United States

Iran: Obama Is Catching On

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

President Obama made a significant statement about Iran yesterday, a seeming reversal of attitude, but it did not get the attention it deserved in the mainstream press here.

“The difference between Ahmadinejad and Moussavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised,” the president said in an interview with CNBC and the New York Times.

Hmm, Where Does That Leave Us?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Two new books are sitting on my desk, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

One is by Aaron Klein, a young journalist who made aliyah from the U.S. and it catalogues a litany of woes facing Israel. Its title: “The Late Great State of Israel: How Enemies Within and Without Threaten the Jewish Nation’s Survival.”

Nothing new here, just the Iranian nuclear threat, Palestinian terrorism, internal Israeli division and corruption, etc.

Obama’s Cairo speech, friendship with Israel and finding the right balance

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 There will be plenty of commentaries about President Obama’s speech to the Islamic world in Cairo today, and Jewish groups were weighing in even before he finished speaking.  There was lots of meat to chew on, and the Jewish world is going to sate its appetite on the stuff for a long time. Despite Obama’s strong and unequivocal statement against settlements, it was the first time an Arab and Muslim audience heard a strongly pro-Israel speech from a major leader.

‘The Great Neck Of Tel Aviv’

05/20/2009
Staff Writer

You can play the national pastime — the American national pastime, that is — on a baseball diamond in Ra’anana, one of the few fields of dreams in all of the country.

In this affluent Tel Aviv suburb, you can get Gatorade there, too, and American candies can be had on the grocery store shelves. And you can join the Penn Club and reminisce about the old college days in Philadelphia.

Ahuza Street, the main thoroughfare in Ra'anana.

Christian ‘crusades’ and the US military

Monday, May 18th, 2009 Did you think the issue of Christian evangelizing in the U.S. military has gone away, now that the controversy over proselytization at the Air Force Academy has died down? Guess again. Today’s New York Times  has an interesting story about the inclusion of Bible quotes and religious images in official Pentagon reports during the early days of the Iraq war.

US joins UN Human Rights Council: Can it be reformed?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 As if it didn’t have enough on its plate, the Obama administration is now set to try to work some reform magic on the UN Human Rights Council, a group set up to monitor human rights conditions around the world but which is led by some of the  worst abusers anywhere and which seems to have little interest in anything but Israel. On Tuesday the General Assembly elected the United States to the council following a decision by the Obama administration to seek membership.

AIPAC’s positioning problem

Friday, May 8th, 2009 AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, sure is sensitive about claims by some that it is tilted to the political right – a persistent image that could prove political awkward now that there’s a new administration in Washington that wants to move forward quickly on Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Obama, the Orthodox Union and the National Day of Prayer

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 President Obama is getting pounded by the religious right for not holding a “National Day of Prayer” event at the White House tomorrow, but he is getting support from a key Orthodox group. In his Institute for Public Affairs Blog, OU public policy director Nathan Diament reviews the history of the event, which began in 1952 and which “has been marked in various ways by all presidents since then.” Diament goes on to say this:

AIPAC policy conference: where’s the buzz?

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 Why does there seem to be much less buzz than usual about  this year’s AIPAC policy conference, which begins on Sunday at the Washington Convention Center? Don’t get me wrong; nobody doubts the policy conference will be the most spectacular Jewish political event of the year, as usual, or that Monday’s banquet will pull in throngs of lawmakers and other top politicians that other organizations can only dream of.  But chatter about the conference has  been surprisingly thin this year.
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