James Besser

Adelson-Backed Group Going Kaput?

Freedom's Watch faces internal dissent, results of economic meltdown

12/03/2008
Washington Correspondent

Remember Freedom’s Watch?

Early in the year, there were reports that the new, Sheldon Adelson-backed group — originally meant to generate support for the Bush administration policies in Iraq and then to support Republican congressional candidates in this year’s elections — would be a major player in this year’s political wars. Indeed, early on the well-financed group ran highly aggressive ads targeting Democratic congressional candidates on issues such as illegal immigration.

The Hurdle Ahead

10/16/1998
Staff Writers
Even as they wade through a swamp of unresolved controversies on their interim peace agreement amid distrust exacerbated by a terrorist murder, Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasir Arafat face the threat of that agreement’s broader collapse at their summit near Washington this week.

Fresh Rift Emerges Over War Response

01/07/2009
Washington Correspondent

Beneath the surge of Jewish unity, as a broad spectrum of pro-Israel groups back Israel’s Gaza military surge, are differences over tactics, growing uncertainty over exactly how to express support for the embattled Jewish state and some of the sharpest skirmishes yet between “mainstream” Jewish organizations and the peace camp.

Iran Sanctions Consensus Grows; So Do Doubts

As the Obama administration approaches yet another critical juncture in the campaign to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a widening coalition of pro-Israel groups is pushing for a tough new sanctions law — despite mounting skepticism over t

12/09/2009
Washington Correspondent

As the Obama administration approaches yet another critical juncture in the campaign to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a widening coalition of pro-Israel groups is pushing for a tough new sanctions law — despite mounting skepticism over the effectiveness of the economic bludgeon.

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Palin Ignites New Debate On GOP Support For Israel

Comment on settlement influx seen tied to biblical prophecy

11/25/2009
Washington Correspondent

Jewish Democrats say she’s the best thing that could happen to them in 2012, and Republicans say she’s almost beside the point as Jewish voters sour on President Barack Obama’s Israel policies, runaway budget deficits and a faltering domestic agenda.

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A Chill In The D.C. Air as Obama, Netanyahu Meet

11/11/2009
Washington Correspondent

Speaking at Monday’s Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Washington, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sounded very much like a man who didn’t want to antagonize the president he was about to meet under visibly strained circumstances.

Several hours later the White House distributed a meeting “readout” that may have set a new record for brevity. Amid an almost total clampdown on leaks, the statement said only that the two leaders “discussed a number of issues in the U.S.-Israel bilateral relationship” and that President Barack Obama “reaffirmed our strong commitment to Israel’s security, and discussed security cooperation on a range of issues.”

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High Stakes Outreach For Obama At Jewish Federations GA

Jewish leaders divided on what Obama should stress in his GA speech.

11/04/2009
Washington Correspondent

President Barack Obama’s speech to the Jewish Federations of North America (formerly UJC) General Assembly next week, his first to a Jewish group since his inauguration, could be a turning point in his low standing in Israeli polls and help blunt the skepticism of many Jewish leaders here about his Middle East policies.

(Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also speak, an embarrassment of media riches for the group.)

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J Street’s Strengths, Weaknesses On View at First National Conference

10/29/2009
Washington Correspondent

J Street, the pro-peace-process political action committee and lobby that many pro-Israel hawks love to hate, demonstrated this week that it can pull off an overflow Washington conference, attract hordes of media, feed the passion of supporters and use new technologies to satisfy young activists.

But that could be the easy part.

Jeremy Ben-Ami addressing J Street's first national conference

Mideast Change You Can Believe In?

Hillary Clinton, testified in confirmation hearings Tuesday. She said the U.S. “must actively pursue a strategy of smart power in the Middle East that addresses the security needs of Israel and the legitimate political and economic aspirations of

01/14/2009
Staff Writer

The fierce fighting in Gaza could push the incoming Barack Obama administration to accelerate its promised plunge into Middle East peacemaking and possibly expand back-channel contacts with Hamas. With the Obama administration set to hit the ground running after next week’s inauguration, a broad spectrum of observers predict a sharp increase in the intensity of U.S. diplomacy in the region — both a fulfillment of Obama’s campaign promise and a response to the ongoing Gaza crisis. But few expect radical changes in the content of that diplomacy.

Obama Onegs

01/21/2009
Washington Correspondent

It was a day of joyous celebration for the many thousands of African Americans who came to Washington to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama, but Jews weren’t exactly slackers in the celebration department.

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