Fifteen rabbis go the White House for a meeting. Were the destination not the Roosevelt Room to discuss the nature of American-Israeli relations this could be the opening line of a joke with a punchline I have yet to write. But indeed it was a meeting that was taken very seriously by all who attended. My colleague and friend, Jack Moline of Alexandria, Virginia, arranged the meeting and put together a diverse representative cross-section of rabbis from across the country, from all movements and different kinds of congregations.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- When Elie Wiesel says it's all kosher, it's good.
For now, anyway.
President Obama capped an intensive two weeks of administration make-nice with Israeli officials and the American Jewish community by hosting Wiesel, the Nobel peace laureate and Holocaust memoirist, for lunch at the White House.
"It was a good kosher lunch," was the first thing Wiesel pronounced, emerging from the White House to a gaggle of reporters.
NEW YORK (JTA) -- Brandeis has sparked a controversy in the university community with its selection of Israel’s ambassador to Washington as its commencement speaker.
Last week's announcement of Michael Oren as this year's keynoter has evoked a spectrum of responses in campus publications and online forums ranging from enthusiastic support to wary apprehension to outrage.
Neither Oren nor the suburban Boston university are strangers to such controversies.
One side effect of the current showdown between Washington and Jerusalem is that it has provided an opportunity for American diplomats and Mideast experts to step back and reassess the situation, and the results have been fascinating. Several key figures long involved in pushing the Oslo/land-for-peace equation are now saying quite bluntly that it doesn’t make sense, at least for now, and that the Obama administration should back off.
Jerusalem — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel has no choice but to adhere to the Oslo peace accord, despite the fact that he considers it a “flawed deal.” Speaking to a group of journalists representing Jewish newspapers, Netanyahu said that Israel is committed to carrying out a second redeployment under the treaty’s interim stage. To do otherwise, he said, could jeopardize the country’s international treaties with other nations.
Eric J. Greenberg is a staff writer. James D. Besser is the Washington correspondent.
Washington — Since its opening in 1993, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum here has tried to position itself as a respected national institution, not an instrument of Jewish politics.
But this week it became ensnared in just what it hoped to avoid when its top lay and professional leaders spurned an administration request for an official welcome for Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat during his trip to Washington.
New York University historian Tony Judt sought to claim new ammunition this week for his charge that pro-Israel groups use their influence to stifle debate about their activities.
Less than three hours before he was due to give a talk about the Israel lobby at the Polish Consulate Tuesday night, Poland's consul general abruptly canceled the event after being contacted by Jewish and non-Jewish organizations.
But the question of whether Jewish groups (in particular, the Anti-Defamation League) pressured Consul General Krzysztof Kasprzyk remained in sharp dispute.
An elite gathering of Jewish leaders convened by the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute met this week with a mission no less grand than charting the future of the Jewish people.
But women apparently weren't a part of that future: None were on the list of participants.
To gender equity activist Shifra Bronznick, and quite a few of the 1,000 people she e-mailed about the imbalance, that just isn't kosher.