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2016 WATCH: "With Eye on 2016, Rand Paul Courts Sheldon Adelson" by Jeremy Peters: "Rand Paul said Wednesday that he met with the Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson this week while Mr. Adelson was in Washington for a congressional address by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel… In an interview on the radio program “Jewish Moments in the Morning,” Mr. Paul said that Mr. Adelson had assured him he would not fund an effort by Republicans to defeat him. Someone briefed on the conversation said that the two discussed, among other things, Mr. Paul’s legislation to prohibit certain financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, the spread of the Islamic State and the senator’s losses at the craps tables during a recent trip to Las Vegas." [NYTimes; CNN]

When Adelson arrived at Lindsey Graham's event on Tuesday, the Senator similarly acknowledged him by noting that, "Sheldon makes me feel good when I lose money in Vegas as I know it anyway ends up supporting Israel." • "Graham Is Serious About 2016, But Does He Have a Prayer?" by Scott Conroy [RCP]

"Clinton Hires (Jewish) Campaign Lawyer Ahead of Likely Run" by Maggie Haberman: "Marc Elias, a veteran campaign finance lawyer who was general counsel for John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004, is scheduled to be Mrs. Clinton’s lead campaign lawyer in her all-but-assured second bid for the presidency, three Democrats with knowledge of the hire said. Mr. Elias, who was brought on long before questions emerged about Mrs. Clinton’s personal email use at the State Department, is a partner at the firm Perkins Coie, which represents a number of Democratic senators." [NYTimes] • "Top Biden backer: Hillary Clinton will ‘die by 1,000 cuts’ on e-mail story" [WashPost] • "Voters do not give a sh-t about what email Hillary used," said Democratic strategist Paul Begala,... "They don't even give a fart." [CNN]

"Bernie's Reasons Why Not" by Kate Nocera and Ben Smith: "If Bernie Sanders decides not to run for president, it will be for one of two reasons. First, the dour Vermont socialist worried during an interview with BuzzFeed News Tuesday, he might wind up doing more harm than good to the progressive movement... And while he is a radical in his politics, he can stand, to a surprising degree, on ceremony. Sanders has, for a 73-year-old Vermont grandfather, gone viral rather regularly on the internet, once for shouting down several anti-Israel hecklers at a town hall in Cabot, Vermont, to the glee of supporters of Israel. He bridled at the notion that this was about Israel. This was about town meetings, which are “what democracy is about.” [BuzzFeed]

"The Outsider: Elizabeth Warren wants to be the most powerful Democrat in America—without running for president" by Glenn Thrush and Manu Raju [PoliticoMag]

"Donna Edwards For Senate?" by David Lublin: "Edwards is not popular with the Democratic establishment but I don’t really see that as a barrier. A much bigger problem is whether she can raise the money needed for a Senate bid. She currently has just $30,000 in her congressional campaign account… She may also sail into choppy waters with Jewish and pro-Israel voters. Unhappiness with her record on Israel was one factor that helped propel forward a near challenge by Glenn Ivey in 2012. J Street has strongly supported Edwards but even they criticized her fundraiser with the pro-Palestinian New Policy PAC."

"The fundraiser touted that she was one of only 25 representatives to vote against a House resolution “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself” in the Gaza conflict. Actions like these will give pause to voters who have no affection for Benjamin Netanyahu and think Barack Obama is fine on Israel but also do not want someone they perceive as unsympathetic to Israel representing them. Maryland has one of the highest proportion of Jewish voters in the nation. Jewish Americans tend to vote a high rates and will, like African Americans, figure disproportionately in any statewide Democratic primary. Democrats may also fear that this record could harm her in the general election." [SeventhState] • Van Hollen to run for open Mikulski seat [Politico; BaltimoreSun]

WSJ FRONT PAGE: "Iran Flexes New Clout Beyond Its Borders" by Bill Spindle: "Not long ago, Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite troops known as the Quds Force, was one of the spy world’s most covert operators. Now, his smiling face is everywhere: arm-in-arm with Iraqi officials on TV, rubbing shoulders with the militiamen fighting Islamic State across social media, and in public meetings with Iraqi families liberated by Iran’s allies. Mr. Soleimani’s high profile underscores Iran’s transformation in the way it does business in the region. The Islamic Republic of Iran, which failed to export its 1979 revolution, now claims an arc of influence that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, say allies and enemies alike." [WSJ] • "Iran's 'Supermani': fabled general, Internet sensation" [LATimes] • "Iran supreme leader said to be in critical condition" [ToI]

"Iran Talks Closer on One-Year Nuclear 'Breakout' Demand" by Laurence Norman:
"Iran and six major powers are nearing an understanding that a final nuclear deal must be structured around the U.S. demand that Tehran stay at least a year away from amassing enough fuel for a nuclear weapon, according to people familiar with the negotiations." [WSJ] • "Like Israel, U.S. Arab Allies Fear Obama's Iran Nuclear Deal" [WSJ]

Aaron David Miller Op: "Why Bibi Let It Ride in Washington" in FP: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bravura performance Tuesday in Congress recalls the comment that U.S. President Bill Clinton made to his staff following his first meeting with the Israeli leader in July 1996. “Who’s the fucking superpower here?” an exasperated and frustrated Clinton exploded. The Netanyahu we saw March 3 in Congress was equally self-confident, self-assured, even grandiose, and convinced of both the rightness and importance of his cause… There is little political space for Iran on Capitol Hill. And Netanyahu exploited and capitalized on those suspicions and concerns." [ForeignPolicy] • Patricia Zengerle: "U.S. Congress' backing of Netanyahu on Iran more show than substance" [Reuters] • "Cornyn: 'Good luck' explaining Iran bill opposition" [TheHill]

---"The story behind the marble Moses in Netanyahu's speech" [YNet] • Rob Eshman Op - "Bibi, you're no Moses": "Moses, you’ll remember, had a speech impediment. He never could have been as eloquent as Bibi. Then again, great speeches alone don’t get you to the Promised Land." [JewishJournal] • William Kristol: "A Note from the Gallery" [WeeklyStandard] • David Suissa: "Don't be suckers" [JewishJournal]

Amb. Ron Dermer back on cable: Interview with Megan Kelly [FoxNews] • Interview with Andrea Mitchell [MSNBC]

Barak Ravid: "Though the administration won't say so directly, U.S. officials hint replacing Ambassador Dermer is key to mending ties" [Haaretz]

WELCOME TO TOWN: "IAC goes to Washington.. and plans to stay" by Jared Sichel: "Coming less than four months after IAC's big November inaugural conference just a few miles away, and two days after Milstein and Evenhaim announced that the IAC had decided to launch a Washington, D.C., chapter (its eighth nationally), the message was clear: IAC — the largest, if not the only, national educational group in the nation geared toward Israeli Americans — is entering the Beltway and plans to put some of its resources toward creating a federal advocacy arm." [JewishJournal]
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BUSINESS BRIEFS: "Chetrit and Moinian's Chicago 110-Story Willis Tower Said to Be Up for Sale" [Bloomberg; WSJ] • "Federal appeals court rules Lerner's White Flint Mall redevelopment can proceed" [WBJ] • "Hain Celestial acquires Empire Kosher Foods for $57M" [FoodDive] • "Lindsey Rosenwald's Coronado Biosciences shares spike on formation of cancer subsidiary" [BBJ] • Schottenstein's American Eagle Shows Strength Among Teens" [WSJ; FinancialTimes] • "Catsimatidis in Talks to Possibly Buy Daily News from Mort Zuckerman" [NY1]

STARTUP NATION: "Israeli Startup Can Turn Your Smartphone Camera Into A Star Trek Tricorder" [WSJ] • "Israeli mobile tech a big presence at Mobile World Congress" [ToI] • "From Tech to Politics: Two Entrepreneurs Exemplify Israel Rifts" [Bloomberg]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: "The Back Story of Meerkat: A Side Project That Took Off" by Yuliya Chernova: "At three in the morning on Tuesday, Eden Shochat, founding partner at Israeli venture firm Aleph, was awakened by a phone call, while in Washington, Ben Rubin, co-founder and chief executive of Aleph portfolio company Life On Air Inc., was on the other line, calling from Tel Aviv. Mr. Rubin, as Mr. Shochat recalled, wanted advice about switching his entire team of 10 to work on Meerkat, a mobile app enabling users to stream live video to their Twitter followers with a single click. The startup had just launched Meerkat three days earlier, on Friday." [WSJ]

BOOK REVIEW: "A Brief Stop" by Goran Rosenberg — reviewed by Michael Moritz, Chairman of Sequoia Capital: "I have often wondered what they thought and experienced as the Nazi regime stripped them of every bit of their existence for the sole reason of their Jewishness. Göran Rosenberg, a Swedish journalist, had a similar curiosity, though in a far more intimate way, as it was his parents who endured the horrors of the Holocaust. His father, David, was born in Lodz in Poland and made the rare journey not just to Auschwitz but from it in the final, desperate year of World War II." [WSJ]

DESSERT: "Pairing Kosher Food and Wine in Style" by Tal Trachtman Alroy: "California vintners Jeff and Jodie Morgan published The Covenant Kitchen: Food and Wine for the New Jewish Table today, their eighth cookbook and the first to include exclusively kosher recipes. The Morgans run Covenant Winery in Berkeley, CA, which among their offerings produces 10 kosher-certified wines, and each recipe in the cookbook is accompanied by a recommended wine pairing." [TabletMag]

"Reporter's notebook: We find love in an AIPAC place" by Maya Shwayder: "Wherever there are young Jews congregating in large groups, there also necessarily comes an undercurrent from the tribal elders of “pssst, you should really make some Jewish babies.” And here, at the world’s largest annual gathering of Jews in North America, the pool from which to cull a match and make said Jewish baby increases exponentially. In this connected world, naturally, this is easier than ever, thanks to apps like JSwipe." [JPost]

That's all folks; have a great day!

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