ambassador

Notes from the AIPAC Policy Conference

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 Is the legendary AIPAC “roll call” getting old? In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the story: at every year’s policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,  leaders of the group read out the names of all the congressional, administration and diplomatic officials attending.  Reporters keep count, hometown delegations cheer for their representatives and the message has the subtlety of a good sock in the jaw: this is a lobby with real clout.

Will Bibi “Iran first” policy trigger clash with Obama administration?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 James Besser in Washington Pro-Israel leaders were working hard this week to spin the story that there’s no real likelihood of a clash between the Obama administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is still formulating his new government’s approach to peace process issues.

Ahmadinejad at Durban II and ‘dialog with an insane man’

Monday, April 20th, 2009 What did Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance at the opening of the Durban II conference on racism do to President Obama’s stated desire to look for new routes for dialog with Iran? Here’s a clue: it probably didn’t help.

Freeman Out as Intel Panel Chair; Controversy unlikely to end

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Just as I was getting set to write yet another blog item on the Chas Freeman controversy, word came that he is turning down his appointment as chair of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman’s defenders are no doubt busy writing their own blogs, describing how his nomination was torpedoed by pro-Israel forces, and they won’t be entirely wrong.

The Exasperating Logic Of `Terrorism’

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Reading Michael Slackman’s Memo From Cairo in the New York Times today was an exercise in futility and despair for anyone who believes that morality and humanity should be a factor in international relations. (”Disentangling Layers of a Loaded Term in Search of a Thread of Peace,” Feb. 26)

The Times correspondent tackles the issue of what terrorism means to the Arab world, and finds that it is 180 degrees apart from those of us in the pro-Israel community.

Chas Freeman Appointment to Intelligence Panel Divides Jews

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 James Besser in Washington An interesting conversation yesterday with a pro-Israel friend who called to talk about the appointment of Chas Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and controversial foreign policy thinker,  to head the  National Intelligence Council.

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?

Obama Inaugurated, Jews Party

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 James Besser in Washington It was a day of joyous celebration for the many thousands of African Americans who came to Washington to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama, but Jews weren’t exactly slackers in the celebration department. Inaugural events provided ample opportunity for Jewish machers to see and be seen – and for advocacy groups to display their political connections.
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