Barack Obama

A social justice Passover in Washington

Passover being a holiday marking affliction and freedom, it wouldn't be complete without Washington seders focusing on economic and social justice issues.

On Wednesday, the Jewish Funds for Justice and the Progressive Jewish Alliance will hold a “Food and Social Justice Seder” at the Department of Agriculture in downtown Washington, hosted by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

WaPo blockbuster: US secretly supporting Syrian opposition

A blockbuster story at the Washington Post this morning: turns out the U.S. government has “secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables.”

Pollard, presidential politics and the Chief Rabbi

Israel's chief Ashkenazi rabbi is calling on President Obama to released convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. With all respect to Rabbi Yonah Metzger, his compassion for Pollard is appropriate but his political sophistication is a little lacking.

According to Israel Radio, Metzger tied Pollard's release to Obama's reelection hopes next year.

Budget stuff: Reform ambivalent about Obama deficit speech, JCPA defends domestic programs, President defends foreign aid

I was wondering how Jewish progressives would respond to President Obama's big speech on deficit reduction on Wednesday – a speech that many critics called long on rhetoric, short on specifics.

Now we know; the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the beacon of progressive Jewish activism in Washington, wasn't too impressed.

Huckabee v. Obama and the (divided) Jewish vote

 Over at his Spiritual Politics blog, Professor Mark Silk looks at the unannounced candidacy of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

“Amidst all the hand-wringing about the state of the Republican presidential field, one potential candidate seems to be sailing blithely along--undeclared, familiar, discounted, and atop the polls,” Silk writes. “It's Mike Huckabee, of course.”

APN calls for new U.S. peace push; is anybody listening?

Today Americans for Peace Now launched a campaign urging the Obama administration to “re-focus on achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.” (See the group's "Action Plan for President Obama" here.)

Think last week's budget battle was ugly? Just wait.

Washington is taking bit of a breather this week after an expensive, disruptive government shutdown was averted at the last minute late Friday, but the respite will be short.

Before long lawmakers will start debating raising the federal debt ceiling and next year's budget, which could make the just-completed fight look like a romp in the park.

Nicholas Kristof pretty much nails what's going on here it in his New York Times column yesterday.

Time Is Not On Israel’s Side

To stave off growing isolation, Netanyahu must offer more than stopgaps in upcoming D.C. visit.

04/05/2011
Editor And Publisher

The drumbeat of pressure for Israel to resolve its conflict with the Palestinians is growing louder, and coming not only from the international community, but, it seems, from Washington, and a large and vocal swath of American Jewry.

Gary Rosenblatt

Esther Pollard Makes Plea to Peres Before His U.S. Trip

04/04/2011

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Jonathan Pollard's wife in a meeting with Shimon Peres before he left for the United States said she asked the Israeli president to request clemency for her husband from President Obama.

Speaking after Sunday's meeting, Esther Pollard called it a "good meeting."

"The president listened to me, and I hope and believe that [what I told him] penetrated his heart," she told The Jerusalem Post.

Grimm First House GOP Lawmaker to Back Pollard Clemency

03/30/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Rep. Michael Grimm became the first Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives to back the latest push for clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

Grimm, a freshman from Staten Island, N.Y., says in a YouTube clip posted Tuesday by a supporter of the convicted spy for Israel that he visited Pollard at his North Carolina prison two weeks ago.

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