Blogs

Chas Freeman and the pro-Israel lobby: watch your definitions

Thursday, March 12th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Was it really the  “pro-Israel lobby” that scuttled the nomination of Chas Freeman as head of the National Intelligence Council, as Freeman himself charged in an outburst after his withdrawal on Wednesday and prominent columnists like the Washington Post’s David Broder agree? Well, it depends on you definition of “the lobby.”

Harry Schwarz, anti-apartheid crusader and South African Jewish leader, dies

Today JTA is reporting that Schwarz, a refugee from Nazi German and a  longtime South African Jewish leader, has died at the age of 86.

Rep. Ackerman counsels - gasp - patience on Iran

You don't hear a lot of politicians talking sense about Iran these days. Either they pretend tough talk and unilateral sanctions will do the trick, ignoring history and common sense,  or they are part of the  “don't bother me now” faction.

That's why I liked Rep. Gary Ackerman's statement to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia this week during a hearing on the political reform movement in Iran.
 

Obama hit from both sides on faith-based initiative

The natives are getting restless when it comes to the Obama administration's Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships .

Today the Anti-Defamation League joined with 23 other national organizations  in a statement urging the administration to make sure federal funds distributed as part of the ongoing faith based initiative aren't used to proselytize or discriminate based on religious beliefs.

More Gibson Melodrama

An interview with Mel Gibson on a local Chicago station has been getting more than the usual amount of play. It seems reporter Dean Richards of WGN popped a question into a fluffy Mel Gibson movie plug session that made the action hero uncomfortable.

Blogging the New Israel Fund flap

The reaction against attempts by the political right in Israel to portray the New Israel Fund as a  kind of anti-Israel fifth column is intensifying.

“Avatar” And Blue Palestinians

It’s probably just a coincidence that the blue-skinned, endangered aliens from the planet Pandora in the mega-hit “Avatar” are called the Na’vi, which is Hebrew for prophet. It couldn’t be that non-Jewish writer and director James Cameron took the term deliberately to make a point that in these victimized, ultimately triumphant underdogs we were to see a glimpse of some conflict in the offing. Could it?

Probably not. But it is one of the things to ponder about a movie that borrows so much of its essence, while leaving so much to interpretation.

National Prayer Breakfast controversy - again. And where are the Jews?

Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast and President Obama's planned participation are generating the usual controversies centering on the question of whether top political leaders should attend an event sponsored by a super-secretive Christian group, The Fellowship Foundation, also know as The Family.

Obama's spending freeze: Band aid leadership?

I'm having a hard time getting my hands around President Obama's expected call for a domestic spending freeze in response to the populist surge that ended the Democrats' Senate super-majority and threatens to cut deeply into their absolute majority come October.  (He will make his case in tonight's State of the Union address).

Jewish Democrats, Republican trade shots on Holocaust allusions

Well, it sounded like a good idea.

Yesterday the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) urged candidates in both parties to sign a "pledge to condemn and repudiate abusive Holocaust comparisons and anti-Semitic rhetoric carried out by anyone claiming to support my candidacy or attending my campaign events.”

According to NJDC CEO Ira Forman:

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