Middle East

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!

Obama Meets the press, calls for “persistence” in the Middle East

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 James Besser in Washington There was plenty of Mideast news this week, starting with the dramatic decision by Labor Party leader Ehud Barak (this Barak v. Barack business is going to hard on journalists who trust their spell checkers)  to join a new government led by Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu.  But you’d never know it by listening to President Barack Obama’s prime-time press conference last night.

J Street Poll shows strong support for Obama, weak support for Lieberman and complex views about Iran and Gaza.

Monday, March 23rd, 2009 James Besser in Washington A new poll by J Street, the pro-peace process political action committee and lobby, contained good news for President Barack Obama, worrisome signs for incoming Prime Minister  Benjamin Netanyahu and some predictably bad news for Jewish organizations facing an unprecedented economic crisis.

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.

Gillibrand comments on Israel jeopardize Jewish campaign contributions, votes

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 James Besser in Washington Does anybody want to take up a collection to rent Sen.  Kirsten Gillibrand a couple of Jewish advisers?  They’re not that expensive these days, and they could do her a world of good.

Mitchell Off to the Mideast, Jewish Groups Conspicuously Silent

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Former Sen. George Mitchell is getting a running start; only days after his appointment as special envoy to the Middle East, he is heading to the region for an eight-day getting-to-know-you session with leaders of several countries and with the men and woman vying to become Israel’s next leader after next month’s  elections.

Gillibrand and Kosher Chicken

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Politicos are still puzzling over last week’s appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to Hillary Clinton’s seat in the U.S. Senate and  Gov. David Paterson’s missteps in announcing his choice – a “mishandled circus,” according to CUNY political scientist Douglas Muzzio.. But one thing you can take to the bank: Gillibrand, who will face voters statewide in 2010, is going to be eating a lot of kosher chicken in the months ahead.

The Pro-Israel Language Muddle

Sunday, January 25th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Update: I just read NY Times reporter Ethan Bronner’s interesting take on the different, seemingly irreconcilable narratives of Israelis and Palestinians, and the difficult of using “neutral” language in reporting on the conflict. Definitely worth a read. Get it here.

Israel Stopped Hamas…Sort Of

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

The two top headlines on The Jerusalem Post Web site this evening neatly summed up the dilemma of Israel’s 22-day military campaign in Gaza.

The first read: “Barak Declares Victory as IDF Completes Gaza Withdrawal,” noting that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Hamas was dealt a serious blow and “will be quiet now for a long time.”

The next headline read: “Gaza Smuggling Routes Operational Again.”

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