Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: POTUS to address the Jewish community today; with the prerequisite Jeffrey Goldberg interview published prior | Shofar at Cruz event

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DRIVING THE DAY: “Obama takes step to mend relations with speech at Adas Israel synagogue” by Juliet Eilperin: “For weeks, President Obama has wrestled with his frayed relationship with key members of the American Jewish community. On Friday he will make his most public effort yet to repair the breach by doing something only three presidents have ever done: He will speak before an audience at a U.S. synagogue. When Obama speaks in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month at Adas Israel, Washington’s most prominent Conservative synagogue… he must forge an emotional connection with his Jewish listeners so they feel it in their “kishkes” — Yiddish for guts.”

“Many current and former Obama administration officials have attended services there, including Martin Indyk, former deputy Treasury secretary Neal Wolin, former Federal Communications Commission chair Julius Genachowski and Robert Einhorn, the secretary of state’s former special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control. It is a place where at least two Supreme Court justices worship regularly during the High Holidays (Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan). “The president is probably the last person in the White House who hasn’t been to Adas,” quipped Norman Eisen, Obama’s former ambassador to the Czech Republic. “So I guess he wants to see what it’s all about.” [WashPost] • “Obama to deliver rare synagogue address” [JPost] • Watch live at 11am [C-Span

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: Jeffrey Goldberg interviewed President Obama — “Look.. It’s My Name on This’: Obama Defends the Iran Nuclear Deal” in The Atlantic: “Obama, who earlier in the discussion had explicitly labeled the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, an anti-Semite, responded with an argument I had not heard him make before. “Look, 20 years from now, I’m still going to be around, God willing. If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this,” he said. “I think it’s fair to say that in addition to our profound national-security interests, I have a personal interest in locking this down.”

“Though he tried to frame his conflict with Netanyahu in impersonal terms, Obama made two things clear. One is that he will not stop criticizing Israel when he believes it is not living up to its own founding values. And two—and this is my interpretation of his worldview—he holds Israel to a higher standard than he does other countries because of the respect he has for Jewish values and Jewish teachings, and for the role Jewish mentors and teachers have played in his life.” [TheAtlantic]

–Key paragraphs: “One argument that I very much have been concerned about, and it has gotten stronger over the last 10 years … it’s less overt than the arguments that a Sheldon Adelson makes, but in some ways can be just as pernicious, is this argument that there should not be disagreements in public… Now the truth of the matter is that what we said publicly was fairly spare and mild, and then would be built up—it seemed like an article a day, partly because when you get in arguments with friends it’s a lot more newsworthy than arguments with enemies. Well, and it’s the same problem that I’m having right now with the trade deals up on Capitol Hill. The fact that I agree with Elizabeth Warren on 90 percent of issues is not news. That we disagree on one thing is news.”

“But my point, Jeff, is that we are at enough of an inflection point in terms of the region that trying to pretend like these important, difficult policy questions are not controversial, and that they don’t have to be sorted out, I think is a problem. And one of the great things about Israel is, these are arguments that take place in Israel every day. If you sit down in some cafe in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, you’re hearing far more contentious arguments, and that’s healthy. That’s part of why Americans love Israel, it’s part of the reason why I love Israel—because it is a genuine democracy and you can express your opinions.”

Chemi Shalev: “President Obama was addressing, first and foremost, his core constituency of American Jewish liberal voters. He is seeking to shore up their support so that they will help, or at least not hamper, his efforts to ensure that no more than 12 Democratic Senators, at worst, defect to the Republican side to form a veto-proof majority against a nuclear deal with Iran, if and when it comes up for a vote in the Senate.” [Haaretz] • “Obama Seeks to Boost Ties With Jewish Americans Amid Iran Nuclear Talks” [WSJ

TOP TWEET: @BenjaminFMoser — This really might be the best picture ever: my niece Claudia throwing a fit at [President Obama’s] Passover [Seder].” [Twitter]

TOP TALKER: “U.S. Sanctions Triggered by Plane Sale to Iran’s Mahan Air” by Jay Solomon: “The U.S. took punitive measures against an Iraqi airline and a Syrian businessman on Thursday over the sale of aircraft to a blacklisted Iranian airline, in a case that has sparked concerns that U.S. sanctions are beginning to fray as foreigners anticipate a nuclear deal with Tehran next month.” [WSJ]

A Jay Solomon Double: “Israel Frets as U.N. Works to Arrange Mideast Nuclear Conference: A senior Israeli official said early Friday that language Israel supports requiring consensus among Middle East countries in order for the conference to be held has been stripped from the draft under consideration… Senior U.S. officials denied Thursday that the Obama administration was reneging on commitments to Israel. They said the White House was seeking to develop a text at the U.N. conference that promotes both the U.S.’s and Israel’s national security interests.” [WSJ]

Joe Lieberman in Jerusalem: “The four-term senator from Connecticut and 2000 vice-presidential nominee is in Israel to accept Bar-Ilan University’s Guardian of Zion Award from the university’s Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies. Lieberman surmised that the next US administration would be friendlier with Israel than the current one. He also expressed concern over America’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, saying they are “going in a bad direction,” and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to embrace the long-shelved Arab Peace Initiative.” [JTAJPost]

Will Rep. Lee Zeldin ever receive the Rennert Guardian of Zion Award? Yesterday, Zeldin released a statement saying “I intend to pursue what is necessary to hold the FAA to its assurances and to work with all interested parties on an effective solution that reduces helicopter noise on the Town of East Hampton this high season and in the long term.” [Statement] — Rennert angle: “The biggest impact will be on billionaire Ira Rennert, who owns two choppers: a Sikorsky S-92 that can seat 19 people and a Sikorsky S-76 that can seat 12. “Rennert runs them both as a shuttle, back and forth every day,” said Frank Dalene, head of Quiet Skies Coalition.” [NYPost]

Jerusalem Post’s 50 Most Influential Jews: “1. Benjamin Netanyahu 2. Janet Yellen 3. Jack Lew 4.Wendy Sherman 5. Sheldon Adelson 6. Haim Saban 7. Reuven Rivlin 8. Gadi Eizenkot 9. Karnit Flug 10.Ron Lauder 11. Shimon Peres 12. Michael Bloomberg 13. Isaac Herzog 14. Ruth Bader Ginsburg 15. Malcolm Hoenlein 16. Natan Sharansky 17. Shari Arison 18. Jon Stewart 19. Dianne Feinstein 20. Todd Stern 21. Dan Shapiro 22. Efi Stenzler 23. Danna Azrieli 24. Miriam Naor 25. Jon Medved 26. Jeff Zients 27. Nir Barkat 28. Moshe Kahlon 29. Yosi Druker 30. Ron Dermer 31. Moshe Kantor 32. Lynn Schusterman 33. Ayelet Shaked 34. Berel Lazar 35. Eric Fingerhut 36. Rivka Carmi 37. Thomas Friedman 38. Sheryl Sandberg 39. Ruth Porat 40. David Blatt 41. Yechiel Eckstein 42. Rachelle Fraenkel 43. Marta Weinstock-Rosin 44. Vladimir Sloutsker 45. Elie Wiesel 46. Sharon Cohen Anisfeld47. Matthew Bronfman 48. Idena Menzel 49. Amy Schumer 50. Gal Gadot” [JPost]

2016 WATCH: Press Release “NBC News’ Chuck Todd to Host 2016 Presidential Candidates at Largest Jewish-American Event: Thousands of Reform Jews will Gather in Florida for the URJ’s 73rd Biennial, November 2015… “URJ’s Biennial, because of its timing, location and audience, will be a must-attend event for the top presidential candidates,” said Todd. “Florida has long been a key state in presidential elections, and I am very much looking forward to this unique presidential forum.”

The question is with the forum taking place in Florida and with the R’s expected to make a foreign policy focused push to pick up a larger chunk of the Jewish vote — would any of the leading Republican candidates participate to show they’re making an effort even if the URJ isn’t the friendliest of audiences for them?

One Republican campaign advisor working for a top 2016 candidate emailed us… “I don’t see any chance that us or any of the other serious GOP candidates would participate in this.”

Shofar spotting at Ted Cruz gathering: “I will tell you this—I will always, always, always stand and fight for religious liberty of every American.” The audience erupted in applause. Cruz clapped along with them. Someone started blowing a shofar, a traditionally Jewish liturgical instrument often made from the horn of a ram.” [TimeMag]

CAMPAIGN FINANCE: “Hillary’s dash for cash” by Gabriel Debenedetti: “One month into her bid for the presidency — and without even the prospect of a serious primary challenge — Clinton’s schedule is already straining under the gargantuan task of raising somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion. From Marc Lasry’s Manhattan apartment to Tom Steyer’s San Francisco spread, to Haim Saban’s Los Angeles home, to Fred Eychaner’s Chicago mansion, Clinton has occasionally stayed longer than planned and given her backers more attention than she will be able to when her campaign eventually picks up its pace.” [Politico] • “Rove’s Crossroads PAC Is No Longer G.O.P.’s ‘Big Dog’” — with Mel Sembler cameo [NYTimes]

Sidney Blumenthal’s Statement: “From time to time, as a private citizen and friend, I provided Secretary Clinton with material on a variety of topics that I thought she might find interesting or helpful. The reports I sent her came from sources I consider reliable. I have informed the House Select Committee on Benghazi that I will cooperate with its inquiry and look forward to answering the Committee’s questions.” [Twitter] • “Insiders: Benghazi testimony works to Hillary’s advantage” by Katie Glueck [Politico]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “French-Israeli Billionaire Patrick Drahi Is Coming To America With Cable Deals” by Nathan Vardi: “The French-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi has built his Luxembourg telecommunications company Altice by buying cable and mobile assets in France, Belgium, Israel, Portugal and the Dominican Republic. Now, Drahi is coming to America with a deal to buy a majority stake in Suddenlink, the seventh biggest cable operator in the U.S.” [Forbes]

LongRead: “Is This the Office of the Future or a $5 Billion Waste of Space?” by Andrew Rice: “Adam Neumann, WeWork’s Israeli-born co-founder, has called the company a “physical social network,” and it makes every effort to lubricate connections. “We gave 90,000 glasses of beer last month,” he said in a recent onstage interview at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2015, “which is a number we’re proud of.” Here are some other enviable numbers for WeWork: It currently has 23,000 customers working in 32 locations, about half of them concentrated in New York, where WeWork is the fastest-growing consumer of office space.” [Businessweek]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Ziel Feldman on the High Line, Billionaires’ Row and bucking trends” [RealDeal] • “Memphis Airport Authority names Pace Cooper to serve as its new chairman [BizJournalLocalMemphis] • “Hermitage’s Cherry Creek Apartments sold for $86.5M” [Tennessean]

STARTUP NATION: “Phree Stylus Makes the World Your Paper, and Your Phone a Notepad: The Tel Aviv-based Phree uses a tiny laser sensor somewhat like you’d find in a mouse to track the tip’s movement with great precision, and sends that information to your device wirelessly — allowing you to write or sketch on nearly any surface and save it digitally. The team consists of Elisha Tal (Chief Designer), Dr. Opher Kinrot (Co-Founder, Co-CEO), Gilad Lederer (Co-Founder, Co-CEO), Uri Kinrot (Co-Founder, Chief Engineer)” [NBC NewsKickstarter]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Rabbis Diversify To Connect To Students; Just Don’t Bring Up Israel” by Monique Parsons: “Rabbi Evan Goodman runs Hillel, the campus Jewish center, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In recent years, he’s had to rethink his job. The tensions are not about religion. The issue is Israel.” [NPR]

CAMPUS BEAT: “UC President Janet Napolitano wants UC to regard some anti-Israel views as anti-Semitic” by Jared Sichel: “On the final day of a meeting in San Francisco among the University of California’s Board of Regents, UC President Janet Napolitano said in a radio interview with 90.9 WBUR in Boston that her “personal view” is that the UC should adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, which includes denying Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and holding it to a double-standard.” [JewishJournal]

INBOX: “O.U. Is Profiting From Nazi War Crimes” — Sent from Oklahoma State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft. He’s referring to the University of Oklahoma and not the Orthodox Union (OU). Backstory – “U. of Oklahoma asked to return artwork stolen by Nazis” [USA Today]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “URJ and NFTY sued over sand fly bites on Israel youth trip” by Jared Sichel: “Parents of four Jewish high school students in Los Angeles County filed a lawsuit on May 4 alleging that the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and its youth movement, the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), did not adequately warn and protect their children from infected sand flies during a 2014 group trip to Israel.” [JewishJournal]

SPORTS BLINK: “Yale’s Aaron Greenberg Redshirting Junior Year To Make Israeli Olympic Team” by Anne Lepesant: “Aaron Greenberg, who capped his sophomore season at Yale with a third-place finish in the 50 free and a seventh in the 100 free at 2015 Ivy League Championships, has elected to take the next year off to “pursue a lifelong Olympic dream.” Greenberg will move to Israel, where he has recently obtained citizenship, and train with the Israeli National Team. He is hoping to make Israel’s 2016 Olympic squad at their Trials next spring.” [SwimSwam]

Tidbit: “Eli Groner is an ardent sports enthusiast, both a learned spectator and active participant, and played a number of years in the American Football in Israel League on the same team with Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer. Both men are in the AFI Hall of fame.” [JPost]

“Eliot Spitzer’s new baby” by Kate Glassman Bennett: “May 30th is apparently going to be the day Martin O’Malley makes the biggest professional announcement of his career, but his communications director, Lis Smith, and her live-in boyfriend—a.k.a. former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer—this week evidently had their own milestone: The couple adopted a kitten.” [Politico]

“Herman Wouk Writes Book To Mark 100th Birthday” by Hillel Italie: “Wouk’s “Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author” is coming out in December, Simon & Schuster told The Associated Press on Friday. The book will cover his years in the Navy during World War II, inspiration for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Caine Mutiny,” and will include reflections on his Jewish faith, a recurring theme in his work.” [AP]

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: David Blatt turns 56… Gloria Woodlock… Ofer Nimrodi turns 58… Stephanie Liss…

That’s all folks; have a great day! Next Daily Kickoff will be on Tuesday morning.

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