Daily Kickoff: Kerry – “Iran deal non-binding” | Josh Sason profile: Jewish kid from Long Island makes good on penny stocks | Frank, Barney Frank

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2016 WATCH: @HillaryClinton — “GOP letter to Iranian clerics undermines American leadership. No one considering running for commander-in-chief should be signing on.” [Twitter] • Gov. @BobbyJindal responds: “.@HillaryClinton No one who allows Iran to become a nuclear power should consider running.” [Twitter]

TOP TALKER: “Iran Nuclear Deal, If Reached, Wouldn’t Be ‘Legally Binding,’ Kerry Says” by Felicia Schwartz: “Secretary of State John Kerry, in an often contentious Senate hearing, told lawmakers Wednesday the U.S. isn’t negotiating a “legally binding” agreement with Iran, meaning future presidents could choose not to implement the accord.” [WSJPolitico] • Watch Kerry & Rubio argue on Iran [NationalJournal]

“Obama Administration Falls Into GOP’s Iran Letter Trap” by Tim Mak: “The Republicans’ much-maligned open letter to Tehran has forced the White House to admit an uncomfortable truth: The deal might not outlast the Obama presidency… “The letter forced the administration to explain why they’re icing Congress out of Iran negotiations, and now that explanation has ignited a firestorm,” said Omri Ceren, press director for the pro-Israel group The Israel Project. “The administration looks like it intentionally chose a weaker, non-binding arrangement, rather than a treaty, to avoid Senate oversight.”[DailyBeast] • Jack Goldsmith: “Non-Legal Agreements: Easier to Make, Easier to Break” [Lawfare]

BY DESIGN OR NOT? — “Iran letter blowback startles GOP” by Burgess Everett: “Some Republican senators admitted Wednesday they were caught off guard by the backlash to a letter warning Iranian leaders against a nuclear agreement with President Barack Obama.” [PoliticoTheHill]

DIFFERENT POV: “Why a ‘Bad’ Deal With Iran Is Better Than No Deal at All” by Jeffrey Lewis: “The thing is, there is no “good” deal. Any deal will be a compromise that leaves in place many dangers to Israel, as well as Iran’s neighbors and the United States. The essential thing is to delay as long as possible an Iranian nuclear bomb… But there is no good reason to believe that walking away from a deal now puts the United States in position to get a better one in a few years… A Republican administration, if given a chance, would negotiate exactly the same agreement that this administration is negotiating, with all its flaws and shortcomings.” [ForeignPolicy]

Eli Lake: “Shiite Militias Also Carry Out Atrocities in Iraq” in Bloomberg View: “General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would do well to read a story posted Wednesday from the ABC News investigative unit that documents war crimes by what appear to be Iraqi army soldiers.” [BVABC News]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 11:45am, the American Action Forum and the Foreign Policy Initiative host a conversation with Sen. Lindsey Graham on “Will We Confront the Growing Security Threats?” moderated by Amb. Eric Edelman.

2016: “Foreign policy alters contours of GOP race” by Alex Isenstadt and Jonathan Topaz: “I think it’s fair to say that not since 9/11 has there been such an intense focus on foreign policy issues,” said former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman…” [Politico] • “Democrats See No Choice but Hillary Clinton in 2016: Mrs. Clinton, many Democrats say, is simply too big to fail. “There is no one else — she’s the whole plan,” said Sarah Kovner, a leading Democratic donor and fund-raiser in New York.”[NYTimesUS News]

Funder: “Paul Singer to host fundraiser for female members of Congress” by MJ Lee:“Billionaire investor and major Republican donor Paul Singer will co-host a fundraiser for five female members of Congress in New York City at the end of this month. According to an invitation shared with CNN, Singer and 20 others will host a lunch for Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and freshmen Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York, Martha McSally of Arizona and Barbara Comstock of Virginia.” [CNN]

SIREN: “Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney boosts French comedian with anti-Semitic history” by Nick Gass: “Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney shared her latest comedy recommendation with Facebook and Twitter followers last night. The Georgia Democrat, who was the Green Party’s 2008 presidential nominee, compared French comedian Dieudonné to outgoing Daily Show host Jon Stewart. “If you love Jon Stewart, you should like Dieudonné!” McKinney posted. In one routine, Dieudonné said that when he thought of a particular Jewish journalist, the gas chamber came to mind.”[Politico]

STATE VISIT: Congressman Chakah Fattah in Israel. “It was a pleasure to welcome Congressman Chakah Fattah of Pennsylvania and his wife, Renee, to Israel. Congressman Fattah is a leader in promoting investments in nueroscience and brain research, including for joint research projects between the United States and Israel. During his visit, he attended and spoke at a major brain research conference, and met with leading neuroscience experts at the Weizmann Institute and the Technion.” — Amb. Dan Shapiro [Facebook]

ISRAELEX: “Netanyahu Slips in Polls Days Before Israeli Elections” by Joshua Mitnick:“Two polls on Wednesday put Isaac Herzog, leader of the dovish Labor Party, slightly ahead and suggest that support for Mr. Netanyahu and his Likud party among working-class Jews has eroded because of their widespread perception that he has focused on nuclear threats from Iran and extremist Muslims at the expense of economic problems.” [WSJ] • “What’s at Stake” [WSJ] • A senior Netanyahu advisor emailed us this… “Buji Has Lost his Mind” [INN] • Time Magazine on Herzog [Time] • Haviv Rettig Gur: “Likud’s campaign has grown frantic, its activists moribound, but it’s too early to bury Netanyahu’s party” [ToI

Israel Policy Forum is running ads — “Enough. Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons shouldn’t fall prey to partisan politics. We must not lose sight of the fact that the governments of the United States and the State of Israel are in agreement: 1. Iran must be prevented from acquiring or possessing a nuclear weapon; 2. A diplomatic arrangement to achieve this objective is far preferable to the use of military force, but all options should remain on the table, and 3. The strongest safeguards must be in place to prevent Iran from violating the terms of any agreement, should on be reached.” See the ad[IPF] H/T Aaron Keyak

**Good Thursday 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**

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Safra Family eyes 590 Madison” [CrainsRealDeal] • “Ned Cohen’s new venture to target Empire State Building’s ex-investors” [RealDeal] • “Foreign resident buys Tel Aviv home for NIS 44m” [Globes] • Chetrit & Bistricer’s Hotel Bossert won’t re-open until summer”[BrooklynEagle] • “HAP to launch IPO on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange” [RealDeal] • “…Ellen Barkin is the film’s stereotypical Jewish villain, a developer who hires Ludlow to eliminate an elderly tenant (Fritz Weaver) whose building she wants to demolish.” [NYPost]

STARTUP NATION: Israeli Amb. to Canada Rafael Barak — “Here on the west coast, a grassroots group of Israeli-Canadian tech entrepreneurs, known as the Vancouver Israeli Tech Club, has emerged to connect British Columbia’s technology sector to its Israeli counterpart.” [VancouverSun] • “Are you checking your 401(k) fees? Uri Levine’s FeeX will do it for you” [GeekTime] • “SolarEdge sets terms for $119m Nasdaq IPO” [Globes]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: Ben Rubin’s Meerkat: “Meerkat, a social app that combines the existing audience of Twitter and the ephemeral nature of Snapchat, with the immediacy of live-stream video was bound to turn heads… Meerkat CEO and co-founder Ben Rubin tells us that the company was thinking of brands when it created the scheduling feature and also notes that the fact the experience lives within Twitter is perfectly tailored for marketers.” [FastCompany] • “Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe to Turn DNA Data Into Drugs in Startup’s Latest Twist” [Businessweek]

LongRead: “This 27-Year-Old Made Millions Riding the Death Spirals of Penny Stocks” by Zeke Faux: “The son of an Israeli immigrant who works as a contractor, Josh Sason grew up in Plainview, a middle-class Long Island suburb… When he was 10 or 11 he started a rock band called The Descent with some neighborhood kids. Around sophomore year, someone got their music in front ofTrevor Pryce, a 260-pound defensive end for the Denver Broncos who invested in music as a sideline. He flew to Long Island to sign them to his record label—but first he had to sit down with their concerned parents. “I was in the living room with five Jewish families surrounding me asking me about calculus,” he says. “It was hilarious.”

“Bandmate Michael Morgan says Sason was eager for another shot at the big time. Morgan says they worked out together every day at a Jewish community center—where kids now play basketball in the Joshua A. Sason Gymnasium, renamed in 2013 after a donation… Sason says he doubled his bar mitzvah money on blue-chip stocks in 2009… In an entrepreneurship class at Hofstra, where he was a member of the class of 2009, Sason came up with a plan to import sand from Israel and sell it as a collectible called “Sand from the Holy Land.”

‘Kahlon, 48, is an Israeli immigrant, too. After arriving in Queens in 1989 and driving for a taxi service, he built a small fortune by getting in early on arcade games and financing car dealerships. He hired Sason’s father to work on his house and soon befriended the family, inviting them over for holidays. One Passover, when Josh won the traditional game of hide-the-matzoh, which usually comes with a prize of $1 or $10, Kahlon says he gave the kid $1,000… Around 2009, Kahlon heard the Sasons were having financial issues. He told the elder Sason he could help. “I said, ‘Bring your son here, I’ll teach him to make money,’ ” says Kahlon, who by then was in the penny-stock business.” [Bloomberg]

BOOK REVIEW: “In Memoir, Barney Frank Presses for a Results-Oriented Philosophy” by Jonathan Martin: “The expectations, from both readers and publishers, for a political memoir are that the author will use the book to give what-really-happened insider details, offer a healthy portion of score-settling and provide ample introspection on a life in elected office. Barney Frank, the long-serving Democratic representative from Massachusetts, dutifully serves up some of each in his autobiography.”[NYTimes]

—Martin tweeted a section from the book: “Vintage Barney bomb: ’96, stumps for Wellstone, who was facing Boschwitz. MN Rs said Barney was from outside state&outside mainstream. Barney notes Boschwitz has Arthur Finkelstein as a consultant. “I noted that according to the rules of the campaign, each candidate was allowed to send to Massachusetts for one gay Jew to help him. Since Wellstone was better candidate..he needed me for only 1 day.” [Twitter]

CAMPUS BEAT: “UCLA student government passes resolution condemning anti-Semitism” by Jared Sichel: “On Tuesday evening, UCLA’s student government’s legislative body unanimously passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on campus. The 12 to 0 vote followed weeks of local and national media coverage of the Feb. 10 student government hearing, during which four elected student officials questioned whether Rachel Beyda, an undergraduate pre-law student, could serve fairly as a judge in the student government’s equivalent of the Supreme Court because she is Jewish.” [JewishJournal;BuzzFeed]

Welcome to the Twitters: Rabbi Levi Shemtov — @ShemtovDC

DESSERT: “Manischewitz Brings Kosher Pizza, Macaroons to Chelsea Market” by Rosa Goldensohn: “Kosher food giant Manischewitz will give away macaroons, matzo pizza and potato pancakes in an effort to convey ‘The Manischewitz Experience” this Thursday, Friday and Sunday at Chelsea Market.” [DNAinfo]

“How Fidel Castro Saved Cuba’s Only Kosher Butcher” by Gerald Eskenazi: “Havana has a kosher butcher, which sounds like the punch-line of a joke. There are, after all, only 1,500 Jews left in all of Cuba, the vast majority in Havana. what is fascinating is how a kosher butcher managed to remain in a country that was intent on wiping out private enterprise as well as barely tolerated organized religion when Fidel Castro took over in 1959… “In 1962, Castro wrote a special letter to us, giving us permission to stay open,” explains Berezniak. “I still have that letter.” It is unclear why Castro decided to write that letter. Perhaps it was because about 90 percent of Cuba’s 15,000 Jews left after he came to power and Castro was making a show of being good to the remaining Jews.” [Haaretz]

“For those attending SXSW in Austin, a chance to tap into the Jewish flavors of Texas” by Carin Smilk: “Chef Deborah Benaim, 26, knows how to capture attention through food—hip kosher food. Now she’ll turn up the heat in Texas with the addition of an on-site kosher food truck. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and raised in Dallas, she now runs her own catering company in Los Angeles. She expects to serve about 200 meals a day for five days”

“The food truck emerged from the collaboration between Chabad Rabbi Mordechai and Chana Lightstone, and the Jewish National Fund. The Lightstones started a Shabbat dinner for Jewish participants called #openShabbat at the festival six years ago… more than 150 people attended last year; twice that number—as many as 300—are expected this Friday.  “SXSW is the veritable epicenter of emerging technology and the future of communications,” says Rabbi Lightstone. “To get so many young Jews a chance to connect with each other—and their heritage—in the veritable eye of the digital maelstrom is an incredible experience.” [Chabad] • Drop us a note — Editor@JewishInsider.com — if you’ll be attending SXSW this year

FYI: SXSW memo to press regarding Saudi Princess Reema’s keynote address on “Empowering Saudi Women” — “Please be informed that photographers cannot photograph Princess Reema’s full visage. Only side angles are permitted. When addressing her, protocol is to call her Princess Reema. If you see Princess Reema outside of Keynote, you should ask for permission to photograph her and she can only be photographed with her veil.”

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