His parents gave Misha Pemble-Belkin a pacifist, “hippie” upbringing, forbidding him and his two brothers from playing with toy guns or watching violent films.
But both of them, including his Jewish father, were “very proud” that he enlisted in the Army, says their son, now a sergeant at Fort Polk, La., and one of 11 soldiers interviewed in “Restrepo,” a new documentary about one company’s grueling tour of duty in Afghanistan.
To listen to Jewish bloggers and pundits, you'd think President Obama's Middle East policy and his chilly relations with Israel will be his biggest foreign policy headache when he faces voters in 2012.
Well, maybe it'll be a big problem with a small minority of a small minority, but nothing like the problem he could face if the Afghanistan war is still going on – and if he's still clueless about how to fix the problem.
Could pro-Israel leaders here face a grim day of reckoning on the issue of Iran's nuclear program?
Last week the UN Security Council passed new sanctions demanded by the Obama administration, which won the support of China and Russia – the biggest obstacles to a new sanctions regime. Congress seems poised to pass tougher U.S. sanctions targeting companies, individuals and states that deal with Iran's nuclear sector, JTA reports.
New round of questions over whether Israel is liability to U.S.
James D. Besser
A relationship built on the notion that Israel is a critical U.S. strategic asset may be weakening as more and more analysts in both countries argue that the Jewish state is becoming more of a foreign policy liability.
So far that view has not penetrated Israel’s overwhelming support in Congress, and all but the most partisan Jewish leaders say it hasn’t affected Obama administration policy. On the contrary, there was evidence strategic cooperation was deepening even before President Barack Obama’s recent Jewish charm offensive.
A core claim of the pro-Israel movement is coming under intensified attack as shifting Obama administration priorities renew questions about whether Israeli and U.S. interests are automatically in sync.
One side effect of the current showdown between Washington and Jerusalem is that it has provided an opportunity for American diplomats and Mideast experts to step back and reassess the situation, and the results have been fascinating. Several key figures long involved in pushing the Oslo/land-for-peace equation are now saying quite bluntly that it doesn’t make sense, at least for now, and that the Obama administration should back off.
N.Y. area rabbis, some feeling ‘forced,’ wading into rocky political waters; anxiety seen in pews.
As the strain in U.S.-Israel relations continues, some area rabbis who generally don’t mix religion and politics on the pulpit are setting aside those constraints.
“People were asking me and my hand was sort of forced,” said Rabbi Perry Rank, spiritual leader of the Midway Jewish Center, a Conservative synagogue in Syosset, L.I. “My sense is that Mr. [Barack] Obama has unnerved the American Jewish community and people are looking for a perspective on the issue.