Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Amb. Shapiro on Amb. Oren – “doesn’t reflect the truth; he’s trying to sell books” | Ralph Herzka profile | Norman Brownstein interview

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IRAN TALKS: “Kerry: U.S. ‘not fixated’ on Iran answering queries on atomic work” by Louis Charbonneau: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday suggested that Washington would not insist that Iran answer unresolved questions about its past nuclear activities because the United States already knows exactly what Tehran has done… Separately, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power rejected on Tuesday suggestions by a U.N. sanctions monitoring panel that Washington may be keeping silent about Iranian sanctions violations to avoid disrupting the nuclear talks.” [Reuters;PoliticoNYTimes]

“Iran nuke talks impeded by disagreement on all main elements” by George Jahn: “Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has for weeks rebuffed U.S. demands that U.N. nuclear monitors have access to military sites and nuclear scientists as they monitor Tehran’s commitments under a deal and probe allegations of past work on atomic arms. Negotiators are concerned about a lack of headway on all issues. Russian chief delegate Sergey Ryabkov said Friday the “the rate of progress … is progressively slowing down.” [AP] • Editorial: “Obama’s Snap-Back Fantasy” [WSJ]

“Obama’s Nuclear Dream Fizzles” by Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith: “As President Obama prepares for the last of the global summits he organized to safeguard nuclear explosive materials, his aides are hoping for modest achievements rather than pressing for broad new measures to help protect the world from a nuclear terror attack, according to current and former administration officials.” [PoliticoMag]

“Israel-Linked Cyberspies May Have Hacked Foxconn Too” by Danny Yadron: “The suspected Israeli computer spies who hacked hotels hosting diplomatic talks on Iran’s nuclear program appear to have also broken into computers at electronics giant Foxconn, according to researchers at Kaspersky Lab.”[WSJ]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Carter, Dempsey To Testify In House On Middle East” by Deb Riechmann: “Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Gen. Martin Dempsey, who is finishing a four-year stint as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are to appear Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee.” [AP] • Watch live at 10am [CSPAN]

“Michael Oren: American Jewish journalists lead media’s anti-Israel assault” by Chemi Shalev: “Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, claims that Jewish journalists are largely responsible for American media’s anti-Israel coverage and the “double standard” it applies in its coverage of the Jewish state. Oren also writes that the antagonism towards Netanyahu shown by Jewish journalists such as Thomas Friedman and Leon Wieseltier resembles historic hatred of Jews.” [Haaretz]

U.S. Amb. Dan Shapiro ‘slams’ Oren: “Michael Oren published an imaginary account of what happened,” Shapiro said in a Hebrew-language interview with Army Radio. “I disagree with what he wrote. He was an ambassador in the past, but he is now a politician and an author who wants to sell books. Sometimes an ambassador has a limited point of view into ongoing efforts. What he wrote does not reflect the truth.” [HaaretzJPost] • Last week: Amb. Shapiro began his speech at the Herzliya Conference saying “it’s a great honor to be here with.. MK Michael Oren.” [YouTube

“On Israel’s Liberal Abortion Policies” by Yair Rosenberg: “A recent New York Times op-ed claims the Jewish state restricts abortion more than most Western countries. It doesn’t.” [TabletMag]

2016 WATCH: “Berniemania! Why Is Socialist Bernie Sanders So Popular?” by Ross Barkan: “At James Madison High School, the tall, trim Mr. Sanders was a good, though ordinary, student. He wrote for the student newspaper, the Highway Reporter, but friends don’t recall him having political inclinations—just a general leftward tilt, common among the many working-class Jews who lived in the neighborhood… A Sanders supporter in Keene underscored this point, gently chastising a reporter for asking whether an avowed socialist could win over voters nationwide. “He’s a democratic socialist, like another celebrated Jewish socialist—Jesus,” he said.” [Observer]

“Trump: With Iran deal, ‘Israel maybe won’t exist very long'” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Take a look at the deal he’s making with Iran. [If] he makes that deal, Israel maybe won’t exist very long. It’s a disaster.” “We have to protect Israel,” Trump asserted. “And we won’t be using a man like Secretary Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiation, who’s making a horrible and laughable deal, who’s just being tapped along as they make weapons right now, and then goes into a bicycle race at 72 years old, and falls and breaks his leg,” he said, “I won’t be doing that. And I promise I will never be in a bicycle race.” [HaaretzYouTube]

Jay Lefkowitz, former Bush White House staffer, discusses Jeb’s 2016 run on Israeli radio[ArmyRadioStarts at 6:30

ADELSON PRIMARY: “Sheldon Adelson Beats 2016 Drum for Marco Rubio Through Free Israeli Newspaper” by Jonathan Ferziger: “While billionaire Sheldon Adelson has yet to disclose his Republican presidential pick, the Israeli newspaper he publishes seems to have all but anointed Marco Rubio. “It became clear that Rubio may be the most pro-Israel presidential candidate that America has to offer,” wrote Boaz Bismuth, the foreign editor who also holds the title of senior analyst.” [Bloomberg]

SCENE LAST NIGHT: Around 150 guests of the Hudson Institute gathered at a West Side penthouse overlooking Central Park to hear from Bret Stephens, Husain Haqqani and Walter Russell Mead on “Restoring American Leadership After Obama.” Hudson President Ken Weinstein introduced the panel by noting how President Obama has indeed been a ‘uniter not a divider’ in bringing both Stephens and Mead’s foreign policy views together. Weinstein joked that while, according to recent press reports, Amb. Haqqani may deserve some credit for the capturing of Osama bin Laden, he also cost Hudson a reader as it was recently disclosed that some of the Institute’s material was found on OBL’s hard drive. Panelists compared Obama’s foreign policy with that of Jimmy Carter’s although Haqqani pointed out that Carter didn’t withdraw from any region of the world. To which Mead cracked that “Obama really is the great uniter — he just got Hudson to say something nice about Carter.”

Spotted: Jeffrey Berenson, Sarah Stern, Robert Chartener, Kenneth Bialkin, Walter Stern, William Luti, Catherine Hart, Orna Shulman, Henry Rosenberg, Stuart and Betsy Sucherman, Tom and Patricia Barry, Margaret Whitehead, Stan Arkin, John Nielson, Chris DeMuth, Gil Scharf, Rob McDowell, Nick Gallagher, Cheryl Fishbein, Nick Clairmont, Ed Cox, Amb. Bruce Gelb, Joshua Landes, Bob Perkins, Carolyn Stewart, Harold Siegel, Marilyn Siegel, Charles Davidson.

HAPPENING TONIGHT: The ADL hosts a black tie optional gala at the Waldorf Astoria celebrating Abraham H. Foxman’s 50 years of service and 27 years as ADL’s National Director. Honorary chairs include Dr. Henry A. Kissinger and Elie Wiesel. The lineup of speakers includes host Katie Couric, Roger Ailes, NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton, Amb. Francois Delattre, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Thomas Friedman, S.A. Ibrahim, Richard Joel, Joel Klein, Jon Meacham, Eboo Patel, Amb. Samantha Power, Amb. Susan E. Rice, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Ari Shavit, David Stern, and Diane von Furstenberg.

“What will the ADL lose when Abe Foxman leaves?” by Uriel Heilman: “If there’s one thing that can be said of longtime Anti-Defamation League leader Abraham Foxman, who is stepping down this month after nearly 30 years at the helm, it’s that he never holds back from speaking his mind… “Abe was like an uncle to me. If you did something he thought you were on the wrong side of, he was going to let you know about it,” said former White House Jewish Liaison Jarrod Bernstein. “On the flip side, if he thought you were being treated unfairly, or you did something right, he wouldn’t hesitate to say that either.” [JTA]

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“Leading Questions: A Chat with Denver Attorney and Lobbyist Norman Brownstein” by Sara Randazzo: “Q: When did you start lobbying? A: I’d been spending time in American politics on pro-Israel issues. One day in 1995, I decided not only do I want to participate in the dialogue and issues confronting American-Israel relations, but other issues affecting the economy. I decided I wanted to be embroiled in the middle of it. I knew I would be competing with the D.C. establishment, and I said that’s okay. We started with three people, a couple of clients. Q: How big is the team now? A: Approximately 30 in Washington. We built this firm organically, one key senior professional at a time.” [WSJ]

PROFILE: “Prime Meridian: Inside Ralph Herzka’s loan-brokerage empire” by Mark Maurer: “Suitably, stories from Herzka’s clients, brokers and peers paint the portrait of a man for whom work is paramount. His social and family life tend to take a back seat to business. If Herzka attends an industry or charity event, he is more likely spotted on the way out the door than schmoozing inside, sources said. And some former Meridian employees described the place as a “boiler room.” “When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like hard work,” Herzka told The Real Deal.”

“The firm has more than 250 employees in its New York City headquarters and offices in six states. Meridian says it brokered roughly $30 billion worth of loans in 4,000 transactions. Competitors estimate the firm has a whopping 15 percent market share in New York, and insiders say Herzka’s next big step could be to take the company public.” [RealDeal]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Kirk Kerkorian, the Modest Mogul Who Quietly Built Vegas, Dies at 98” [DailyBeast] • “Mark Pincus spent $2.2M on his incubator; now he’s selling it to Zynga for $1” [VentureBeat• “Is developer Michael Shvo eyeing Safras’ $120M townhouse trio?” [PageSix• “Casino firm denies racial bias in work practices” [PhillyTrib] • “The sale of the Jewish Federation Building on Third Avenue was the final piece in the puzzle Martin Selig needed to complete plans for a 36-story office tower” [QANews] • “SodaStream CEO Dismisses New Keurig Kold Machine as Competition” [Bloomberg]

“Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green’s Bible curriculum is a hit in Israeli schools” by Michele Chabin: “Students at 16 Israeli high schools are completing a yearlong pilot program developed by the Washington-based Museum of the Bible, funded by the billionaire Green family, owners of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain. Hobby Lobby President Steve Green founded the Museum of the Bible to showcase his family’s vast collection of rare Bibles and biblical artifacts. The 430,000-square-foot building, three blocks from the U.S. Capitol, is expected to open to the public in 2017… The Israeli curriculum was tailor-made for Israel’s publicly funded secular Jewish school system, and contains no Christian content.” [RNS]

“How the Israeli Desert Town of Sderot Became a Hotbed for Film and Music” by David Caspi: “Historically, the Israeli city of Sderot has mostly been known for bordering the Gaza Strip, where it has sustained rocket attacks for the better part of 14 years. But during that time, it’s also seen a thriving film and music scene emerge. From June 7 through 11, the southern Negev desert town once again hosted the Cinema South International Film Festival, held annually since 2002 and hosted by Sderot’s Sapir College.” [HollywoodReporter]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “After A Century, Revere Synagogue Readies To Close” by Bruce Gellerman: “In the mid-20th century, a quarter of Revere’s population was Jewish. And there were three synagogues. Soon there will be just one.” [WBUR]

“The Jewish-Arab running club that’s uniting some of Jerusalem’s teens” by Ruth Eglash:“The group – whose members say it is as much about fitness as it is about uniting the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian residents of this divisive city – decided to hold its own race. Last Thursday, some 100 runners participated in a 5-kilometer run at the Train Track Park, a length of disused Ottoman-era rail line that crosses the seam between Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem’s east and Jewish neighborhoods in the west.” [WashPost]

SPORTS BLINK: “Stephen Curry’s mom says Israel trip transformed her spiritually: Sonya Curry showed the interviewer the Hebrew tattoo on the nape of her neck that reads “chen,” meaning grace. She said that following a visit to Israel about five years ago, she “was just transformed spiritually.” Curry said she wanted to learn Hebrew… Stephen Curry and his wife have matching tattoos in Hebrew…” [JewishJournal]

Hillel Kuttler on Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar: “It was his mom’s family that provided Pillar’s Jewish influence: Wendy’s mother and maternal grandparents were observant and lived in the Los Angeles suburbs. The family didn’t affiliate with a synagogue, but Pillar and his elder brother, Michael, participated in bar mitzvah prep classes. Now Pillar has his sights set on playing for Israel in next year’s World Baseball Classic; he said he wasn’t contacted in time for the 2012 tournament. With his maternal grandmother, Leila, 80, in mind, Pillar said it “would be a great honor.” [JTA]

BOOK REVIEW: “The (Jewish) Stoners Who Won a $300M DoD Contract: In Arms and the Dudes: How Three Stoners from Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History, Guy Lawson profiles the three young stoners from Miami Beach who won a $300 million Department of Defense contract to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. They bought cheap Communist-style surplus ammunition from Balkan gunrunners, repackaged millions of rounds of shoddy Chinese ammunition and shipped it to Kabul—until they were caught by Pentagon investigators.” [WNYCAmazon]

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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