Barack Obama

White House Confirms Receipt of Pollard Clemency Letter

01/06/2011

(JTA) -- President Obama has received a letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, requesting clemency for convicted spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard.

"I think it is important to underscore that Mr. Pollard was convicted of some of the most serious crimes that anybody can be charged (with)," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday

“We have received the letter and will review it,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

Neither spokesman said how long the review process would take and what steps were involved.

Aaron David Miller: give Clinton - Hillary, that is - the Middle East peacemaking job

Aaron David Miller, the longtime U.S. peace processor who now hangs his hat at the Wilson Center, thinks he knows what's wrong with the Obama administration's faltering Middle East efforts: a lack of “adult supervision.”

Media Watch: Most Ignored Story Of 2010? Israel

Readers turn to alternative media to get full story.

01/04/2011
Associate Editor

What was the most ignored story of 2010?

Israel. Really.

Only a handful of mainstream newspapers covered the Palestinian claims to the Western Wall and Rachel’s Tomb; or that Palestinian rockets were still landing in Israel; or the 1930s level of anti-Semitism in the official Palestinian media; or the Palestinian claims that Haifa and Sderot are occupied territory; let alone not covering the transcendent beauty of daily religious life and Jewish culture in Israel.

The most covered Israel story of 2010 was the flotilla crisis.

Netanyahu's Pollard letter: Israel's actions 'unacceptable'

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.

Obama Appoints Ambassador to Syria

12/30/2010

(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.

Department of Silliness: Alan Grayson for president?

I heard it first from Tikkun's Rabbi Michael Lerner, who included outgoing Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) in his long list of potential primary challengers to President Barack Obama in 2012.

Bibi And The U.S.: More Confusion, And A Correction

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.

Netanyahu to publicly ask Obama for Pollard's release: will this help or hurt?

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."

Obama, Clinton throw in the towel on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

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.

Poll: Slight Majority of Israeli Jews Unfavorable to Obama

12/10/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A slight majority of Jewish Israelis has negative views of President Obama, but his supporters are more numerous than previously reported, according to a poll.

The Brookings Institution poll of Jewish Israelis recorded 51 percent responding that they had negative views of Obama and 41 percent responding that they had positive views of the U.S. president.

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