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MUNICH WEEKEND: "Biden Snub Sharpens Israel Debate Over Netanyahu's Speech" by Calev Ben-David: "Isaac Herzog, whose Labor-led Zionist Camp is slightly trailing Netanyahu’s Likud in most polls, criticized the prime minister at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday for agreeing to address Congress on March 3 before getting President Barack Obama’s approval. Likud officials on Sunday accused Herzog, who faces off against Netanyahu on March 17, of crossing “a red line” by criticizing the government at an international gathering and meeting there with Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry." [Bloomberg] • "Biden, Kerry meet with Herzog; both to skip PM in DC next month" [ToI]

TOP TWEET: @SenJohnMcCain - "The Three Amigos (McCain, Graham & Lieberman) back together in #Munich! #MSC2015" [Twitter]

"Biden Takes Somber Tour of Dachau With Granddaughter" by Julian Barnes: "Vice President Joe Biden took a somber detour on his way home from Munich on Sunday, stopping to walk the grounds of the Dachau concentration camp with his granddaughter. Mr. Biden’s granddaughter Finnegan Biden, 16, has accompanied the vice president on a number of his overseas trips. And Mr. Biden appeared keen to show her the camp and talk to her about what had happened there... In all, Mr. Biden and his granddaughter spent an hour and 20 minutes at Dachau, before climbing into the awaiting limousine and driving back to Air Force Two for the flight home.​" [WSJ]

For those wondering what happens with Biden's empty seat at Bibi's speech... the president pro tempore, Sen. Orrin Hatch will take the Vice President's place next to Speaker John Boehner. Something similar took place in March 2011, when Sen. Daniel Inouye, who was then the president pro-tempore, took Biden's place for Australian PM Julia Gillard's speech to a joint session of Congress. 

TOP TALKER: "Reform's Rick Jacobs Presses Netanyahu To Call Off Speech to Congress" by Nathan Guttman: "Rabbi Rick Jacobs, leader of the Reform movement, has joined Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League in urging Netanyahu to reconsider his visit to Washington; so did Seymour Reich... “I would want him to re-think it,” Jacobs told the Forward. “He should find another way to express his voice.” Jacobs argued that Netanyahu could still back out of House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation without losing face. “It will not be an embarrassment,” he said. “It will be something people will respect him for.”​ [Forward] • "Bibi Backers Insist He Technically Didn't Snub Obama Over Speech" [Forward]

"The pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC also has reservations because it is turning into a partisan event, according to a person involved in U.S.-Israel relations. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the media." [AP]

As of now, speech is still a go: “I went to Paris not just as the prime minister of Israel but as a representative of the entire Jewish people,” Netanyahu said, during a conference for French-speaking Likud activists. “Just as I went to Paris, so I will go anyplace I’m invited to convey the Israeli position against those who want to kill us. Those who want to kill us are, first and foremost, any Iranian regime that says outright it plans to destroy us. I will not hesitate to say what’s needed to warn against this danger, and prevent it.” [Haaretz; AP; ToI]

Proposed Alternative: "According to the proposal, revealed by two members of the New York Democratic delegation on Sunday, Netanyahu would cancel his planned speech to Congress and in return President Barack Obama will invite the Israeli leader for a meeting at the White House. â€œI would like to see both sides give a little ground. I would like to see the prime minister and the speaker [John Boehner] cancel the speech, and in exchange have the president invite him to the White House,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) on Sunday." [JP]

Amb. Dan Shapiro's Briefing (as reported by Barak Ravid): "U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro met with senior Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem and gave a chilling description of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current status in Washington, in light of his planned speech to a joint session of Congress. Shapiro told them of the White House’s fury at the trick Netanyahu cooked up with the Republican Party leadership; of the U.S. administration’s total loss of faith in Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer; and of the grave impact this would have on relations between the Obama Administration and a future Netanyahu government. “Ultimately, this will have a price,” a source briefed on the meeting quoted Shapiro as saying." [Haaretz]

Empty Seats Watch: "This is, I think a critical visit by the prime minister. If these Democrats would rather put partisan politics ahead of principle and walk out on the prime minister of Israel, then we have an obligation to make that known,” said Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition." [Politico]

ISRAELEX: Isaac Herzog is in talks with former Clinton advisor Paul Begala about coming on board as a campaign advisor, Channel 2 reports. • "V15 group won't be investigated before elections" [ToI] • "U.S. billionaire S. Daniel Abraham 'doesn't know' how much money he gave to V15" [IsraelHayom; Haaretz] • "Yair Lapid Seeks 2nd Chance To Be Face Of Israel's Future" [AP]

OP-FOCUS: "Palestinian Dictator Mahmoud Abbas Gets a Free Pass" by David Keyes [DailyBeast] â€¢ Liel Leibovitz: "The Palestinian Authority Has No Future Leader: Forget about the Israeli elections; it’s the vote that isn’t happening that we should be worried about" [TabletMag]

REPORT: "NBC's Brian Williams told varying versions of rocket fire in Israel-Hezbollah war" by Paul Farhi: "In a 2007 interview, Williams described a close encounter with rockets fired by Hezbollah as he flew over northern Israel in an Israeli military helicopter. “There were Katyusha rockets passing just beneath the helicopter I was riding in,” he told a student interviewer from Fairfield (Conn.) University that year.​ But Williams didn’t mention that in his own account of the helicopter trip, written on an NBC News blog in July the previous year.​ In that version, he was in a Blackhawk helicopter “at 1,500 feet,” accompanied by “a high-ranking general in the Israeli Defense Forces” and that rocket fire preceded them rather than passed beneath them. The description suggests that Williams’s helicopter was near the rockets but does not claim the weapons were flying “just beneath” his airborne vehicle." [WashPost]

IRAN TALKS: "Iran's Khamenei says he could accept fair nuclear compromise: "I would go along with any agreement that could be made. Of course, if it is not a bad deal. No agreement is better than an agreement which runs contrary to our nation's interests," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranian air force personnel, according to official news agencies. In a speech that still underlined his suspicions about Western nations that he characterized as "bullies", Khamenei backed Rouhani's negotiations with them and said any workable deal would mean both sides easing their demands." [Reuters] • "From Khamenei, Conditions for a Deal on Iran's Nuclear Program" [WSJ] • "Kerry rules out extension on Iran nuclear talks" [WashPost; TheHill]

---"Creative thinking gets Iran nuclear negotiations closer to a deal" by Julian Borger: "If the restrictions on enrichment are going to last a relatively long time - 15 years is the western preference - Iran would want to keep a greater number of centrifuges, even if they functioned at lower efficiency. If the deal lasts for less than 10 years, as Iran would prefer, Tehran would be prepared to accept cuts to its present number of functioning centrifuges. After that relatively short period, Iran would ramp up its enrichment to an industrial scale, allowing it to make all the fuel for the electric power reactor in Bushehr. Judging by the positive commentary coming out of Iran, Tehran is happy with this new flexibility on the enrichment question... The March deadline has quietly been moved from the beginning of the month to the end, but even that is just weeks away." [TheGuardian]

Walter Russell Mead Op: "The skeptics are criticizing what looks like a disjointed and misguided approach to the relationship with Iran that threatens to further destabilize the Middle East. It is possible that the administration has good answers for them, but up until now the White House has preferred not to engage with the serious arguments against its Iran approach. The longer the President and his top aides keep pretending that critics have no concerns that are worth taking seriously, the more they feed the narrative that the White House is in over its head on Iran... That perception, unless refuted (rather than mocked, caricatured or ignored) will ensure that neither Congress nor the country will allow the White House to pursue an Iran strategy that lacks public buy-in and consent." [AmericanInterest]

Eliott Abrams Op: "We “hold Iran accountable.” How do we do that? We “continue to insist.” “We “continue to call on Iran.” We “have spoken to Iran about our concerns.” We “raise our voice.” And finally, we “have called out Iran for its support of the brutal regime of Bashar al-Asad in Syria.”... Iran, which got away with helping kill thousands of Americans in Iraq, is now helping kill hundreds of thousands of Syrians and has sent troops to fight in Syria. It is deeply engaged in Yemen. It continues its support for terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. But don’t worry: the United States “continues to insist,” we’ve “spoken to” Iran about all of this, raised our voices, and we’ve even “called out” Iran!​" [CFR]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 2PM, the Atlantic Council hosts "A Visit to Tehran: Former Congressman Jim Slattery Shares His Outlook for U.S. - Iran Relations." Slattery, who made his first visit to Iran in December, will provide insights about the attitudes in Iran toward an agreement and the obstacles a deal may face both in Tehran and in the U.S. Congress." [AtlanticCouncil]

DRIVING THE DAY: "Vox and BuzzFeed Obtain Interviews With Obama: Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias of Vox sat down with the president in January. Their interview will be published online Monday morning. Ben Smith, the editor in chief of BuzzFeed, will speak with the president at the White House on Tuesday... â€œWe’ve always covered the White House quite aggressively, and I think that they want to speak to our audience,” Mr. Smith said. “This is sort of a demonstration of how, when you do serious news and you have a mass audience, those things can really support each other rather than getting in each other’s way.” [NYTimes; Vox; BuzzFeed]

2016 WATCH: "Economic Plan Is Quandry for Hillary Clinton's Campaign" by Amy Chozick: "With advice from more than 200 policy experts, Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to answer what has emerged as a central question of her early presidential campaign strategy: how to address the anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy." [NYTimes] • "Wall Street's 'no lose' view of 2016" [NYPost]

ROUNDUP - 638 Days To Go: "Working Families Party Calls on Elizabeth Warren to Run for President" [NYTimes] • "Santorums' new book reveals how faith and love are tested by a daughter's disability" [WashPost] • "Female Jewish doctor Jill Stein mulls US presidential bid as Green Party candidate" [YNet; ToI] • "Cruz looking at 2016 'very seriously'" [WashPost] • "David Axelrod Is Trying to Kick the Campaign Habit, But He Has Some Thoughts on 2016" [NYMag]

ON THE HILL: "Rep. Schock's former senior aide Benjamin Cole featured in film about 'saving Jews'" by Colby Itkowitz: "Back in 1999, Cole was featured in a documentary about Southern Baptists’ efforts to convert Jewish people. The hour-long film, which never aired but was eventually posted on YouTube, followed a Jewish New Yorker curious what it would take to be “saved.” Steve Manin, now a salesman at a Lexus car dealership, connected with Cole to be his “Christian mentor.” “A Jew who comes to recognize Jesus as the Messiah is a fulfilled Jew,” Cole told Manin.... Cole, reached Friday, confirmed that it was him in the film. Cole worked as a senior adviser for Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) for just under a year, and previously had jobs on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee." [WashPost; Arutz Sheva]

---Profile: "A Muslim Overseas Our Spies. Get Over It." by Tim Mak: "Among the spooks, the spies, the special operators—not to mention among his fellow lawmakers, former rapper and Congressman Andre Carson stands out... ​ Carson, who represents Indiana’s 7th congressional district, is one of the newest members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a panel that provides oversight over the intelligence community. He sits on the subcommittees that investigate the CIA and emerging threats to the country, and he’s the second Muslim to be elected to the House, after Rep. Keith Ellison." [DailyBeast]
**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**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Stream of Foreign Wealth Flows to Elite New York Real Estate" by Louise Story and Stephanie Saul: "Behind the dark glass towers of the Time Warner Center looming over Central Park, a majority of owners have taken steps to keep their identities hidden, registering condos in trusts, limited liability companies or other entities that shield their names. By piercing the secrecy of more than 200 shell companies, The New York Times documented a decade of ownership in this iconic Manhattan way station for global money transforming the city’s real estate market..."

"When the company with the complicated name of 25CC ST74B plunked down $15.65 million in 2010 for a condo in the Time Warner Center, there was no telling whose money was in play. But in January 2013, the company accused a contractor of overbilling in a classic New York City renovation dispute. The lawsuit identified the apartment’s owner as “Vitaly Malkin, a Russian senator who is domiciled in Russia and generally is not present in New York.”... Malkin, 62, made a fortune in metals and banking and was one of the wealthiest members of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper legislative house. He resigned from the Council in March 2013 after Aleksei Navalny, the Russian anticorruption activist, revealed that he had failed to disclose property he owned in Canada and that he had dual Israeli citizenship." [NYTimes]

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: "Israeli real estate developer Azrieli raises 615M shekels in bond sale" [Reuters] • "Aby Rosen Pays $55M for Gilded Age NYC Building [ArtNet] • "Rochester-Area Developer David Flaum to Buy Macy's Building at Medley Centre" [TWC] • "Ashkenazy asking $44M for Bronz commercial building" [RealDeal] • "With eye on national expansion, Ori Allon's Urban Compass rebrands" [inman]

ANATOMY OF A DEAL: "Ari Emanuel's Sporting Bet" by William D. Cohan: "Ari Emanuel's long-time obsession paid off in May, when his powerhouse talent agency, William Morris Endeavor, merged with entertainment marketing giant IMG. Given a $2.4 billion price tag and Panglossian revenue projections, did Emanuel get less than he bargained for?" [VanityFair]

HOLLYWOOD: "Meet Oscar-nominated Graham Moore: Hollywood's newest Jewish writing prodigy" by Danielle Berrin: "Moore’s mother, Chicago lawyer Susan Sher served in multiple roles during the first term of the Obama administration, first as a special assistant to the president and then as the First Lady’s chief of staff. She was also appointed White House liaison to the Jewish community, a realm that has become increasingly important to her son. Though he never became a bar mitzvah, Moore said he has always felt connected to the Jewish community. “My Judaism has felt more and more important to me, and more and more of a social identifier,” he said. “My grandparents passed away a few years ago, and I was very close to them, and for their generation, their Jewish identity was extremely important. And after they passed away, this notion that me and my mother would become the keepers of this tradition became very apparent and very important." [JewishJournal]

---Mazal Tov to Scooter Braun and Yael Cohen on the birth of a baby boy [US]

"Meet the Two Guys Who Are About to Blow Up Washington's Book Industry: The former Rumsfeld aides could give Robert Barnett a run for his money" by Matthew Shaer: "In October, Latimer and Urbahn arranged a deal that saw political reporters Eli Lake and Josh Rogin move from the Daily Beast to Bloomberg View. Lake and Rogin are, in a way, ideal Javelin clients: young, energetic, and on the rise. They represent an investment of the kind that a Bob Barnett would never have to make. “The hope is to go out and find the people who are going to be reporting and telling stories about Washington for the next 20 years, the next 30 years,” Urbahn says. “To find the talent early and to stick with them.” [Washingtonian]

PROFILE: "'Active' philanthropist Adam Milstein a growing connector in the Jewish world" by Jacob Kamaras: "The way philanthropist Adam Milstein sees it, the priorities of fundraising and survival mean that Jewish and pro-Israel organizations are held back by a natural instinct against intimate and robust collaboration... Milstein, however, has decided to intervene and become a connector. His Los Angeles-based Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation supports dozens of organizations, 58 of which are listed on its website, and ensures that every program it funds is shared among multiple groups... In 2007, Milstein co-founded the Israeli-American Council (IAC), a fast-growing organization which in 2014 ran programming that reached more than 100,000 of the estimated 500,000-800,000 Israeli Americans." [JNS]

TALK OF THE TOWN: Editorial: "No Jew left behind" [NYPost] • "When Faith and Finances Collide" [TimeMag] • "Sudden Collapse of FEGS Raises Disturbing Questions About Jewish Social Service System" [Forward] • "Couple sues Kuwait Airways after Israeli passport denied at Kennedy Airport" [ABC7] • "Jewish toymaker fired from Brooklyn company for refusing to convert to Christianity: $2M Suit" [DailyNews] • "N.J. teen won't be charged for Hitler, bombing Jews tweets" [DailyNews]

REVIEW: "Surviving the Nazis, Only to Be Jailed by America" by Eric Lichtblau: "Largely lost to history, however, is the cruel reality of what “liberation” actually meant for hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors discovered barely alive in the Nazi camps. Even after the victorious American and Allied forces took control of the camps, the survivors — mainly Jews, but also small numbers of gays, Roma, Communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others — remained for months behind barbed wire and under armed guard in what became known euphemistically as displaced persons, or D.P., camps. Many Jews were left wearing the same notorious striped pajamas that the Nazis first gave them... As I examined the path the Nazis took out of Europe, I struggled to understand how so many of them had made it to America so easily while so many Holocaust survivors were left behind." 

"One answer came in a copy of Gen. George S. Patton’s handwritten journal... “Harrison and his ilk believe that the Displaced Person is a human being, which he is not, and this applies particularly to the Jews who are lower than animals,” Patton wrote. He complained of how the Jews in one camp, with “no sense of human relationships,” would defecate on the floors and live in filth like lazy “locusts.”... Other evidence emerged revealing not only Patton’s disdain for the Jews in the camps, but an odd admiration for the Nazi prisoners of war under his watch. Under Patton, Nazis prisoners were not only bunked at times with Jewish survivors, but were even allowed to hold positions of authority, despite orders from Eisenhower to “de-Nazify” the camps." [NYTimes]

FIRST LOOK: "The Last Trial: A great-grandmother, Auschwitz, and the arc of justice" by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker Magazine: "
Oskar Gröning, who has become known as “the bookkeeper from Auschwitz,” was born on June 10, 1921, in Nienburg, a town about thirty miles south of Bremen. An indifferent student, Gröning graduated from high school in 1938 and went to work at a local savings bank. He became a member of the Nazi Party just as the war broke out, and then, not long afterward, volunteered for the Waffen S.S... Gröning is now ninety-three. He is widowed and has trouble walking. A few months ago, he was charged with three hundred thousand counts of accessory to murder. His trial, to be held in the city of Lüneburg, is supposed to begin in April." [NewYorker]

TALK OF OUR NATION: "A month after kosher market attack, French Jews plan an exodus" by Griff Witte: "In homes, in shops and in synagogues guarded night and day by soldiers wielding assault rifles, conversations are dominated by an agonizing choice: stay in France and risk becoming the victim of the next attack by Islamic extremists, or leave behind a country and a community that Jews say they are proud to call home... â€œThe question is not will they leave or won’t they leave,” said Alain Assouline, a prominent Saint-Mandé doctor and president of a Jewish community center. “The question has become when they will leave.” [WashPost] • "UK needs to take urgent action over anti-Semitism, lawmakers say" [Reuters]

"Anti-Nazi Group Secretly Helping Kremlin Rebuild Russian Empire" by James Kirchick:
"On the surface, World Without Nazism (WWN) has all the trappings of an international non-governmental oganization (NGO) committed to fighting the scourges of bigotry and anti-Semitism: Glitzy conferences in European capitals. Dry, thousand-page reports full of data. Concerned speeches by its leaders calling for vigilance. But beneath the innocuous exterior of what Tablet magazine calls “a kind of Moscow-based Anti-Defamation League” lurks a less altruistic agenda: a Kremlin propaganda operation designed to abuse the good intentions of those genuinely committed to fighting hatred and extremism—particularly American Jews and their allies. And last month, the group spread its message to a most unusual forum: Capitol Hill." [DailyBeast]

"Escape Artist: How a Legendary Hezbollah Terrorist Eluded the CIA" [Newsweek] • "The public and private doubts of Al Sharpton" [WashPost] • "Profile: How Andrew Cuomo Gets His Way" [NewYorker]

"Jewish Wizards at Hogwarts: A History" by Nathaniel Stein [NewYorker]

DESSERT: "Brisket Was Cheap and Delicious; Now It's Expensive and You Have to Wait in Line" by Ana Campoy and Nathan Koppel: "
Smoked barbecue brisket is also gaining followers among Jews more familiar with the oven-baked variety served at many family gatherings. New York native Josh Rosenberg thought he hated brisket based on his mother’s habit of “cooking it to death.” Then he encountered the Texas style after moving to Austin. It was love at first smell—to the point that he hesitates to wash his smoke-infused clothes after a visit to a barbecue pit. Sensing a business opportunity, he started manufacturing kosher smoked brisket last year under the label Summit Point Farms. His product, he says, is so unusual in the kosher world, it’s “like a unicorn.” [WSJ]

That's all folks; have a great day!
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