Ha'aretz is running the full text of Benjamin Netanyahu's letter to president Obama requesting executive clemency for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard – the first such formal request from an Israel Prime Minister.
(JTA) -- President Obama used a recess appointment to name Robert Ford as the new U.S. ambassador to Syria.
Ford will become the first U.S. ambassador to Syria since 2005. The Bush administration recalled its ambassador from Syria in February 2005 in the wake of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Harari; evidence pointed to Syrian involvement in the murder.
My last blog, posted on Tuesday, posed the question of what Prime Minister Netanyahu’s strategy is regarding peace talks with the Palestinians. That question remains, even more so today, but I stand corrected on one conclusion I drew.
I noted that Mideast experts are baffled by the Israeli leader’s seeming willingness to press ahead in negotiations, including the possibility of ceding West Bank land, while at the same time holding fast on the right to build in the settlements, and quickening the pace of construction.
This morning Associated Press reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to “press President Barack Obama to release” convicted spy Jonathan Pollard “in a formal and public manner."
In the next few days you're going to hear a lot of spin about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech to the Saban Center for Middle East Policy on Friday night – the first major administration pronouncement since it abandoned its efforts to win a 90 day extension of Israel's settlement moratorium in return for a rich package of incentives, a deal they hoped would lure the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.
The 2012 presidential election campaign has begun. Suspecting that the incumbent is vulnerable, Republicans are already beginning to position themselves to carry this campaign to voters early and often against the Obama Administration.
Jews will be seen as a key target for this effort. Several core factors will define the Jewish connection in this campaign cycle. Accessing early campaign money and embracing the Israel connection represent two elements that will be seen as pivotal the 2012 campaign and to Jewish support. Both parties, and more directly aspiring candidates, will be looking for financial assistance as a way to launch and to build their campaigns and to garner political endorsements.
Over at the Atlantic, influential blogger Andrew Sullivan yesterday called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel after the collapse of Obama administration efforts to win a 90 day settlement freeze extension in return for a rich package of incentives.