James Besser's blog

Huckabee v. Obama and the (divided) Jewish vote

 Over at his Spiritual Politics blog, Professor Mark Silk looks at the unannounced candidacy of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

“Amidst all the hand-wringing about the state of the Republican presidential field, one potential candidate seems to be sailing blithely along--undeclared, familiar, discounted, and atop the polls,” Silk writes. “It's Mike Huckabee, of course.”

Congressional resolution honoring the Religious Action Center

 Yesterday Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today introduced a House resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism (RAC).

APN calls for new U.S. peace push; is anybody listening?

Today Americans for Peace Now launched a campaign urging the Obama administration to “re-focus on achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.” (See the group's "Action Plan for President Obama" here.)

Think last week's budget battle was ugly? Just wait.

Washington is taking bit of a breather this week after an expensive, disruptive government shutdown was averted at the last minute late Friday, but the respite will be short.

Before long lawmakers will start debating raising the federal debt ceiling and next year's budget, which could make the just-completed fight look like a romp in the park.

Nicholas Kristof pretty much nails what's going on here it in his New York Times column yesterday.

Paradigm shift in the federal budget debate; will Jewish groups fight?

 If you had any illusions this year's budget battle on Capitol Hill would be like past fights – a lot of huffing and puffing, but in the end no real change – Rep. Paul Ryan's new GOP budget plan should put an end to them.

Ryan, a seven-termer, is pushing a budget proposal he says will slash $5.8 trillion – that's trillion,, not billion- from the budget over ten years and, he says, begin to address the problem of out-of-control entitlement programs.

Glenn Beck out at Fox - what does it mean?

A lot of people are claiming credit for the demise of Glenn Beck's controversial Fox News cable show, announced on Wednesday, including the Jewish Funds for Justice.

Jewish woman gets top Democratic National Committee job

How's this for killing several birds with one stone, politically speaking?

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) has been picked as the new head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). She's Jewish, she's from Florida and she's an ace fundraiser, big pluses for the party going into a difficult election year when Florida will again be important to the Democrats' – and President Obama's – hopes.

New 'Israel Peace Initiative' by former defense, intel chiefs: just talk?

Jewish groups that support a more active Middle East peace process are applauding a new plan conceived by a group that includes former Israeli military and intelligence chiefs and revealed by Ha'aretz on Tuesday.

Jewish groups (predictably) divided on Supreme Court religious school funding decision

The ADL is criticizing and the Orthodox Union is praising today's Supreme Court decision in a key church-state case, Arizona Christian Tuition Organization v. Winn. That decision, analysts say, could make it harder for taxpayers to oppose public funding for parochial schools on church-state grounds.

The case involved an Arizona law that allows taxpayers to take 100 percent tax credits for donations to “school tuition organizations” - groups that provide funding to religious and other private schools.

Goldstone recants - what's the best strategy for Israel now?

 I'm trying to figure out exactly what it means that Richard Goldstone, the international jurist who presided over a UN report on the Gaza war that Israel and its friends considered outrageously biased, has repudiated its central findings.

There's little doubt that's good news to the Jewish groups here that made Goldstone a new poster boy for UN hostility to the Jewish state. Clearly it hurts the credibility of pro-peace process groups -  including J Street -  that came to Goldstone's defense after the report was released.

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