James Besser's blog

Jerusalem Bombing: a Predictable Tragedy

As I scan headlines about today's bus bombing in Jerusalem, I can't help but think this is all so predictable and so heartbreaking.

Hamas, worried about the popular discontent sweeping the Arab world and rising calls for rapprochement with Fatah, has for days been cranking up rocket and mortar attacks, apparently in the hope it would prod Israel to respond militarily.

Now, a bus bombing in central Jerusalem has hinted of the possibility of another all-out terror campaign against Israeli civilians.

The latest from the conspiracy front: the US may use 'Gaddafi Precedent' to attack Israel

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the latest conspiracy theory that's lit up the conservative Jewish blogosphere like Times Square at midnight.

Palin in Israel: is this about the evangelical vote?

During a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem this week, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told her hosts that Israel acts too contrite.

"Why are you apologizing all the time?” she asked Likud MK Danny Danon and Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Burston's tragic vision after Itamar

For days, I've been trying to figure out the multiple meanings of the terrible killings in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, where a family of five was stabbed and slashed to death in their sleep.

Contrary to the claims of some, we don't know that this was organized terrorism, or that the cause was “incitement,” although when the killers are found both may turn out to be true.

Libya: does this make sense?

Was this predictable or what?

First the Arab league approves the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, then, as soon as the bombs and cruise missiles start flying, it has second thoughts about all this outside meddling.

Sarah Palin and the Jerusalem two-step

The Netanyahu government is getting ready to roll out the red carpet for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, due to visit Israel next week

That makes Palin the latest in a procession of possible 2012 Republican presidential contenders to make the de rigor pilgrimage; she was preceded by former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has visited enough to qualify for an aliyah stipend, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney and Mississippi governor Haley Barbour.

Jerusalem embassy legislation: the political gift that keeps on giving

You know elections are in the offing when Congress starts playing games with the endless issue of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and sure enough, with 2012 just around the corner, the issue is back in the legislative hopper.

JTA is reporting that Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and others are pitching a bill that would strip presidential waiver authority from the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.

Palestinian incitement, Israeli incitement

In the days since the terrible murder of a family of five in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, the issue of Palestinian incitement has emerged as Talking Point Number One for pro-Israel groups here.

The Palestinian Authority hasn't done enough to curb incitement, the argument goes, which naturally leads to tragedies such as the Itamar murders.

Fair enough; it's hard to argue with claims the PA has done too little to tamp down, and has sometimes contributed to, incitement against the very idea of Israel, most notably in its own media.

Tobin gets it right on Pollard

 As efforts to win his commutation intensify (last week former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger added his name to the list of former high U.S. officials asking for clemency), it's still true that most of what's written about the case is sheer propaganda.

Responding to the Itamar killings

The terrorist attack that left a family of five dead in the West Bank settlement of Itamar was a horrific act. Israel is in mourning, which is fitting, and Israelis are angry, which is understandable.

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