Politics

Obama, Netanyahu to Focus on Move to Direct Talks

07/02/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Proximity talks between the Israelis and Palestinians have addressed "core issues" and President Obama is ready to move to direct talks, White House officials said.

Ben Rhodes and Daniel Shapiro, two senior staffers on the White House national security council, spoke Friday afternoon with reporters ahead of a summit Tuesday between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Obama's immigration reform speech: first reactions

President Obama, coming off a handful of important legislative victories, hinted today in a major speech that he might try his hand at legislation on the third rail of American politics – immigration reform.

That's good news for Jewish groups like the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the American Jewish Committee, as well as a coalition of some 600 faith leaders that gathered at the White House today and delivered a letter urging strong action to pass legislation that “both protects our interests and abides by our values” before the end of the year.

Stuart Levey: The Man Trying to Make Iran Sanctions Work

07/01/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Stuart Levey was given a big stick when the Bush administration made him the first under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. But the stick only started to hurt its targets -- terrorist groups and rogue nations -- when he figured out how to soft-talk nations and private businesses into going along.

Levey is that rarity -- a senior government official who has transitioned not just between two administrations, but between two presidents with profound foreign policy differences.

Stuart Levey (U.S. Treasury Department)

Settlement Freeze, Iran, Peace Talks to Headline Vital Obama-Bibi Meeting

06/30/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The joke making the rounds in Jerusalem ahead of next week's Netanyahu-Obama summit: Time to bone up on geology.

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, told reporters this week that he was misheard when he was quoted as telling Israeli diplomats that a "tectonic rift" was emerging between Israel and the United States. The Israelis didn't get it, said the U.S.-born Oren: He meant there was a "tectonic shift."

Disturbing Decision On Guns

06/30/2010
Editorial

Firearms are not the inherent evil that some gun control advocates claim, but as New Yorkers we have a common-sense understanding that the easy availability of everything from pistols to assault rifles is part of the fear and insecurity that we live with on a daily basis.

Netanyahu In D.C., The Sequel

06/30/2010
Editorial

 If all goes according to plan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will call on President Barack Obama at the White House next week for a visit postponed after Israel’s interdiction of the Gaza flotilla in June. All signs point to a continuation of the kiss-and-make-up efforts by two leaders who understand that public friction between the close allies serves the interest of neither.

Sen. Robert Byrd, Critic Of Israel Aid, Dies at 92

06/30/2010

(JTA) — Robert Byrd, the longest-serving U.S. senator who criticized Israel but refrained from using his considerable power to cut its funding, has died.

Obituaries for Byrd, 92, a West Virginia Democrat, focused on the bookends to his 51-year career: His membership for several years before his election in the racist Ku Klux Klan and his unsuccessful effort to filibuster the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and his opposition in the last decade to the Iraq war.

Judge In Israel’s Flotilla Inquiry Wants Wider Scope

06/30/2010

(JTA) — The judge who is leading an Israeli inquiry into its interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla has requested a wider scope for the investigation.

Jacob Turkel, a retired Israeli Supreme Court justice, has threatened to resign unless his independent committee is given the right to conduct a full judicial inquiry, according to Israeli reports Tuesday. He also has requested to add two members to the committee.

Is Kagan’s Jewishness Being Used Against Her?

Her background surfaces even as Jewish groups mostly silent on wider nomination battle.

06/30/2010
Washington Correspondent

 A Jewish community divided over key constitutional questions is watching closely but mostly silently as a hyper-partisan Senate debates President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to succeed the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens — and as hints that the nominee’s Jewishness is being used against her surface.

Elana Kagan

Broader Gun Rights: Bad For The Jews?

With NRA, after Court ruling, targeting city’s gun control laws, could Jewish institutions face heightened terror threats?

06/30/2010
Staff Writer

Defenders of broadly defined gun ownership rights announced this week, in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that limits states’ right to regulate firearms, that they will further challenge the power of municipalities like New York City and New York State to keep guns out of owners’ hands.

The gun lobby will probably miss its target, some experts say.

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