Obama administration

Orthodox Groups Protest Federal Decision On Contraception

01/27/2012

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Two Orthodox groups protested the Obama administration’s decision to require some religiously affiliated institutions to cover contraception as part of their employee health plans.

The Orthodox Union on Tuesday and Agudath Israel of America on Wednesday released statements criticizing the Jan. 20 announcement by the secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius.

Under the Affordable Care Act, employer-provided health insurance plans are required to include contraception and related “preventive” services for employees.

Obama, Jewish Groups Call For Firing Of U.N. Official

07/10/2011

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.

Senate Confirms Dan Shapiro as U.S. Ambassador to Israel

05/27/2011

(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.

Senators Introduce Enhanced Iran Sanctions Bill

05/27/2011

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.

New poll: tepid support here for active US peace role, skepticism about Arab Spring

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.”

Mitchell quitting; what took so long?

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.

Obama to Host Second Jewish Heritage Reception

05/09/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama will host another Jewish American Heritage Month reception, days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Washington.

Paralysis on Syria

One of these day the Obama administration is going to have to figure out a policy for dealing with the unrest in Syria and the Assad regime's brutal repression. Unfortunately, it will probably be after it's too late.

Today's New York Times reports that the crackdown is intensifying, with hundreds now under arrest and the death toll rising.

Co-Author of Palestinian Statehood Plan Set to Take Key Role on Middle East

04/28/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The White House reportedly is set to name Steve Simon, the co-author of a comprehensive outline for a Palestinian state, as a top Middle East official.

The Obama administration will tap Simon, a former top National Security Council official in the Clinton administration, to head the NSC's Middle East desk, according to Laura Rozen of The Envoy foreign policy blog on Yahoo.com. Simon would succeed Daniel Shapiro, who by default has become the top administration point man for pro-Israel groups and Israeli officials.

Some Are Abusing Title VI Protections, AJC Charges

04/27/2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The American Jewish Committee said a government decision to classify campus anti-Semitism as prohibited discrimination is being abused by those seeking to silence criticism of Israel.

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