Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: AIPAC plans second fly-in | Schumer working the phones on Iran deal | Why Iran’s Anti-Semitism Matters | The Bluesman With The Yarmulke

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FIRST LOOK: “A Jewish Journalist’s Exclusive Look Inside Iran” by Larry Cohler-Esses: “In Iran today, freedom of the press remains a dream. But freedom of tongue has been set loose. I was repeatedly struck by the willingness of Iranians to offer sharp, even withering criticisms of their government on the record, sometimes even happy to be filmed doing so.” [Forward] • “Why We Sent a Reporter to Iran” [Forward] • “Reporting From Iran, Jewish Paper Sees No Plot to Destroy Israel” [NYTimes]

SEPTEMBER SHOWDOWN: AIPAC emailed their activists yesterday inviting them for a second larger national fly-in, on September 8th and 9th, to lobby members of Congress in D.C. against the Iran deal. • Latest Memo: “Without this Deal: Why Sanctions Will Remain Effective [AIPAC]

“Chuck Schumer working the phones on Iran” by John Bresnahan: “With liberal groups furious over his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, Sen. Chuck Schumer has been quietly reaching out to dozens of his colleagues to explain his decision and assure them he would not be whipping opposition to the deal, according to Democratic senators and aides.” [Politico• “Schumer: Can’t trust European nations to make Iran inspections” [NYPost• “Schumer’s Iran vote could cast a shadow over others’ decisions” [PowerPost• “Schumer points to White House in leak of Iran vote position” [CNN]

John Kerry discussed the Iran deal at Reuters in NYC yesterday — “I think we should keep all politics out of this. I’m very, very, very adamant about that. This should not be political. When I say that the consequence of this might wind up being the conflict that I talked about earlier, I’m not accusing anybody of willfully choosing that or of being a warmonger or suggesting that they want that, even though we’ve heard some pretty flashy language in some hearings about who wins wars and what happens.”

–Howard Goller, of Reuters, then asked: “Secretary Kerry, you spoke earlier of the need to stick to the merits and to stand back from the politics. Just days ago, President Obama accused critics of the deal of making common cause with Iranian hardliners who chant “Death to America” and accused lobbyists of having beaten the drum for the Iraq war. Is that sticking to the merits and standing back from politics?”

–Kerry: “You can squabble maybe with the choice of words, et cetera, but there’s obviously fact behind what was going on. You can, as I say, squabble about the terminology, but I think – I think it’s better, frankly, that we don’t go down into the path that I just – that you just articulated and argue this on the merits, because I think the merits are very, very strong and I think the President does too.”

On a military option: “When I became Secretary of State and I was alone with him in the Oval Office and I said – I said, “Mr. President, if I’m going to go out as your Secretary of State and tell Israel or any country in the region that we’re prepared to use the military option, I need to know you’re really serious because I don’t want the rug pulled out from under me.” And he looked at me and he said, “John, so help me, I promise you, I’m the only President who has designed the weapon to do it, I’ve deployed the weapon to do it, and if that’s the only option, I’ll do it.” [TranscriptVideo] • Spotted: Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor sitting in the back listening to Kerry’s talk [Pic]

“Kerry: No automatic return of sanctions if Iran breaks arms embargo: Violations of an arms embargo by Iran or restrictions on its missile program would not force an automatic reinstatement or “snapback” of United Nations sanctions under a landmark nuclear deal, although other options would be available, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.” [Reuters]

“Why Iran’s Anti-Semitism Matters” by Jeffery Goldberg: “I found many of Kerry’s answers to my other questions convincing, but I was troubled by what I took to be his unwillingness, or inability, to grapple squarely with Iran’s eliminationist desires… The administration, and supporters of the deal, are mortgaging the future to a regime labeled by Kerry’s State Department as the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world, and a regime that seeks the physical elimination of a fellow member-state of the United Nations and a close ally of the United States as well. Given that there is so much risk and uncertainty in what the United States is doing, it would be useful for the administration to make absolutely clear that it understands the nature of the regime with which it is dealing.” [TheAtlantic]

“If I Were an Israeli Looking at the Iran Deal” by Thomas Friedman: “With the U.S. and Israel openly arguing over the Iran nuclear deal, I’ve asked myself this: How would I look at this deal if I were an Israeli grocer, an Israeli general or the Israeli Prime Minister?” [NYTimes]

“Why the Nuclear Agreement Is a Done Deal–Unless Iran Derails It” by Aaron David Miller:“In short, barring some provocative act by Iran against U.S. interests, nobody can stop this deal now. The administration has resisted Israeli pressure; the Saudis are supporting the accord in part because their concerns have always been more about Iran’s behavior in the region than the terms on Tehran’s nuclear program. President Obama laid down a marker in his American University speech on his displeasure with pro-Israeli domestic lobbying. That leaves Congress. But the Iran Sanctions Review Act was a creative effort to give Congress a voice; it was never intended to give Congress a veto.” [WSJ• “GOP’s Sen. Flake predicts Obama will win on Iran” [TheHill]

“How Obama could salvage the Iran deal” by Michael Crowley: “Obama has broad powers to act alone — even against the will of Congress — say experts and former administration officials familiar with internal deliberations. Using his executive branch authority, Obama could effectively halt many U.S. sanctions on Iran, they say, in a bid to persuade Tehran to meet its end of the bargain.” [Politico• “No recess for Obama on Iran” [TheHill]

WH Jewish Outreach: “Last Friday, Moniz lunched with about two dozen leaders of Chicago’s Jewish community, introduced to the group by Matt Nosanchuk, the White House liaison for Jewish Affairs. One of the organizers of the Standard Club lunch was Chicago attorney Alan Solow… “I told the White House I would do whatever I could to get the facts out,” Solow told me on Tuesday.” [ChicagoSunTimes]

2016 WATCH: “Jeb Bush Blames Hillary Clinton and Obama for Iraq’s Decline” by Adam Nagourney: “The war in Iraq, which dominated American presidential politics in 2004 and 2008, has returned as an issue in 2016. This time, the argument is not over whether the United States should have gone to war, but rather how the Obama administration sought to end it. “That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill,”…  “Where was the secretary of state, Secretary of State Clinton, in all of this? Like the President himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away.” [NYTimes]

–Jared Sichel covered Jeb’s speech at the Reagan Library last night: Jeb went off-script once or twice, most notably when he said, criticizing Obama’s foreign policy, “No one believes we’re serious because we have not made the kind of commitments that friends make with friends.” It was a line delivered forcefully and emotionally, something that many feel have been lacking in Bush’s campaign speeches thus far. Bush had his share of gaffes including during the Q&A when he asked “Name a country where our relationship is better today than it was the day that Barack Obama was inaugurated and Hillary Clinton was sworn in as Secretary of State? Cuba and Iran. Name the relationships where our relationships are worse? It starts with Canada and it’s a long, long list.” Surprising for a 2016 GOP candidate to not mention Israel in that instance. [Video]

“To Defend Her Foreign Policy, Clinton Needs to Criticize Obama” by Joshua Keating:“Clinton has avoided criticizing the administration on foreign policy. As we get closer to the general election and Republicans continue to associate her with a policy they say is characterized by weakness and appeasement, it’s going to get harder for Clinton to present her actually fairly hawkish views without drawing a contrast between Obama’s foreign policy and what she would have done in his place. In the general, that contrast could be good for her. But we’re not in the general yet, and Bush is already ready to fight.” [Slate]

“Hillary Clinton Under Fire From BDS Activists for Involvement in Scottish Film Festival Controversy” by Allison Kaplan Sommer: “Hillary Clinton has been coming under fire from BDS proponents for actions she took on behalf of Israel in 2009, when, as secretary of state, she intervened on behalf of an Israeli filmmaker in a controversy surrounding a Scottish film festival. Taking an aggressive stand on BDS helps her balance the fact that Israel’s supporters are likely unhappy with the fact that she is standing by Obama and Kerry in support of the nuclear deal with Iran.” [Haaretz]

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REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Josh Zegen closed on a deal to buy a seven-story, 400,000 square foot former industrial building at 14 53rd Street in Sunset Park for $82.5 million from the real estate investor Harry Skydell.” [Crains] • Trump Hotel Collection Hires Hospitality Veteran Eric Danziger as CEO [WSJBloomberg] • Revealed: Rubin Schron’s 532 Neptune Avenue, Coney Island’s Future Tallest Building [Yimby] • “John Paulson Starts Selling Land to Reap Gains in U.S. Housing” [Bloomberg• “Big tax break for Ghermezian’s American Dream project gets green light” [NJ]

“Mort Zuckerman’s Daily News negotiations hanging on by a thread” by Keith Kelly: “It has been nearly six months since Mort Zuckerman put the money-draining Daily News on the auction block, and sources say negotiations are in danger of collapsing unless serious concessions are offered quickly from the seller.” [NYPost]

“Now eligible to lobby, Eric Cantor chooses investment banking instead” by Zachary Warmbrodt: “Next Tuesday marks the anniversary of the former House majority leader’s resignation, and the date when he could begin making direct pitches to his former colleagues as a lobbyist. But people who know the Virginia Republican, including his new employer, insist he will continue with his career change. Cantor, 52, has passed an exam to qualify as an investment banker and is embracing his new life as a vice chairman at Moelis & Co., a global investment bank, while keeping in touch informally with old colleagues in Congress.” [Politico]

“Ezra Klein Is Transforming Education” by Jim Russell: “The future of journalism is education. The future of education is journalism. All occupations struggle with innovation. Short of grabbing your sabot and throwing it into the server, what’s a print journalist to do in an age of digital? Ezra Klein  didn’t go on to be a professor. He took the journalism world by storm as a blogger. Success in hand, he moved on to his life’s work: education.” [PacificStandard]

“Two Jewish women from Brooklyn killed when car gets T-boned by tractor trailer on Arizona highway” by Reuven Blau: “Two young female teachers from Borough Park were killed in a car crash while sightseeing in Arizona on Monday night, devastating their Brooklyn Jewish community. The dead women were identified as Hindy Spira, 27, and Raizel Morgenstern, 24, who were on a weeklong vacation in the rugged wilderness with two other Brooklyn teachers, Miriam Meyer and Suri Mayerovitz, 26, cops said.” [DailyNewsNYPost]

STARTUP NATION: “Europe’s hottest startups 2015: Tel Aviv” by Oliver Franklin-Wallis: “Tel Aviv is where the money is. The startup nation became the exit nation in 2014, with Israeli tech sales and IPOs hitting $15 billion (£9.5bn) according to analysis by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Expect 2015 to be another huge year, with $910 million raised in one January week alone and Outbrain and IronSource preparing IPOs.” Israel startups on the list: Consumer Physics, PlayBuzz, StoreDot, Windward, Moovit, SimilarWeb, Zebra Medical Vision, AppsFlyer, Adallom, FeeX. [WiredUK

“Natan, Wall Street’s Giving Circle, Makes Grants To New Media, Africa: The New York-based group, which got its start among young entrepreneurs and financiers, announced on Tuesday its 46 grants, which total $1.2 million. The recipients, “cutting-edge Jewish and Israeli nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs” in North America, Israel, Argentina, Austria, Sweden and the United Kingdom, include: G-dcast, a new media production company that, “raises worldwide Jewish literacy.” Kahal provides American Jewish college students studying abroad with the resources and connections they need to be part of the Jewish communities in which they are temporarily living.” [JewishWeekEJP]

SPORTS BLINK: Spoof — “University of Michigan QB Traded From NY Giants to Israel National Football Team” [YouTube]

DESSERT: “The Bluesman With The Yarmulke” by Lehman Weichselbaum: “‘Blind Boy” Jerron Paxton is taking a call inside his Ridgewood, Queens, kitchen to answer a few questions. He talks while making rugelach, from scratch. “I make everything from scratch,” he says. When not home baking, Paxton is likely to be the only black blues performer wearing a yarmulke you’ll see this year. Or any year. And that’s just for starters.” [JewishWeek]

BIRTHDAYS: George Soros turns 85… David Horovitz turns 53… Jared Geldner… Reita Troum… Claudia Kreiman…

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