Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: June 29, 2016

Revisiting the Iran deal - Is the dollar too weak or too strong? | Nadler defeats challenger on Iran vote | Textbook wars in Israel

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US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) poses for a photo prior to a meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif April 19, 2016 at the United Nations in New York.
US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) poses for a photo prior to a meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif April 19, 2016 at the United Nations in New York.Credit: Don Emmert, AFP

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HEARD AT ASPEN: David Bradley, owner of The Atlantic, at the opening session of the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival: "I'm just freighted with insecurity when I stand up here each year thinking about never becoming the cunning businessman that I intended. I have you here, I have Red Mountain behind me. Sixteen years ago I bought The Atlantic from Mort Zuckerman for $11.5 million. In an unrelated transaction Mort bought a residence on Red Mountain for $11.5 million. (Laughter)"

"So now Mort owns a piece of Aspen real estate and I own a mid-19th century long form literary print magazine. (Laughter) I just worry maybe he got the best -- maybe he's up there now looking at the tent saying to himself, you know, I bet David would buy some London real estate. (Laughter). I'm reluctant to begin with an indelicate matter, but since we met last April, Aspen has gotten caught up in the whole transgender bathroom issue. The city council in Aspen has voted an ordinance which requires public facilities to offer the option of a transgender facility. Meanwhile the voters of Colorado have passed a referendum that goes the other direction that says bathrooms shall be for the gender of your birth and then the Superior Court of Colorado put a temporary stay on the referendum and the governor tried to -- in any event and I'm really sorry to tell this to you, but for those of you here for the time that you're in Colorado we need to ask all of you to refrain from going to the bathroom. (Laugher) (Applause)" 

"If this presents a hardship for you, there's an exception to the rule for private residents of course. I only know the address of one private residence, it's back here in Red Mountain. (Laughter) So if any of you would like to -- that address, I'd be happy to show it and I'm sure he would be happy to see you at his door and welcome you to use his bathroom." [Video]

Former First Lady Laura Bush: "We're happy to be back home in Texas, living what I call 'the afterlife'  (laughter) in a state George calls 'the promised land.' (Laughter) [Video]

Jeffrey Goldberg asked Secretary Kerry about the Boeing deal with Iran: “We know that in the past Iran has used civilian aircraft to resupply Hezbollah, to resupply the Assad regime. We also know that within the administration, you are one of the most fervent advocates for more action against the Assad regime, include military action. So I am just trying to understand this, and I am not understanding the thought process that goes into the possible approval of the Boeing deal given what you think about Iran’s role in terrorism and what you think about Iran’s role in Syria?”

Kerry: “Hezbollah is a terrorist designated organization by the United States of America, which is building up a weapons arsenal -- a missiles arsenal that is aimed at Tel Aviv, even other parts of Israel. It’s a risk and a danger, and it’s not their country, it’s not their people. These are terrorist organizations in another country being supported by Iran. We are going to call them on it; we are going to absolutely stay focused on that. But at the same time we are trying to move the process - thoughtfully - and doing business is one of the best ways to create interests and purpose, if you will, in furthering transformation." 

"And by the way, tell me what makes sense in the U.S. negotiating a deal with Iran to allow people to lift their sanctions, which we did, but other countries like France are rushing to sell Airbus to the cost of Washington State, Boeing and our workers in the United States? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. So I think we ought to sell what other people can sell but not break completely with the primary sanctions, which continue to put pressure on them to move them to recognize that there’s still unfinished business and there are certain things we will not tolerate."

'Now, it’s complex, folks. Issues in foreign policy don’t always -- if they lend themselves to just right and wrong, black and white, simple line - you draw it, you’re often wrong. And, you know, I fought in a war that was drawn that way, and we know how wrong that was. So I am for looking at understanding all of the rationale for what is happening in a country. We were not good for a long period of time looking at other countries through their lens, not through ours. And if what we do is interpret problems in other countries, as Americans, in our lens, and through our felt of need, we are neglecting the felt need of all the other people who will also make up policy decisions that have an impact on us. The distinction between the planes and the other things is, I think, trying to draw a line that threads a needle; it’s a very difficult needle to thread, but very important in order to have a transformation that doesn’t send you down the road to a needless confrontation or to misunderstanding, or to lost oppurtunity.” [YouTube]

"Obama’s Noble Lie" by Peter Rough:
 "Now, the Obama administration is considering dollarizing Iranian transactions — despite categorical assurances to the contrary last September — while Kerry travels the world to drum up investors for the Islamic Republic. In London in May, Kerry complainedthat businesses “shouldn’t say, ‘Oh, we can’t do it because the United States.’ That’s just not fair” while conceding that banks “have concerns about our secondary sanctions.” To hear the Obama administration tell it, the dollar is somehow too weak and too strong — too weak to sustain the sanctions regime before the nuclear deal, yet strong enough that investors are deterred from going into Iran after the agreement."[ForeignPolicy]

“No ‘significant’ change in Iranian behavior since nuke deal, Obama admin admits” by Jessie Fox: “Almost one year after the international nuclear deal was announced last July, Brett McGurk, President Obama’s special envoy in the fight against the Islamic State, said Tuesday there has been no “significant” change in Iran’s behavior in Syria under the international nuclear deal. “I have not seen a significant change in Iranian behavior. They are fighting [the Islamic State] from time to time, but they’re primarily working to prop up the Assad regime,” Mr. McGurk told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.” [WashTimes]

“Nadler Averts Primary Challenge Over Iran Deal” by Jacob Kornbluh: “I think that most of the district approves of the Iran deal,” Nadler told Jewish Insider. “Probably, a lot of people agreed with that vote, or they do now.” According to Nadler, even those who disagreed with him on the deal felt that he represented them well in general and now want him to continue to represent them in making sure the deal is enforced and hold Iran’s feet to the fire. “But I do think that most of the district thinks that it was the right thing to do.” [JewishInsider]

"How Obama's Iran Policy Undermines Clinton's Campaign Message" by Eli Lake: "For now, many foreign policy progressives prefer Obama's Iran policy. After her AIPAC speech, the National Iranian American Council issued a statement bemoaning Clinton's "containment" approach to Iran. "At a time when President Obama is seeking to make his historic Iran policy change as irreversible as possible," the statement said, "we are concerned by Secretary Clinton downplaying the possibility of a larger diplomatic opening." Sometimes an outside group can say something a sitting president cannot. In this case, Obama's efforts to make his Iran policy "irreversible" could render Clinton's campaign promises hollow if she wins the election." [BloombergView]

Prominent attorney Norm Brownstein told us he was with Hillary Clinton in Denver yesterday where she spoke to him at length about how Israel doesn't need third party intervention via the U.N. and that she will oppose the BDS movement and any other effort to delegitimize Israel in the international arena. 

“Sanders appointee James Zogby: Democratic platform should include 'occupation,' right to boycott“ by Michael Wilner: “Hillary Clinton's envoys to the committee arrived in St. Louis for negotiations with Sanders' team carrying a precise message: Don't even try to insert language on Israel's occupation or settlement activity in the West Bank. "They just came to me and said, 'we're going to win this and you're going to lose,'" Zogby said. And while language on Israel is largely 'resolved' in the draft, he expects to continue the fight at a meeting in Orlando next month. "I certainly don't have any expectation that it will change," he said of the language." [JPost]

"Sidney Blumenthal makes $200K for part-time Hillary promotion" by Marisa Schultz: "A blunder by House Democrats has revealed that Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of Hillary Clinton, gets paid around $200,000 a year for his part-time work promoting Clinton’s run for president."[NYPost]

Trump hires Rand Paul & Bibi Netanyahu's former digital director: 
"Vincent Harris is in his 20s but is already a veteran of multiple presidential campaigns. In 2012, he helped run online operations for then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Speaker Newt Gingrich. He worked on digital operations for the Likud Party in Israel during the reelection campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as for Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign." [Politico]

"Violent Pro-Trump Neo-Nazis to Crash GOP Convention" by Asawin Suebsaeng:
 “We’re essentially just going to show up and make sure that the Donald Trump supporters are defended from the leftist thugs,” Matt Parrott, spokesman for the white-nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, told McClatchy, claiming that roughly 30 members of the party would head to Ohio in July." [DailyBeast]

"Meet the Jewish writer who bought a gun to feel safe from Trump-inspired anti-Semites" by Matt Katz: 
"I arrived at nap time at Bethany Mandel’s 2nd floor apartment in Central New Jersey. Evidence of her two children under 3 -- toys, toys and more toys -- was everywhere. She's a full-time mom and writer who works from home. "Can I see the gun?" I asked. Mandel retrieved a purple box from the bedroom. "It’s a .22 revolver," she said, pulling the handgun out of the box. Mandel estimates she has faced thousands of anti-Semitic messages online, mostly from self-identified white nationalists who are passionate Trump supporters." [WNYC]

**Good Wednesday 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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Bill Ackman Has Lost Over Half a Billion Dollars Since Brexit" [Fortune]  "Katzenberg stiffed owners in Dreamworks-Comcast deal: suit" [NYPost]  "When Alan Grayson Bucked Dems to Back Ebola Travel Ban, His Girlfriend Had Skin in Cure Game" [DailyBeast] "Israel in June 2016: Challenging Silicon Valley as tech funding climbs" [VentureBeat]

TRANSITION -- Phillip Goldfeder Named Head of YU Government Relations: "Yeshiva University announced New York State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder will lead its government relations efforts beginning this fall. Goldfeder will work to strengthen and develop relationships between the University and federal, state and local governments, and monitor legislation and policies that could have an impact on YU and its programs." [YU]

TALK OF OUR NATION: "Civics Textbook Wars: Israeli Right Strikes Back" by Peter Berkowitz: "Since then, Ronit—and Israel’s left-wing secular elite to which she proudly belongs—have grown more apprehensive that they are locked in a losing a battle with right-wing nationalists, many of them orthodox, over the nature and purpose of the state they share. The latest round in the struggle over Israel’s political culture was ignited last month by the Ministry of Education’s publication of “To Be Citizens in Israel: A Jewish and Democratic State.”" [RealClearPolitics]

"Lifting away the weight of 3 years: Why we Israelis go to India after the army" by Shalev Paller: "It is almost the norm for soldiers, on leaving the IDF, to fly to India to ‘decompress.’ Here, a tank commander who served in the 2014 Gaza war explains the appeal, and details the process of regaining control over his life after ‘3 years of alarms each morning, of always having an assignment, of constant uncertainty as to when I’d be home next.’" [ToI]

"These Vintage Jewish Summer Camp Photos Will Make You Miss Childhood" by Antonia Blumberg: 
"A look at vintage photos from Jewish summer camps indicates it wasn’t much different in decades past. The snapshots below come from the archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, one of the oldest cultural archives in the U.S., according to its website. May these adorable photos remind us all to cherish the long, sultry days of summer." [HuffPost]

HOLLYWOOD: "A Conversation With Mel Brooks" by Ivor Davis: "2,000-year-old writer, director, and producer is still blazing saddles at age 90" [TabletMag]

BIRTHDAYS: Chairman of Carnival Corporation and owner of the NBA's Miami Heat, Micky Arison turns 67... CEO of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Steven C. Wernick... VP of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Joshua Karlin... Steven Kohn... Ben Jarrett, political and legislative analyst at Embassy of Israel (h/t Playbook)... Founder and President of Uri L'Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice movement, Shmuly Yanklowitz turns 35... Campaign finance consultant David Wolf... 

**Join us for Friday Night in Aspen: On July 1st, Jewish Insider will host a Friday Night Dinner, nourished by OneTable, on the sidelines of the Aspen Ideas Festival in downtown Aspen. The dinner will feature a conversation between Leon Wieseltier and Julia Ioffe along with an upscale Israeli/California wine tasting courtesy of our weekly wine columnist Yitz Applbaum. Details and request for invitation here**

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