Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
There’s been a lot of hype written about the Obama administration’s Middle East plans – everything from the claim the president is planning to impose a full-blown plan on the reluctant Israelis and Palestinians to the idea he’s been totally outfoxed by an Israeli Prime Minister much too sly for him.
Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
Doesn’t it seem like the ongoing negotiations over an Israeli settlement freeze, pressed by a U.S. president who says he wants to do things differently than his predecessors, are taking on a familiar Middle East business-as-usual quality?
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.
Is the Barack Obama administration planning a serious push for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that could produce some real pressure on Israel, not just the usual wrist-slapping on issues such as settlements? And could that ignite genuine conflict with the new right-of-center government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?
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Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
James Besser in Washington
There was plenty of Mideast news this week, starting with the dramatic decision by Labor Party leader Ehud Barak (this Barak v. Barack business is going to hard on journalists who trust their spell checkers) to join a new government led by Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu. But you’d never know it by listening to President Barack Obama’s prime-time press conference last night.
A new poll by J Street, the pro-peace process political action committee and lobby, contained good news for President Barack Obama, worrisome signs for incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and some predictably bad news for Jewish organizations facing an unprecedented economic crisis.
The other day a reader emailed to comment about my report that groups on the Jewish left were included in last week’s conference call between Mideast envoy George Mitchell and Jewish leaders (see blog entry here).
It just me, or is there a kind of surrealistic atmosphere surrounding Jewish activism in the early days of the Obama administration? The issues are mostly the same as always, but the context has changed dramatically. And it’s not at all clear our leaders understand the potential extent of that shift.