Daily Kickoff: Menendez regrets not pushing Kirk-Menendez | How Schumer’s Iran Decision Played With Senate Dems | Next stop for GOP 2016ers: Israel

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TOP TALKER: Sen Robert Menendez spoke yesterday at Seton Hall University on the Iran deal: “Unlike President Obama’s characterization of those who have raised serious questions about the agreement, or who have opposed it, I did not vote for the war in Iraq, I opposed it, unlike the Vice President and the Secretary of State, who both supported it. My vote against the Iraq war was unpopular at the time, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

“If anything is a ‘fantasy’ about this agreement it is the belief that snapback, without congressionally-mandated sanctions, with EU sanctions gone, and companies from around the world doing permissible business in Iran, will have any real effect. The Administration cannot argue sanction policy both ways. Either they were effective in getting Iran to the negotiating table or they were not. Sanctions are either a deterrent to break-out, a violation of the agreement, or they are not.”

“In retrospect, my one regret throughout this process is that I did not proceed with the Menendez-Kirk prospective sanctions legislation that would have provided additional leverage during the negotiations and would have also provided additional leverage in any possible post-agreement nullification by them or by us. Frankly, in my view, the overall sanctions relief being provided, given the Iranian’s understanding of restrictions on the reauthorization of sanctions, along with the lifting of the arms and missile embargo well before Iranian compliance over years is established, leaves us in a weak position, and that – to me – is unacceptable.”

“I know that, in many respects, it would be far easier to support this deal, as it would have been to vote for the war in Iraq at the time. But I didn’t choose the easier path then, and I’m not going to now. I have looked into my own soul and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it. It is for these reasons that I will vote to disapprove the agreement and, if called upon, would vote to override a veto.” [TranscriptVideo]

–Israel’s nuclear program received a shoutout during Menendez’s speech: “The U.S. track record in detecting and stopping countries from going nuclear should make Kerry more modest in his claims and assumptions. The U.S. missed the Soviet Union, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Washington underestimated Saddam’s program in 1990. Then it overestimated his program in 2003 and went to war to stop a nonexistent WMD program. It is precisely because of this track record that permitting Iran to have the size and scope of an industrialized nuclear program, permitted under the JCPOA is one of the great flaws of the agreement.”

“How Schumer’s Iran Decision Played With Senate Democrats” by Connie Bruck: “More than a week has passed, and Reid still wonders why Schumer decided to announce his opposition when he did. Schumer was the first Democratic senator to oppose the deal. And it was his timing, perhaps even more than the substance of his decision, that has upset his pro-deal colleagues and, most unmistakably, the White House.” [NewYorker]

“Robert Menendez and Chuck Schumer may not matter much on Iran” by Burgess Everett: “Indeed, the most pressing question at this point is whether they can even get the 60 votes in opposition that are needed to break a filibuster and get a disapproval resolution to Obama’s desk. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell himself has all but said overriding a veto isn’t going to happen as Congress prepares to vote on the deal when it returns from its monthlong recess in September.” [Politico• “Divisions and Inertia in Congress May Hand Obama a Victory on Iran Deal” [NYTimes]

“Obama’s Nuclear Deal Tests Lawmakers’ Loyalty” by Josh Kraushaar: “The vote is likely to go down to the wire. With Obama spending every bit of political capital to prevent 13 Senate Democrats (and around 45 House Democrats) from defecting, the administration holds the upper hand. But while many Washington watchers assumed Obama would have enough Democrats to sustain a veto, Schumer’s early opposition to the bill—and the majority of swing senators remaining on the fence—indicate that opponents have a credible shot at generating two-thirds opposition necessary to scuttle the deal.” [NationalJournal]

“New Snapchat ad opposing Iran deal targets Ben Cardin” by Catherine Ho: “Secure America Now, an advocacy group opposing the Iran nuclear deal, is unveiling a new Snapchat ad Wednesday that targets Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a critical vote on the agreement. The ad uses what’s called a “filter” — an image that Snapchat users can superimpose onto their photos and videos and share with their friends on the social media site. The filter depicts the image of microphones along with the text, “Tell Senator Cardin: No to the bad Iran deal!” [PowerPost]

2016 WATCH: “Next stop for GOP 2016ers: Israel” by Stephen Collinson: “Serious presidential candidates, especially Republicans, now routinely extend the campaign trail to Israel to vow solidarity to the Jewish state, bolster their foreign policy credentials and impress pro-Israel donors and evangelical voters back home. “It is a genuine need on their part to truly understand not only the issues that are facing Israel, but the issues that are facing the U.S. You have got to have an understanding of them,” said Fred Zeidman, adding that those who argue the trips served merely as a political stage are wrong.” [CNN• “Huckabee: Presidential candidates should visit all of Israel, including W. Bank settlements” [JPost]

“Hillary Clinton 2016: Campaign wants donors to pay for their own food, parking” by Kenneth Vogel: “According to the request signed by Clinton’s lead campaign lawyer Marc Elias, Clinton’s presidential campaign “plans to organize and host numerous events throughout the election cycle in restaurants, hotels, or similar event spaces,” including some at which it “does not plan to make significant food or beverages available to event attendees.” Instead, the campaign “anticipates that individuals in attendance may want to personally purchase food or beverages at the location of the event,” Elias wrote in the request.” [Politico]

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BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Gary Barnett to pay $100 million for Upper East Side site” [Crains] • “SL Green closes on $2.6B megadeal for Sapir’s 11 Madison” [RealDeal] • “N.J.’s richest man David Tepper ditches Christie for Bush, report says” [NJ] • “No, George Soros Didn’t Give $33 Million to #BlackLivesMatter” [DailyBeast] • “Forget valet apps — Jeremy Smith’s SpotHero raises $20 million to let people park their own cars” [Fortune]

STARTUP NATION: “How the makers of Facetune raked in $18 million in 2 years and caught Facebook’s eye” by Julie Bort: “Lightricks was founded in Israel in 2013 by five co-founder friends, four of them PhDs studying computer graphics, or as the company’s CEO Zeev Farbman described it to us: “computational photography.” Lightricks has 4.5 million customers for face photo touch-up app Facetune (used by many celebs including, reportedly, Kim Kardashian). It costs $3 to $4 — so, over $13.5 million of revenue for that app alone.” [BusinessInsider] • “New Israeli app offers low-cost flight best deals” [Globes]

“Digital Diplomacy: Making Friends in the Age of Facebook” by Dave Sharma: “Australia’s Ambassador to Israel on the challenges and opportunities of working with the Jewish state” [TabletMag]

TOP TALKER: “Tony Blair is holding ‘secret talks’ on a long-term Hamas-Israel ceasefire: The former prime minister was banned from meeting Hamas officials in his role as head of the Quartet group of Israeli-Palestinian mediators. However, he resigned in May and has since reportedly held two meetings with the Hamas’s leader, Khaled Meshaal, in Doha.” [BusinessInsider]

“One Palestinian’s Refusal to Eat Puts Israel in a Bind” by Jodi Rudoren and Diaa Hadid: “A single Palestinian prisoner’s determination to starve himself to death unless he is freed is flummoxing Israel’s legal, medical, political and security systems. The prisoner, Mohammad Allan, a 31-year-old lawyer and Islamic Jihad member who has not eaten since June 16, regained consciousness on Tuesday, after spending four days on a ventilator and receiving fluids, salts and potassium intravenously.” [NYTimes]

“Expats and Education: Public, Private, and Other Possibilities” by Jennifer Lang: “When my husband and I were considering spending a year in Raanana, Israel, with our three children, then 14, 10 and 8, we researched online, called the city’s department of education and spoke to other parents. The first question was public or private? If public, secular or religious?” [WSJ]

Mazel Tov: “Chuck Schumer’s daughter gets engaged” by Mara Siegler and Emily Smith:“Schumer’s daughter Jessica, chief of staff of the Robin Hood Foundation, was engaged to boyfriend Mike Shapiro last week. Shapiro, an economic policy adviser to the Hillary Clinton campaign, popped the question at the River Café in Brooklyn. The couple met when they were working together in the West Wing of the White House.” [NYPost]

DESSERT: “Heinz Isn’t Ketchup in Israel, Health Ministry Rules: Heinz will no longer be allowed to label its red sauce as “ketchup” in Hebrew in Israel after local food manufacturer Osem successfully argued that its competitor’s product doesn’t meet the definition of Israel’s standards institute. Heinz’s product must be called “tomato seasoning” instead.” [Haaretz• “The Most Powerful Rabbis in the World Are Going After Whisky’s Kosher Status” [Vice]

BIRTHDAYS: Bill Clinton turns 69… Venture capitalist Arthur Rock turns 89… Omri Sharon turns 51… Yehuda Neuberger… Ross Hinkle… Ezra Friedlander… Jerry Epstein…

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