James Besser's blog

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."

Scary story: an amendment to unravel federal protections?

Am I the only one alarmed by today's New York Times story on a growing movement among conservatives and Tea Partiers seeking “ a constitutional amendment that would allow a vote of the states to overturn any act of Congress?”

Political Insider challenged: AIPAC didn't push resolution on Palestinian unilateralism

 In the interests of honest reporting, I have to tell you: my blog headlined “big fight over non-binding resolution on Palestinian unilateralism” was misleading.

Joe Lieberman spearheads 'Don't Ask' repeal, DREAM act dies

Well, I'll say this for Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the only Orthodox Jew in the Senate: he lives up to his party label as “independent.”

Just when it looked like he was just a hair's breadth from being a conservative Republican, he led the charge to repeal the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, which passed both Houses of Congress over the weekend.

This despite the fact that his best buddy and the guy he supported for the presidency in 2008, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), was possibly the most vociferous critic of repeal.

Nancy Kaufman to NCJW, and why I like this organization

JTA's  Ron Kampeas has a nice profile of Nancy Kaufman, who'll take the reins at the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) in January, and it reminded me why I like this organization.

Big fight over non-binding resolution on Palestinian unilateralism

This week the House of Representatives passed a resolution opposing any unilateral Palestinian move toward statehood after a few days of fierce lobbying by both opponents and supporters.

I bet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is really worried and will change his plans immediately.

WaPo: PA taking "extreme steps" against radical imams

 It's a cliché in pro-Israel circles that the Palestinian Authority is doing nothing to curb anti-Israel, anti-Semitic incitement, but a story by the always-excellent Janine Zacharia in today's Washington Post tells a more nuanced story.

Kissinger, Nixon and the 'it's okay because they helped Israel' argument

 I admit it, after 24 years in this business I was still surprised by the “but-he-was-good-for-Israel” defense of Henry Kissinger I've been reading in blogs, Jewish Week comments and emails.

What Kissinger said, in a White House conversation with that old anti-Semite President Richard Nixon, was this: “The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

Some reflections on Richard Holbrooke, and a contrast with Kissinger

Update: the Washington Post has "clarified" its earlier report on Richard Holbrooke's last words. Read it here.

Reform, NCJW Slam ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Failure

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Two Jewish groups expressed regret at the U.S. Senate's failure to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays.

A repeal of the policy, which requires the discharge of gay servicemen and women who reveal their orientation, was attached to a defense spending bill. It failed Dec. 9 on a procedural vote to garner the 60 votes needed to advance to debate.

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