They were neighbors once, in suburban Washington. Their wives were close friends. Their children played together. And both were senior staffers at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby.
But M.J. Rosenberg and Lenny Ben-David are now definitely on the outs over Israel. And it's up-close and personal.
The earliest of what promises to be a cascade of post-mortems on Israel's military performance in Lebanon last summer are starting to come in. And the picture they paint is far from pretty.
They depict military and political leaders sending soldiers to war against the Shiite guerrilla force Hezbollah with ill defined, constantly shifting goals. They speak of commanders who failed to lead their soldiers personally, in the time-honored Israeli fashion, instead staying behind the lines to monitor their units' progress on video screens.
New York University historian Tony Judt sought to claim new ammunition this week for his charge that pro-Israel groups use their influence to stifle debate about their activities.
Less than three hours before he was due to give a talk about the Israel lobby at the Polish Consulate Tuesday night, Poland's consul general abruptly canceled the event after being contacted by Jewish and non-Jewish organizations.
But the question of whether Jewish groups (in particular, the Anti-Defamation League) pressured Consul General Krzysztof Kasprzyk remained in sharp dispute.
As a retired administrative assistant, Joyce Hawtof doesn’t have a lot of money to invest.
But this week, she was considering paying into a fund with other pro-Israel activists to buy a $28,000 mobile home for a West Bank outpost.
“I think it’s the right thing to do to help our brothers and sisters,” said Hawtof Tuesday in a phone call from Shdema, one of the stops on a three-day tour of east Jerusalem and West Bank communities intended to draw American money.
A two-state solution is a core goal of U.S. and Israeli policy, but it has been recognized from the outset that it can be accomplished only through a negotiated settlement that will provide Israel with the security assurances it needs to return critica
There’s nothing new in the threat to unilaterally declare statehood, which seems to resurface every time Palestinian leaders confront the consequences of their own failure to negotiate responsibly with Israel. And there’s nothing new in the arguments about why such an action would only heap new fuel on the region’s simmering conflicts.
The script goes like this: Washington objects to Israeli settlement construction; there are some angry words on both sides, and then an apparent coming together around some vaguely defined, transparent face-saving compromise. Both sides insist there's no crisis in the relationship.
A free speech dispute over campus speakers has continued to roil Brandeis University in the wake of controversy over its hosting of former president and Israel critic Jimmy Carter.
Brandeis’ president waded personally into it this week, voicing hope that right-wing Middle East policy advocate Daniel Pipes would soon lecture there — but issuing no such statement for Norman Finkelstein, a left-wing academic students have also invited.
Major donors to Brandeis University have informed the school they will no longer give it money in retaliation for its decision last month to host former President Jimmy Carter, a strong critic of Israel.
The donors have notified the school in writing of their decisions — and specified Carter as the reason, said Stuart Eizenstat, a former aide to Carter during his presidency and a current trustee of Brandeis, one of the nation’s premier Jewish institutions of higher learning.
Some 250 North American rabbis sat in rapt silence for a full minute on Monday when an Ursuline nun kidnapped, tortured and gang raped by Guatemalan soldiers halted her account of that experience in mid-sentence to turn away and weep.
American Jews and their allies ramped up a campaign this week against a British union promoting an academic boycott of Israel aimed at pressuring it to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza — even as some British Jews said the union’s drive was going nowhere.