Lawrence Cohler-Esses

Politics Or Civics?

06/26/1998
Staff Writer
With testimony from Dov Hikind’s own former chief of staff, prosecutors this week sought to fortify their claim that the assemblyman used government funds from Brooklyn’s largest Jewish community council as a kind of private cash reserve for political and personal needs. Jeff Reznik, Hikind’s chief of staff between 1993 and 1995, testified Monday that Hikind helped him get a job with an affiliate of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Boro Park after he told Hikind his staff salary of about $30,000 per year was insufficient.

Formal Charges Loom For Jailed Iranian Jews

08/20/1999
Staff Writer
After nearly seven months in jail, 13 Iranian Jews imprisoned by their government on suspicion of spying for Israel and the United States faced the prospect of formal charges Thursday. Iranian Jewish activists here said the government had completed its investigation of the 13 and was prepared to announce its results. They cited Manouchehr Eliassi, the Jewish community’s official representative in Iran’s parliament, as among their sources.

Alleged NPR Bias: A Matter For Congress?

04/09/1999
Staff Writer
Taking its complaints about biased reporting to a new level, a pro-Israel media monitoring group is urging Congress to investigate public radio’s Mideast coverage. In an April 2 ad on The New York Times opinion page, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, or CAMERA, skewered National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” news program for “distortion,” “error” and “endemic bias” against Israel.

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.

Iranian Jewry’s Agent Of Influence

10/08/1999
Staff Writer
Just outside the city of Shiraz, in Iran’s stark and arid south, lies the gravesite of Cyrus the Great, founder of the first empire in human history to declare religious tolerance for all its peoples. Cyrus, acclaimed in the Bible for allowing the Jews exiled by Babylonia to return to their homeland and rebuild their Temple in 538 BCE, lies in an unadorned and simple stone tomb, a reflection, historians say, of the man’s humble character.

Pluralism? Fuhgedaboudit!

10/01/1999
Staff Writer
An initiative by Israel’s ruling One Israel party to rally American Jewish supporters of its peace policies blew up in acrimony last week over the issue of religious pluralism in the Jewish state. Haim Ramon, a senior cabinet minister and key adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, bluntly rejected concerns about religious and civil rights for non-Orthodox Jews raised at what was to be a private briefing on the peace process for centrist and dovish Jewish groups.

Spies Or Suspects?

09/24/1999
Staff Writer
Iran’s supreme leader publicly labeled 13 Iranian Jews accused of espionage for Israel and the United States as “spies” this week — even as a senior judicial official stressed the jailed suspects were innocent until proven guilty. The conflicting statements, both made during the visit of Austrian President Thomas Klestil to Iran this week, appeared to highlight the Jewish suspects’ role as pawns in an internal struggle between Islamic hard-liners and relative moderates in Iran.

Extracting Information Without Torture

09/10/1999
Staff Writer
The United States has long barred the types of “physical pressure” outlawed by Israel’s Supreme Count this week in an historic ruling. But that has not hamstrung law enforcement officials here in their counterterrorism efforts, say experts. This applies even to so-called “ticking time bomb” cases — where authorities are acting to prevent an imminent terrorist attack — of the sort that Israel claims pose a unique threat to its society, these sources say.

Beilin Does An About-Face On Wye Accord

08/20/1999
Staff Writer
Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, a key architect of Israel’s breakthrough negotiations with the PLO in 1993 at Oslo, urged Palestinian leaders last week to stop insisting that Israel fully implement its most recent agreement with them, the Wye River Accord.

Arafat Squeezed In Clash With Barak

08/06/1999
Staff Writer
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat ultimately will have little choice but to accept Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s request to delay Israel’s hand-over of West Bank territory, a prominent Palestinian analyst predicted this week. But, warned Ghassan Khatib, director of the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, “It will destroy the credibility, if any is left, of the Mideast peace process with the Palestinian public.”
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