Jewish Insider's Daily Kickoff: April 22, 2016

Iran still has trouble trading with Europe | Why is Passover food so expensive? | WSJ's Kosher Passover Cocktails Go Against the Grain

US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) poses for a photo prior to a meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif April 19, 2016 at the United Nations in New York.
Don Emmert, AFP
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Ed note: There will be no Daily Kickoff next week as we celebrate Passover and, particularly for the editors, the 'season of our freedom'. You can still follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and we'll be posting original content on, and on the Jewish Journal and Haaretz. Happy Passover to you all! 

TOP TALKER: "Europe Says U.S. Regulations Keeping It From Trade With Iran" by Thomas Erdbrink: "With the completion of the nuclear deal with Iran and the opening of its market, European businesses expected a trade bonanza. But three months after the lifting of many sanctions against Iran, there is growing frustration among European politicians, diplomats and businesspeople over the inability to complete dozens of energy, aviation and construction deals with the Iranians. The main obstacle, the Europeans say, is their ally, and the driving force behind the historic nuclear agreement, the United States."

"U.S. officials say — and most European experts agree — that it is not only the sanctions that are blocking Iran’s access to the American financial system but also Iran’s failure during its years of isolation to update laws governing money laundering and prohibitions against the financing of terrorism. According to a financial disclosure law, all banks worldwide have to disclose whether their customers are American citizens, to prevent tax evasion. If they fail to do so the banks’ assets can be seized. Several million people hold dual Iranian and American citizenship. Because the Iranian government is reluctant to allow information about its citizens to be shared with the United States, experts say, it is unlikely that it will comply with the act — another complication for European banks." [NYTimes]

"U.S. to Buy Material Used in Iran Nuclear Program" by Jay Solomon: "The Obama administration is buying 32 tons of heavy water, a key component in atomic-weapons development, from Iran in an effort to safeguard its landmark nuclear agreement with the country, according to senior American officials. The deal, estimated at $8.6 million, is expected to be formally signed by U.S. and Iranian officials Friday morning in Vienna." [WSJ]

“In Riyadh, Obama Defends Nuclear Deal with Iran” by Jacob Kornbluh: “Even as Iran is calling us the great Satan, we were able to get a deal done that reduces their nuclear stockpiles. That’s not a sign of weakness, that’s a sign of strength.” [JI

HEARD LAST NIGHT -- Clinton & Sanders Surrogates Debate Foreign Policy: Derek Chollet. a surrogate for the Clinton campaign, and Larry Korb, a surrogate for the Sanders campaign, discussed foreign policy issues including the views of their respective candidates on the Iran deal and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a debate hosted by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland on Thursday. The conversation was moderated by Indira Lakshmanan.

On Iran deal –  Chollet: “[Clinton] has been very clear that she supports the Iran deal... She has a lot of credibility with the region. I think the Iranian government understands she’s a tough customer, and I think they would be willing to deal with her when it comes to the implementation of the deal... I believe a President Clinton would also seek to pragmatically work with Iran on areas where we have overlapping interests – for example Sec. Kerry, President Obama have worked with the Iranians to try and bring some sort of diplomatic solution in Syria, where the Iranians are at the table with others. I wouldn’t rule that out if Hillary Clinton were president. But it wouldn’t be out of any wild hope that anytime soon we are going to have a rapprochement with the Iranian government.”

Korb: “I had the great the great fortune to spend a day with the late Yitzhak Rabin. And I asked him, ‘How can you negotiate with Arafat?’ He said, ‘Look, you gotta negotiate with your enemies, your friends you just deal with.’ I think Sanders would be open to that (dealing with Iran) just like President Obama was to Cuba... In terms of countries that we ally with, I don’t know if I would prefer to live in Iran as compared to some of our allies who President Obama is meeting with this week.”

Indira Lakshmanan: “What type of pressures would Hillary Clinton as president be willing to put on Israel and the Palestinians in order to address a peace process that hasn’t budged since her husband’s administration?” 

Chollet: “As Secretary of State she worked tirelessly to try to being about peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians... As president, she from day one will be committed to try to work to being about a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. She believes in a two-state solution... This is an issue she’s got a lot of experience in. It’s a very difficult issue. But there’s a lot that the U.S. can do to try to bring peace, and I think she’s deeply committed to doing it.”

“Secretary Clinton can be pretty tough with the Israelis. I was in the room with her when she had pretty blunt conversations with Israeli leaders, but we do it as friends, we do it as allies. When she disagrees with certain decisions made by the government, she is very clear about those disagreements, but it is within the context of a many-decade-long partnership and friendship. She has shown time and again during her time in public life that she is willing to tell it like it is and stand up publicly when necessary, privately when necessary, and send a very clear message to ally and adversary alike."

Korb: “But she didn’t criticize him when he came out against the Iran deal. And I would be interested to see what she has to say about Netanyahu saying that the Golan Heights are part of Israel If you compare what Secretary Clinton did when she was Secretary of State and the speech she gave to AIPAC to the one she gave as a candidate, they are not even close because when she was Secretary of State she said many of the things that Senator Sanders has said. She went [to AIPAC] and she said one of the first things she would do when she got into office would be to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu over - after how he dissed President Obama and went to the Congress. I am sure she has experience. But what Senator Sanders has done was he has laid the groundwork to be an effective negotiator because the Palestinians would say there is someone who stuck up for us when it wasn’t easy to do.” Watch the debate [YouTube]

Matthew Rozsa: "Bernie Sanders is pushing mainstream Democrats to the left on Israel" [Quartz]

Cardin says Netanyahu’s declaration of Israeli claim to Golan not ‘timely’ -- “I don’t think it’s timely to figure out what’s happening in the north when there is an active war in Syria,” Cardin said of Netanyahu. “Ultimately you’re going to need to have some type of recognition factor and you don’t have a government you can negotiate with and talk with in Syria,” said Cardin, who was meeting foreign policy reporters during a break from Senate votes." [JTA]

“Chelsea Clinton Crowd Shuts Down Anti-Israel Protester” by Jacob Kornbluh: "An anti-Israel protester attempting to disrupt a Hillary for America campaign event headed by Chelsea Clinton in Ithaca, NY, earlier this week was drowned out by loud chants of “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary,” a video published on Thursday showed." [JewishInsider]

"How Bernie Sanders's Jewish outreach coordinator started a major controversy over Israel" by Zack Beauchamp: "These critics, to be clear, have a lot less political clout then the ones calling for Zimmerman's firing. And no prominent Bernie supporters have threatened to abandon him over the Zimmerman kerfuffle. It seems exceedingly unlikely to hurt the Sanders campaign in any meaningful way. This is, beyond just this one campaign or this one election, the first of what is likely to be many skirmishes in the war over the future of American Jewry. And it's not clear how they'll go."  [Vox]

"Group Founded by Richard Nixon to Host Foreign Policy Address by Donald Trump" by Maggie Haberman: "Donald J. Trump will deliver his first foreign policy address at the National Press Club in Washington next Wednesday, his campaign said, at an event hosted by an organization founded by President Richard M. Nixon." [FirstDraft]

"Trump team tells GOP he has been 'projecting an image'" by Steve Peoples and Thomas Beaumont: "Donald Trump's chief lieutenants told skeptical Republican leaders Thursday that the GOP front-runner has been "projecting an image" so far in the 2016 primary season and "the part that he's been playing is now evolving" in a way that will improve his standing among general election voters." [AP]

Charlie Spies writes: "I Was the RNC’s Election Lawyer: The Rules Aren’t ‘Rigged’ And Trump Has To Play By Them" [IJReview]

“At Shapiro's, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz orders pastrami and cheers ring out” by Stephanie Wang: "U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, greeted supporters Thursday at Shapiro's deli in Indianapolis — and took a moment to eat a pastrami sandwich on rye. "Ted! Get the corned beef!" a supporter called out to the presidential candidate. But Cruz took a recommendation from deli owner Brian Shapiro for pastrami. His supporters still cheered as Cruz held up his chosen sandwich to show the packed crowd.” [IndyStarJI]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Alongside Katz’s Pastrami, Luxury Condos" [NYTimes "Sands's Adelson Mulls Singapore Mall Sale After Restriction Ends" [BloombergBusinessInsider]  "Why Vornado's Steven Roth was at Trump's victory speech" [Crains "Isaac Chetrit, Yadidi plan Midtown tower of up to 80 stories" [RealDeal "The Sunset Harbour tiff began last year, after Colmer and his partners, who include billionaire businessman Marc Rowan, paid $14 million for eight lots facing Maurice Gibb Memorial Park between Purdy Avenue and Bay Road." [MiamiHerald]  "De Blasio’s biggest campaign bundler is a top WeWork exec" [RealDeal "Hollywood producer David Geffen gives $100m to MoMA"[ArtNews "Harvard Business School officially broke ground today for Klarman Hall, a new convening center to be constructed on the campus" [HBS]

SPOTLIGHT: "The FBI Paid at Least $1 Million to Get Inside the San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone" by Darren Orf: "After weeks of a very public back and forth with Apple over opening the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, the FBI opted for plan B and asked an Israeli security firm to crack the device. And they paid a premium." [GizmodoNYTimes]

MEDIA WATCH: "How Pentagram Helped An Online Magazine Do The Unthinkable: Move To Print" by Diana Budds: "When Alana Newhouse—editor of Tablet, an online publication about Jewish life and culture—decided to launch a print edition, she wanted the opposite: something messy, off the cuff, and gritty. New-school journalism that hearkened back to old-school magazines through design."[FastCoDesign]

TALK OF OUR NATION: "London Becomes a Leading Destination for French Jews After Attacks" by Kimiko De Freytas-Tamura: "About 5,000 French Jews are thought to have moved to Britain over the past two years, according to the Conference of European Rabbis. Britain is now a leading destination for French Jews, after Israel, which welcomed 7,800 French Jews last year, said Avi Mayer, a spokesman for the Jewish Agency." [NYTimes]

PASSOVER TALK: "Passover for the rich: Inside the lavish getaways where you might run into Odell Beckham, Jr." by Lisa Scherzer: “It’s kind of ridiculous in the most wonderful way,” says Helit Edelstein, head of marketing for Kosherica, a Jewish travel company that’s running two Passover programs this year, at The Atlantis in the Bahamas, and the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The breakfast schedule at the Atlantis pretty much explains it all: “We start with a pre-breakfast, which is a modified breakfast. Then full-on breakfast, then post-breakfast for people who didn’t make the first breakfast – it’s a little less food than the regular breakfast, which has an enormous variety, a zillion types of fish and cheeses. People are always amazed it’s really exciting,” Edelstein says." [Yahoo]

"Why Is Passover Food So Expensive?" by Ethan Wolff-Mann: "In 1991, kosher food giant Manischewitz pleaded no-contest to charges of price-fixing in the matzoh market. But anti-competitive behavior aside, the main driver of high prices is compliance with religious rules and regulations... Unlike standard kosher food, the passover stuff needs constant supervision. And, as Cohen puts it: “Someone’s got to pay for the rabbi’s time.” That someone is the customer." [Time]

Avi Steinberg: "And, on Passover, God Gave the Israelites Back Their Legumes" [NewYorker]

WSJ A1: "Crafting a Kosher Cocktail During Passover Takes Creativity" by Alison Sider:"Last year, Lizzy Greif learned of a modern twist: an infusion of fresh horseradish into vodka made specially for Passover, served as a shot. Ms. Greif, who lives in Dallas, sampled the not-as-bitter-as-expected herb during a class on “liquid Seders,” where attendees learned to make kosher cocktails that stand in for each of the symbolic elements on a Seder plate. Only the most serious enthusiasts tackle liquid Seders, but they’re part of a broader trend: Finding ways to craft Passover-proof cocktails that adhere to the dietary limitations of the holiday." [WSJ]

Yitz Applbaum on the Wine of the Week: "I almost always exclusively pour Israeli wines for Passover. There are so many to choose from and it seems very appropriate to surround our Seder with all things Israel. This year however I am spending Passover with my family in Italy and did a bit of research on Kosher Italian wines in preparation. I assumed there would be a few good ones but that I would still mostly pour Israeli wines. I was more than pleasantly surprised to learn that there are dozens of wonderful Italian Kosher wines and I have spent the past few months sampling many of them."

"I will not review them for this column this but just so you're aware of the range of choices you have for the future. There is a Reale Signi Brunello di Montalcino from the great wine growing region of Tuscany and there is a Borgo Reale Maturo which is 55% Primitivo and 45% Negroamaro from the Northern regions of Italy. Lastly, from the Umbria region of Italy, Falesco Marciliano and comprised of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc. This wine encompasses many of the greatest flavors of Italy and is a good starting and ending point for any journey into Kosher Italian wines."   

BIRTHWEEK: Scott Yanover of the Chicago Mayor's office. (yesterday) h/t Tevi Troy... Alexandra Cohen, operations coordinator at Birthright Israel (yesterday)... 

WEEKEND BIRTHDAYS: Veteran Israeli journalist Shmuel Rosner... Minnesota Vikings owner Zygmunt 'Zygi' Wilf turns 66... Helmsley Charitable Trust's Ariella Saperstein... Rabbi Steven Burg... Orthodox Union's Nathan Diament... Alex Swieca... Bill Browder turns 52... Marim Weissman... Actor and later one of Hollywood’s most prolific producers, Mark Damon (born Alan Harris), turns 83... English journalist and former anchor of of BBC Television's Newsnight, Adam Eliot Geoffrey Raphael, turns 78... Former US Poet Laureate and winner of a Pulitzer Prize, Louise Elisabeth Glück, turns 73... Conductor and professor of music at Boston University, Joshua Rifkin, turns 72... British economist and former Chief Economist at the World Bank, Sir Nicholas Herbert Stern, turns 70... Alan Oppenheimer turns 86... Literary critic and Holocaust scholar, George Steiner turns 87... 

Yeshiva of Brooklyn student who went on to become an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony and Peabody Award winning singer and actress, Barbra Streisand, turns 74... Israeli architect and artist, Ron Arad, turns 65... Film director, Richard Donner (born Richard Donald Schwartzberg) turns 86... Russian Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics (1988), Yelena Shushunova, turns 47... Former French Finance Minister and later Managing Director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, turns 67... Co-founder of Starbucks and entrepreneurial advisor, Zev Siegl, turns 61... 
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