Tough words on administration’s Iran policy; Obama denies request for meeting.
Joshua Mitnick and Stewart Ain
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stinging rebuke of the Obama administration Tuesday regarding its policy towards Iran was seen by many observers as correct but impolitic — especially in the midst of an election campaign.
“Substantively he may be right, but politically he’s dead wrong,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. “This is too sensitive and important an issue to be reduced to statements in the media. It should be dealt with in discreet negotiations.”
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Two national Jewish organizations criticized a provision in the Obama administration’s federal budget proposal that would reduce the tax deductibility rate of charitable donations.
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and The Jewish Federations of North America both released statements Monday objecting to the president's proposal, which would force taxpayers earning more than $250,000 to deduct contributions to charities at a rate of 28 percent rather than the current rate of 35 percent.
The Obama administration, joined by U.S. Jewish groups, called for the United Nations to dismiss Richard Falk, its rapporteur on Palestinian rights, after he posted an anti-Semitic cartoon on his blog.
(JTA) -- The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to confirm Daniel Shapiro as America’s next ambassador to Israel.
Shapiro was nominated to the post in March by President Obama. At the time he was serving as senior director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council. He had coordinated Jewish outreach for the Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
The president’s nomination of Shapiro was praised by a wide range of Jewish groups.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- U.S. Senators introduced an enhanced Iran sanctions bill matching one recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The crux of both bills is a ban on business with any entity that does $1 million in a single trade with Iran's energy sector, or $5 million over one year. The current threshold is $20 million in business per year.
An interesting poll in today's edition of The Hill.
On Israel, some 27 percent of voters surveyed by the Capitol Hill newspaper said this country is “too supportive of the Jewish state,” with 31 percent saying U.S. policy is not supportive enough – and 31 percent saying it's just “about right.”
There's only one question I have about today's annoucement that U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is calling it quits: what took so long?
With an administration that still can't decide if it wants to seriously press both sides to return to the negotiating table or offer U.S. proposals to break the stalemate and with Israeli and Palestinian leaders not much intererested in calls for a resumption of negotiations, it's not clear Mitchell had anything to do.