HEARD LAST NIGHT at the Reagan Building: "Biden: 'Overwhelming frustration' with Israeli gov't" by Josh Lederman: "Biden, in a speech to the advocacy group J Street, offered a grim outlook for peace efforts, reflecting dim hopes for progress during the remainder of the Obama administration. Although he said both Israelis and Palestinians shared blame for undermining trust and shirking responsibility, he was emphatic in his critique of Netanyahu's government, suggested his approach raised "profound questions" about how Israel could remain both Jewish and democratic... In another dig at Netanyahu and his Likud party, Biden singled out for praise Stav Shaffir, a young member of Israel's parliament and Netanyahu critic from the left wing of Israeli politics. "May your views begin to once again become the majority opinion in the Knesset," Biden said." [AP; Politico]
Biden Thanks J Street for Iran Deal Campaign: “You deserve great credit for the [Iran deal]... Thank you, thank you, thank you for your effort. You have made the world a little bit safer. And it payed off. The deal is working exactly as it should. Iran is keeping up their end of the bargain as it relates to the nuclear deal.” [JI; YouTube]
Kerry started off with a Churchill underwear joke: "Well thank you very, very much. Winston Churchill reminded all of us that the only reason people give a standing ovation is they desperately need an excuse to shift their underwear. (Laughter.) So I know that all of you had a far more noble concept – and utilitarian, I hope."
--Previews Next Nine Months: "The same commitment to the hard work of diplomacy also explains why J Street has never wavered in its support of a lasting peace between a Jewish, democratic Israel and an independent, viable Palestinian state. (Applause.) And despite the fact that we have spent time and effort to try to get there in these last few years, I can tell you for these next nine months we will not stop working to find a way. (Applause.)... And you can rest assured that we understand that dynamic that’s needed to make it happen. You can’t just keep condemning the other side and then not try to change lives and build up the capacity to be able to change choices." [Transcript; Video]
After watching Sunday night's J Street panel, Noah Pollak emailed us... "Wow, eight privileged white people on stage mansplaining to students. Where did I last see that, was it at AIPAC or maybe a DC think tank panel on deregulating the big banks? This is what's wrong with the Jewish tent. Young Jews feel marginalized and alienated, and then they feel othered. And it's because of J Street's hegemonic discourse and its placing of profits before people – people like me. J Street and the white, secular, Ashkenazi elite it represents cannot silence my voice or those of my Sephardic-American brothers and sisters. Our cries will be heard. We demand an open tent at J Street so we can unpack diverse narratives and interrogate texts."
"We don't have to nod our heads in agreement whenever Barack Obama talks about settlements. We don't have to toe the line when J Street says the occupation is corrupting the Upper West Side. We are dissenters, our fists are raised, and we might occupy a city park and play hackey sack just to keep it real. We demand the equal representation of Mizrachi settlers on J Street's racist panels. We demand a J Street office in Gush Etzion. We demand an end to J Street's disenfranchisement of diverse communities and its persecution of alternative narratives. Until our demands are met, we will boycott, divest, and sanction all of J Street's Ashkenazi-Supremacist events. Silence is a war crime."
TOP TALKER – State Department to Netanyahu: Golan Heights Are Not Part of Israel: U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby stressed Monday night that the Obama administration does not consider the Golan Heights to be part of Israel, one day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed they will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty. "The U.S. position on the issue is unchanged,” Kirby said at a daily media briefing at the State Department in Washington. “This position was maintained by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Those territories are not part of Israel and the status of those territories should be determined through negotiations.” [Haaretz]
Knesset Member Michael Oren tweets: "#letmegetthisstraight: the State Department says that status of the Golan Heights can only be negotiated with Syria which no longer exists." [Twitter]
WORLD TOUR: "Obama's big damage-control tour" by Michael Crowley: "In Saudi Arabia, where he lands on Wednesday, Obama will try to soothe anger over his nuclear deal with Iran and his increasingly public complaints about the Saudi kingdom. In London, he’ll make amends for comments about British foreign policy that rattled the teacups at 10 Downing Street. And in Germany, he’ll confront one of Europe's most anti-American moods and lingering bitterness over NSA spying in Berlin."[Politico]
David A. Graham: "The Ever More ‘Complicated’ U.S. Relationship With Saudi Arabia" [TheAtlantic]
"Bomb on Jerusalem Bus Injures 21" by Orr Hirschauge: "A bomb exploded at the back of a bus and injured 21 people as it traveled through southeast Jerusalem on Monday, Israeli police said. The explosion, the first in Jerusalem since the end of the second intifada a decade ago, destroyed one bus and set fire to a second passing bus, as well as a car. Most of the injuries occurred when the second bus was caught in the blast." [WSJ; Guardian]
Michael Oren: "Israelis are reeling from the terrorist bombing of Jerusalem bus that wounded at least 21 civilians. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces revealed they had found a tunnel leading from Gaza under our southern border, dug by Hamas terrorists, potentially placing huge numbers of Israelis in danger. These outrages underscore the need for all the U.S. presidential candidates to know the facts about Israel and the brutal neighborhood in which we live – especially as Israel has increasingly been making headlines in the campaign." [CNN]
"Republican consultant sues Trump and his campaign manager in $4 million defamation suit" by David Martosko: "Cheri Jacobus sued Donald Trump for defamation on Monday, demanding $4 million for a torrent of public criticism after they claimed she became anti-Trump because they refused to hire her... Others mocked-up unflattering Photoshopped images of her including a cartoon showing Trump pushing a button to execute her in a gas chamber. Jacobus has been a longtime contributor to Jewish World Review... The Trump campaign pushed back against the legal action on Monday night, saying in a statement: 'This is just another frivolous lawsuit and an attempt to gain notoriety at the expense of Donald Trump.'" [DailyMail; NYTimes]
"Israeli startup claims Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are related" by Daniel Eisenbud:"Aaron Godfrey, vice president of marketing for MyHeritage, a family history network created by Gilad Japhet in 2003, said that research performed by MyHeritage determined that Clinton and Trump are descendants from an adulterous tryst between John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III, and his mistress, Katherine Swynsord." [JPost]
"Clinton targets Orthodox vote in changing Brooklyn districts” by Dana Rubinstein: "Hillary Clinton is not taking Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish vote for granted, as she seeks to beat back a challenge for delegates in the home borough of Bernie Sanders. On Wednesday afternoon, John Podesta, her campaign chairman, traveled to a ballroom in Borough Park to meet with two dozen leaders representing a broad spectrum of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. The off-the-record meeting, first reported by Jewish Insider, took place at the Georgie Ballroom on 16th Avenue, down the street from a wig shop, and across the way from Fischman’s Grocery." [PoliticoNY]
GOTV EFFORTS: “Audio of Pro-Trump GOTV Announcement in Borough Park” by Jacob Kornbluh: "... obtained audio of the music track and GOTV announcement that will play on loudspeakers in the streets of Borough Park on Tuesday until the polls close." [JewishInsider] "Pro-Sanders Jewish Group Distributes Anti-Zionist Flyer" [JI]
Samantha Bee Grills Bernie Sanders Focus Group: "You Think the GOP Will Work with a ‘Socialist Jew?’" [DailyBeast]
"Cruz suggests top Trump aide has anti-Israel record" by Katie Glueck: “Donald’s campaign is now being run by a longtime Washington lobbyist who has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Saudi Arabia to lobby against moving the American embassy to Jerusalem,” Cruz said at a closed-door meeting of Manhattan Republicans, according to audio obtained by Politico. “That’s who’s running Donald’s campaign.” [Politico]
"How GOP Intellectuals’ Feud With the Base Is Remaking U.S. Politics" by Tevi Troy: "For [GOP] presidential hopefuls, having intellectuals in their camp was understood to be a signal to primary voters of the candidates’ conservative bona fides and their commitment to long-term, purposeful action. The intellectual primary became one of the crucial pre-voting contests for the GOP, along with the money primary for fundraising, and the staff primary for talent... conservative intellectuals need to start considering where their political allegiances lie, and the GOP base needs to do the same. The alliance that served both sides so well for so long does not appear to be working—and the party’s influence is at stake."[PoliticoMag]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: "More delays at American Dream Meadowlands over money" [NorthJersey] "Google’s Eric Schmidt pulls out of gym deal at Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs’ building 90 Fifth Avenue"[PageSix] "Elliot Cohen's steadily-growing Citymaps adds offline navigation to its mobile app"[TNooz]
TALK OF OUR NATION: "Passover vacation niche grows to dozens of destinations" by Mike Schneider: "Passover vacations have grown in recent years beyond the traditional destinations of Miami Beach, the Catskills and Israel. They now include scores of resorts in Orlando, Florida; Scottsdale, Arizona; Riviera Maya in Mexico; Whistler, Canada; Sardinia, Italy; the island of Crete in Greece; San Diego; and Puerto Rico, as well as a fully-kosher South African safari... Depending on the hotel and destination, prices for Passover vacation packages range from $1,600 to $11,000 per person, and typically cover lodging, unlimited food and entertainment... "We're constantly keeping everybody stuffed to the gills," Berger said." [AP]
"This Passover, wash down matzah with gluten-free beer" by Jessica Steinberg: "The brew is courtesy of beer maker Bryan Meadan, whose date ale — made from silan, a date honey — is completely gluten-free as well as kosher for Passover, certified by Badatz Beit Yosef. It’s the only one of the three Meadan Brewing gluten-free beers that is certified kosher for holiday, when leavened food is verboten. The other two Meadan ales, a chickpea malt ale and a buckwheat malt ale — that’s kasha beer for those in the know — are tougher to make kosher for Passover since they’re made with legumes, which some Jews eschew on Passover." [ToI; JPost]
DESSERT: "Micheal Wex on eating Yiddish: the power of schmaltz" by Michael Floreak:"Toronto-based author Michael Wex, 61, says that religious leaders from different Jewish traditions agree on very little, except the central role that food plays in Jewish life." [BostonGlobe]
Coachella Scene: "Challah-Chella -- Shabbat tent at Coachella 2016: The 4th annual Coachella Shabbat Tent brought wine, challah, delicious Shabbat meals, Havdallah and other great programming to Coachella 2016." [JewishJournal]
BIRTHWEEK: Aspen Chabad JCC Rabbi Mendel Mintz, the luckiest Chabad Rabbi in the world according to Jeffrey Goldberg (bday was yesterday)...
BIRTHDAYS: Comedienne, actress and mental health campaigner in the UK, Ruby Wax (born Ruby Wachs in Chicago), turns 63... Cardozo Law professor and literary theorist, Stanley Eugene Fish, turns 78... French stand-up comedian and actor, Gad Elmaleh, turns 45... Arthur Cohn...
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