Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), the powerful chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, is to be one of the speakers in the exciting new lineup at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Sunday, April 6.

Menendez’s signature legislation drafted last year would sanction Iran harshly if it continues its nuclear program. He and his colleagues revised that bill after the P5+1 – the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany – reached an interim agreement in Geneva with Tehran that temporarily halted the nuclear crisis.

The bill, the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013, would trigger new sanctions tools against Iran should diplomatic negotiations fail to achieve a comprehensive solution to the long-standing impasse. A group of 60 senators from across party lines cosponsored the bill, but US President Barack Obama threatened to veto the measure in his State of the Union Address, warning that its passage would derail negotiations.

The most powerful Democrat in Congress on foreign policy matters, Menendez is a strong supporter of Israel while commanding the respect of Obama and his administration.

The conference, whose theme is “Israel, US and the new Middle East,” is to be opened by Jerusalem Post editor- in-chief Steve Linde interviewing Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on US-Israel relations, Iran’s nuclear drive, the crisis in Israeli-Palestinian talks and the turmoil in the region.

Other speakers include Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat; Tourism Minister Uzi Landau; Adm. (res.) Eliezer “Chiney” Marom, a former commander of the Israel Navy; KKL-JNF World Chairman Efi Stenzler; the Post’s senior contributing editor, Caroline B. Glick; and Dr. Raanan Berger, director of the Sheba Medical Center’s Institute of Oncology.

There are two panel discussions scheduled, one on Israel’s socioeconomic challenges and the other on its diplomatic and security challenges.

The first panel, moderated by Linde, is to include the popular Israeli singer, Rita; Israel’s consul-general in New York, Ido Aharoni; American businessman and philanthropist Matthew Bronfman; JNF’s CEO Russell Robinson; Post columnist Martin Sherman and Dr. Efraim Chalamish, an expert on Israel.

The second, moderated by the Post’s diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon, includes Israel Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor; Likud Beytenu MK David Rotem, chairman of the Knesset Law Committee; Labor MK Nachman Shai, former IDF spokesman, senior vice-president of United Jewish Communities and director-general of UJC Israel; and Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev, a former head of the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, who is currently a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; Marom and Glick.

The Post also plans to present a special award at the conference to an Israeli personality for his contribution to the State of Israel. A highlight of the event – held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – is a performance by Rita, who is leading the audience in singing “Hatikva” at its conclusion.

With more than 1,000 people already expected to attend, tickets can still be purchased on JPost.com.

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