Department of State

Obama Durban II decision disappoints Jewish right, international left

Sunday, April 19th, 2009 It looks like President Obama has, in one stroke, disappointed the international left and the Jewish right, both of which were expecting, hoping or both that he would change his mind and send a delegation to this week’s Durban II conference.  (Read the full State Department statement here)

Does the administration care about the next Israeli government?

Thursday, February 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Usually, every change in government in Israel produces intense speculation about  which party and leaders Washington favors, and sometimes  thinly veiled meddling by officials here.  There’s some interest this time around,  but with the Israeli political system in deep limbo, it’s curiously muted.

Israel Goes to the Polls - And Everyone Will Be Unhappy

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Israelis are going to the polls in higher-than-expected numbers today, and official Washington might be worried about the outcome – if it wasn’t so completely preoccupied with a collapsing economy at home and the increasingly bitter, partisan effort to stop the slide.

Mitchell, Israel and “Even-handedness”

Friday, January 23rd, 2009 James Besser in Washington Here’s a paradox for you: most leaders of major American Jewish groups believe there has to be a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but many are very nervous about the appointment of former Sen. George Mitchell as the Obama administration’s special envoy in the region (Read the Jewish Week story here).  Why?

It’s Almost Official: Dennis Ross, Redux

Friday, January 9th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Now that the incoming Barack Obama administration is fleshing out its ranks, talk is hot and heavy about who will handle key Middle East portfolios. And the results are certain to be controversial in a pro-Israel community that is more divided than ever on the best route to peace in the region.

What’s Keeping Obama Up At Night

Friday, December 12th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Speaking during a recent JCPA conference call about the new administration’s foreign policy team, I was struck by this gap between perception and reality: while so many Israel-focused Jews seem to believe a major element of Barack Obama’s transition is figuring out how to change U.S. policy on Israel and the Palestinians, the reality is that the issue is probably far down on the team’s long list of immediate priorities

McCain Campaign Takes Up ZOA Refrain on Kurtzer

Thursday, August 21st, 2008 James Besser in Washington The John McCain campaign is starting to sound a lot like the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) in its efforts to win over Jewish voters. This week the campaign reprised a favorite ZOA them when it went after former diplomat Dan Kurtzer,  a Barack Obama foreign policy adviser who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005.

Obama A Threat To Israel, Mideast Expert Charges

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Tel Aviv — Judging from the views of Israeli academics at a panel Thursday afternoon, Israel has much to worry about if Barack Obama is elected president this fall.

Barry Rubin, a well-known and respected Mideast expert and academic, told an audience today at a conference at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University here that an Obama victory would precipitate “the most dangerous crisis facing the world.”

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