Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Shapiro slams Israel’s settlement policy | Dems question Sanders on Iran | Robert Malley + Israel | ‘Weiner’ to premiere at Sundance

Have our people email your people. Share this sign up link with your friends.

JI’s SCOOP: “Abbott’s office confirmed that the governor flew on Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands 737 after it was initially reported Monday by Jewish Insider… After his stop in Israel, the governor will fly to Switzerland later this week for a stop at the World Economic Forum in Davos. An Abbott spokesman said Monday that flight will be made on Adelson’s plane as well.” [DallasMorningNewsTexasTribune]JERUSALEM SCENE: After a day packed with meetings, including with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and a visit to the Western Wall, Texas Gov. Abbott attended a reception last night in his honor at a penthouse apartment in the Rechavia neighborhood of Jerusalem. According to a source, attendees included former Gen. Yaakov Amidror and his wife Dorith, Saul & Wendy Singer, Cecilia Abbott, Aryeh Lightstone, Rabbi Steven Burg, Rabbi Avi Berman, Shmuel Winiarz, Miriam Peretz, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, and Rivka Kidron.

How It Played: “In Israel, Abbott affirms block on Iran investments” [Chron] • “Governor Abbott Meets Israel’s Netanyahu” [CBSlocal] • “Greg Abbott Meets With Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu” [TexasTribune]

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “US ambassador to Israel slams government settlements policy” by Aron Heller: “The U.S. ambassador to Israel criticized Israel’s West Bank settlement policies at a high-profile security conference Monday, a rare public rebuke from Israel’s top ally that drew an angry response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Amb. Shapiro says the administration is “concerned and perplexed” over Israel’s strategy of building West Bank settlements: “We are concerned and perplexed by Israel’s strategy on settlements. This government and previous Israeli governments have repeatedly expressed their support for a negotiated two-state solution—a solution that would involve both mutual recognition and separation. Yet separation will become more and more difficult if Israel plans to continue to expand the footprint of settlements… Continued settlement growth raises honest questions about Israel’s long-term intentions… Still, too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities; too much vigilantism goes unchecked; and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law in the West Bank: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”

Netanyahu’s response: “The ambassador’s statements, on the day when a mother of six who was murdered is buried, and on a day when a pregnant woman is stabbed, are unacceptable and untrue, Israel enforces the law on Israelis and Palestinians. The one responsible for the diplomatic stalemate is the Palestinian Authority, which continues to incite and refuses to negotiate.” [APBloombergHaaretz]

Shmuel Rosner: “Ambassador Shapiro’s mistake in being ‘correct’” [JewishJournal]

Shapiro on the Iran deal: “President Obama understands and shares the concerns many Israelis feel about Iran. We understand that Israel is closer, more vulnerable and more sensitive to Iranian threats. We understand the Jewish people’s bitter experience with those who call for their annihilation – and mean it – and Israelis’ experience as targets of international terrorism, including murderous attacks linked to Iran… To Israelis, who are understandably suspicious of Iran and anxious about Iran’s nefarious activities in other realms, we say the following: this new nuclear framework leaves the international community united and better equipped to respond to other regional challenges—and to respond ‘without the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran,’ as Secretary Kerry said.”

Kerry to Wolf Blitzer: “President Obama has said, don’t trust but verify. So we approach these issues with a view toward building the trust over time. It doesn’t happen in a, you know, one or two days or one or two years. But we can build trust if we see that this program, indeed, is adhered to thoroughly, and also, if Iran will begin to join with us to bring peace to Syria, deal with Yemen, reduce its activities in other countries.”

Kerry on concerns Saudi Arabia may go nuclear: “You can’t just buy a bomb and transfer it. There’s all kinds of (nonproliferation treaty) consequences. I mean, there are huge implications of that. And Saudi Arabia knows, I believe, that that is not going to make them safer, nor is it going to be easy, because the very things that Iran went through, they would then be subject to with respect to NPT and inspection and so forth.” [CNNTranscript]

“The Keys to Iran’s Missiles are in China and North Korea” by Gordon Chang: “The latest revelations about Iran’s ballistic missile program make it clear that sanctions on Tehran are pointless unless they’re imposed on China and the DPRK, too.” [DailyBeast]

PROFILE: “Meet Robert Malley, the president’s ISIL ‘czar.'” by Michael Crowley: “Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign severed its ties with Malley after reports that he’d met with members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Ardent Israel supporters piled on with charges that Malley, a former member of Bill Clinton’s Middle East team, harbored anti-Israel views. Top foreign policy hands denounced the “vicious” attacks, but the damage was done; the Obama campaign said that Malley never had a formal campaign role and never would.”

“Today, Malley holds one of the most important jobs in Obama’s White House, with a hand in everything from the Iran nuclear deal to the fight against the Islamic State… One Malley friend marveled at the continued criticism over his past Israel views: “These things have a half-life of 10,000 years,” he said. Others note that, if Malley was once to the left of the Democratic establishment on Israel’s obligations, much of the party — including Obama — now agrees that the Palestinians are not the main obstacle to peace…”

“For all the criticism, Malley has some unimpeachable defenders. “I have a very good working relationship with Rob,” said Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer. “He is a very knowledgeable and professional person who always listens to Israel’s concerns even when he doesn’t always agree.” “I had a very negative opinion — until I met him,” said Elliott Abrams, who held a job similar to Malley’s in the George W. Bush White House. Abrams thinks Malley is too optimistic about the Palestinian appetite for peace with Israel, but he enjoys sparring with him. “I’ve found him a person of real intellectual integrity,” Abrams said. “Many of my friends on the right are amazed that we’re friends.” [Politico]

LongRead: “Keeping ISIS Out of Palestine” by Barbara Opall-Rome: “Palestine Leader Mahmoud Abbas insists the Authority he heads will survive to see the rise of a sovereign state alongside Israel… however, those closest to Abbas warn that without world intervention to revive prospects for a two-state peace, that future state bordering Israel could very well bear the black banner of the Islamic Caliphate.” [DefenseNews• “Political paralysis leaves Palestinians questioning their future” [Reuters]

2016 WATCH: “Senior Jewish Dems Question Sanders on Iran” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders raised some eyebrows when he suggested during Sunday’s TV debate that the U.S. should normalize relations with Iran.” [JewishInsider]

–Steve Rabinowitz: “It’s amazing that on the very same day President Obama put new sanctions on Iran, Bernie Sanders calls for normalizing relations with them. And this, coupled with his calls for Iranian troops in Syria to help fight ISIS. Amazing. This is becoming a disturbing pattern.”

–Andrew Wienstein: “I don’t think it impacts the Party, because it clearly conflicts with Secretary Clinton and President Obama’s positions. I do believe that it makes Democrats who supported the Iran deal but still have serious concerns about Iran’s intentions less likely to support Senator Sanders.”

–Alan Abbey: “What Sen. Sanders said at the debate is consistent with his previous positions and is to the left of Hillary Clinton and some in the mainstream wing of the Democratic Party…  Sunday night’s statement won’t hurt him with a large segment of Democrats. If he gets to be the candidate, however, which is less of a fantasy today than many have previously believed, it certainly will be used against him in the general election, especially if Iran overplays its hand in coming months.”

“John Kasich says he’s sick to his stomach over lifting of Iran sanctions” by Michelle Everhart: “Kasich said if he were president, he’d be meeting with all other U.S. allies to monitor the deal. “ And if they violate one ‘crossed t” or one ‘dotted i’ we need to slap the sanctions back on.” [Dispatch]

Aaron David Miller: “How Iran Got What It Wanted From the Nuclear Deal” [WSJ]

Nicholas Burns: “Talk to Tehran, but Talk Tough” [NYTimes]

Bret Stephens: “Normalizing Iran: Why are liberals campaigning to make this most illiberal regime acceptable?” [WSJ]

Roger Cohen: “Iran Opens for Business” [NYTimes]

Larry Cohler-Esses: “Will Iran Really Change After Nuclear Deal? It’s All About the Economy, Stupid.” [Forward]

Lee Smith: “Why the president’s foreign policy of leaving U.S. allies out in the cold will make it very hard for the next president to maintain American influence” [TabletMag]

Cruz on the Campaign Trail — AEPi students asked Ted Cruz to give their fraternity a statement of encouragement after they’ve faced anti-Semitism on college campuses: “That is disgraceful and disgusting that you guys are facing that kind of anti-Semitism and bigotry. And it should have no place in America. And it’s one of the saddest things we’re seeing worldwide… and sadly, part of it is driven by fear, part of it is driven by the rise of radical Islamic terrorism, and that, in many ways, traces its cause to the weakness and appeasement of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy.”

“You know if I had suggested just a few years ago that the elected PM of Israel would come to America and address a joint session of Congress and he would be boycotted by the President, Vice President and every member of the Cabinet, that would have been dismissed as crazy black helicopter conspiracy thought. And yet sadly that’s exactly what happened. And if I’m elected president, I’ll tell you this, the United States of America will stand unapologetically and unequivocally with the nation of Israel.” [Twitter]

“J Street launches 2016 offensive” by Anna Palmer: “The liberal-leaning pro-Israel group, which expects to raise more than $3 million through its political action committee for federal candidates, is also going on the offensive against Republican Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who opposed the Iran nuclear deal.” [PoliticoJTA]

OHIO SEN: “Josh Mandel launches fundraising efforts for possible 2018 U.S. Senate run” by Jeremy Pelzer: “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said Monday he has re-opened his U.S. Senate fundraising apparatus while he mulls a rematch with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018. The Beachwood Republican emphasized in an interview that he likely won’t decide whether to run again for U.S. Senate until after the 2016 general election. But the move is a clear sign that he is thinking seriously about it.” [Cleveland]

**Good Tuesday 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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Israeli Billionaire Creates Arab Jobs to Make Peace” [Bloomberg] • “Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield Pays Tribute To Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” [TechCrunch] • “Neura raises $11m Series A funding round to grow AI ecosystem” [ZDNet• “Second Home Raises $10.7M From Yuri Milner, Martin Lau” [TechCrunch] • “Two medical colleagues duel over Sumner Redstone’s mental fitness” [BusinessInsider]
SPOTLIGHT: “A Philly Focus: How This Venture Capitalist Does His Philanthropy” by Ade Adeniji: “The 44-year old venture capitalist Josh Kopelman has been in the top 20 of Forbes Midas list for five years. In contrast to many other big tech winners we’ve written about, Kopelman and his wife Rena are based out of Philadelphia, rather than Silicon Valley. In 2001 they founded the Kopelman Foundation, which has three grantmaking priorities: Education, Healthcare and Medicine, and Jewish programs… The Kopelmans have also supported Jewish outfits such as Jewish Relief Agency, Aish HaTorah Philadelphia, Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, and Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El.” [InsidePhilanthropy]

Peres to be released from hospital after heart problems: “Peres is a workaholic whose drive and energy keep him alert. The heart attack was ill-timed in that it prevented Peres from attending the World Economic Forum Conference in Davos, which opens on Wednesday. Peres is a workaholic whose drive and energy keep him alert. The heart attack was ill-timed in that it prevented Peres from attending the World Economic Forum Conference in Davos, which opens on Wednesday… Dr. Victor Guetta, who performed the successful artery-widening procedure on the President, said last week: “Technically he could fly to Davos… (but) that would not normally be our recommendation… I imagine that he will be persuaded not to do it.” [JPostToI]

TOP TALKER: “Israel-focused Jewish Group Booted From Major LGBTQ Event in the U.S.” by Debra Nussbaum Cohen: “U.S. nonprofit A Wider Bridge, which builds connections between American and Israeli LGBTQ Jews, was set to host a reception with leaders of Jerusalem’s Open House at the Creating Change conference, which is scheduled to take place in Chicago January 20 – 22… Last Friday, Slepian received an unexpected phone call from Sue Hyde, the conference director. “Sue told us our reception was being cancelled for reasons of safety and security but there was no evidence presented or elaboration on any security issues,” Slepian told Haaretz.” [Haaretz]

–NIF Statement: “The New Israel Fund condemns the cancellation of an event sponsored by “A Wider Bridge” by the National LGBTQ Task Force, the organizers of the Creating Change conference next week in Chicago. We urge the organizers of the conference to reconsider this ill-advised decision and welcome Israeli LGBTQ activists… Excluding those who fight for those hard-won victories relinquishes the argument to those for whom resolving Israel’s issues is a zero sum game – and whose actions can only lead to more division, more hatred, and less progress.” [NIF]

TRANSITION: Jennifer Packer joins OU Advocacy Center as director of communications. “Jennifer brings a wealth of experience in media, advocacy and communications to the OU Advocacy Center,” Executive Director Nathan Diament said in a statement. Jennifer has led communications and public relations activities for organizations such as The Israel Project and Jerusalem U and was a staff writer for The Dallas Morning News.

SUNDANCE: “Sundance Selects Acquires Documentary ‘Weiner’ About Anthony Weiner” by Ramin Setoodeh: “Directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, the film is set to premiere at Sundance in the U.S. documentary competition on Jan. 24… “Weiner” takes place in 2013, when Weiner (trying to recover from a sexting scandal that forced him to resign from Congress in 2011) attempts a comeback run as mayor of New York. But his campaign doesn’t get far before new allegations derail his message of repentance, and the filmmakers chronicle this period with considerable access to the politician.” [Variety]

SPORTS BLINK: “Noah Rubin Upsets Benoît Paire for First Win at a Major Event” by Ben Rothenberg: “Noah Rubin said Monday was just “another day at the office.” A bit of an understatement, considering he essentially received a promotion and a raise at what was already his dream job. Rubin, a 19-year-old from Long Island, earned his first victory in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament, upsetting 17th-seeded Benoît Paire of France, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), at the Australian Open.” [NYTimes]

“The call of the Rams to Jewish fans” by Edmon Rodman: “With a giant headline usually reserved for declarations of war, the Los Angeles Times announced on Jan. 13 that the Rams were bringing pro football back to L.A. But perhaps a shofar should have been sounded instead, considering the Jewish heritage of the team’s former owner — not to mention a former coach and multiple players. And don’t forget the team’s sheep-related name.” [JewishJournal]

BIRTHDAYS: Melissa Boteach… Jessica Abo… UAE Amb. to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba turns 42…

Gratuity not included. We love receiving news tips but we also gladly accept tax deductible tips. 100% of your donation will go directly towards improving Jewish Insider. Thanks! [PayPal]

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered daily in a must-read newsletter.