Israel

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.

Last-minute pardon speculation and Jonathan Pollard

Monday, January 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington With just hours left in George W. Bush’s presidency, speculation is at flood tide about possible last-minute pardons and commutations. Yesterday’s Politico took a look at some high-profile cases that could grab Bush’s attention as he packs his bags for Texas (read the story here) .

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.

Behind the Pro-Israel Congressional Resolution: Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Monday, January 12th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Pro-Israel groups are still kvelling about last week’s lopsided passage of a House of Representatives resolution expressing support for Israel in the current Gaza crisis and citing a long history of Palestinian attacks justifying Israel’s heavy military response.

UPDATED: How Will Hebrew Charter Schools Affect Yeshivot?

Monday, January 12th, 2009

The New York State Board of Regents has approved the charter application for the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School, something that is bound to appeal to a great many Jewish parents.

 

The Hebrew Language Academy would initially enroll 150 kids and could eventually rise to some 675 K-8 students, with priority for residents of District 22 in Midwood, Mill Basin and Sheepshead Bay.

 

Anatomy Of A Rally

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

One of the fascinating and never-resolved issues in our community is when and how to hold a pro-Israel rally, and this week’s debate among leaders in New York was a case in point.

Notes From A New Public School Parent

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

After all the years my wife and I have carried  the burden of yeshiva tuition, we never thought we’d see the day we pull one of our children out because of an issue not related to money. But sure enough, because of learning issues that were impeding the progress of one of my kids, we decided an unusual mid-year shift was in order.

 

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 Widening Israel-Diaspora Gap

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Few can watch the footage of Palestinian suffering in Gaza these days without feeling great sadness and empathy. But while some of us blame the cynicism and brutality of Hamas for purposely putting civilians in harm’s way as part of its strategy, appealing to the world to stop Israel in its tracks, others blame Israel without considering the context – or worse yet, are convinced that Israel is the aggressor here, not an independent state fighting terrorist thugs whose sole purpose is to destroy it, and Jews everywhere.

An Interesting Read: Scowcroft’s Role in the Obama Administration

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 James Besser in Washington During the presidential  campaign, a persistent subtheme in the Jewish community was the role of former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft in the Obama foreign policy team.
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