(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.
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.
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.
I present below, in its entirety and without further comment, former mayor Ed Koch's latest essay on the tensions between the White House and Israel. In it, he concedes that some will call him alarmist, but finds some parallels between the administration's treatment of Israel and the Roman siege against Jews at Masada.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s son, an ardent critic of post-9/11 government tactics, will speak at Central Queens Y.
He was only 6 years old when his parents — Ethel and Julius Rosenberg — were executed in 1953 by the United States government, after being accused of passing atomic secrets to the Russians.
“I was 3 when they were arrested and 6 when they were executed, and I don’t remember any of that sort of thing,” said Robert Meeropol, who took the last name of his adoptive parents.
But that hasn’t stopped him from dedicating his life to helping other children in similar positions, by starting the Rosenberg Fund for Children in 1990.