Daily Kickoff: “There are big problems between Bibi & our president” – Boehner | Greenberg nominated to chair CoP | Jewish fan anxiety for David Blatt

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IRAN TALKS: “Why Obama chose the Iran talks to take one of the biggest risks of his presidency” by Greg Jaffe: “The negotiations are personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran. More recently, Netanyahu leveled the same charge and infuriated the White House. “There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong, and to prove the world wrong,” said Julianne Smith. An accord with Iran also would give credence to Obama’s core belief that the United States must be open to negotiations with its enemies.” [WashPost]

Nicholas Kristof: “As the Iranian nuclear talks creep on into double overtime, let’s remember that this isn’t just about centrifuges but also about creating some chance over time of realigning the Middle East and bringing Iran out of the cold.” [NYTimes] • “Obama’s Diplomatic Gamble On Iran Adding Instability In Middle East” [NPR]

Behind the Scenes: “Obama Tells Iran Nuclear Negotiators to Disregard Deadline in 11th Hour” by Michael R. Gordon and David E. Sanger: “There was no way to meet the deadline, Mr. Kerry said, from the tent, which was designed to defeat eavesdropping. The Iranians, he said, perhaps sensing that the deadline meant a lot in Washington and little in Tehran, were intransigent… Mr. Obama’s Tuesday night decision to ignore the deadline he had set for himself was intended to persuade the Iranian leadership, watching these sessions from Tehran, to think twice about the hard-nose brinkmanship Iran negotiators had exhibited in previous rounds of talks.” [NYTimes]

–Report: “The White House released a list of its high-ranking officials who took part in a video conference with President Obama late Tuesday. Among them appears Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, who apparently has formerly worked for the National Iranian-American Council.” [BreitbartDailyBeast]

“Obama Weighs Options if Iran Nuclear Talks Fail” by Jay Solomon, Laurence Norman, and Carol Lee: “The White House said Mr. Obama is prepared to walk away from the negotiations. Alternatives to diplomacy include stiffer economic sanctions, military action or an extension of the interim agreement with Iran that expires June 30, the White House said—exactly the type of measures that the Obama administration has said the talks were intended to avoid.” [WSJBloomberg] • “Iran sees progress; talks resume after all-night session” [AP]

TOP TWEET: Lindsey Graham — “I never thought I’d live long enough to hear myself say this but John Kerry should listen to Howard Dean. #IranTalks” [Twitter] • “Limited Progress On Iran Talks Unlikely To Impress Even Senate Democrats” [HuffPost]

“Obama’s Next Move May Be Lifting U.S. Protection of Israel at U.N.” by Sangwon Yoon:“Robert Malley, the Middle East director for President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, told at least one European nation two weeks ago that the administration is more willing than it has ever been to work on a Security Council resolution defining the parameters for a Mideast peace agreement… The reported comments by Malley are “completely false,” Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said.” [Bloomberg• “Can Zionism and U.S. liberalism coexist under Netanyahu?” by Nathan Perl-Rosenthal [TabletMag]
SECURITY COOPERATION: “Israeli officials announced Wednesday that a joint U.S.-Israeli missile-defense system has successfully passed a new test and is expected to be operational next year – a development that would provide an important tool in protecting the country against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.” [AP]

John Boehner in Israel: ‘The world is on fire’ — by Jake Sherman: “I wouldn’t have believed that I would be involved in as much foreign policy as I am today,” Boehner said in his hotel near Jerusalem’s Old City. “And it certainly isn’t by choice. It’s just that the world is on fire. And I don’t think enough Americans or enough people in the administration understand how serious the problems that we’re facing in the world are.”… Boehner ate lunch with Netanyahu and met with the U.S. Amb. Dan Shapiro and the staff at the American consulate in Jerusalem. He also spent time with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in the brand new Waldorf Astoria, located around the corner from the U.S. Consulate.”

On Obama – Bibi: “Boehner dismissed tensions between Obama and Netanyahu as a “little political spat.” The speaker said he doesn’t expect Netanyahu’s relationship with Obama “to get any worse.” Instead, “I do expect it will get better,” the Ohio Republican said. “No one should look at big problems between Israel and America. There are big problems between Bibi and our president,” Boehner said. He did say Obama’s administration was trying to “impose a peace process on the prime minister of Israel when he has no partner to sit down and talk to.” [Politico]

“Palestinians Join International Criminal Court, but Tread Cautiously at First” by Diaa Hadid and Marlise Simons: “The Palestinian leadership refrained from immediately taking the more provocative step of requesting that the court look into specific cases that may implicate Israeli officials. Instead, the Palestinians said they would wait to see the progress of a preliminary examination that the court’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, began in January.” [NYTimes]

PLAYING DUMB IN PALESTINE — Book Review: Catch the Jew! by Tuvia Tenenbaum. Reviewed by Neil Rogachevsky: “Here is the classic recipe for writing about Israelis and Palestinians: start by mentioning the “cycle of violence” and the distrust it has bred between two peoples in a contested holy land. Next speak of the sane moderates on both sides who are willing to compromise and believe in what “everyone” knows to be the reasonable way forward, a two-state solution. Bemoan how “extremists” on the side you dislike are sabotaging prospects for peace. Repeat until the U.S. president calls for a new peace conference, then insist it represents a last chance.”

“In “Catch the Jew!,” Tuvia Tenenbom eschews this crusty framework. Crisscrossing Israel and the Palestinian Territories over seven months in 2013-14, Mr. Tenenbom meets with high-ranking politicians, celebrated writers, religious leaders, “human rights” professionals, left-wing political activists and West Bank settlers, cajoling Jews and Arabs to speak for themselves… “Catch the Jew!” is an illuminating—and alarming—account of a part of the promised land that few foreigners see.” [WSJ] • StartUp Nation: “Emergency Response Technology: Where Orthodox Jews and Arabs Unite In Israel” [Forbes]

TOP TALKER: “NJ Sen. Bob Menendez indicted on corruption charges” by Eric Tucker and Sean Carlin: “Menendez was charged Wednesday with accepting nearly $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions from a longtime friend in exchange for a stream of political favors. Menendez predicted he would be “vindicated” and, in a defiant statement before reporters and cheering supporters Wednesday evening, said, “This is not how my career is going to end.”… Menendez said Wednesday he would temporarily step aside from his role as top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” [AP]

“A true friend of Israel, unfairly maligned” by Lonny Kaplan, past president of AIPAC:“While I remain deeply concerned by a potentially bad deal with Iran, based upon news reports I am reading, I am heartened to know that Sen. Menendez is playing such a critical role in Congress on this issue, fulfilling his duties with a seriousness of purpose and with deep-seated conviction. Israel knows no better friend than our senior senator from New Jersey. That is why it is so deeply troubling, as Sen. Menendez has reached the apex of his career and is playing such a prominent role in the shaping of U.S. foreign policy, that a steady stream of anonymous leaks meant to slander him is trickling out.” [NJJN]

American Jewish Committee: “Unless and until the government proves its case, the Senator is presumed to be innocent. We, therefore, intend to continue to work with him closely, as we have throughout his tenure. His leadership on pressing policy issues is too important to be silenced on anything less than proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” [AJC]

“Florida’s third senator” by Marc Caputo: “Florida political insiders have long chuckled that the state is the only one in the nation with three senators: Marco Rubio for the Republicans, Bill Nelson for the Democrats, and Bob Menendez for wealthy donors.” [Politico]

“Here’s The Senate Race That Will Be A Referendum On Obama’s Foreign Policy” by Alex Roarty: “Sen. Richard Burr is betting that voters are more concerned about foreign policy than the economy. And the new Intelligence Committee chairman is basing his reelection campaign on that gamble.” [NationalJournal]

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2016 WATCH: Cruz raises $4M – “Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas raised about $4 million in the eight days after he formally announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign staff said, indicating donations are coming at a faster clip than for some GOP candidates in past years.” [WSJ]

TRANSITIONS: Rachel Schneider, who was the Young Americans and Jewish Americans director at Ready for Hillary, will be the intern and youth vote coordinator in the Iowa headquarters for the prospective Clinton campaign. [PoliticoFirstDraft]

South Dakota Jewish legislator Dan Lederman resigns: “Lederman, a Republican who has served in the state Legislature for seven years, said in a blog post on Monday that he would resign effective immediately in order to spend more time with his family. “He’s somebody who clearly could be governor, congressman, senator,” said Matt Brooks in 2011.” [JTABlog]

“Stephen Greenberg nominated to chair the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations: Greenberg, Chairman of NCSEJ – National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, has a long history of Jewish communal involvement. “I have known Steve for many years. He is knowledgeable about the issues and has participated in the Conference for years. The Committee was fully confident that he will continue to advance the Conference’s vital work,” said Richard Stone. Greenberg’s nomination will be presented to the full Conference of Presidents membership for their approval at a meeting on April 29th.

PROFILE: “Who is Jonathan Rosen? The Most Powerful Man in Politics – Outside City Hall” by Grace Ruth: “Jonathan Rosen founded the firm with Valerie Berlin in 2005. They both live in Park Slope. Rosen’s wife, Debbie, is chief of staff to de Blasio’s budget director. Berlin’s wife, Amy Rutnick, is chief of staff to former Congressman Jerry Nadler… “BerlinRosen are smart and strategic and they make their clients, their campaigns, both for public policy and for office, better,” says Councilman Brad Lander… Hank Sheinkopf: “Private clients aren’t hiring them because they don’t think they are connected to City Hall. Of course, they are hiring them because they are connected to City Hall.” [NY1] • “What Hillary Wants From de Blasio” [DailyBeast]

“ADL Cautions States on Religious Freedom Law That Empower Discrimination: ADL is an ardent advocate for religious freedom, but America’s protections for free exercise of religion were never intended to be a sword to harm or discriminate against others… We have been pleased to see the outpouring of objections to these bills, particularly by the business community, which recognizes and values the importance of equality in their communities.” [ADL]

Nathan Diament emails… “How to fix religious freedom laws”: “American law should protect the rights of individuals on both sides of the issue through individual religious conscience accommodations alongside the requirement for most companies and other places of what the law calls “public accommodation” to provide goods and services to anyone legally entitled to them. (Different rules for religiously run nonprofits and small or closely held businesses must also be developed, but they, too, already exist in law.)… we can continue to fight the zero sum game and wait to see which side can pummel the other into submission. Or we can try to find the middle path which respects Americans’ diversity of conscience and indeed seek to let all our citizens pursue happiness.” [CNN]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Meet the Last Jews of Calcutta” by Jael Silliman and Mia Tramz:“From the late eighteenth till the mid-twentieth century, there was a thriving “Baghdadi” Jewish community in Calcutta. Originally Judeo-Arab in identity, they attained a Judeo-British one. Calcutta Baghdadi Jews settled in a cosmopolitan urban environment, met no prejudice, and excelled in all spheres of endeavor. They played a key role in the city’s mercantile development, engaged in governance and civic affairs, built impressive synagogues, established schools, and constructed magnificent buildings. Though never more than 4,000 in number, the community was influential and thoroughly integrated in the fabric of Calcutta.” [TimeMag]

SPORTS BLINK: “The Anxiety and Ecstasy of Watching David Blatt As a Jewish NBA Fan” by Amos Barshad: “Even if things aren’t perfect in Cleveland, they’re going a lot better than they once were. Blatt must be relieved. Alongside him: large swaths of Jewish basketball-loving fans the world over… as with any other proud ethnic group, we seek and embrace continuous representation in all of our historically underrepresented fields. In other words: David Blatt, intentionally or otherwise, would be holding it down for all Jews. With anything short of a championship, will David Blatt keep his job next year? Who knows? For now, until the picture becomes clearer, the whole thing will continue to give Jews tsuris.” [Grantland]

LongRead: “Renegades of Junk: The Rise and Fall of the Drexel Empire” by Max Abelson, Jason Kelly, and David Carey: “The people who lived through Michael Milken’s Wall Street saga tell it in their own words, 25 years later.” [Businessweek

REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP: “Larry Silverstein filed suit against Brooklyn investor Chaim Miller over botched $138M deal for East Side tower” [NYDN] • “Carlyle, Extell bringing 36-tower to Lincoln Square” [RealDeal• Chetrit to foreclose Midtown tower: “In a comical twist, Chitrik then wound up in a legal battle with Chetrit over the spelling of the word Mazel, the Jewish term for congratulations, which was incorrectly spelled as Mazal in some of the title documents.” [NYDN• “Sam Nazarian shakes things up at underperforming SLS Las Vegas” [NYPost]

DESSERT: “Why ‘Mad Men’ is Really All About Being Jewish” by Eric Eidelstein: “It’s surprising because the drama, which explores the personal and professional lives of individuals working on Madison Avenue in the 1960s, has few Jewish characters… “Mad Men” is at its highest form when it explores hypocrisies, the deeply imbued institutional frameworks that make us act the way we do. For Weiner, Jewishness is at the forefront of this tension (all the while he acknowledges the privilege Jews have in being able to pass)… This “am I an ‘insider’ or ‘outsider'” anxiety touches upon the essence of “Mad Men.” [IndieWire

That’s all folks; have a great day!

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