president

Last-minute pardon speculation and Jonathan Pollard

Monday, January 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington With just hours left in George W. Bush’s presidency, speculation is at flood tide about possible last-minute pardons and commutations. Yesterday’s Politico took a look at some high-profile cases that could grab Bush’s attention as he packs his bags for Texas (read the story here) .

Inauguration Religious Diversity — Sort Of

Sunday, January 18th, 2009 James Besser in Washington In a nod to religious diversity, three prominent rabbis representing the biggest streams of Judaism wil take part in a Wednesday prayer service in Washington, along with an Islamic official and other clerics.

It’s Almost Official: Dennis Ross, Redux

Friday, January 9th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Now that the incoming Barack Obama administration is fleshing out its ranks, talk is hot and heavy about who will handle key Middle East portfolios. And the results are certain to be controversial in a pro-Israel community that is more divided than ever on the best route to peace in the region.

An Interesting Read: Scowcroft’s Role in the Obama Administration

Friday, January 2nd, 2009 James Besser in Washington During the presidential  campaign, a persistent subtheme in the Jewish community was the role of former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft in the Obama foreign policy team.

Pollard, Pardons and the Isaac Toussie Controversy

Friday, December 26th, 2008 James Besser in Washington This week’s bizarre presidential pardon story probably didn’t do Jonathan Pollard any good – although there weren’t any hints that President Bush was ever seriously considering commuting the sentence of the Israeli spy, now in his 23rd year in federal prison.

After Two Rounds Of Pardons, Pollard Still Waits

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 Adam Dickter in New York President Bush’s second wave of pardons as he packs his bags included a man who paid a price for sticking his neck out for Israel. No, not Jonathan Pollard.

Obama Transition Team Meets the Jews

Friday, December 19th, 2008 James Besser in Washington After his November 4 election, there was widespread speculation about which Jewish and pro-Israel groups would have access to Barack Obama’s White House – and which would be frozen out.

What’s Keeping Obama Up At Night

Friday, December 12th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Speaking during a recent JCPA conference call about the new administration’s foreign policy team, I was struck by this gap between perception and reality: while so many Israel-focused Jews seem to believe a major element of Barack Obama’s transition is figuring out how to change U.S. policy on Israel and the Palestinians, the reality is that the issue is probably far down on the team’s long list of immediate priorities

Jerusalem Embassy Act Waived (Yawn) Again

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 James Besser in Washington Here’s the non-surprise of the year: President George W. Bush has once again waived provisions of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act mandating that the U.S. embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Back in 2000  Bush, running for the presidency,  promised to begin the move “as soon as I take office,” but then changed his mind, repeatedly invoking the law’s “national security” waiver position.

OU Defends Bush White House in Hanukkah Bush Scandal

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 James Besser in Washington The Orthodox Union has jumped to the defense of a lame-duck administration  whose holiday snafu is the object of a lot of snarky humor.
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