Social Issues

Chas Freeman Appointment to Intelligence Panel Divides Jews

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 James Besser in Washington An interesting conversation yesterday with a pro-Israel friend who called to talk about the appointment of Chas Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and controversial foreign policy thinker,  to head the  National Intelligence Council.

Good Blog Reading on Israeli election

Monday, February 16th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Just catching up with the blogs after a few days away from the keyboard, and found some good reading waiting  for me. Lots of interesting commentary on last week’s Israeli election, which settled nothing except for the fact there will now be weeks, maybe months, of jockeying, horse trading and mind-bending spin.

Making The Rounds In Israel

02/11/2009
Staff Writer

When final exams come to a close this June, a group of first-year medical students don’t intend to stop their studies. They’ll chug right on, but in Israel rather than on Long Island. 

 

A team of student leaders at Stony Brook University School of Medicine is now busy reviewing applications for a highly selective trip called Kesher Refuah, Hebrew for “medical connection.”

White House Reaches Out to Hadassah, Economic Recovery bill passes senate

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 James Besser in Washington When President Barack Obama went before a Ft. Myers, Fla. audience to pump for grassroots support for his economic recovery plans, the White House made sure there was a substantial delegation from Hadassah in the room.

Gillibrand and Kosher Chicken

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Politicos are still puzzling over last week’s appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to Hillary Clinton’s seat in the U.S. Senate and  Gov. David Paterson’s missteps in announcing his choice – a “mishandled circus,” according to CUNY political scientist Douglas Muzzio.. But one thing you can take to the bank: Gillibrand, who will face voters statewide in 2010, is going to be eating a lot of kosher chicken in the months ahead.

Obama Inaugurated, Jews Party

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 James Besser in Washington It was a day of joyous celebration for the many thousands of African Americans who came to Washington to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama, but Jews weren’t exactly slackers in the celebration department. Inaugural events provided ample opportunity for Jewish machers to see and be seen – and for advocacy groups to display their political connections.

Polls Show Strong, Nuanced Support for Israel in Gaza Fight

Friday, January 16th, 2009 James Besser in Washington For pro-Israel groups that have been fighting the PR wars since the latest Gaza conflict began in December, the polling news has been mostly good, with indications Americans to blame the Palestinians for the current violence much more than they blame Israel. What is unclear: just how high a priority the issue is with a populace that has its mind on other things, starting with their disappearing 401Ks an disappearing jobs.

Gaza Isn’t Mexico: The Hasbara Dilemma

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 James Besser in Washington I confess to great uncertainty about Israel’s current offensive in Gaza.  That Israeli’ leaders were justified in taking strong action against relentless rocket attacks is not an issue for me. Whether the current massive operation is the best option is something I don’t feel qualified to judge.

The Gaza War: Return to Comfortable Territory for Jewish Groups

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 James Besser in Washington This is a really delicate question, so don’t get me wrong.  But I can’t help thinking American Jewish groups are taking a certain satisfaction that the Gaza offensive and the predictable shift of world opinion against Israel are presenting them a problem they know how to deal with – unlike the financial carnage that is upending the Jewish world and threatening the survival of some venerable institutions.

The Upside of the Bernie Madoff Affair

Sunday, December 28th, 2008 James Besser in Washington It’s hard to find anything positive to say about a record-shattering scammer who may have bilked Jewish charities out of hundreds of millions of dollars and shattered Jewish philanthropy by decimating the bank accounts of countless big givers, but there could  be one salutary impact of Bernard Madoff’s mother of all Ponzi schemes: it may force the Jewish world to confront a radically changed economic climate.
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