Environment

U.S. and Israel Agree on Key Issues—For Now

06/15/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The relationship between the Obama administration, the Netanyahu government and the pro-Israel community is ensconced on all fronts in “agree, for now” mode.

On isolating Iran, everyone agrees -- and is pleased -- that the new set of U.N. sanctions will make it easier for the United States to enhance its own unilateral sanctions.

Differences are looming, however, on whether the U.S. sanctions should carve out exemptions for countries that helped push through the U.N. sanctions.

Gaza Flotilla Commission Sets Sail

06/15/2010
Editorial

Over the weekend Israel’s cabinet approved creation of a commission to investigate the controversial, ill-fated Israeli interdiction of a Gaza-bound humanitarian-cum-propaganda flotilla.

That’s a good first step, particularly because two of the five members are distinguished foreign observers. But it is naive to believe this will settle the matter for a world predisposed to see Israel as a kind of universal villain. And no finding by the commission will dampen international criticism of Israel’s (and Egypt’s) Gaza blockade.

Yoav Sivan, 34

Israeli LGBT rights activist and journalist

Staff Writer
06/15/2010

Two weeks before receiving his diploma from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, Yoav Sivan was shaking hands with none other than the president of the United States and hugging the first lady at the annual White House Correspondents dinner.

Sivan is a journalist, political activist and gay rights proponent from Tel Aviv, and the second Columbia Journalism graduate student ever — and first Israeli — to receive a White House Correspondents Association fellowship for his studies.

Yoav Sivan

Dmitriy Salita, 28

Fighting for Jewish pride

Staff Writer
06/15/2010

Like most professional boxers, Dmitriy Salita spends hours each day training. Though he lost a junior welterweight championship fight last year, he is hoping for another title shot. Like some boxers, he spends hours each day studying. He’s a business major at Touro College.

Reid-McConnell letter: Consider Turkish Charity for Terror List

06/15/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Leaders of both parties in the U.S. Senate are urging President Obama to consider placing the Turkish charity involved in the Gaza flotilla incident on the terrorism list.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), its minority leader, circulated a letter last Friday among their colleagues that would press Obama to investigate the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation.

Israel Approves Gaza Flotilla Inquiry Panel

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel's Cabinet unanimously approved a commission of inquiry into the interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla that left nine passengers dead.

Two foreign observers were named to the commission.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during Monday's meeting to approve the independent public commission that its establishment "will make it clear to the entire world that the State of Israel acts according to the law, transparently, and with full responsibility."

Hitchens On Jewishness, Israel And Zionism

06/10/2010
Staff Writer

People seem to love author and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens for precisely the reason other people seem to hate him: he has an opinion, and a strong one, about almost everything. His new memoir, “Hitch-22,” is chock full of them, too. And when he appeared at at the 92nd Street Y on Tuesday night, in a chat with his close friend Salman Rushdie, that fact was not glossed over.

Jewish Leaders Press Abbas on Direct Talks, Incitement

06/10/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish leaders pressed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the issues of incitement and direct talks.

Abbas met for dinner Wednesday evening with an array of the national Jewish leadership under the auspices of the Center for Middle East Peace. The meeting came after he met with President Obama at the White House.

The major topic of the evening was Abbas' reluctance to advance from proximity talks, brokered by the United States, to direct talks with Israel. Both the Obama and Netanyahu administrations favor direct talks.

Orthodox Union Leaders Meet With White House Staff, Senators

06/09/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Leaders of the Orthodox Union met with top administration officials and with U.S. senators.

Members of synagogues and organizations affiliated with the umbrella body met Wednesday with top National Security Council staff and discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship, the peace process and Iran sanctions, as well as education and energy policy.

The Orthodox Union has been among the sharpest critics of Obama administration pressure on Israel to freeze building in eastern Jerusalem.

The Stupid Things We Say

I was once discussing a home improvement project with a potential contractor, when a date to start the job came up and I mentioned that it was Martin Luther King Day.

The contractor, who is white, then repeated the name of the holiday in an exasperated voice, and added “What will they think of next?”

In one small utterance, this man had given me a window into his soul, and it wasn’t pretty.

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