Adam Dickter Interviews Rep. Steve Israel

Rep. Steve Israel of Long Island, newly appointed chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, discusses the Arizona shootings, efforts to retake the House in 2012, J Street, the Obama administration's Mideast policies, gun control and more in an interview with The Jewish Week on 1/18/11.

Jewish Groups Adjusting Agendas for New GOP-led Congress

01/10/2011 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Faced with a new Congress intent on slashing the U.S. federal budget, Jewish groups are trimming their agendas to hew to its contours.

On issues from Israel aid to the environment to elderly care, Jewish organizations are planning to promote priorities that would find favorable reception in the new Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives. The groups are trying to build alliances based on shared interests and recasting pitches for existing programs as Republican-friendly.

Giffords shooting: Figures it was Arizona

My first reaction on hearing of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) in a Tuscon Safeway parking lot: it figures it was Arizona.

In a country where political rage and incitement pose as entertainment and the gun lobby successfully boosts a radical, mostly insane view that the rights of gun owners trump all other rights, Arizona is a place where this sickness rages with particular virulence.

Gabrielle Giffords Critical After Being Shot in the Head

01/08/2011 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was in critical condition after being shot in the head.

Giffords was outside one of her signature "Congress at your corner" events outside a Safeway in Tucson, the district she represented, when a gunman approached and shot her in the head.

The gunman, identified by media as Jared Lee Loughner, shot 17 people, killing six of them, including a 9-year old girl and a federal judge, John Roll. The gunman was tackled and arrested.

Digging the debt hole a little deeper

Looking at the opening moves by the Republican House leadership as they exercise their new majority, you have to wonder how serious they are about deficit reduction.

Under the leadership of Speaker John Boehner, they approved rules requiring that all new spending increases must be offset by cuts in other programs.

Iran sanctions and business as usual

A bunch of Jewish groups are indignant about last week's New York Times report that “over the past decade the United States government has allowed American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism.” 

Israel aid boost on hold as budget paralysis continues

JTA is reporting that U.S. military aid to Israel for 2011, including extra funding for missile defense, is being delayed “following the Obama's administration's difficulty in passing the annual 2011 budget, which forced the president to sign a presidential order extending the current budget through March.”

No doubt President Obama's detractors in the Jewish community will paint this as more proof of his hostility to the Jewish state.

Ros-Lehtinen: Israel Aid Will Remain Top Priority

12/22/2010 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Funding for Israel will remain a top priority in a Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives, a top GOP congresswoman said.

"Security assistance to Israel is a top priority for Republicans because our Members understand that it is a vital investment which enhances our nation's security interests and is a force-multiplier of our efforts to combat extremism in the Middle East," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said in a statement. "Charges to the contrary are baseless and politically-motivated."

Senate Ratifies START Treaty

12/21/2010 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The U.S. Senate ratified a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia that has been backed by a number of Jewish groups.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 71-26 to ratify the START treaty.

The vote -- 58 in the Democratic caucus and 13 Republicans -- was four more than the two-thirds majority needed for ratification.

The Obama administration and top Jewish Democratic senators had lobbied Jewish groups to express support for the treaty, saying it was critical to persuading Russia to isolate Iran.

Israel Aid Anxiety: Is It Overblown?

Suddenly I'm getting emails from Democratic lawmakers warning of possible cuts to Israel's big foreign aid allotment when the new Congress takes over in January – but I'm not sure I buy it.

Now the Jerusalem Post is reporting that “Democrats are blasting the prospect that a GOP-led House of Representatives might trim aid to Israel or consider it separately from the rest of the foreign aid budget,” citing as evidence comments by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – the incoming Foreign Affairs chair – that it's not inconceivable the House GOP leadership could impose across-the-board aid cuts that would not exempt Israel.

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