Top Talker: Senators Menendez, Kirk and Schumer Circulate New Iran Sanctions Bill: “Three top senators, including two Democrats, have begun circulating a draft of a new Iran sanctions bill that critics say could violate the terms of an agreement struck between Iran and the United States in Geneva last month. The bill, set for introduction by the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, along with top sanctions hawks Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), defies the Obama administration’s repeated requests for Congress to hold off on any new legislation that could imperil last month’s interim nuclear pact with Iran while talks continue towards a comprehensive final deal.
–The legislation would broaden the scope of the sanctions already imposed against Iran, expanding the restrictions on Iran’s energy sector to include all aspects of its petroleum trade and putting in place measures targeting Iran’s shipping and mining sectors. The bill allows Obama to waive the new sanctions during the current talks by certifying every 30 days that Iran is complying with the Geneva deal and negotiating in good faith on a final agreement, as well as meeting other conditions such as not sponsoring or carrying out acts of terrorism against U.S. targets.
–The most eye-opening part of the bill is a non-binding provision that states that if Israel takes “military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” Congress should move to “authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel.” That language, calling for a Congressional authorization of American military force, is even stronger than that introduced in February by another Iran hawk, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). With the support of AIPAC, the Graham resolution, a non-binding bill, was subsequently softened and passed by the Senate in April.” [ForeignPolicy]
Josh Block, of The Israel Project, blasted Foreign Policy’s Ali Gharib, a regular critic of Israel, on twitter saying “Why does @foreignpolicy on Iran sanctions try to make bipartisan #Iran bill look like aumf by skipping words? Doesn’t match bill text.” “Did any @ForeignPolicy eds read bipartisan bill? Language on US defense of #Israel ALREADY PASSED THE SENATE 99-0” “Also missing in silly @ForeignPolicy piece?? Sec 405 in PDF “nothing in here may constitute an aumf against Iran” Hmmm.” [Twitter]
More agreeable article for Josh; National Journal: Senate Dems Defy Obama on Iran [NJ]
Sen. Carl Levin and Sen. Barbara Boxer OpEd: Now’s No Time for New Iran Sanctions: “Media reports have suggested that Congress intends to pass legislation soon that would impose additional sanctions on Iran. That would run the risk of derailing efforts toward a peaceful resolution, and risk the unity we have achieved with the world community that has been so crucial to our progress to date. Fortunately, many in Congress, us included, believe that we must test this window of opportunity, to see whether Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani can deliver on the promise of a comprehensive solution that closes Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.”[PoliticoMag]
France Voices Doubt on Iran Nuclear Deal – Foreign Minister Fabius Concerned Tehran Won’t Drop Ability to Build a Bomb: “To reach a lasting agreement, Western powers are pressing Iran to adopt measures that unwind its nuclear capabilities to the point that a nuclear weapon is no longer within Tehran’s reach, Mr. Fabius said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Fabius said France and other EU countries won’t relax sanctions on Iran until the International Atomic Energy Agency has carried out inspections of Iranian nuclear sites to verify that Tehran has suspended the program.
–Mr. Fabius said he is working toward a final agreement that is tougher than the preliminary accord, tightening inspections and reining in Iran’s stockpile of uranium as well as its ability to process new fuel. France is a longtime skeptic of Tehran’s nuclear program. A decade ago, France negotiated a deal with Iran to halt its nuclear program only to see Tehran back out of the agreement years later. “What we have to do is act in such a way that cheating is in practice impossible,” Mr. Fabius said.” [WSJ]
Iran FM: We can resume 20% enrichment within a day – ““The structure of our nuclear program has been maintained and the 20 percent enrichment can be resumed in less than 24 hours,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told a gathering of Iranian students in Tehran. He added that “the structure of the sanctions and the antagonistic atmosphere created by the West against Iran is falling apart,” according to the semi-official Fars news agency.” [ToI]
Iran, six powers to resume nuclear talks today after snag: Iran and six world powers will resume talks in Geneva on Thursday about how to implement a landmark nuclear agreement, a week after Tehran broke off the discussions in anger at an expanding U.S. sanctions blacklist.[Reuters] — Mark Dubowitz: The Costs for Iran of Walking Away from Nuclear Negotiations [FDD]
Elie Wiesel Says “Iran Must Not Be Allowed to Remain Nuclear” in Full Page Ads in NYTimes, WSJ: “Professor Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Laureate and The Algemeiner Advisory Board Chairman, on Wednesday said,“Iran must not be allowed to remain nuclear,” in full page ads taken out in the New York Times. The ad will run in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. The ads were paid for by Jewish philanthropist Birthright Israel co-founder Michael Steinhardt and were produced by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s This World: The Values Network.” [Algemeiner]
For First Time, Palestinians Back Framework Peace Agreement: The chief Palestinian peace negotiator on Wednesday said the Palestinians are ready to extend the current talks with Israel beyond an April deadline — if there is a framework agreement in place. [AP] — Kerry’s Optimism Challenged by Questions on Mideast Peace: “While John Kerry’s frequent trips to the Middle East have generated headlines and created a sense of momentum, there’s little evidence so far that the U.S. secretary of state is close to his goal of producing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.” [Bloomberg] — Abbas raises concerns to Obama on Kerry’s security proposal: In unofficial memorandum, Palestinian president tries to influence U.S. position ahead of ‘framework agreement’ presentation [Haaretz]
Canada calls for dismissal of UN’s Richard Falk for accusing Israel of ‘genocidal’ intentions: “Canada has previously called for Falk to be fired for his numerous outrageous and anti-Semitic statements and these comments underscore once more the complete and total absurdity of his service as a UN Special Rapporteur,” Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement. [JPost] — U.N. Adopt Iran’s ‘World Against Violent Extremism’ Act:“The U.N.’s General Assembly voted by consensus to approve the “World Against Violent Extremism” (WAVE) Act, which critics lambasted as hypocritical, given Iran’s designation as one of the global leaders in executions and state-sponsored terrorism.” [FreeBeacon]
AP Big Story: Germany Denies Jewish Heirs; Cologne Returns Art: “Germany says it won’t return two paintings once owned by a Jewish businessman who fled the Nazis, even as the western city of Cologne agreed to hand back almost a dozen other valuable drawings to heirs in two separate cases. The contrasting decisions were both announced Wednesday. They illustrate the considerable legal leeway that German officials have when it comes to deciding on claims by the descendants of Jewish collectors persecuted by Adolf Hitler’s regime, as they struggle to find a solution for the vast trove of art discovered in a Munich apartment.” [AP]
WSJ Book Review: ‘No Ordinary Men,’ by Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern: The pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his lawyer brother-in-law worked together to resist the Nazis and help Jews escape Germany [WSJ]
Even in Israel, Ultra-Orthodox Want Their Own Security Force: “Last month, Rotter’s Shomrim marked its fifth anniversary. Last year, an additional branch began operating in Elad, another predominantly ultra-Orthodox suburb about 10 miles east of Tel Aviv. The groups are modeled on Shomrim patrols that operate in other ultra-Orthodox enclaves around the world, from Brooklyn to London and Melbourne. Those groups function as a combination neighborhood watch and AAA service, responding to calls about suspicious activity and flat tires. They also serve as crucial go-betweens for cops and ultra-Orthodox communities in places where religious Jews don’t always feel comfortable going to civilian law enforcement.” [TabletMag]
StartUp Nation: Israeli Moovit raises a $28M Sequoia-led funding round for its public transit service [PandoDaily] — An Inside Look: Dell’s R&D center in Israel [GeekTime] — New PayPal accelerator Elevated by Israeli startups [GeekTime]
Former Nevada Congresswoman Berkley to Touro College: “The Touro College and University System announced the appointment of former U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley to the position of CEO and Senior Provost of Touro’s Western Division. Berkley will take the helm next month, replacing Dr. Michael Harter as the new CEO and senior provost of Touro’s Western Division. Harter started working for Touro in 2004, joining the Henderson campus at its inception. He was promoted in 2008 to oversee Touro’s Nevada and California schools. Touro is a private, Jewish school system founded in 1970 with additional campuses in the New York area and in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. Its Henderson-based school system in Nevada specializes in medical studies.” [JewishInsider]
Real Estate RoundUp: The Newest Tel Aviv $50M Penthouse, Plunge Pool Included. Video [Bloomberg] — Sam Nazarian to open new SLS hotel in Philadelphia [HotelChatter] — Interview: Loews Hotels CEO Jonathan Tisch [BTN] — Factory Demolished for Lightstone Group’s enormous rental complex [CurbedNY] — Joe Sitt’s Thor in Contract for two Riverside Drive apartments [RealDeal] — Building on Success: the Year’s Top Investment Sales includes Joe Chetrit and David Bistricer’s Sony Building purchase [CommercialObserver]
Jewish Hollywood: Ari Emanuel’s talent agency wins bidding war for IMG with a $2.3B bid: “Ari Emanuel’s William Morris Endeavor talent agency, and its private equity backer Silver Lake, won a bidding war for the huge sports and media talent agency IMG Worldwide in a deal believed to be worth about $2.3 billion. William Morris is run by Ari Emanuel, brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.” [ChicagoTribune]
Thats all folks, have a great Thursday!
**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org**