James Besser

Obama Iran Dialogue Seen Complicated By Ahmadinejad’s Durban II Outburst

    Anti-Israel remarks by Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadenijad are seen as rejection of closer ties with moderate Western governments

04/22/2009
Washington Correspondent

Monday’s anti-Israel tirade by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Durban II conference on racism could undermine Obama administration diplomatic outreach, several Jewish leaders who attended the controversial conference in Geneva said this week.

And Then Were None: Jewish GOP Caucus Down to One

Specter party switch leaves Senate with no Jewish Republicans

04/29/2009
Washington Correspondent

The Jewish Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate evaporated into thin air on Tuesday with Sen. Arlen Specter’s stunning announcement that he is switching parties because “the Republican Party has moved far to the right.”
That represents a huge boost for Senate Democrats, who were two votes short of a 60-vote “super majority” that would make it easier to end GOP filibusters, and for an Obama administration with an aggressive legislative agenda that has been slowed by Senate Republicans.

AIPAC Could Face First Test In Decades

 AIPAC’s relationship with the Obama administration hinges on the policies of Bibi Netanyahu

04/29/2003
Washington Correspondent

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which holds its annual policy conference in Washington next week, could face its toughest battle with an administration in more than a decade, depending on the proposals Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brings to Washington later in May.

Bibi, Biden Lay Down Markers At AIPAC

Netanyahu speech could be dry run for meeting with Obama

05/06/2009
Washington correspondent

In a speech that could be a dry run for his upcoming meetings with President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said his government is ready to “resume peace negotiations” with the Palestinians “without any delay, without any preconditions, the sooner the better” and called for a “triple-track” approach that includes political as well as economic and security negotiations.

The Bibi-Obama Friction Watch

 More is at stake in D.C. meeting for Netanyahu than for Obama, observers say.

05/13/2009
Washington Correspondent

The smart money (is there such a thing when it comes to American presidents and Israeli prime ministers?) says, No friction.

The atmospherics (the Israeli prime minister won’t utter the words “two-state solution” and his foreign minister wants to ignore prior accords, while the American president wants an end to settlement building) say, Friction galore.

Conservative Jews Hit the Hill

Troubled conservative moment beefs up its Washington presence

05/20/2009
Washington Correspondent

Even as leaders of a troubled Conservative movement try to fend off an incipient rebellion by some synagogues and deal with declining affiliation, they are accelerating their efforts to create an active, visible — but cautious — Washington presence.

Obama’s New Iran Timeline Could Force A U.S.-Israel Divide

Obama’s Iran deadline bought some time in his relationship with Israel and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.

05/20/2009
Washington Correspondent

While President Obama met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu halfway on the volatile issue of Iran during their inaugural meeting in Washington this week, gaps between the two allies on the issue remain wide — and could get wider still as the administration begins dealing with a palate of unattractive policy options.

Obama Confident In Taking On Settlements Obama

Jewish backlash may be blunted

06/03/2009
Washington Correspondent

The Obama administration is confident it will retain strong Jewish support even as it ratchets up the pressure on Israel and offers clues that, unlike its predecessors, it means what it says about the thorny issue of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

While the pro-Israel establishment is already reacting angrily to the administration’s shifted red lines on settlements, many analysts say President Barack Obama’s ability to soften tough positions with pro-Israel reassurances will prevent a broad Jewish backlash.

Dialing Down The Heat On Iran

Tamped-down rhetoric on Iran seen as “accommodation” with Obama’s new policy shift on Iran.

06/17/2009
Washington Correspondent

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dialed down his intense rhetoric about the threat posed by a nuclear Iran in his long-awaited public response to a tightening squeeze from the Obama administration on Sunday.

Despite Iran Flux, Groups Hold To Tough Line

The unfolding drama on the streets of Tehran vastly complicates the fight for sanctions against Iran. getty images

06/24/2009
Washington Correspondent

On Monday AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby group that has been at the forefront of efforts to impose and stiffen sanctions on Iran, distributed to reporters an interview with an Iranian demonstrator calling on the international community to apply “much more sanctions” on the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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