and Israel’s coalition crisis” [JPost]

IRAN BILL ON THE HILL: “Mitch McConnell shuts off Iran debate” by Burgess Everett:“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved Tuesday evening to end debate on a bipartisan bill allowing Congress to weigh in on a nuclear deal with Iran, positioning the legislation for final passage, though without some of the strict language sought by hawkish Republicans.” [PoliticoAP] • “Corker expects ‘overwhelming vote’ on Iran bill Thursday” [TheHill]

“Iran’s allies, not atoms, preoccupy Israeli generals” by Dan Williams: “While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thunders against a possible nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, his defense chiefs see Tehran’s guerrilla allies as a more pressing menace.” [Reuters]

“Obama’s true nuclear test: North Korea” by Nahal Toosi: “President Barack Obama may be racing to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, but his non-proliferation legacy could ultimately hinge on a country further to the east — one that already has nuclear weapons and is led by an unpredictable 30-something.” [Politico] • “Can we finally tame Iran?” by John McLaughlin [Ozy] • “Iran’s Khamenei Expresses Wariness Over Nuclear Deal” [WSJ]

2016 QUOTE: “The ayatollahs will know that hell will freeze over before they get a nuclear weapon” — Mike Huckabee at his presidential campaign launch yesterday [AP]

2016 WATCH: “America’s problem with atheists in the White House” by Kate Cohen: Atheists are the least trusted group in the United States… We sniff around any candidate we suspect might be a closet nonbeliever. Surely Sen. Bernie Sanders, the non-practicing Jew from Vermont, surely he must be an atheist! Throw us a bone, Bernie! All due respect to fellow atheists, but Sanders may be the one politician who would be forthright about this. He calls himself a socialist, after all. How much worse is atheist?” [WashPost]

ICYMI: “Watch Bernie Sanders Play A Rabbi In A 1999 Comedy About A Jewish-Italian Wedding” [BuzzFeed]

“Senator Lindsey Graham: Everything that starts with ‘Al’ in the Mideast is bad news: Everything that starts with ‘Al’ in the Middle East is bad news,” said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina at an AIPAC dinner in Boston on Monday. “Al-Qaida, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula,” said the senator, who may be running for president.” [Haaretz] • Headline winner: “Lindsey Graham al-Most Knows Arabic” [FP]

“Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop wasn’t present at the dinner, but said the al-being-bad-news line is a joke that’s part of Graham’s regular stump speech — and one that he’s told for many years. “It’s not a serious policy statement,” Bishop told The Washington Post, adding that it’s a “humorous way” to look at pressing issues. And the South Carolina senator often gets laughs when he tells it, too.” [WashPost]

MEDIA WATCH: “Al Jazeera America, Its Newroom in Turmoil, Is Now the News” by John Koblin: “The ratings have not come, nor have the profits. The station has been a nonfactor in news, drawing about 30,000 viewers a night. To make matters worse, in the last week, a lawsuit and an exodus of top executives have brought to the surface a series of grievances that employees say reflects a deep dysfunction in management of the newsroom, undermining the network’s mission.” [NYTimes] • “Is Al Jazeera Sexist, Anti-Semitic, and Anti-American?” [DailyBeast]

‘Reporter or Lobbyist’ — Said Arikat Edition — at yesterday’s State Dept. Press Briefing: Q: “So would you depend on the Israelis to – the Israeli military to investigate itself if it comes to you or if it’s — MR RATHKE: I think the – I think Israeli authorities are going to investigate that. Q: — You spoke about Ms. Nadia Savchenko — MR RATHKE: Yes. Q: I believe that’s the proper pronunciation. There’s also a Palestinian parliament member, a legislator that has been detained by the Israelis, forced to be exiled from one part of the West Bank to another of West Bank, Khalida Jarrar. I asked about her in this room before. Have you found anything about it? MR RATHKE: I don’t have anything for you —

Q: Would you please — MR RATHKE: — on that case. I’m not drawing a connection between those two cases. I’m not familiar with — Q: Well, she’s — MR RATHKE: I’m not familiar with the details of that one, Said. Q: She was illegally detained, I mean, for belonging to a political organization and placed under arrest. I mean, you are calling on — MR RATHKE: Again, I’m not drawing a link between — Q: Right? I mean, you’re calling on the Russians to release a Ukrainian parliament member. Do you call on the Israelis to release a Palestinian parliament member? [Transcript]

MD Sen Update: Rep. Donna Edwards condemned the anti-Israel flier that was distributed on Monday night in Prince George’s County. “I am outraged and disgusted by the anti-Semitic hate speech in this flier,” said Edwards. “It has no business in our discourse, let alone American politics.” [FreeBeacon]

“Texas Attacker Left Trail of Extremist Ideas on Twitter” by Scott Shane: “Counterterrorism officials on Tuesday were studying the electronic trails left by two men killed by a police officer as they shot at a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas, looking for any direct ties to the Islamic State extremist group in Syria.” [NYTimesAP]

James Kirchick: “Je Suis Pamela Geller? The self-styled ‘anti-jihadist’ Web warrior who organized Sunday’s Draw Muhammad event is an embarrassment. But that doesn’t diminish her right to free speech… she isn’t a latter-day Golda Meir. She’s what you would get if Fran Drescher and the late ultranationalist anti-Arab rabbi-turned-political leader Meir Kahane reproduced.” [DailyBeast]

TWO VIEWS: Rob Eshman — “Pamela Geller, You’re No Charlie Hebdo” [JewishJournal] • David Suissa — “Why give Muslims a Pass?” [JewishJournal]

Jeffrey Goldberg: “The Dangerous Myths About Charlie Hebdo: Critics don’t seem to understand that the magazine specializes in attacking ideas, not people.” [TheAtlantic]

**Good Wednesday 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**

STARTUP NATION: “James Packer to lead tech roadshow to Israel” by Ben Butler: “First Las Vegas, now Israel: fresh from ringside at the weekend, James Packer will play Tel Aviv tour guide next month as a bunch of wealthy Australian investors check out the city’s booming tech scene. VC firm Square Peg Capital is believed to be staging a week-long tour of Israel, with Packer in tow. It would be little surprise if Hollywood film producer, billionaire and Packer mate Arnon Milchan also tags along — the pair have reportedly been discussing joint investments for months. Packer was a foundation investor in Square Peg, along with Justin Liberman of the billionaire Liberman family fortune and a host of other Melbourne investors.” [TheAustralian]

“IDT to Start a Cybersecurity ‘Yeshiva'” by Rachel King: “IDT Corp. plans to begin a cybersecurity “yeshiva” in September where 40 students will study computer science and the Torah, the central text of the Jewish religion. A yeshiva is a Jewish school that focuses on the study of the Torah and other texts. The program is aimed at solving two problems: creating more cybersecurity professionals to fill vacant jobs industry-wide and generating a career path for people who live in economically disadvantaged communities.” [WSJ]

“WeWork’s Adam Neumann On The Importance Of Community, Which Helped Build A $5 Billion Business” by Matthew Lynley: “WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann said the word “community” at least a dozen times onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY. It’s a mantra of the company that he kept hammering away over and over and over — and, unsurprisingly, that part of WeWork’s massive network of co-working spaces seems to be one of the driving forces of the company’s success. It turns out that’s a good business too; as part of WeWork’s most recent financing round, the company raised $5 billion.” [TechCrunch]

“Mark Ghermezian loves Apple’s Beacon technology, and not just because he runs an app startup. Triple Five Group, his family’s company, owns the two largest malls in North America — the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Mall of America in Minnesota. In a rare interview, (the family usually shuns media attention), Ghermezian said he essentially wants to turn the Mall of America into a giant Amazon. “That’s what people expect,” said Ghermezian, who runs Triple Five’s venture capital arm and advises the mall on technology. “In (Mall of America), you can get lost. We want to help shoppers to navigate to the stores that they are actually interested in.” [SFChronicle]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Some upcoming projects are by developers with roots in Brooklyn and Queens, including Rubin Schron, who became a billionaire as an apartment landlord in the outer boroughs. His firm, Cammeby’s International, plans 544 residential units in Coney Island a 430-foot tower that would be the tallest in south Brooklyn” [Bloomberg] • “The Seattle bomb squad is testing a robot on Martin Selig‘s property and he couldn’t be happier” [BizJournal] • Drazin Family’s Crest Realties Buys $9M Washington Heights Building” [Observer] • Ben Ashkenazy closed a $270 million deal to buy the New York Marriott Hotel East Side” [NYPost]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “According to a list compiled by the Conference Board, the longest-tenured CEO in the S&P 500 is Leslie Wexner, who has served for more than a half-century atop L Brands Inc., which owns Victoria’s Secret and other retailers.” [WSJ] • “Business mogul arrested by Justice Ministry in police-attorney corruption case” [JPost] • “A Middle East Peace ‘Visionary’: Tony Blair Steps In as Character Witness in Ex-Israeli Leader’s Corruption Case” [ViceNews] • “Hollywood bigwig said to be ogling Mort Zuckerman‘s beleaguered Daily News” [NYPost]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Amid Chinese influx, Brandeis considers its Jewish identity” by Uriel Heilman: “It’s run by Jewish, and Jews are smarter — there were lots of people talking about that in the forums,” said Wang, now a Brandeis sophomore and a double major in economics and fine arts. “A lot of Jews are in very high positions in corporations, so once we get to Brandeis we can have connections to those corporations through alumni relationships.” [JTA]

“How Jews are trying to make things better after Baltimore” [JTA] • “Why a bunch of rabbis went to Baltimore to protest — and pray” by Shmuel Herzfeld: “If you read Saturday’s Washington Post, you probably saw the picture of Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro of Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah congregation in Baltimore County celebrating in West Baltimore last Friday with Meach Johnson at the intersection of North and Pennsylvania avenues. Rabbi Shapiro, myself and three of our rabbinic colleagues from a local Greater Washington Orthodox rabbinic organization known as The Beltway Vaad were invited to Baltimore by Rabbi Etan Mintz of B’nai Israel, a historic synagogue in Downtown Baltimore.” [WashPost]

WASHINGTON LIFE MAGAZINE’S 10TH ANNUAL POWER 100: This year’s list includes Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Wayne Berman, Matthew Brooks, David Cohen, Howard Kohr, William Kristol, This Town’s Mark Leibovich, Marne Levine, David Plouffe, David Rubenstein, Mitchell Schear and Randi Weingarten. [Issuu]

“Cohen, Solow Among Sellers as $2.3 Billion Art Sold at Auction” by Katya Kazakina: “An estimated $2.3 billion of art will be offered at 15 auctions, up from $2.2 billion at similar events last May. Sellers include billionaire money manager Steven A. Cohen, casino mogul Steve Wynn and New York real estate tycoon Sheldon Solow.” [Bloomberg]

Sheryl Sandberg remembers Dave Goldberg: “I want to thank all of our friends and family for the outpouring of love over the past few days. It has been extraordinary – and each story you have shared will help keep Dave alive in our hearts and memories. I met Dave nearly 20 years ago when I first moved to LA. He became my best friend. He showed me the internet for the first time, planned fun outings, took me to temple for the Jewish holidays, introduced me to much cooler music than I had ever heard… Dave and I did not get nearly enough time together. But as heartbroken as I am today, I am equally grateful.” [Facebook] • “Dave Goldberg Mourned by Charmed Leaders of Tech and Poker Buddies” [NYTimes]

“As Mother’s Day Nears, Re-examining the Idea of the Jewish Mom” by Matthew Kassel: “In recent years the Jewish mother has been going—or at least her identity has been watered down—as American parents become more controlling and demanding of their children. Helicopter parents seem to hover around practically every corner, and tiger moms, as exemplified by Amy Chua, are increasingly on the prowl.” [Observer]

DESSERT: “This Israeli Restaurant Has Plates Designed To Make Your Meals Look Perfect On Instagram” by Julie Kliegman: “It’s not always easy making your food look appetizing on Instagram. Israel’s Carmel Winery wants to fix that. Since February, they’ve been teaming with Catit, a Tel Aviv restaurant, to offer special Instagrammable meals and dishware on certain nights. The experience is called Foodography.” [BuzzFeed] h/t Playbook

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