Daily Kickoff: Israel & Lebanon trade gunfire; Saudi Prince bashes Obama’s Foreign Policy; List of Jewish leaders’ salaries; Bloomberg Associates

David Ignatius: Q&A with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister – Washington Post: Q: David Ignatius: Let me begin by asking about the state of the negotiations. After your delegation left technical negotiations in Vienna on Friday, your colleague Abbas Aragchi said that the U.S. announcement of a move to strengthen enforcement of existing sanctions “is against the spirit” of the Geneva deal” and said that Iran was evaluating an “appropriate response.” Can you clarify that and explain what you think Iran’s position should be.

A: Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian foreign minister: We are committed to ensuring that the process that we started — and it required a lot of courage on our side to reach his agreement — will lead to a satisfactory conclusion that would address the requirements as stated in the [Geneva interim] agreement — that is, to have an enrichment program in Iran while at the same time both concerns as well as restrictions imposed by the international community will be removed. This is the objective. Since we believe our program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, we have no desire to leave any ambiguity about the exclusively peaceful nature of our program. So on our side, we believe it is very easy to reach an agreement. Of course it requires serious political will and good faith in order to reach that agreement.” [WashPost]

Iranian Foreign Minister says no trace in Iran of missing Jewish ex-FBI agent: “There are no traces in Iran of the former FBI agent who disappeared there six years ago, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday.” [Reuters] (more…)

Simon Wiesenthal Center Raises Record $2.2M at Annual Dinner

The Simon Wiesenthal Center raised a record $2.2 million at its annual National Tribute Dinner held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel Tuesday night according to The Hollywood Reporter

Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks, presented Jim Gianopulos, CEO of Fox Films, with the Center’s Humanitarian Award. The list of the evening’s co-chairs included Gianopulos’ boss, Rupert Murdoch, Chase Carey, Eddy Cue, Bob Iger and Ron Meyer.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, who founded the center that furthers the work of the renowned Austrian Holocaust survivor and hunter of Nazi war criminals, said “The Center is thrilled to honor Jim Gianopulos, one of the giants of the entertainment world, for his leadership and generous support of our institution and many other worthwhile humanitarian causes.”

 

For his part, the 20th Century Fox Film CEO spoke of his most recent visit to the center’s Museum of tolerance on Pico Blvd. in West Los Angeles and recalled the a story involving Simon Wiesenthal himself. “When Wiesenthal was asked why he did not return (after the war) to being the architect he had worked so hard to become before the horrors of the Holocaust denied him the opportunity, he answered simply: ‘When we come to the other world and meet the millions of Jews who died in the camps and they ask us, ‘What have you done?’ There will be many answers. You will say, ‘I became a jeweler.’ Another will say, ‘I have smuggled coffee and American cigarettes.’ Another will say, ‘I built houses.’ But I will say, ‘I did not forget you’…”

 

“His message must be a call to action for all of us,” Gianapulos concluded, “especially for those of us who live lives so often insulated from the suffering of others, when it is easy to turn away and immerse ourselves in our work and our families and pretend it’s not our problem.”

 

The Wiesenthal Center’s operations include the Museum of Tolerance, classes on the Holocaust for school children across Southern California, a facility and soon-to-be-opened museum in Jerusalem, and a film division whose documentaries have won two Academy Awards. The Center has long been a favorite cause of A-list Hollywood stars and executives.