Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Kerry, Moniz & Lew testify today | Ari Shavit on the Iran deal | Trump’s Jewish mentor | Israeli baseball player selected in MLB draft

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FIRST LOOK — Steve Forbes interviews Prime Minister Netanyahu: “We’re meeting here in Beersheba. By all accounts Israel is now one of the top two or three high-tech powers in the world–ahead of the European Union, with its 500 million people. You’ve done this with 8 million people. How?”

Bibi: “Well, you have to have deep roots. We’re in Beersheba. It’s a new town. Abraham came here 3,800 years ago, and we sort of rebuilt it with the founding of the state. But the new thing is this: We decided here, in the middle of the Negev Desert, to bring in our special information units of the Israeli Army and put them right next to Ben-Gurion University. And right next to that—all within 100 yards–to build a cyber industrial park to bring in the leading companies of the world. And they’re here. We have this interaction between our finest military and cyber-security minds and the finest at the university and the nearby businesses. This is a hub, and it’s exploding.”

Bibi’s Asia Pivot: “I spoke to Mr. Modi, the prime minister of India. And he told me, “Look, in all my four color revolutions–in water, dairy, clean air [and the other things he wants, such as agriculture]–I need Israeli technology.” So the second thing you want to do is not only develop the technology but also develop it for new markets.” Full Interview [Forbes]

ICYMI: “Netanyahu pivots to Asia: Fractious relations with the West are prompting Israel to turn elsewhere” [Economist]

Press Release: “Canadian Prime Minister announces expanded and modernized free trade agreement with Israel” [Statement]

About that U.S. – Israel relationship… Senior U.S. officials tell Chemi Shalev: “Congressional override of a presidential veto would make it harder for U.S. to defend Israel… they also said they had reached the conclusion that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not interested in any nuclear arrangement with Iran – except for one in which Tehran completely capitulates but is denied sanctions relief in return. The officials noted that the agreement also met the “red lines” that Netanyahu himself had drawn during the past few years – “and then some.” Under such circumstances, they added, “It’s hard to have reasoned discussions” with Israel.” [Haaretz]

“The Onion accidentally breaks a real news story: Last Tuesday — the day after six world powers struck a nuclear deal with Iran — the satirical newspaper The Onion published this headline: “U.S. Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles.” One day later, Israeli news source Haaretz printed an actual story with this notably similar headline.” [TheWeek]

On The Hill: “Across the Capitol, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer met privately with several House Republicans. One participant in the meeting, Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia, said the diplomat’s main point had been to “pay less attention to all the details” like nuclear centrifuges, and more attention to “who’s on the other side of the ethical debate, and that is Iran.” Tehran is opposed to the existence of Israel.” [AP]

Dermer Stats: “Dermer has met with 350 House members in the last 20 months, in addition to 85 senators, an Israeli official said… Dermer has met with two dozen Democrats on the deal in the last few weeks, the official said.” [Politico]

In The Air: “A 17-Hour Flight to Kenya Affords Obama Room to Lobby” by Peter Baker: “Accompanying the president on Air Force One will be more than a dozen members of Congress from both parties and both houses, aides said. (Two Senators on the trip include Chris Coons and Jeff Flake). He will have plenty of time to bend their ear on the biggest issue coming up on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks: Iran.” [FirstDraft]

Heard Yesterday: Senators John Hoeven  (R-ND), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) spoke with reporters following a closed-door briefing on the Iran nuclear agreement. [CSPAN]

Spotlight on Schumer: “Chuck Schumer has been getting the cold shoulder in the Hamptons from the pro-Israel crowd. New York’s senior US senator first felt the chill at Lally Weymouth’s annual shindig, then last weekend when Merryl Tisch brought him as her guest to hedge fund mogul Ron Baron’s party. Schumer is telling supporters he needs to support President Obama in order to become Harry Reid’s replacement as Senate minority leader, his life dream.” [PageSix] • Flashback: JI video of Schumer detailing his thoughts on Iran — from June 3rd [YouTube]

Schumer’s latest: “I’ve read the agreement and I’m seeking answers to the many questions I have. Before I make a decision, I’m going to speak at length with experts on both sides,” Schumer said in a statement.” [NYPost]

Gary Rosenblatt: “Sen. Chuck Schumer… has become the focus of intense attention among critics of the Iran nuclear deal. But Cory Booker, a freshman senator from New Jersey, may be in an even tighter spot. After all, Booker is a darling of American Jewry, a sought-after speaker at Jewish events around the country and believed to be the biggest recipient of American Jewish campaign donations. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has been in frequent and often intense discussion with Booker in recent days, seeking to convince him that this is the moment for true friends of Israel to step up on its behalf, regardless of political consequences. The message is, in effect, it’s now or never.” [JewishWeek]

“Iran deal opponents steal tactic from Obamacare fight” by Nahal Toosi: “Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are borrowing a tactic from the fight over Obamacare: taking a stand during town halls with members of Congress. The question is how heated the debate will get.” [Politico]

DRIVING THE DAY: At 10am, Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the details of the recently signed nuclear agreement with Iran and its enforcement. [CSPAN]

“White House acknowledges ‘side’ deals between Iran, IAEA” by Jordan Fabian: “National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday acknowledged the existence of so-called “side” agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Rice said the documents between Iran and the IAEA are not public, but the administration has been informed on their contents and will share details with members of Congress in a classified briefing on Capitol Hill.” [TheHill

“Iran can deny access to military sites, foreign minister says” by Paul Richter: “Appearing before the conservative-dominated parliament to sell the nuclear deal, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran’s negotiating team had held fast in the bargaining to the leadership’s pledge not to allow such inspections.” [LATimes]

Eli Lake & Josh Rogin: “More important, if Kerry knew there would be no “anytime, anywhere” inspections, why did he let so many members of Congress believe this was a possibility while he was negotiating the deal?” [BloombergView]

COMING FRIDAY — Richard Haas to discuss the Iran deal with John Kerry at the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday in NYC [CFR] • “While in NYC on Friday, Sec. Kerry will also speak to Jewish leaders/groups about the Iran Deal, per US official.” [Twitter] — We’re told Kerry plans to meet separately with both the Conference of Presidents and the AJC…

“Verification Process in Iran Deal Is Questioned by Some Experts” by Michael Gordon: “If it is on a small scale, they may be able to clear it out in 24 days,” Mr. Albright said in a telephone interview. “They are practiced at cheating. You can’t count on them to make a mistake.” [NYTimes]

Owen Alterman: “In practice, this is not a ten-year agreement or a fifteen-year agreement or an eternal agreement. Paragraph 36 tells us the truth: Any party—be it Iran or a future U.S. President—can essentially ditch the Iran nuclear deal with 35 days’ notice.” [TheHill]

Ari Shavit: “After many hours of reading [the Iran agreement] I had to stop. The thriller had become a horror story. Not only was the content inconceivable, the tone was, too. The fact is that in each chapter Iran’s dignity is preserved, but the U.S. and Europe’s isn’t. The fact is that the Iranian Islamic Consultative Assembly, or Majlis, has a much higher status in the agreement than the American Congress. The fact is that Iran is unrepentant, does not promise a change of course and takes an almost supercilious attitude toward the other parties.” [Haaretz]

Ishaan Tharoor: “How the Iran deal is good for Israel, according to Israelis who know what they’re talking about” [WashPost]

TIMES SQUARE PROTEST: “Thousands of protesters packed into Times Square Wednesday evening to demand that Congress vote down the proposed U.S. deal with Iran. As the crowd loomed behind police barricades, chants of “Kill the deal!” could be heard for blocks. At the rally, Alan Dershowitz, a prominent Jewish attorney, said he was “opposing the deal as a liberal Democrat.” [AP; Haaretz] • Congregation Torat Emet in Bexley, Ohio, drove to the NYC rally yesterday and stopped to pray at a McDonalds along the way [PictureH/T Howie Beigelman

2016 WATCH: “Who’s Ahead In The ‘Sheldon Adelson Primary?’” by Jonathan Mark: “There are more than 50 directors on the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board, and “I don’t know who’s in Donald [Trump’s] camp,” said Phil Rosen, an RJC director. He continued, “Though he’s been a very strong supporter of Israel, there is at least someone on the RJC board who supports at least one of those candidates. That’s good, because whoever wins, we have to have someone in his inner circle.” [TheJewishWeek]

–Phil Rosen has been identified as Trump’s attorney in the past and we found the following from a 2007 interview of Trump in the Herald Scotland: “At this point the conversation is interrupted by the arrival of a party of Trump’s friends. “This is Phil Rosen, the biggest lawyer in New York,” he tells me.” [SundayHerald] • Rosen tells us: “I represented Trump’s casino company, which was then called Trump Hotels and Resorts, for many years and through two Chapter 11 proceedings.” Rosen added, “We remain friends.”

Here’s someone in Trump’s 2016 camp: “Meridian’s Ralph Herzka is one of Trump’s few political donors” by Rich Bockmann: “Meridian Capital Group CEO Ralph Herzka and his wife, Judy, donated a combined $5,000 to Trump’s presidential campaign in late June, filings with the Federal Election Commission released Wednesday show. Hank Sheinkopf said that while television brands such as NBC and Telemundo have to worry about the optics of being associated with Trump, a real estate player like Herzka, who himself has a reputation as a fierce competitor, doesn’t stand to lose much business from the association.” [RealDeal]

Trump’s Mentor: “Donald Trump’s brash and bullying style was learned at the heel of Roy Cohn, one of America’s most infamous lawyers.” [DailyBeast] • “Born to an observant Jewish family in The Bronx, New York City, Cohn was the only child of Dora and Judge Albert C. Cohn, who was influential in Democratic Party politics.” [Wikipedia]

“Behold the Vast Trump-Clinton Conspiracy Theory” by David Francis: “I think there’s a small possibility that this gentleman is a phantom candidate,” Curbelo said on July 10. “Mr. Trump has a close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton. They were at his last wedding. He has contributed to the Clintons’ foundation. He has contributed to Mrs. Clinton’s Senate campaigns. All of this is very suspicious.” [ForeignPolicy]

Donor Strategy: “Hillary Clinton Shifts Hollywood Strategy: Small Events, Big Money” by Tina Daunt: “Four years ago, Barack Obama was packing L.A. hotel ballrooms for fast cash for his re-election campaign. But the former secretary of state is opting for more intimate gatherings in the backyards of such longtime Hollywood friends as producer Steven Bochco and HBO’s Michael Lombardo, where she’s able to spend more one-on-one time with guests willing to donate $2,700 apiece.” [HollywoodReporter] • “Jeb Bush’s fundraising relies on big city support” by Daniel Lippman [Politico]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “22 companies owned by Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, one of New York’s largest and most flamboyant owners of taxi medallions, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday.” [Crains• “East Rutherford approves $675M bond deal to help finance Ghermezian’s American Dream Meadowlands” [NorthJersey] • “Shares Of Caesars Entertainment Plunge 40% Amid Battling Billionaires” — Cameos: Marc Rowan, David Bonderman, John Paulson, Paul Singer, David Tepper, and Leon Cooperman [Forbes] • “Sharethrough’s CEO Dan Greenberg on the future of native advertising and the battle for attention” [VentureBeat] • “How Bryan Goldberg’s Bustle Proved the Haters Wrong” [Observer]

Real Estate Read: “Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities purchased the building on the corner of Washington and W. 13th Sts. in 2013 for about $100 million, and when Hogs’ lease expired last year, the proposed rent jumped to $60,000 a month, from $14,000.” [DailyNews]

Uber’s Dream Team — Stu Loeser + David Plouffe: “Kenneth Sherrill, a professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College, said Uber “won the round by showing they are not easily pushed around.” He said the the ad and public relations campaign—waged by Uber strategists David Plouffe, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, and Stu Loeser, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s longtime press secretary—was “brilliant.” [WSJ]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Uber’s Victory Against De Blasio: A Win For All Entrepreneurs Especially the Founders of This Startup” by Zalmi Duchman: “Sam Jurkovitz began driving for Uber in December 2012. Originally from Israel, Jurkovitz had been living in Brooklyn for most of his adult life… In summer 2013, Jurkovitz and his new partner Menachem Light launched Buggy, a car rental company that specializes in leasing TLC vehicles by the week. The concept was simple: make it easy for those looking to become Uber drivers to rent an Uber-approved car.” [Forbes]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Israeli Government Clashes With Liberal Jewish Streams” by Tia Goldenberg: “Israel’s narrow coalition government, propped up by two ultra-religious parties, is butting heads with liberal streams of Judaism that dominate Jewish life in the United States – widening a rift that risks further alienating American Jews at a time of growing U.S.-Israel estrangement.” [AP] • “Actually, says Sharansky, Israel’s relations with Reform Judaism are improving” [ToI]

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks asks “Why are there so many Jewish lawyers?” [Covenant&Conversation]

SPORTS BLINK: “Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi brought seven NBA stars to visit Israel, including DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Caron Butler, as well as by Chandler Parsons of the Dallas Mavericks, Iman Shumpert of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tyreke Evans of the New Orleans Pelicans and Alan Anderson of the Washington Wizards.” [IsraelHayom] • Casspi tweets that he puts on tefillin every morning [Twitter]

RISING STAR: “Israeli baseball player Dean Kremer selected in MLB draft for 1st time” by Aron Heller: “Though he was born and raised in Stockton, California, and is also an American citizen, the son of Israeli parents identifies strongly as Israeli himself, spends his summers in the Jewish State and is fluent in Hebrew. He’s the ace of Israel’s national team and sent local pride skyrocketing when the San Diego Padres selected him in the 38th round of the draft in June…  His great-uncle is the American-Israeli billionaire businessman and big-time Democrat donor Haim Saban, though most of his extended family still lives in Israel.” [AP]

LongReads: “Can Allen Hershkowitz’s green sports movement turn fans into environmentalists?” [MotherJones]

Up in the Air: Meet the Man — Ben Schlappig — Who Flies Around the World for Free” [RollingStone]

DESSERT: “Why Is It So Hard to Get a Great Bagel in California?” by Elizabeth Weil: “Conventional wisdom, at least among former East Coasters and California Jews, holds that you can’t buy a good one in the Golden State. The obvious saviors in San Francisco’s bagel situation should have been Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman — occasional chefs at the Hillel chapter at the University of California, Berkeley, and the owners of San Francisco’s relatively new and much beloved Jewish deli, Wise Sons, which opened in 2012… ‘‘The bagel is the Jewish madeleine,’’ says Niki Russ Federman. ‘‘You bite into it, and you’re reminded of where you came from and who you are.’’ [NYTimesMag]

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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