James Besser

Downturn Blunting Jewish Fight Over Obama Budget Proposal

Some wealthy donors see President Obama’s budget as “class warfare against the rich,” a Jewish activist said.

03/04/2009
Washington Correspondent

The budget proposal President Barack Obama submitted to Congress last week, a call to dramatically change U.S. spending priorities in the face of the worst economic downturn in generations, will touch off political trench warfare in Congress — and possibly new conflict between Jewish organizations that welcome the plan and influential major donors who could get hit with big tax increases.

Is ‘Nixon In China’ Scenario Likely with Netanyahu-Lieberman Government?

03/11/2009
Washington Correspondent

American Jewish leaders are increasingly jittery as Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman moves closer to becoming foreign minister in a right-wing coalition under Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

But most analysts say the appointment is unlikely to significantly disrupt U.S.-Israel relations, despite Lieberman’s reputation as an extremist.

And a right-of-center government with Lieberman at the foreign ministry is already producing speculation about a “Nixon in China” scenario.

Internet Rumors, Republicans And Refugees From Gaza

03/18/2009
Washington Correspondent

It’s getting harder to tell urban legends from reality in this age of drive-by talk radio and an anarchic Internet.

Case in point: the widely proliferating rumor that the Obama administration is spending $20 million of your tax dollars on “resettling Palestinians with ties to Hamas in the United States.”

That rumor was reportedly the motivation behind a spending bill amendment by Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) — quickly withdrawn when it was revealed to be an Internet myth.

Bibi Allies On Hill Gearing Up To Blunt Obama Moves

Netanyahu’s friends on the Hill predict a squeeze on Israel

04/01/2009
Washington Correspondent

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sworn in on Tuesday as head of a cobbled-together coalition that has produced jitters in Washington, is an old hand at using Capitol Hill as a counterweight to Democratic presidents eager for peace process progress. But Netanyahu will find a changed environment when he makes his inaugural trip to Washington in May.

Green Day For Progressives: Jewish Funds for Justice in Green Jobs Push

04/08/2009
Washington Correspondent

Following the lead of the Obama administration, the Jewish Funds for Justice is shifting resources and focus to the creation of “green jobs” — both as a way of fostering economic recovery and as a first step toward energy independence, a goal that has generated lots of talk but little action in political circles.

Lieberman Dilemma Deepens For Obama, Jewish Groups

Even some American supporters of Lieberman, above, say his outspokenness could be a problem.

04/08/2009
Washington Correspondent

Next month’s expected Washington visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could prove awkward for pro-Israel groups here and explosive for the Obama administration, largely because of the early bombshells dropped by his new foreign minister, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman.

Days after taking office, Lieberman summarily discarded the results of the 2007 Annapolis peace conference and warned outsiders not to meddle in Israeli policy and politics.

Leaders Defend Embattled Holocaust Scholar

06/21/1998
Washington Correspondent

Washington — Holocaust scholars this week are rallying around the appointment of John K. Roth as the first director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, the newly created scholarly arm of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
And museum officials seem to be lining up behind the embattled scholar.
Roth last week found himself under attack for a 1988 Los Angeles Times op-ed article that his attackers say “desecrates the memory” of Holocaust victims and compares Israel to the Nazis.

Holocaust Scholar Quits Under Fire

07/03/1998
Washington Correspondent

Washington — The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has suffered another embarrassing public relations setback that supporters say could leave the institution more vulnerable to political control.John Roth, the Claremont McKenna College philosophy professor whose appointment as head of a new academic arm of the museum generated ferocious attacks from the right and unease among some mainstream Jewish leaders, stepped down Monday before assuming his duties.

New Spy Case: Is Justice Department Targeting Israel?

The arrest of a Maryland scientist in the latest case involving FBI stings aimed at individuals with connections to Israel has revived questions about whether the Justice Department is targeting Jews and the Jewish state.
The fact that the indic

10/21/2009
Washington Correspondent

The arrest of a Maryland scientist in the latest case involving FBI stings aimed at individuals with connections to Israel has revived questions about whether the Justice Department is targeting Jews and the Jewish state.
Stewart David Nozette: Nabbed in FBI sting.

Dueling Polls: New ADL Survey Released

American Jews “do not support” pressure on Israel, says the ADL’s Abraham Foxman.

04/22/2009
Washington Correspondent

In what officials of the group were pitching as a statistical response to a recent survey of Jewish public opinion by the dovish J Street, the Anti-Defamation League this week released a poll showing significantly lower approval of President Barack Obama’s handling of Middle East issues and overwhelming support for Israel’s military operations in Gaza early this year.

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