Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Iran claims ‘Israeli lobby’ behind visa changes | Israel’s Female Tech Warrior | Why Tel Aviv is Hollywood’s New Billion-Dollar City

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WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL: “Iran provokes the world as Obama does nothing: By flouting the U.N. resolutions, Iran is clearly testing the will of the United States and its allies to enforce the overall regime limiting its nuclear ambitions. If there is no serious response, it will press the boundaries in other areas — such as the inspection regime. It will take maximum advantage of Mr. Obama’s fear of undoing a legacy achievement, unless and until its bluff is called. That’s why the administration would be wise to take firm action now in response to the missile tests rather than trying to sweep them under the carpet.” [WashPost]

“U.S. Reassures Iran on Visa Restrictions” by Jay Solomon: “Secretary of State John Kerry wrote his Iranian counterpart on Saturday to assure him the visa changes approved by Congress last week won’t undermine business opportunities in Iran or violate the terms of the nuclear agreement between global powers and Tehran in July.” [WSJ]

“Iran sees Israeli lobby behind U.S. visa waiver changes” by Sam Wilkin: “Iran’s foreign ministry said on Monday that Israeli lobbying was behind a new measure passed by the U.S. Congress that will prevent visa-free travel to the United States for people who have visited Iran or hold Iranian nationality.” [YahooNews]

“Iranian Hackers Infiltrated New York Dam in 2013” by Danny Yadron: “Iranian hackers infiltrated the control system of a small dam less than 20 miles from New York City two years ago, sparking concerns that reached to the White House, according to former and current U.S. officials and experts familiar with the previously undisclosed incident.” [WSJ• “U.S. Power Grid Vulnerable To Foreign Hacks” [AP]

“Israel’s David Sling missile defense passes final test” by Dan Williams: “A new Israeli air defense system developed in partnership with the United States has passed its final round of tests, putting it on course for deployment in 2016, the Israeli Defense Ministry said on Monday. David’s Sling is designed to shoot down rockets with ranges of 100 to 200 km (63 to 125 miles), aircraft or low-flying cruise missiles.” [Reuters]

“Commander of Hezbollah Freed by Israel Is Killed in Syria” by Diaa Hadid and Ann Barnard: “A Hezbollah commander whom Israel reluctantly released in 2008 — nearly 30 years after he took part in a notorious terrorist attack — was killed in an airstrike in Syria, Hezbollah and his family said on Sunday.” [NYTimesWSJ] • “Report: Kuntar planning major terror attack on Israel when he was killed” [YNet• From 2003: “The World Should Know What He Did to My Family” by Smadar Haran Kaiser [WashPost]

2016 WATCH: “Christie: ‘No Handshake’ with Iranians Until They Recognize Israel’s Existence” by Jacob Kornbluh: “We will not have an agreement, a handshake or meet with anyone of the Iranian government until they recognize the right of Israel to exist,” Christie said to loud applause during a two-hour-long town hall meeting in Peterborough, New Hampshire, Sunday evening. Adding, the U.S. should not tolerate Iran’s call to wipe Israel off the map by engaging in state sponsorship of terrorism in the region. [JewishInsider]

DEM DEBATE HIGHLIGHTS — by Jacob Kornbluh: Hillary Clinton — “I think it would be a grave mistake to ask for any more Iranian troops inside Syria. That is like asking the arsonist to come and pour more gas on the fire. The Iranians getting more of a presence in Syria, linking with Hezbollah, their proxy in Lebanon, would threaten Israel and would make it more difficult for us to move on a path to have a transition that at some point would deal with Assad’s future.”

Martin O’Malley’s Ma Nishtana — “Tonight we have a different debate than the debates that we have been allowed to have so far, because tonight is different because of this reason, that in the course of this presidential campaign America has again been attacked by jihadi terrorists, American lives taken from us. So, yes, we must talk about our ideas to move our economy forward, but the first job of the president of the United States is to protect the people of the United States.”

Bernie Sanders — “What I believe right now is the United States of America cannot succeed, or be thought of as the policeman of the world, that when there’s an international crisis all over the world, in France and in the U.K. Or — hey, just call up the American military and the American taxpayers, they’re going to send the troops… My plan is to tell Saudi Arabia that instead of going to war in Yemen, they, one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, are going to have to go to war against ISIS… To tell Qatar, that instead of spending $200 billion on the World Cup, maybe they should pay attention to ISIS, which is at their doorstep.”

STATE OF THE RACE: “Bernie Sanders Falls Behind in a Race Centered on Security” by Patrick Healy: “These are challenging times for Mr. Sanders as the chief opponent to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. His progressive political message, so popular with liberals for much of 2015, now seems lost in a fog of fear. Americans are more anxious about terrorism than income inequality. They want the government to target the Islamic State more than Wall Street executives and health insurers.” [NYTimes]

“Smart strategy or overconfidence? Rubio plays hard-to-get with voters” by Sean Sullivan and Karen Tumulty: “Republican activists — including many who appreciate Rubio’s formidable political gifts and view him as the party’s best hope for beating Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton — say they are alarmed at his seeming disdain for the day-to-day grind of retail politics. Even some staunch supporters are anxious.” [WashPost]

ADELSON PRIMARY: “As Trump Surges, Adelson Says He Might Sit Out Some Primaries” by Stephanie Wong: “Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson acknowledged presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “incredible” support among the Republican base and said he might let some primaries pass before deciding whom to back.” [BloombergReuters]

R-J Editorial: “Review-Journal will fight to keep your trust every day: Considering the independence of our newsroom and the determination of its dedicated staff are responsible for revealing the Adelsons’ purchase of the newspaper in the first place, we’re hopeful the Review-Journal will deliver more of the same.” [ReviewJournal• “How Adelson Might Change RJ Editorial Page” [RJ]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “The Weinstein Brothers Have Oscar Gold. Now They Need Cash” [NYTimes] • “New Chapter in Redstone Media Empire Saga: Sumner’s daughter solidifies position in media empire that controls Viacom and CBS” [WSJ] • “Westfield sells five US malls for $1.53bn” [TheAustralian] • “Embattled Montauk beach resort sells for $70M to Lloyd Goldman” [NYPost] • “Harris Rosen-supported resort tax plan takes another step toward reality” [OrlandoBizJournal]

TOP-OP: “My Career Choice: All of the Above” by Seth M. Siegel: “By my count, I’ve had careers in seven industries, each unrelated to the others. While this might make me sound like someone who doesn’t know what he wants out of his professional life, it all matches a plan I developed while still in my late teens.” [NYTimes]

STARTUP NATION: “Israeli Bringg Raises $5 Million So Any Business Can Offer An Uber-Like Experience” by Sarah Perez: “Founded in 2013 by Raanan Cohen (CEO), the former founder and CEO of MobileMax; and Lior Sion (CTO), previously the CTO of GetTaxi and Clarizen, the idea for the startup was to bring a Uber-like level of visibility to any delivery operation by offering the technology a business needs to add the features today’s consumers want – like the ability to be notified when a driver is on their way, get text-based alerts, track their delivery in progress, and more.” [TechCrunch] • “Johny Srouji, an Arab-Israeli from Haifa, is Apple’s newest executive who pioneered company’s custom A-series chips” [AppleInsider] • GeekTime’s 100 Most Influential Israelis in Tech [GeekTime]

PROFILE: “Israel’s Top Female Tech Warrior” by Steven Butler: “Now 42, Michal Tsur founded her first company, Cyota, with friends in New York in 1999, just in time to catch the final inflation of the dot-com bubble… While Tsur says she and her partners “definitely sold too early” to RSA in 2005, their company went for $145 million. Today, she’s founder, president and chief marketing officer at her second company, Kaltura, a leading provider in another area — video-management platforms.” [Ozy]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “Why Tel Aviv Is Hollywood’s New Billion-Dollar Sin City” by Merle Ginsberg: “Tel Aviv’s thriving TV and film business compels the entertainment industry to visit frequently — to schmooze and to buy. “Tel Aviv’s now a world capital,” says producer Howard Rosenman… World-traveling director Brett Ratner calls it “the most cosmopolitan place I’ve ever been. A scene of cosmic proportions.”… CAA television co-head Adam Berkowitz, current chairman of the entertainment division of L.A.’s Jewish Federation, attributes a lot of it to 14 years of Federation trips for entertainment execs.” [Pret-a-Reporter]

POWER OF TV: “How “Homeland” Helps Justify The War On Terror” by Rozina Ali: “Part of what makes “Homeland” work is that it’s an intelligent show, echoing current events and acknowledging the U.S.’s own culpability in horrific crimes against civilians…  “ ‘Homeland’ is unique in that it’s subtle. It gives the impression of being balanced, and smart people like it,” Shaheen said. “But, if one asks, ‘Who are the villains? Who is threatening us?,’ the answer remains the same.”” [NewYorker]

“Anti-Semitism Is Alive and Well on TV — ‘Quantico’ Proves It” by J.E. Reich: “It’s important to note that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are two different entities — yet the “Quantico” writers conflate both in Simon’s plotline. His quasi-terrorist colleague and ex-IDF bomb expert is portrayed as an ultra-Orthodox Jew, exacerbating the idea that his otherness is enmeshed with his inherent Jewishness, and enforcing the sense that “Jew” is synonymous with “antagonist” or, even worse, that Jewishness is the epitome of evil. Almost as bad is the writers’ shoddy research: Apparently, no one bothered to inform them that the Mossad — or its counterterrorist unit, Kidon — is not the same thing as the IDF.” [Forward]

TOP TALKER: “The American Papers that Praised Hitler” by Rafael Medoff: “Why did many mainstream American newspapers portray the Hitler regime positively, especially in its early months? How could they publish warm human-interest stories about a brutal dictator? Why did they excuse or rationalize Nazi anti-Semitism? These are questions that should haunt the conscience of U.S. journalism to this day.” [DailyBeast]

LongRead: “It’s the church of choice for Bieber and Durant. Is it legit? Is it a hipster cult? And why’s everyone wearing Saint Laurent?” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner: “I have been to an ultra-Orthodox camp. I attended a Hasidic high school for a year before everyone agreed that it was a terrible idea. I did the remainder of my sentence at a Modern Orthodox high school. I have immersed in a mikvah. I have climbed Masada more than once. I have stuck notes into the cracks of the Western Wall. I have fasted on Yom Kippur… My father whispered to me that he eased his guilt by saying the Aleinu under his breath, and maybe I should try this, too. He also whispered that perhaps my mother should never know about this.” [GQ]

DESSERT: “The Jews Who Made American Whisky” by Noah Rothbaum: “From ubiquitous bagels and cream cheese to restorative matzo ball soup to decadently rich pastrami, Jews are famous for contributing a number of delicious dishes to the menu of American food favorites. But when it comes to drinks, the item that usually pops into people’s minds first is, sadly, the sickly sweet kosher wine Manischewitz. That is a real shanda (shame), since Jews have actually played an important role in the history of American whisky.” [DailyBeast]

BIRTHDAYS: DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg turns 65… From the weekend: Director Steven Spielberg turns 69… Third Point’s Dan Loeb turns 54… 30 Point Strategies’ Noam Neusner… Ramona Cohen… Ann Lewis… Miriam Brooker… former Yeshiva University Chancellor Norman Lamm turns 88… David Ginsberg… Jon Strum… Ruth Wolff… Rachel Glazer, founder of Rachel G. Events… Jane Troy… Jeremy Burton, Director of the JCRC of Greater Boston… Carol Berk… Yona Eckstein…

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