Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: New Yorker on Kerry & Netanyahu | Trump: ‘Inappropriate for Bibi to condemn my comments’ | Vegas Hayom? | Nice Jewish Boys Calendar

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JEWISH NOBEL PRIZE — Inbox: “The Genesis Prize Foundation today announced that world renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman has been selected as the 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate. The Genesis Prize is a $1 million annual award given to individuals who have achieved extraordinary professional success, have made a significant contribution to humanity, and inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and the State of Israel. “I am humbled and honored to receive the Genesis Prize, recognizing not just my professional achievements and my desire to improve the world, but also my commitment to my Jewish identity, Jewish values, and Jewish culture,” said Itzhak Perlman.”

FIRST LOOK — New Yorker Profile of John Kerry: “Negotiating The Whirlwind” by David Remnick: “Kerry’s persistence and self-assurance, coupled with excruciating economic sanctions, is what helped him succeed with the Iranians. It’s also what led to nine months of fruitless, chaotic, and, arguably, corrosive negotiations that broke down last year between the Israelis and the Palestinians—negotiations that almost no one, not even the President, believed would lead to a breakthrough.”

“Kerry met with Netanyahu with the modest goal of dialling back the rhetoric about the Temple Mount on both sides, getting the Israelis to make it clear that the complex status quo was not going to change. But Netanyahu had just infuriated him by giving a speech suggesting that the grand mufti of Jerusalem in the thirties was the ideological inspiration for the Final Solution. Although Netanyahu “clarified” his comments on the mufti before arriving in Berlin, Kerry’s circle did not see the performance as an aberration… American officials speak of Netanyahu as myopic, entitled, untrustworthy, routinely disrespectful toward the President, and focussed solely on short-term political tactics to keep his right-wing constituency in line.”

“Kerry sometimes speaks vaguely of trying yet again to forge an Israeli-Palestinian settlement—“There are worse things than getting caught trying”—but his last attempt left him badly disillusioned. His public comments now make it clear that only if Israel and the Palestinians come knocking will he get involved in a negotiation. State Department aides said that sources of Kerry’s exasperation with Netanyahu range from the injustice of settlement building in the West Bank to the way he employs Yitzhak Molcho, his lawyer and confidant, to stifle even the most inconsequential negotiation.”

“In 2010, before the Arab uprisings, Kerry met several times with Assad in Damascus, at Obama’s request… Kerry: “I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this publicly, but he was ready to make a deal with Israel. And the proof of that is a letter I still have that he wrote and signed proposing a structure by which he was willing to recognize Israel, have an embassy there, make peace, deal with the Golan, et cetera.” [NewYorker]

HEARD AT HAARETZ CONFERENCE: “Obama: Two-States – ‘Best Way’ to ‘Reduce Tensions’ and Secure Israel” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Palestinians leaders must condemn the recent wave of terror against Israelis and Israel must bring to justice those committing violence against the Palestinians, President Barack Obama said Sunday. Addressing the inaugural HaaretzQ conference in New York via video, the President said, ”We are at a critical moment. Inexcusable violence has taken to many lives – Israelis, Palestinian and Americans.” [JewishInsider]

U.S. Amb. to United Nations Samantha Power: “Continued settlement growth raises questions about Israel’s long-term objectives… We are under no illusion that achieving peace is easy – it takes tough choices by both sides.. We have not seen sufficient commitment from either side to create conditions for peace.” [Haaretz]

Tzipi Livni: “For me, the Jewish state is the state of the Jewish people as a people. It’s time to open a new dialogue between us and world Jewry, because what happens in Israel also affects world Jewry.” [Haaretz]

White House Jewish Liaison Matt Nosanchuk discussing the Iran deal: “Ben Rhodes told me: ‘I want you to talk to every Jew in America.’ And then every Jew in America started calling me to go to the [White House] Hanukkah party.”

Controversy: “Israeli flag is removed from the ballroom as Dr. Saeb Erekat takes the stage at HaaretzQ” [TwitterIsraelHayom]

Spotted at HaaretzQ: Greg Rosenbaum, Jeremy Ben-Ami, David Remnick, Ari Shavit, Anshel Pfeffer, Chemi Shalev, Peter Beinhart, Barak Ravid, Avital Chizik Goldshmidt, JJ Goldberg, Seth Lipsky, Benny Avni, Joel Braunold, Brad Lander, Ezra Friedlander, Zev Brenner, David Ben Hooran, Debra Nussbaum Cohen, Yoni Hersch, Mati Engel, Austin Leah Cooper.

SCENE LAST NIGHT: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the keynote speaker and received an honorary degree at Yeshiva University’s 91st Hanukkah Convocation held at the Waldorf Astoria. Referring to the recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Cuomo said, “Who could have imagined this? The Israelis.” Cuomo recalled Netanyahu’s “prophetic words” on radical Islamic terrorism during his 2014 trip to Israel, in which the Prime Minister told the delegation that “radical Islamists will never concede.”

Mark Wilf, co-owner and president of the Minnesota Vikings football team; Dr. Ben Chouake, president of Norpac; and Norman Sternthal from Montreal also received honorary degrees. Rabbi Herbert Dobrinsky was honored with the Presidential Medallion. Spotted: Jack Rosen, Eric Goldstein, Nick Muzin, David Lobl, Leon Charney, Richard Joel, David Alpert.

At the Pierre Hotel in NYC, Ronald Lauder hosted the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin and the Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon to celebrate the eight night of Hanukkah. Spotted: U.S. Amb. Samantha Power, Richard Haass, Tzipi Livni, Alan Dershowitz, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Matt Nosanchuk, Amb. David Roet, David Saranga, Zeev Rubinstein, Betty Ehrenberg, Gerry Platt, Sam Schear, and Michal Greyevsky.

IRAN DEAL: “With all eyes on ISIS, Democrats worry the U.S. could lose focus on Iran” by Karoun Demirjian: “Many Democrats are acutely worried about the reported tests – especially after many of them backed Obama’s efforts to reach an historic pact to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for a gradual lifting of U.S. sanctions. While there are provisions in the deal to “snap back” sanctions if Iran violates the accord, they worry that smaller steps – like ballistic missile tests in contravention of U.N. Security Council resolutions – could establish a bad precedent.” [PowerPost; WashExaminer]

Moshe Ya’alon OpEd: “Don’t Be Fooled by Iran’s ‘Charm Offensive'” [DefenseNews]

From the John Kerry profile in the New Yorker: “The agreement could, in time, collapse if Iran is caught violating it, but Obama and Kerry were making a bet that they could both prevent a nuclear Iran and empower more modern elements in the Iranian élites who may, after the passing of Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, and his hard-line cadre of ayatollahs, liberalize the regime.” [NewYorker]

2016 WATCH: Trump on Netanyahu rejecting his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants:“That was sort of interesting. He modestly condemned them. And I thought it was somewhat inappropriate that he condemned them, but that’s OK. He wanted to condemn them. That’s what he does, OK?” [CNN]

DEBATE PREVIEW: “Audition for Adelson: Most Republicans who want to watch the presidential debate Tuesday will have to tune in to CNN. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson can just take the elevator from his office down to the show floor in his five-star Venetian Las Vegas hotel and casino.” [Inquirer]

VEGAS HAYOM? — by Brian Stelter: “”There’s been speculation” about billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, “who owns a newspaper in Israel that he uses to wield political influence,” Ralston told me. “I know there had been talks inside Sheldon Adelson’s inner circle about purchasing a newspaper. But there’s just no way to tell.” The Huffington Post said an Adelson representative did not respond to its request for comment.” [CNNMoneyHuffPost]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “Corporate-Style Bonuses Come to Jewish Charity World” by Josh Nathan-Kazis: “Complex, corporate-style compensation packages.. are increasingly standard for top-rank leaders of Jewish not-for-profit organizations. Incentives such as bonuses and complex tax structures like deferred compensation plans, transported over from the for-profit sector, are now becoming the norm for top executives at large Jewish charities. Chief executives at the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Foundation for Jewish Camp and The Associated all took home major bonuses in the latest tax year, according to tax filings.” [Forward]

Dem Strategist Shai Franklin tweets: “Whichever party you support, @rjchq isn’t a “charity”, and @mbrooksrjc is worth every penny he gets.” [Twitter]

TOP TWEET: Former Sen. Norm Coleman battling throat cancer — “I’m actually heading to DC tomorrow. I just have to show my face in the office – Even if I put in a few hours a day it will be worthwhile.” [Twitter]

LongRead: “What The Hell Happened To Mickey Kaus?” by Ben Smith: “While his old friends from top New York and Washington publications are now Top Thinkers and People Who Run Things, he is sitting in a coffee shop in Venice, talking about how he’s going to light up the congressional switchboard with calls about immigration. He now lives off his savings, and writes solely on Twitter, where he has emerged as an unlikely man of this political moment: a Democratic intellectual who thinks that Donald Trump is the “most credible” candidate for the presidency.” [BuzzFeed]

**Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

PRODUCE NATION: “California produces half of America’s fruits, nuts and vegetables. But now that the state is in its fourth year of drought, it’s looking at more water-efficient ways to grow food. Maybe it should look to Israel.” [BBC]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “They’re Ready To Meet Your Mom: Meet The ‘Nice’ Jewish Calendar Boys” by Emily Shire: “Its founder, Adam Cohen, thought of the concept when he was kidding with friends about creating a calendar just of ‘nice,’ normal Jewish dudes… While he lives in California and works full-time as an executive producer behind shows like Food Network’s Cake Wars, Cohen organizes the photo shoots and goes through the applicants, which he said came in at around 1,000 for the 2016 calendar.” [DailyBeast]

“An ex-rapper in biblical robes is promoting a unique Jewish martial art in Jerusalem” by Eliyahu Kamisher: “In a network of rooms underneath Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, a variety of martial arts classes thrive… Among the familiar disciplines, though, there is also a practice unique to Jerusalem, a Hebrew martial art called “Abir Qesheth,” which aspires to build young men into modern-day biblical warriors. The head practitioner of Abir Qesheth is Yehoshua Sofer, an extraordinary character who claims to be the sole teacher of an ancient Hebrew martial art that was practiced by King David himself and secretly preserved for centuries by Yemenite-Jewish warriors.” [Slate]

“Sikh Soldier Allowed to Keep Beard in Rare Army Exception” by Dave Philipps: “Two Muslims and a Jewish rabbi also have been granted accommodations since 2009. But all apparently served either as chaplains or in specialty medical fields, a spokeswoman for the Army said. No combat soldiers had been given a pass.” [NYTimes]

DESSERT: “Losing the Carnegie Deli would be tragic for NYC” by Ted Merwin: “The Carnegie Deli’s greatest achievement, though, was to take essentially Eastern European Jewish foodstuffs — kasha, knishes and kreplach — and to transform them into edible icons of the entire city.” [NYPost]

WEEKEND WEDDING: “Alexandra Jessica Mizels, the daughter of Nancy J. Mizels of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and David B. Mizels of Weston, Fla., was married Saturday evening to Logan Nye Sembler, a son of Debbie N. Sembler and Brent W. Sembler of St. Petersburg, Fla. Rabbi Michael Torop officiated at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg… the groom’s grandfather Mel Sembler was United States ambassador to Australia and Nauru from 1989 to 1993, and ambassador to Italy from 2001 to 2005.” [NYTimes]

“Leah Rosenberg and Getzel Davis: A Hanukkah Wedding Lights Their Way Forward” by Rosalie Radomsky: “Dr. Leah Beth Rosenberg and Rabbi George Miller Davis were to be married Sunday by Rabbi Arthur Green at Temple Israel of Boston in Massachusetts. “I met her with a balloon and sign that said ‘Not Yet,’” he said, referring to a proposal. Instead he proposed the next afternoon, which coincided with Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love, in the Wohl Rose Park of Jerusalem, where he reenacted a tradition from Talmudic times of a young man chasing a maiden dressed in white.” [NYTimes]

BIRTHDAYS: Seth ‘Yossi’ Siegel, author of Let There Be Water, turns 62… Ted Frank, Director of the Center for Class Action Fairness (h/t girlfriend Simone Friedman)… Michael Ovitz turns 69… Michèle Flournoy turns 55… Robin Schatz… Matt Kosman… Rabbi Kalman Topp turns 43… Jamie Raskin (Sunday)… Mayim Chaya Bialik turned 4-0 (Saturday)…

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