James Besser

Mitchell, Israel and “Even-handedness”

Friday, January 23rd, 2009 James Besser in Washington Here’s a paradox for you: most leaders of major American Jewish groups believe there has to be a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but many are very nervous about the appointment of former Sen. George Mitchell as the Obama administration’s special envoy in the region (Read the Jewish Week story here).  Why?

New Gig for Coleman: Senator-in-Limbo Joins RJC

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 James Besser in Washington UPDATE: a longtime pro-Israel lobbyist saw the blog item on Norm Coleman and called with this analysis: “He’s toast. You don’t take a job like this as a kind of temp.  This is the clearest indication yet he knows he’s not going back to the Senate.

Wanted: Obama administration Jewish Liaison

Monday, January 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Who will be appointed Jewish liaison in the incoming Barack Obama administration?

Last-minute pardon speculation and Jonathan Pollard

Monday, January 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington With just hours left in George W. Bush’s presidency, speculation is at flood tide about possible last-minute pardons and commutations. Yesterday’s Politico took a look at some high-profile cases that could grab Bush’s attention as he packs his bags for Texas (read the story here) .

Polls Show Strong, Nuanced Support for Israel in Gaza Fight

Friday, January 16th, 2009 James Besser in Washington For pro-Israel groups that have been fighting the PR wars since the latest Gaza conflict began in December, the polling news has been mostly good, with indications Americans to blame the Palestinians for the current violence much more than they blame Israel. What is unclear: just how high a priority the issue is with a populace that has its mind on other things, starting with their disappearing 401Ks an disappearing jobs.

Gaza War: Reinforcing Hamas?

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Okay, we all know by now that Israel was “justified” in mounting a major offensive against Hamas to stop the rocket fire from Gaza.  We’ve sure heard it enough from Jewish groups across the political spectrum that have rallied to Israel’s defense as, predictably, world opinion turns against the Jewish state.

Behind the Pro-Israel Congressional Resolution: Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Monday, January 12th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Pro-Israel groups are still kvelling about last week’s lopsided passage of a House of Representatives resolution expressing support for Israel in the current Gaza crisis and citing a long history of Palestinian attacks justifying Israel’s heavy military response.

It’s Almost Official: Dennis Ross, Redux

Friday, January 9th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Now that the incoming Barack Obama administration is fleshing out its ranks, talk is hot and heavy about who will handle key Middle East portfolios. And the results are certain to be controversial in a pro-Israel community that is more divided than ever on the best route to peace in the region.

Gaza Crisis Prompts Robo-Call Campaign

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 James Besser in Washington So you though those annoying robo-calls were over and done with, now that the long political campaign season is over? Guess again.

Gaza Isn’t Mexico: The Hasbara Dilemma

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 James Besser in Washington I confess to great uncertainty about Israel’s current offensive in Gaza.  That Israeli’ leaders were justified in taking strong action against relentless rocket attacks is not an issue for me. Whether the current massive operation is the best option is something I don’t feel qualified to judge.
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