James Besser's blog

After Two Rounds Of Pardons, Pollard Still Waits

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 Adam Dickter in New York President Bush’s second wave of pardons as he packs his bags included a man who paid a price for sticking his neck out for Israel. No, not Jonathan Pollard.

Capitol Hill: A Mighty Religious Place

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 James Besser in Washington The 111th Congress will be the most religiously diverse ever, but that doesn’t mean every religious group is represented according to its proportion in the population.

Paterson’s School Daze

Friday, December 19th, 2008 Adam Dickter in New York: As of Friday afternoon, nearly 4,000 people had called a toll-free number set up by TEACH-NYS, a coalition of independent and religious schools, that was routed to the state budget office to protest some $55 million in funds for reimbursement of costs incurred by non-public schools. The calls came within about 24 hours since the group sent out an e-mail blast to dozens of schools, who then sent out the word to their communities.

Obama Transition Team Meets the Jews

Friday, December 19th, 2008 James Besser in Washington After his November 4 election, there was widespread speculation about which Jewish and pro-Israel groups would have access to Barack Obama’s White House – and which would be frozen out.

Madoff with the Monday: Impact of Financial Scandal Could Run Deep

Sunday, December 14th, 2008 James Besser in Washington It’s the weekend, so official reaction from Jewish groups has been limited, but communal boardrooms will be buzzing on Monday as the devastation apparently wreaked by Bernard Madoff,  the onetime hedge fund mastermind, sinks in. Madoff was arrested on Friday after admitting to colleagues that his hedge fund was a $50 billion sham – the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. Concerns among Jewish leaders center on three issues.

What’s Keeping Obama Up At Night

Friday, December 12th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Speaking during a recent JCPA conference call about the new administration’s foreign policy team, I was struck by this gap between perception and reality: while so many Israel-focused Jews seem to believe a major element of Barack Obama’s transition is figuring out how to change U.S. policy on Israel and the Palestinians, the reality is that the issue is probably far down on the team’s long list of immediate priorities

Jerusalem Embassy Act Waived (Yawn) Again

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Here’s the non-surprise of the year: President George W. Bush has once again waived provisions of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act mandating that the U.S. embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Back in 2000  Bush, running for the presidency,  promised to begin the move “as soon as I take office,” but then changed his mind, repeatedly invoking the law’s “national security” waiver position.

Minnesota Mishegoss: Coleman - Franken Contest Still Undecided

Sunday, December 7th, 2008 James Besser in Washington In Minnesota, as it turns out, a recount won’t be enough to determine the winner of a hotly contested Senate race.   The only thing that’s certain: the  winner will definitely be a Jewish guy from New York.

Jewish Vote, 2008: More Study Needed

Sunday, November 30th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Mik Moore, the Jewish Funds for Justice blogger and co-creator of the “Great Shlep,” the pro-Obama youth crusade in Florida, has a provocative item this week about why predictions of an anti-Obama vote in the Jewish community proved wildly inaccurate.

OU Defends Bush White House in Hanukkah Bush Scandal

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 James Besser in Washington The Orthodox Union has jumped to the defense of a lame-duck administration  whose holiday snafu is the object of a lot of snarky humor.
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