Ron Kampeas

Stuart Levey: The Man Trying to Make Iran Sanctions Work

07/01/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Stuart Levey was given a big stick when the Bush administration made him the first under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. But the stick only started to hurt its targets -- terrorist groups and rogue nations -- when he figured out how to soft-talk nations and private businesses into going along.

Levey is that rarity -- a senior government official who has transitioned not just between two administrations, but between two presidents with profound foreign policy differences.

Stuart Levey (U.S. Treasury Department)

Settlement Freeze, Iran, Peace Talks to Headline Vital Obama-Bibi Meeting

06/30/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The joke making the rounds in Jerusalem ahead of next week's Netanyahu-Obama summit: Time to bone up on geology.

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, told reporters this week that he was misheard when he was quoted as telling Israeli diplomats that a "tectonic rift" was emerging between Israel and the United States. The Israelis didn't get it, said the U.S.-born Oren: He meant there was a "tectonic shift."

Congress Passes New Iran Sanctions

06/24/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Congress overwhelmingly passed expansive new Iran sanctions.

The sanctions passed Thursday in both houses: 99-0 in the Senate and 408-8 in the U.S. House of Representatives, and now go to President Obama for signing.

The sanctions expand existing sanctions targeting investment in Iran's energy sector to encompass trade with the energy escort and business with the banking sector.

Oren ‘Clarifies’: Pollard Spied for Israel

06/23/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israel's ambassador to Washington "clarified" that Jonathan Pollard spied for Israel and was not run by rogues, as he had said earlier.

Michael Oren in an interview Tuesday on the Washington news station WTOP was answering questions about whether Israel still ran spies in the United States. He was making the case that such allegations are long out of date.

Chabad Schools, Gets Schooled in Diplomacy at D.C. Confab

06/23/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Chabad emissaries usually associate Washington with their emphasis on education, but this year they got a taste of foreign policy suasion while handing out some, too.

Hundreds of emissaries from across the United States and the world descended on the U.S. capital for two days last week for a conference organized by American Friends of Lubavitch.

U.S. and Israel Agree on Key Issues—For Now

06/15/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) – The relationship between the Obama administration, the Netanyahu government and the pro-Israel community is ensconced on all fronts in “agree, for now” mode.

On isolating Iran, everyone agrees -- and is pleased -- that the new set of U.N. sanctions will make it easier for the United States to enhance its own unilateral sanctions.

Differences are looming, however, on whether the U.S. sanctions should carve out exemptions for countries that helped push through the U.N. sanctions.

Obama Says Gaza Situation ‘Unsustainable,’ Pledges $400 Million

06/10/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama said the situation in the Gaza Strip was "unsustainable" and that he would budget an additional $400 million to improve conditions there and in the West Bank.

Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a meeting here Wednesday discussed the aftermath of Israel's deadly raid last week on a Turkish-flagged ship ferrying aid and activists to Gaza Strip in order to break Israel's blockade of the strip.

Helen Thomas Quits in Wake of Israel Controversy

06/07/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Helen Thomas quit her job with Hearst in the wake of mounting outrage over her assertion that Israeli Jews should "return" to Poland, Germany and the United States.

"Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately," said a statement issued Monday by the Hearst Corp. "Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet."

Democrats Target Malek's Fundraising role

06/04/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Democrats pressed Republicans to distance themselves from a major donor involved in Richard Nixon's campaign against Jewish government employees.

Fred Malek's role in demoting Jews in the Bureau of Labor Statistics while working as personnel director in the Nixon administration was first revealed in 1988, when it led to his resignation as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee. He subsequently reached out to Jewish groups to make amends.

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