With congressional efforts to win convicted spy Jonathan Pollard's release on the uptick, it's interesting to consider the Republicans awkward Pollard problem. (Read the Jewish Week editorial "Release Pollard Now" here)
That problem was evident earlier in the month when 39 House members signed a letter calling for Pollard's release – every last one of them a Democrat.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A congressional letter to President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard garnered 39 signatures, all Democrats.
In comments at a press conference Thursday, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he initiated the letter, written in coordination with a broad array of Jewish groups, mostly out of humanitarian concerns for the convicted Israeli spy, imprisoned 25 years, but also as a spur in the peace process.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A historic Republican sweep of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday has propelled Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the minority whip, to the verge of becoming the highest-ranking Jew in U.S. political history.
"We are excited for Eric Cantor to become the next House Majority leader," said Matt Brooks, director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. "The highest ranking Jew to ever serve in the House!"
For weeks we've been hearing about how Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), one of a small handful of openly gay House members and a liberal bastion, could lose to Republican Sean Bielat in a race some critics said was tinged with gay bating.
Well, so much for predictions; the AP has been called for Frank, and projections have him winning some 61 percent of the vote to 36 percent for Bielat.
Frank was a big Tea Party target, and apparently that didn't make much of a difference in a night that's shaping up as a mixed bag for the insurgent movement, but with some high profile losses.
(JTA) -- Orthodox and Reform Jewish groups are backing a letter circulating in the House of Representatives asking President Obama to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard.
Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, has been serving a life sentence since 1985 for passing classified information to Israel.
U.S. Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Bill Pascrell (D- N.J.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and Anthony Weiner (D- N.Y.) are circulating the letter among their colleagues and plan to submit it to Obama in the coming days.
WASHINGTON (JTA ) -- The Massachusetts state Legislature adopted a measure requiring the state’s pension fund to divest from foreign oil and gas companies that do more than $20 million in business with Iran.
The legislation, which passed by a wide margin July 29, is similar to bills adopted in Florida and Ohio.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said the new federal sanctions against Iran encourage the states to pass such bills. Frank, a strong supporter of the bill, wrote letters to the state speaker of the house and Senate president urging them to vote for it.