James D. Besser

Tea Party Revolution Could Undermine GOP Jewish Outreach

Minorities of all kinds could be targets of angry,
growing movement, some warn.

02/18/2010
Washington Correspondent

An angry “Tea Party” movement that Republican leaders hope to harness to boost their party’s chances in the 2010 congressional midterm elections could also be a potential blow to GOP outreach to minorities — including Jewish voters.

But Republican leaders, too, are in the movement’s cross hairs, and some Jewish leaders worry that the movement could transcend traditional politics entirely and create an extremist surge that is threatening to all minorities.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke recently at the first Tea Party convention. Getty Images

Despite Progress, Showdown Looms

10/02/1998
Lawrence Cohler-Esses is a staff writer. James D. Besser is Washington correspondent.
Like Lucy holding out her football for Charlie Brown to kick again, President Clinton, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat once more raised the world’s expectations Monday for a breakthrough on their long-stalled peace agreement. But when the three faced an expectant White House press corps after their meeting, Clinton again voiced the phrases heard so often before.

U.S. Gets Off Bibi’s Back

12/19/1997
Staff Writers
For Israel, the pressure has lifted — for now. After weeks of escalating criticism, the Clinton administration has suddenly taken a more benign tack in its dealings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s meetings with Netanyahu and with Palestinian Authority chief Yasir Arafat last week reset the clock for the two leaders to make some fateful decisions — decisions that so far they have studiously avoided.

Bibi’s New Strength – Weakness

01/09/1998
Lawrence Cohler-Esses is a staff writer. James D. Besser is Washington correspondent.
Scathed but far from destroyed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now has the same secret weapon that has long served Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat so well when dealing with Washington: his weakness.

Museum Mess

01/24/1998

Eric J. Greenberg is a staff writer. James D. Besser is the Washington correspondent.
Washington — Since its opening in 1993, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum here has tried to position itself as a respected national institution, not an instrument of Jewish politics. But this week it became ensnared in just what it hoped to avoid when its top lay and professional leaders spurned an administration request for an official welcome for Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat during his trip to Washington.

Barak Subtly Shifts Balance Of Power

07/23/1999
Staff Writers
Striding across the opulent lobby of Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last Sunday morning, Michael Sonnenfeldt, chair of the pro-peace Israel Policy Forum, spotted Malcolm Hoenlein, the top executive of the nation’s leading Jewish umbrella group — the 50-year-old Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “It seems like I’m always following you around,” joked Sonnenfeldt, a private investor with a linebacker’s build, extending his hand.

Legitimizing Lieberman?

12/08/2006
Staff Writers
The scheduled appearance in New York of Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s controversial new deputy prime minister, is expected to bring many Jewish leaders with tough questions for him to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations next Wednesday. But this week, Americans for Peace Now, slammed the conference itself for sponsoring the appearance of the man who advocates stripping Israeli Arabs citizens of their citizenship.

Controversial Minister Gets Pass From Jewish Leaders

12/01/2006
Editor at Large and Washington Correspondent.
On the eve of his first U.S. visit since becoming deputy prime minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, who calls for stripping Israeli Arabs of their citizenship, has received a provisional pass from much of the Jewish establishment — and a stamp of approval from one leader who denounced him just last May. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told The Jewish Week this week, “I don’t see anything extremist since he became part of the government.”

Iran-Israel Linkage By Bush Seen As Threat

04/21/2006
Washington Correspondent and Editor at Large.
President Bush is risking a backlash that could injure the Jewish community — and his own cause — by repeatedly citing Israel as his top rationale for possible U.S. military conflict with Iran, Jewish leaders and Middle East analysts warned this week.

Apocalypse Now: Iran Threat Dominates AIPAC Confab

03/20/2007
Staff Writers
Washington – The specter of the 1930s overshadowed  the Convention Center here as the pro-Israel lobby this week decried Iran as an existential threat to Israel and the West unseen since World War II. In comparison, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s three-day annual policy conference largely played down the Jewish state’s longstanding conflict with the Palestinians.
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