Daily Kickoff: Sen. Chris Murphy — McCain’s new amigo? | Lappin vs. Birthright | Hillel CEO bails J Street Conference | Amb. Prosor is now a grandfather

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TOP TALKER: “Tom Cotton Doesn’t Give A Sh** About Iran Talks Protocol. But A Lot Of Others Do” by Jessica Schulberg: “While Cotton’s letter created divisions on the margins for the Republican Party, within Democratic circles there was uniform disdain, bordering on disgust. Administration officials.. did not comment on whether Cotton’s move violated the Logan Act, which prohibits unauthorized Americans from negotiating with foreign governments in relation to U.S. policy, but that suggestion has been floated in social media.” [HuffPost] • “Iran letter could backfire, GOP dissenters say” [Politico] • Daily News Cover: “Traitors” [Newseum]

VP Joe Biden’s Statement: “I served in the United States Senate for thirty-six years. I believe deeply in its traditions, in its value as an institution, and in its indispensable constitutional role in the conduct of our foreign policy. The letter sent on March 9th by forty-seven Republican Senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressly designed to undercut a sitting President in the midst of sensitive international negotiations, is beneath the dignity of an institution I revere.” • Cotton responds on Morning Joe: “I want complete nuclear disarmament” [MSNBC]

Iranian Foreign Minister @JZarif — “.@SenTomCotton ICYMI my response. In English” [Twitter] • “In our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy. It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history. This indicates that like Netanyahu, who considers peace as an existential threat, some are opposed to any agreement, regardless of its content.” [MFA.IR]

@DavidAxelrod: “To Cotton-sticking Senate GOP: If Ds had done under a Republican POTUS what you did today, you would have been the first to cry “treason!” [Twitter]

WSJ Editorial: “President Obama ’s looming nuclear deal with Iran may be the security blunder of the young century, and Congress should vote on it. Which is why it’s too bad that Republican Senators took their eye off that ball on Monday with a letter to the government of Iran… The problem with the GOP letter is that it’s a distraction from what should be the main political goal of persuading the American people.”[WSJ]

Sen. Chris Murphy: “The GOP’s #Iran letter is dangerous for US national security: ongoing negotiations are by far the best way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran” [Twitter]

—New Amigo? “Chris Murphy and John McCain: A Budding Bromance” by Daniela Altimari: “McCain had long been close to Murphy’s predecessor, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, but the Arizona Republican called Murphy “a worthy successor.” “He’s not a bad-looking guy either,” said McCain, the Republican party’s 2008 presidential nominee. “I’ve said a couple of times: if I looked like Chris Murphy I might be president of the United States today.” McCain’s comments suggested he views himself as something of a mentor to Murphy. “On other issues,” McCain told the crowd at the Ukrainian Home, “I think he’s a communist.” [HartfordCourant]

“Former senators urge Iran vote with explosive ad” by Kristina Wong: “A bipartisan trio of former senators has banded together to run an aggressive TV ad urging Congress to pass a bill that would allow lawmakers to review any deal that international negotiators reach with Iran to prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Former Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) have created a new 501(c)(4) called the American Security Initiative, which last week began running an ad showing a white van, ostensibly packed with a nuclear bomb, driving towards New York.” [TheHill]

ISRAELEX: “Israel’s election in 700 words” by Shmuel Rosner [JewishJournal] • Daniel Gordis: “Netanyahu Campaign Hit by Perfect Storm” [BloombergView] • “Israel’s game of thrones: first the vote, then the king-making” [Yahoo• “In Israeli Election, Arab Sportscaster Runs On Ticket Of Mainstream Jewish Party” [NPR] • “Israel’s Arab political parties have united for the first time” [WashPost]

Pew Polls: “Far More Interest Among Republicans Than Democrats in Clinton Emails, Netanyahu” — “About twice as many Republicans (34%) as Democrats (18%) closely followed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress last Tuesday. Young people expressed especially low interest in stories about Netanyahu and Clinton’s emails: Just 3% followed news about Netanyahu’s address to Congress very closely.” [Pew] h/t Jacob Kornbluh

2016 WATCH: “Hillary Clinton Prepares to Address Her Use of Private Email as Secretary of State”[NYTimes] • “Seven Free-Agent Republican Mega-Donors to Watch” — including the Adelsons, Paul Singer, Robert Mercer [NationalJournal] • “Poll Finds Big 2016 Field Divides GOP” [WSJ• “Tales of Working-Class Roots Are Political Perennials” [NYTimes]

IL SEN: “Endangered Kirk to tout stroke comeback” by Manu Raju: “In November 2010, Mark Kirk pulled one of biggest political upsets of the year, winning a Senate seat as a Republican in the home state of President Barack Obama. Two years later, the 52-year-old senator was lying in a hospital bed, thinking about the end of his life… What followed was a struggle that dwarfed any of his political exertions. Three years of rehabilitation have helped Kirk regain some mobility. He still uses a wheelchair but has been able to slowly ramp up the amount of work he can handle.” [Politico] • “Kirk sees stroke recovery giving him 2016 edge” [AP]

HAPPENING TODAY: “Vice’s Shane Smith to interview President Obama on foreign policy” [PoliticoVice]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “New developers — Richard LeFrak and Jeffrey Soffer — for old Biscayne Landing site” [MiamiHeraldSFBJ] • “Canucks buy Aby Rosen’s 757 Third Ave for $360M” [RealDeal• “Construction Defects Follow a Brooklyn Building Boom” — Itzhak Katan, Shaya Boymelgreen mentions [NYTimes] • “Hedge Fund Manager Emanuel “Manny” Friedman’s Next Frontier: Lawsuits” [WSJ]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Jewish Group Wants More Youth to Visit Israel” by Tamara Audi:“Jewish-American philanthropies and leaders say Mr. Brown’s experience shows the value of sponsored trips to Israel, which they say can help prepare young Jews to combat instances of anti-Semitism world-wide by forging a stronger religious identity. In fact, the head of Lappin Foundation wants to open up such trips to more Jews, particularly those under 18, citing anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses as well as concerns that younger Jews are losing their religious identity.”

“But this push has met resistance by the most prominent Jewish philanthropy that sponsors such visits, Taglit-Birthright Israel, which says its trips have more impact on those who are least 18, and are generally more mature. “Explanations [about Israel] that are going to be given to [youngsters] at 16 aren’t going to resonate with them as much at this stage in their lives,” said Gidi Mark, chief executive of Birthright… Robert Lappin, 93, says young Jews should be girded for anti-Israel sentiment well before they reach campus, and he wants Birthright to expand its age of eligibility, with special priority for 16- and 17-year-olds.” [WSJ]

Statement from Hillel International CEO Eric Fingerhut Regarding Participation in J Street Conference: “Over the weekend, J Street listed me as a speaker at their upcoming conference. They did this with the permission of my office. I have concluded that I should not participate in the conference. I regret the inconvenience I have caused.”… “My desire to attend the conference was based on my wish to speak at a student-only session directly with the students who will be in attendance, to thank those who have joined in the fight against BDS and anti-Semitism on college campuses, and to urge everyone to take up this crucial cause. However, after reviewing the full list of speakers, I now realize that any benefit that might come from this opportunity would be overshadowed by concerns regarding my participation amongst other speakers who have made highly inflammatory statements against the Jewish state.”

“Asked what speaker at the March 21-24 conference triggered the pullout, Hillel’s chief administrative officer, David Eden, named Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator, noting his inflammatory statements in the past. In recent months, Erekat has compared Israel to the Islamic State, or ISIS, the terrorist group battling a US-led alliance… J Street anticipates 3,000 activists to attend its conference, among them 1,000 students.” [JTA] • J Street U responds [JStreet]

Jeremy Burton: “Frankly, and speaking strictly personally, I’d be far more impressed if someone cancelled on the J Street conference because they objected to being on a speakers list alongside James “F- The Jews” Baker. That’s the one that baffles me.” [Facebook]

TALK OF THE TOWN: “NYC Delays Decision to Repeal Mandatory Parental Consent for Jewish Ritual”: “Administration aides initially said the proposal would be presented to the Board of Health this month. Officials said Monday the proposal is now slated to be presented to the board in June and voted on at the panel’s next meeting. A person familiar with the negotiations between the religious community and the city said Monday the delay in presenting the proposal to the board was largely related to the city working out the specifics on how public health investigations will be conducted. There were some other legal issues, as well, the person said… The delay was not a concern at all to David Niederman, the president of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg.” [WSJ• “Mayor de Blasio Is Quietly Soliciting Donations for Future Policy Battles” [NYTimes]

Stephen Prothero Op: “When Every Day Is a Religious Holiday: In the name of ‘inclusivity,’ the school year is becoming off-limits to teaching. How about zero holidays?” [WSJ]

TRANSITIONS: “Former Bloomberg Official Ronald Richter to Head Jewish Child Care Association: Ronald Richter, a family court judge who led the New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been named chief executive of the Jewish Child Care Association, one of the city’s largest child-welfare nonprofits.” [WSJ; Crains]

Elan Carr eyes LA County Board of Supervisors race: “L.A. County Deputy Dist. Atty. Elan Carr also filed a fundraising form, county officials said. Unlike Napolitano and Gin, who are eyeing Knabe’s 4th District seat, Carr is interested in running for the 5th District seat of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who also is being forced out by term limits next year. Last year, Carr lost a Westside-based congressional race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) but demonstrated that he could raise campaign money.” [LATimes]

“Former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin joins Detroit law firm” by Todd Spangler: “Former Michigan Senator Carl Levin will join Detroit-based law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP in April as senior counsel.” [FreePressCrains]

“Leon Wieseltier joins Brookings as the Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy: Wieseltier will work both independently and in conjunction with Brookings colleagues to conduct in-depth research on topics related to the intersection of cultural trends (including high and low culture, religion, the climate of ideas and opinions, and scholarly and conceptual developments in the academic world) with domestic and foreign policy challenges. “We are delighted to have Leon at Brookings,” said Martin Indyk.” [Brookings]

SPORTS BLINK: “Israel, Politics, And The Curious Case Of Tennis Pro Malek Jaziri” [Vice]

DESSERT: “Oregon couple to brew kosher kegs for community” by Anthony Weiss:“Nanobreweries, tinier versions of the better-known microbreweries, have become increasingly popular among craft brewers in recent years. Leikam will start by producing only about 300 gallons per month, one-third of which will be distributed to 50 subscribers who purchase shares upfront in exchange for two allotments of beer per month for a year. The rest will be sold in bottles and at bars and restaurants… Leikam Brewing will likely be the only kosher, community-supported brewery in the country, according to Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association.” [JTA]

—Alan Weinkrantz Op: “#openShabbat Returns & New Kosher Carne Food Truck at #SXSW 2015” [ToI]

Mazal Tov: “Amb. Ron Prosor became a grandfather for the 1st time! #itsagirl” [Twitter]

BIRTHDAYS: Wayne Firestone… Leonard Lovitch… Michael Ross…

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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