Daily Kickoff: Sheldon primary won’t be decided until next year | Jason Kander, 33, hopes to be next Jewish Sen | Lichtenstein commits $2B to hotels

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BIBI: ‘What Is There To Hide’ In Iran Deal? “Israel’s prime minister said Thursday that he knows the details of the deal being forged with Iran over its nuclear program and asked “what is there to hide” after the U.S. said it was withholding some information on the talks.” [AP]

State Dept Press Briefing: Q – “Does Netanyahu know exactly what’s in the deal? PSAKI: “Well, there isn’t a deal, so it’s hard for anyone to know.” Q – Is it more important to get – for the Administration to get a deal with Iran than it is to have good relations with Israel and the prime minister? PSAKI: “We think it’s important to get a good deal with Iran and with the P5+1, and that will not only make the United States safer; it will make Israel safer.” [Transcript]

—Jen Psaki to return to the White House: “Jen Psaki, the spokeswoman for the State Department, is headed back to the White House as the new communications director. Psaki will replace Jennifer Palmieri, who’s to oversee communications for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.” [PoliticoNYTimes] • “The Russian media’s obsession with Jen Psaki” [Politico]

IRAN TALKS: “Inspectors Say Iran Is Evading Questions as Nuclear Talks Enter a Crucial Stage” by David E. Sanger and William J. Board: “With only five weeks remaining for a basic agreement to be reached with Iran on the fate of its nuclear program, the world’s nuclear inspectors reported on Thursday that Iran was still refusing to answer their longstanding questions about suspected work on nuclear weapons and designs.” [NYTimes] • “Iranians Wait And Wonder If A New Dawn Is Coming” by Steve Inskeep [NPR]

TOP TALKER: “US trial over attacks could hurt Palestinian war crimes push” by Ian Deitch:“Palestinian officials are nervously watching a landmark terrorism trial in the United States, brought by victims of Palestinian suicide bombings and shootings aimed at civilians. They fear a negative verdict could hurt their international image at a time when they are preparing to press war crimes charges against Israel.” [AP]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 12PM, the Hudson Institute hosts a panel on “Ten Years After the Assassination of Rafik Hariri: the Fate of Lebanon and the Future of the Middle East” with Michael Doran, Tony Badran, Hussain Abdul Hussain, and moderated by Lee Smith. Livestream [Hudson]

TOP TWEET: @Daroff – “With a praying snowman at the Kotel!” [Twitter]

2016 WATCH: “Sheldon Adelson Presidential Endorsement ‘A Year Away,” Aide Says” by Julie Bykowicz: ““Any support of a presidential candidate is at least a year away,” the adviser, Andy Abboud, said. Abboud’s remarks came in response to questions about Sheldon and his wife Miriam Adelson’s participation in a March 3 fundraiser in Washington for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s presidential exploratory group, Security Through Strength… Wayne Berman, a lobbyist who will back Florida Senator Marco Rubio if he runs for president, and Seth Klarman, a Boston-based investor who last month hosted an event for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Berman said he is unequivocal in his support for Rubio and is giving to Graham’s group only because “he has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies, and I appreciate that.” [Bloomberg]

Roger Hertog hosts Walker: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had breakfast Thursday in Manhattan with some of the GOP’s biggest donors. Businessman Roger Hertog, chairman emeritus of the conservative Manhattan Institute, hosted the occasion, which was held at Hertog’s office at 745 Fifth Avenue. Thursday’s breakfast was not a fundraiser. Instead, it was a chance for Walker to pitch himself to Hertog’s wealthy circle of friends, according to several people with knowledge of the event. More than two dozen Republican donors attended.” [WashPost]

Eric Cantor set to host Christie event: “An invitation obtained by The Associated Press shows Cantor is co-hosting a meet and greet for Christie at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond on Feb. 26.” [AP]

“Christie losing home-state donors as Jeb Bush makes inroads” by Matea Gold and Robert Costa: “Bush has stopped short of directly confronting Christie by holding a fundraiser on his home turf. But behind the scenes, he has been quietly wooing, via e-mail, a cadre of high-profile Christie backers, including a group that attended a private dinner with Bush at New York’s Union League Club in January.”[WashPostNYTimes] • “Woody Johnson, Jets Owner, Will Support Jeb Bush for 2016” [NYTimes]

Interesting Tweet: @Netanyahu – “Thanks to the comments from @JebBush regarding my upcoming speech to Congress” [Twitter]

“Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties” by James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus:“As Mrs. Clinton prepares to embark on a race for the presidency, she has a web of connections to big corporations unique in American politics—ties forged both as secretary of state and by her family’s charitable interests. Those relationships are emerging as an issue for Mrs. Clinton’s expected presidential campaign as income disparity and other populist themes gain early attention.” [WSJ] • “DNC members unfazed by Hillary stories” [Politico]

RISING STAR: “33-year-old Jason Kander announces he’ll seek Senate seat held by Roy Blunt” Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander made the leap Thursday into next year’s U.S. Senate race, announcing that he will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Roy Blunt. In challenging Blunt, Kander is giving up a statewide post where he was considered a favorite for re-election, to take on a well-known and well-funded senator who is not considered by analysts to be among the GOP’s most vulnerable incumbents.” [SLT TodayPolitico]

—Jewish Dems email… “Should he be elected, Kander would join the nine current Jewish-American members of the Senate, all of whom caucus with the Democratic party.”

FL SEN: “Debbie’s damage control: A top Democratic donor claims the DNC chair offered to switch positions on medical pot if he took back his criticism” by Marc Caputo: “The proposal to Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan was straightforward: retract critical statements he made to a reporter in return for Wasserman Schultz publicly backing his cannabis initiative that she had trashed just months earlier. Morgan declined the offer with a sharp email reply sent to a go-between, who described the congresswoman as being in a “tizzy.” “No,” Morgan responded. “She is a bully. I beat bullies up for a living.” [Politico]

ISRAELEX: “In Online Videos, Israeli Candidates Pursue ‘Likes’ and Votes” by Isabel Kershner: “With a month to go before Israel’s elections on March 17, the race has turned into a contest of cheeky online videos, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the role of an eager babysitter, and from the studios of the center-left Zionist Union a decidedly unsexy “Fifty Shades of Black.” The campaign has so far barely touched on the looming deadline in the Iranian nuclear talks, the festering Palestinian conflict or the heightened tensions with the White House over Mr. Netanyahu’s planned address to Congress. Instead, the candidates are playing for “likes.” [NYTimes] • “Likud drops petition against V15 group” [ToI]

TOP-OP: “Why We Need Birthright in Reverse” by Jay Ruderman: “As someone who spent eight years living in Israel working to advance American Jewish-Israeli relations, I’ve been puzzled by the myopic view of Israelis toward American Jews. With the exception of those who have spent extended time in the U.S., Israelis are unlikely to have an appreciation for how interwoven American Jews are in the fabric of American society. Israelis tend to imagine American Jews living in a shtetl, whose interests are perfectly consonant with the State of Israel. Most have little notion that American Jews see themselves as both Jews and Americans, and rarely experience any real tension in balancing these two identities.”[Forward]

**Good Friday 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: “Activist Investor Barry Rosenstein sues for $253K after buying $147M Hamptons Estate because someone couldn’t keep a secret: Rosenstein, founder of activist investor Jana Partners, says in a new Manhattan lawsuit that when he bought the palatial home at 60 Further Lane from the estate of late investor Christopher Browne, the trustees assured him that no real estate brokers were involved and promised to keep his identity confidential. It turns out they lied, Rosenstein says in court papers, and the Corcoran real estate firm sued over the loss of an $8.82 million commission. Rosenstein had to spend the $253,000 to get his name tossed from the claim.” [NYPost;BizJournal]

“David Lichtenstein’s Lightstone Committing $2 Billion to Hotel Projects” by Nadja Brandt:“David Lichtenstein, whose real estate company owned Extended Stay Hotels when the chain went bankrupt, is committing $2 billion to developing and investing in lodging properties. Lightstone Group is choosing “top-branded” select-service properties, those with limited amenities, in proven U.S. markets for its projects, Lichtenstein said in an interview. As part of the strategy, Lightstone has teamed up with Marriott International Inc. to build five Moxy hotels in New York — four in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. The “micro” lodgings, with high-tech features and smaller-than-average rooms, are geared toward younger travelers.” [Bloomberg] • “Chetrit to pay $29M to double size of Hudson Yards site”[RealDeal]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: Liz Wessel & JJ Fliegelman’s Campus Job [Forbes]

“Ronald Perelman, a Mogul With Muscle, Takes Over Carnegie Hall” by Robin Pogrebin:“Ronald Perelman, billionaire business titan and a self-described “frustrated musician,” owns five drum sets and has played with the likes of Bon Jovi and the Beach Boys. Yet he is landing at Carnegie Hall not by practicing on his snare drum but by taking over as the eminent music institution’s standard-bearer. On Thursday, Carnegie announced that he had succeeded Sanford I. Weill, who has served as chairman for nearly a quarter-century. “Carnegie Hall is probably the thing in New York that I love the most,” Mr. Perelman said. “It’s just magical.” [NYTimesWSJ]

LongRead: “Why Are Ultra-Orthodox Rabbis Trying To Destroy This Hasidic Pop Star” by Batya Ungar-Sargon in the Gathamist: “Schmeltzer has aptly been called the Lady Gaga of Hasidic music. Known mononymously as “Lipa” in Orthodox and Hasidic households from the U.S. to Israel, Schmeltzer’s catalogue is widely played at Orthodox weddings, from the most conservative to the most modern. His music videos have hundreds of thousands of hits, his songs have millions of downloads. He is perhaps the only celebrity who transcends the many divisions of the Orthodox and Hasidic communities. And yet, since the beginning of his career, Schmeltzer, now 36, has been dogged by opposition, his name virtually synonymous with controversy.” [Gothamist]

Politics & the Parsha — presented by Howie Beigelman: “The Mishkan was the very first people’s house. God commands Moses to accept contributions from anyone, whatever their heart desires to donate to the Tabernacle. And, God finds a use for every last item offered. Why? In the words of the poet Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The Tabernacle was a place of hierarchy, of pomp, and ritual. Priests and Levites entered areas forbidden to commoners. Not everyone had the same opportunities during a service or sacrifice. But everyone was connected to it; they all had a hand in its foundation.”

“When a prosecutor stands in court to represent “the people vs.” they are, in the purest form, mimicking a lesson from the building of the Tabernacle. People must always feel their voice is heard. It doesn’t mean they always win, but it means they had a fair hearing, a fair shot, and a fair—even if undesirable—outcome. That’s the lesson of the Tabernacle. It’s one every government, and indeed, all of us in our communal and personal lives should remember more often.” [JewishLink]


That’s all folks; have a great day!
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