Department of State

Yom Kippur Spurned As UN Starts Session

09/17/1999
Staff Writer
Israel, which has made it a point not to walk out of the United Nations despite all of the abuse hurled at it from member nations over the years, will be pointedly absent when the General Assembly convenes on Monday, Yom Kippur. So will President Bill Clinton. Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dore Gold, said this is the first time an American president has not spoken at the start of the General Assembly's general debate. He will speak Tuesday instead.

Paving The Way Out

12/20/2002
Staff Writer
As many as 1,000 Iranian Jews will soon be able to leave their homeland for Austria, the first step in a two-step process for gaining admission to the United States as refugees. Until now, these Jews were unable to apply for Austrian visas because they did not have friends or relatives outside of Iran who could put up the requisite $2,100 security deposit needed for those wishing to wait in Vienna while their refugee applications are reviewed. The money is required to assure Austria that the applicants do not become wards of the state.

Clinton 'Fritters Away' Opportunity for Strong Iraq Action

Jewish leaders saw the Clinton administration’s last-minute decision to call off an imminent bombing raid on Iraq as one more retreat by Washington in the face of Saddam Hussein’s skillful maneuvers.

11/20/1998
Washington Correspondent
‘He Frittered It Away’ ‘It’s so obvious, it’s almost comical,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “We know exactly what Saddam’s doing, but we continue to play his game.”

Despite Progress, Showdown Looms

Gaps narrowed in Israeli-Palestinian talks, but no breakthroughs

10/02/1998
Staff Writers
Like Lucy holding out her football for Charlie Brown to kick again, President Clinton, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat once more raised the world’s expectations Monday for a breakthrough on their long-stalled peace agreement. But when the three faced an expectant White House press corps after their meeting, Clinton again voiced the phrases heard so often before.

Ross to White House: it’s official

Thursday, June 25th, 2009 As this blog reported last week, longtime U.S. Middle East peace negotiator and pro-Israel think tanker Dennis Ross is going over to the White House; as numerous blogs have reported, it’s something of a promotion for Ross, who had a nebulous role at the State Department as a special envoy to something or other. Here’s what the NSC spokesman had to say:

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.

Notes from the AIPAC Policy Conference

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 Is the legendary AIPAC “roll call” getting old? In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the story: at every year’s policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,  leaders of the group read out the names of all the congressional, administration and diplomatic officials attending.  Reporters keep count, hometown delegations cheer for their representatives and the message has the subtlety of a good sock in the jaw: this is a lobby with real clout.

Ahmadinejad at Durban II and ‘dialog with an insane man’

Monday, April 20th, 2009 What did Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance at the opening of the Durban II conference on racism do to President Obama’s stated desire to look for new routes for dialog with Iran? Here’s a clue: it probably didn’t help.
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