Barack Obama

Obama upstaging Netanyahu at AIPAC?

Today's announcement that President Barack Obama will address the AIPAC policy conference on Sunday changes the dynamics of the huge annual gathering – although most reports indicate the president will give a speech mostly intended to reassure pro-Israel voters, not announce any new Israeli-Palestinian initiatives.

Obama to Address AIPAC


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama will address this year's AIPAC conference.

Obama's decision to keynote the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference, rumored for days, was confirmed Monday by Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, to reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One. AIPAC confirmed the news.

The Associated Press quoted Carney as saying that Obama will not outline policy in his speech but instead will focus on the "deep bond" with Israel.

Obama to Deliver New Muslim World Speech


WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama reportedly is planning a new speech to the Muslim world that would call for a rejection of Islamic militancy.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the White House is planning for such a speech within the next two weeks, just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to roll out proposals for reviving peace talks with the Palestinians in a meeting with Obama and in a speech to the U.S. Congress.

Obama to Host Netanyahu at White House


(JTA) -- President Obama will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House for talks.

The meeting will be held on May 20 in the Oval Office, and the effort to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process reportedly will be the main item on the agenda.

"The leaders look forward to discussing the full range of issues of mutual interest to the United States and Israel," the White House said in a statement issued Wednesday evening.

The bin-Laden raid: big political risks for Obama, limited gains?

 I just published a story on the aftermath of the successful raid in Pakistan that gave Osama bin-Laden the martyrdom he apparently craved. But it's a fire sale kind of martyrdom; he died the leader of a diminished al Qaeda and the non-leader of what is potentially the biggest transformation in the Arab world in generations.

Obama Emboldened, But Old Middle East Obstacles Remain

Foreign policy victory in bin Laden killing may not lead to new peace initiatives.
Washington Correspondent

The death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at the hands of elite U.S. forces was a boost for a president with few foreign policy achievements to his credit. But it will do little to ease the foreign policy and political conundrums his administration faces in a changing Middle East, and in some cases may add new complications.

While the Palestinian Authority supported the U.S. action, Hamas quickly condemned the killing of a “holy warrior.”

Crowds gather in Times Square Sunday night as word spread that Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. photos Getty images

First take: Bin Laden's death, U.S. Middle East policy

The first email I received after the news terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden has been killed by U.S. forces asked the inevitable question: will this embolden the Obama administration and possibly lead to a new U.S. initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian front, and possibly new pressure on the Netanyahu government?

The short answer is, it's way too early to tell.

Kvelling Over Obama: Kwame Anthony Appiah on the President's Roots

I knew Kwame Anthony Appiah, the Princeton philosopher, was smart. But I didn't realize he knew so much about Judaism--or at least about the etymology of the Yiddish word "kvelling."  Do you know it?

Give It A 'Rest,' Says Retiring Lieberman

Outgoing senator says his new book will give perspective on joys and limitations of Shabbat for public figures; in interview, reflects on mistakes, triumphs and current events.
Assistant Managing Editor

Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who will not seek a fifth term in 2012, hasn't announced his future plans. But as a prolific author and prominent observant Jew, Lieberman says he wants to do "a little bit of missionary work," promoting Sabbath observance as a divine gift and lifting the mystique about what an observant Jew can and cannot do, especially while holding public responsibilities, within the confines of the day of rest.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)

The old status quo just ain't what it used to be

What's most striking to me about recent events in the Middle East is how just about all the experts – the administration deep thinkers, their Republican critics, the academics and the foreign policy talking heads – failed to predict the seismic forces that are reshaping the region in ways we can't begin to fathom.

This isn't a matter of partisan politics. The Obama administration is clearly clueless about a region in turmoil, but I haven't heard anything resembling acumen from the Republicans, either.

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