WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Top Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are circulating a bill that would strip the president of his power to waive a law requiring him to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is in Washington meeting top administration officials and Congress members.
Barak is meeting Wednesday with Dennis Ross, the top Iran policy official in the White House; Tom Donilon, the national security adviser; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, as well as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee and other Congress members.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The consensus on U.S. assistance to Egypt is that it has delivered bang for its buck: The $1.3 billion in annual defense aid has stabilized a key ally and strengthened America's profile in the Middle East.
But in the wake of massive unrest that could unseat Egypt’s autocratic leader, the question now emerging is whether sustaining the aid to the current regime would advance a democratic agenda or squelch it -- or whether that should be an American concern at all.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- U.S. House of Representatives leaders urged President Obama to veto a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution that slams Israel on settlements and urges a return to direct Israeli-Palestinian talks.
"We are deeply concerned about the Palestinian leadership’s decision to reject the difficult but vital responsibility of making peace with Israel through direct negotiations, and instead to advocate for anti-Israel measures by the United Nations Security Council and other international forums," says the letter sent Thursday.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The PLO office in Washington raised a flag for the first time.
"It's about time that this flag that symbolizes the struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and statehood is raised in the United States," said Palestine Liberation Organization envoy Maen Areikat in a brief ceremony Tuesday outside its Dupont Circle offices. "We hope that this will help in the international efforts to provide recognition for the Palestinian state."
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.
On a day when State Department officials are expressing concern about the demolition of the Shepherd Hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, Politico's Laura Rozen reports that the developer of the project, the always-controversial Irving Moscowitz is a “top campaign contributor to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).”
And Ros-Lehtinen is not just any “R-Fla.”; she's the new head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
(JTA) -- President Obama used a recess appointment to name Robert Ford as the new U.S. ambassador to Syria.
Ford will become the first U.S. ambassador to Syria since 2005. The Bush administration recalled its ambassador from Syria in February 2005 in the wake of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Harari; evidence pointed to Syrian involvement in the murder.
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."