Religion

With Olmert Going: What Peace Process?

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 James Besser in Washington Here’s one of the more puzzling headlines of the month, right off the AP ticker:  “US Trying to salvage Gains in Mideast Talks.” According to the story, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called top Israel and Palestinian negotiators to Washington this week to “preserve modest momentum” in the U.S.-backed effort to get a deal - any kind of deal, please - by the end of the year and the end of President George W. Bush’s term.

Good News for McCain — or Polling Mush?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Here’s a political shocker for you: Jews who say religion is “an important part of my daily life” are more likely to vote for Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, than those who say religion isn’t as important. How do you spell “Duh?” This nugget was part of a Gallup poll released this week that shows the same dynamic working in the broader population, but even more so.

Mordechai Gafni Is Back

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

The last time Mordechai Gafni was in the news was two years ago, when the charismatic and controversial rabbi accused of sexual misconduct here and in Israel was dismissed as the rebbe of Bayit Chadash, a spiritual renewal community in Tel Aviv.

Faced with sexual abuse complaints filed with the police in Israel by several women who were former students or employees of Bayit Chadash, Gafni came to the U.S., issued a public statement apologizing to those he had hurt, said he was “sick” and needed treatment, and disappeared.

Jesse Helms and the Pro-Israel Divide

Sunday, July 6th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), who died on Friday at the age of 86, was a perfect lightning rod for one of the critical divides in Jewish life. For many pro-Israel activists, Helms’ conversion from staunch foe of their agenda  — in 1983 he suggested breaking diplomatic relations with Israel because of the war in Lebanon, and he was a consistent foe of foreign aid  - to ardent Likudnik was the stuff of legends and a turning point in pro-Israel politics.

Obama Campaign Kicks Off Jewish Leadership Team in NY

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 Adam Dickter in New York Sen. Barack Obama’s Jewish campaign operation is getting more organized in New York, as evidenced by a mass meeting at the 92nd Street Y on Tuesday. The meeting kicked off the campaign’s Jewish Community Leadrship Committee here.

ADL and Hagee Make Nice. But Will That End the Controversy?

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008 James Besser in Washington So will the exchange of make-nice letters between ADL chief Abe Foxman and Pastor John Hagee tamp down the controversy swirling around the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) leader once an for all?

Obama at AIPAC: Mission Accomplished?

Monday, June 2nd, 2008 James Besser in Washington Several Barack Obama supporters said earlier in the week that today’s speech at AIPAC would be the critical moment in his effort to keep Jewish voters on the Democratic reservation in November. They must be kvelling now that the speech is over. A pro-Israel group whose leaders feared a less-than-friendly reception gave Obama one of the most enthusiastic receptions of the three-day conference.

Put Relations with Hagee’s Pro-Israel Group on “Hold,” Foxman Says

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

As Sen. John McCain was cutting ties to Pastor John Hagee, the controversial Christian Zionist leader whose endorsement he sought, a top Jewish leader also changed course and called for ties to Hagee’s pro-Israel group to be put on “hold,” the Jewish Week has learned.

Why is Obama So Worried About the Jews?

Thursday, May 15th, 2008 Why is Sen. Barack Obama devoting so much time and energy trying to win over Jewish voters? On the surface, the numbers don’t add up. A majority of Jews are going to vote Democratic in November’s presidential contest no matter what; does the difference between 61 percent (what Obama scored in a recent Gallup Poll and 74 percent (what John Kerry actually won in 2004) really make that much of a difference?

Scoop Of The Day: Reporters Are Human

Monday, March 24th, 2008

The thorough reporting job on the front page of the New York Times today (April 1) describing the depth of anti-Semitism of Hamas, in its sermons and broadcasts, should be commended by pro-Israel readers, particularly those who have complained about the coverage by the newspaper’s Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger as biased in favor of the Palestinians.
But I’m not holding my breath. In fact, pro-Israel critics no doubt will respond to today’s story by exclaiming,” what took so long?”

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