James Besser

Pelosi: Lieberman Could be Toast

Friday, August 15th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Sen. Joe Lieberman is riding high as a top surrogate for his pal John McCain, but he could face rough going in the Senate next year if the Democrats pick up as many seats on November 4 as most experts predict. This week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued the strongest-yet warning to the former Democrat - not that Lieberman seems very interested in the opinions of his old colleagues.

With Olmert Going: What Peace Process?

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 James Besser in Washington Here’s one of the more puzzling headlines of the month, right off the AP ticker:  “US Trying to salvage Gains in Mideast Talks.” According to the story, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called top Israel and Palestinian negotiators to Washington this week to “preserve modest momentum” in the U.S.-backed effort to get a deal - any kind of deal, please - by the end of the year and the end of President George W. Bush’s term.

Another Take on the Hagee Conference

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 James Besser in Washington Last week the Political Insider reported on the curious fact that leaders of Christians United for Israel had decided to make most of their “Washington Summit” this week off limits to the press.

Big News During Obama Israel Visit? Don’t Count On it

Monday, July 21st, 2008 James Besser in Washington Pro-peace process groups are hoping Sen. Barack Obama will use this week’s trip to the Middle East, which will include stops in Jerusalem and Ramallah and talks with top Israeli and Palestinian leaders, to lay out more explicitly how he will intensify U.S. efforts to mediate the conflict if he wins in November.

McKinney Gets Green Party Nod, Pro-Israel Activists Yawn

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 James Besser in Washington The Green Party has apparently decided to accelerate its plunge toward political irrelevance. Last week the party, most remembered for its spoiler role in 2000, nominated former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) as its presidential candidate.

Good News for McCain — or Polling Mush?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Here’s a political shocker for you: Jews who say religion is “an important part of my daily life” are more likely to vote for Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, than those who say religion isn’t as important. How do you spell “Duh?” This nugget was part of a Gallup poll released this week that shows the same dynamic working in the broader population, but even more so.

Jesse Helms and the Pro-Israel Divide

Sunday, July 6th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), who died on Friday at the age of 86, was a perfect lightning rod for one of the critical divides in Jewish life. For many pro-Israel activists, Helms’ conversion from staunch foe of their agenda  — in 1983 he suggested breaking diplomatic relations with Israel because of the war in Lebanon, and he was a consistent foe of foreign aid  - to ardent Likudnik was the stuff of legends and a turning point in pro-Israel politics.

The Presbyterians Meet, Talk About Israel, Who Cares?

Monday, June 30th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Recently the Jewish Week reported on a new dustup between Jewish leaders and the Presbyterian Church (USA), the mainline church that played an early role in promoting the idea of targeted sanctions aimed at Israel.

Joe Klein vs. Abe Foxman on Iraq, Iran and “Jewish Neoconservatives”

Friday, June 27th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Jewish leaders are understandably nervous as they continue pressing for a stronger U.S. and international response to Iran, while trying to avoid stirring up recurrent charges that Jews somehow caused the seemingly endless Iraq war and are now trying to do the same with Iran.
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