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Does Obama mean what he says about Israel and the two-state solution?

Friday, April 17th, 2009 Is the Barack Obama administration planning a serious push for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that could produce some real pressure on Israel, not just the usual wrist-slapping on issues such as settlements?  And could that ignite genuine conflict with the new right-of-center government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Return to Jewish Week Home PageFollow the Jewish Week on Twitter And check out the Jewish Week’s Facebook page and become a fan!

Meeting season for Jewish groups starts

Friday, April 17th, 2009 The cherry blossoms have come and gone, which means it must be spring meeting season for Jewish groups. Next week it’s the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which has a star-studded program for its annual “Consultation on Conscience.” As usual, the focus will be on domestic and social social justice issues, with a strong focus this year on the impact of the global economic downturn and its economic implications.

Confessions Of A Reluctant Seder Leader

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

What if I skip the next few paragraphs? Would anyone notice? If they do, would they mind, or be glad?

 

These are the questions that can often cross your mind when you lead a seder, as I’ve found myself doing for the past 20 years or so. It’s not a role I’ve ever sought out, and I’d much rather share the responsibility with others, but it seems to fall on me by default.

 

Jewish Groups united on budget proposal — well, almost

Thursday, March 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Jewish groups are pretty much united on wanting more government spending for critical health and social service programs as part of the federal budget for the next fiscal year. But as Congress began chewing on next year’s budget proposal,  a letter signed by more than 100 local and national organizations, organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), was conspicuous in the lack of any Orthodox support.

Internet Rumors, Republicans and Refugees from Gaza

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 James Besser in Washington It’s getting harder to tell urban legends from reality in this age of drive-by talk radio and an anarchic Internet. Case in point: the widely proliferating rumor that the Obama administration is spending $20 million of your taxpayer dollars on “resettling Palestinians with ties to Hamas in the United States.”

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.

Tuesday reading: Chas Freeman and White House prayer

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Some interesting reading for your Tuesday. Over at the Huffington Post,  National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) director Ira Forman, a partisan’s partisan,  offered some equal-opportunity and very nonpartisan criticism of some of the actors in the raging Chas Freeman controversy.

Obama stem cell order unites Jewish groups

Monday, March 9th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Update: The Insider apparently wasn’t inside enough; also present at the White House stem cell signing was Rabbi Steve Gutow, executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) The Jewish community from right to left was represented at  Monday’s White House ceremony marking President Barack Obama’s executive order rescinding his predecessors strict limits on stem cell research.

US will boycott Durban II: Update

Friday, February 27th, 2009 James Besser in Washington UPDATE: JTA just reported that the administration is withdrawing from participation in the Durban II conference, a move expected to clear the way for several European nations to do the same (full story here).
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