Senate

Meeting season for Jewish groups starts

Friday, April 17th, 2009 The cherry blossoms have come and gone, which means it must be spring meeting season for Jewish groups. Next week it’s the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which has a star-studded program for its annual “Consultation on Conscience.” As usual, the focus will be on domestic and social social justice issues, with a strong focus this year on the impact of the global economic downturn and its economic implications.

Pro-Israel PAC goes to bat for Coleman in war of attrition with Franken

Monday, March 16th, 2009 James Besser in Washington It’s already the longest and most boring senate election in recent history, unless you love legal minutia, and it’s not over yet; a three-judge panel in Minnesota is deliberating whether challenger Al Franken, who got a few more votes, or Norm Coleman, who says those votes are tainted, will be sworn in sometime before the end of the 111th Congress.

Chas Freeman Appointment to Intelligence Panel Divides Jews

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 James Besser in Washington An interesting conversation yesterday with a pro-Israel friend who called to talk about the appointment of Chas Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and controversial foreign policy thinker,  to head the  National Intelligence Council.

Gillibrand’s ‘No’ Vote on DC Gun Ban Repeal Pleases Jewish Groups

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 James Besser in Washington A while back this blog reported on suggestions Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand could face tough going with Jewish voters in 2010, when she runs for a full term, in part because of her strong pro-gun stance – a position that sells well in her former upstate congressional district but generally doesn’t impress Jewish Manhattanites.

Jewish Winners and Losers in the Stimulus Wars

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 James Besser in Washington The huge economic recovery act just passed by Congress, which President Obama will sign in Denver today,  could present some interesting twists for several Jewish members of Congress.

White House Reaches Out to Hadassah, Economic Recovery bill passes senate

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 James Besser in Washington When President Barack Obama went before a Ft. Myers, Fla. audience to pump for grassroots support for his economic recovery plans, the White House made sure there was a substantial delegation from Hadassah in the room.

Gillibrand and Kosher Chicken

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Politicos are still puzzling over last week’s appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to Hillary Clinton’s seat in the U.S. Senate and  Gov. David Paterson’s missteps in announcing his choice – a “mishandled circus,” according to CUNY political scientist Douglas Muzzio.. But one thing you can take to the bank: Gillibrand, who will face voters statewide in 2010, is going to be eating a lot of kosher chicken in the months ahead.

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?

New Gig for Coleman: Senator-in-Limbo Joins RJC

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 James Besser in Washington UPDATE: a longtime pro-Israel lobbyist saw the blog item on Norm Coleman and called with this analysis: “He’s toast. You don’t take a job like this as a kind of temp.  This is the clearest indication yet he knows he’s not going back to the Senate.

Capitol Hill: A Mighty Religious Place

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 James Besser in Washington The 111th Congress will be the most religiously diverse ever, but that doesn’t mean every religious group is represented according to its proportion in the population.
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