James Besser's blog

Gillibrand’s ‘No’ Vote on DC Gun Ban Repeal Pleases Jewish Groups

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 James Besser in Washington A while back this blog reported on suggestions Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand could face tough going with Jewish voters in 2010, when she runs for a full term, in part because of her strong pro-gun stance – a position that sells well in her former upstate congressional district but generally doesn’t impress Jewish Manhattanites.

Chas Freeman Appointment to Intelligence Panel Divides Jews

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 James Besser in Washington An interesting conversation yesterday with a pro-Israel friend who called to talk about the appointment of Chas Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and controversial foreign policy thinker,  to head the  National Intelligence Council.

Sen. Cardin, Senior Jewish Lawmaker, Meets Syria’s Assad, Sees Few Signs of Change

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 James Besser in Washington With Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in limbo because of the political division between Gaza and the West Bank, many analysts are touting the potential for breakthroughs on the Syria-Israel track. A senior member of the Jewish delegation in Congress, fresh from a trip to the region that included a meeting with Syrian president Bashar Assad, says maybe – but don’t count on it.

Foreign aid cut to Israel? Don’t believe it

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Today’s Jerusalem Post reports that Israel’s defense ministry is worried that President Barack Obama will use military aid as a lever to force the removal of illegal outposts and an end to settlement construction.

Gillibrand comments on Israel jeopardize Jewish campaign contributions, votes

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 James Besser in Washington Does anybody want to take up a collection to rent Sen.  Kirsten Gillibrand a couple of Jewish advisers?  They’re not that expensive these days, and they could do her a world of good.

Is the economic meltdown changing the fundraising calculus for Jewish groups?

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 James Besser in Washington Times really must be changing; this week I received a fundraising call from the local Jewish Federation on their “Super Sunday.” Why the big deal, you ask? In 22 years of reporting for Jewish newspapers – with my name in synagogue directories and bulletins, with public appearances and  ties to local community leaders – this is the first fundraising call I’ve ever received from a local Jewish group.

Jewish doves gain White House clout, but that’s not why U.S. Iran policy is blurring

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 James Besser in Washington The other day a reader emailed to comment about my report that groups on the Jewish left were included in last week’s conference call between Mideast envoy George Mitchell and Jewish leaders (see blog entry here).

Does the administration care about the next Israeli government?

Thursday, February 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Usually, every change in government in Israel produces intense speculation about  which party and leaders Washington favors, and sometimes  thinly veiled meddling by officials here.  There’s some interest this time around,  but with the Israeli political system in deep limbo, it’s curiously muted.

Jewish Winners and Losers in the Stimulus Wars

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 James Besser in Washington The huge economic recovery act just passed by Congress, which President Obama will sign in Denver today,  could present some interesting twists for several Jewish members of Congress.
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