Douglas Bloomfield's blog

Israelis Want Peace Talks But Are Pessimistic

At the White House this afternoon, President Barack Obama updated British Prime Minister David Cameron on Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to get Israelis and Palestinians back to the peace table.

By a bit better than 2:1 margin, Israelis would like to see that happen, but only one in three think those talks would produce peace, and in fact most doubt they'll even get started.

Why Obama's Popularity Is Rising In Israel

Remember when President Obama's approval rating among Israelis was in the single digits?  That was August 2009 when it bottomed at 4%. A lot has changed since then, and a Pew Research Center survey released this week showed Obama "enjoys the confidence of 61% of Israelis." Among Israeli Jews, 64% rate Obama favorably vs. 48% of Arabs.

Time For Arab League To Put Up Or Shut Up

Arab League leaders were in Washington last week doing what they do best:  talking.  Trouble is they're all talk and no walk.  This time they endorsed the concept of land swaps as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.  They made it sound revolutionary but in fact it was old stuff for the two parties who'd been discussing that for more than a dozen years.

The PA's UJA-like Problem

If you've ever been involved in fundraising for your synagogue or organization -- or worked the phone bank on Super Sunday -- you might appreciate this story.

The various Arab states, especially the wealthy Gulf oil sheikhs, have been very generous in pledging their support for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority. But the PA has painfully learned there's a big difference between pledging and paying.

GOP's Worst Kept Secret Exposed

Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey outed his party's leadership when confirmed the worst kept secret in Washington:  Gridlock on Capitol Hill is not a result of deep disagreements on policy issues but something much more personal: a Republican desire to deny helping the President "do something he wanted to get done."

Obama Completes Cabinet With Two Jewish Nominees

President Obama completed filling out his second term cabinet today when, as reported in the Political Insider last week, he nominated Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker as secretary of commerce and Mike Froman to be the U.S. Trade Representative.

Pritzker, a longtime Obama supporter and fundraiser, brings extensive experience in the real estate, finance and hotel industries; her family owns the Hyatt hotel chain. 

Obama described Froman, a former Harvard Law School classmate of his, as "one of the world's foremost experts on our global economy."

Bibi Wants Low Profile On Syria WMD

As President Obama weighs the evidence on suspected Syrian use on Sarin nerve gas and what to do about it, the Israeli government is trying to keep a low profile, or at least low by Israeli standards.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed his government not to make this incident about Israel and not to speak publicly about the issue, but first deputy foreign minister Ze'ev Elkin warned that a weak American response to Syrian use of Sarin would encourage Iran to accelerate its nuclear program.

Obama To Name Two Jewish Activists To Economic Posts

President Obama is close to filling out his second term cabinet with appointments to top economic posts of two longtime friends who also have a background of Jewish community activism.

He is expected to name Michael Froman to be the next U.S. Trade Representative and Penny Pritzker as secretary of commerce.

Froman, 50, is a former Harvard Law School classmate of the president, where they were editors of the Harvard Law Review, and he is currently the deputy national security advisor for international economic affairs. 

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

The road to the White House goes through Jerusalem.  At least it seems that way as the Israeli capital has become a virtually mandatory stop for politicians of both parties running for president.  The latest arrival is Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley this week, accompanied by a bevy of business execs and Jewish community leaders from his state.

Another Reason Congress Doesn't Get Respect

Boston Police, the FBI, ATF, Homeland Security were still trying to figure out who was responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing Monday but that didn't stop one of Congress's most notorious wingnuts from trying to exploit the tragedy to advance his own political agenda.

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