James Besser's blog

Remembering the Soviet Jewry vigil in Washington - and a rare moment of Jewish unity

The Soviet Jewry movement was in the news over the weekend because of Henry Kissinger's astoundingly offensive statement to former President Richard Nixon that “if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern.”  Thirty-six years after he resigned in disgrace, we're still learning just how anti-Semitic – and how bigoted toward just about every other minority – Nixon and his cronies really were.

But in Washington there was another reason to remember that unique moment in Jewish history.

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.

JCPA's civility campaign: what's missing

 Yesterday I received a solicitation for contributions for the “civility project” of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA); given the vituperative email and comments I see every day, I'd give these guys $10,000 if I had it.

OMG, Obama not invoking God enough

A pop quiz: before you read this, tell me what the national motto of the United States is.

The reason I ask is that this just came across my desk: the Congressional Prayer Caucus has a new complaint about President Barack Obama.

Sullivan calls for Israel aid cut; ain't gonna happen

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.

Israel alienating Christians as well as liberal Jews?

The controversy over a rabbinic edict in Israel not to rent property to non-Jews is prompting angst in some American Jewish boardrooms, but not a lot of noise; among major American Jewish groups, only the ADL has condemned the expression of religious extremism and intolerance, far as I can tell.

Administration dropping settlement moratorium haggling: some early reactions

Reading the early reports about the apparent U.S. decision to give up on its efforts to win a renewed Israeli settlement freeze in return for a big package of incentives, I can't help but wonder if what we're seeing here is simply an administration with absolutely no sense of direction.

Roger Cohen gets it right on Shariah fears

 Roger Cohen has a disturbing  column in today's New York Times on the artfully manipulated fear of an Islamic takeover of the United States through insidious, creeping Shariah law.

Michael Lerner's secret plan to elect a Republican president

I had a hard time thinking about how to respond to Rabbi Michael Lerner's Washington Post oped on Saturday arguing that the best way to save the Barack Obama presidency is to find some progressive to challenge him in the Democratic primaries, since at first glance it looks more like parody than politi

Big surprise: Saudis continue to fund terror

File this under “duh”: on Sunday the New York Times reported that “ Nine years after the United States vowed to shut down the money pipeline that finances terrorism, senior Obama administration officials say they believe that many millions of dollars

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