It was as part of a 1993 senior citizens’ lobbying trip to the state capital in Albany that Dorothy Epstein realized there was more to effective lobbying than just showing up and handing out position papers.
“We had divided into groups and each was to visit the chairman of a legislative committee we were interested in,” she recalled. “Although we were in groups of five or seven, only one or two people spoke first.
James Besser |
A strange thing happened on the way to House passage of the Religious Liberty Protection Act (RLPA) last week:
Most Jewish members — once among RLPA’s strongest supporters — voted no, although every major Jewish group, along with representatives of numerous other religious faiths, supported the measure.
The list of opponents included Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), one of the original authors of the measure, which seeks to make it harder for state and local governments to infringe on religious practices, even inadvertently.
by Eric J. Greenberg and James D. Besser |
Striding across the opulent lobby of Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last Sunday morning, Michael Sonnenfeldt, chair of the pro-peace Israel Policy Forum, spotted Malcolm Hoenlein, the top executive of the nation’s leading Jewish umbrella group — the 50-year-old Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“It seems like I’m always following you around,” joked Sonnenfeldt, a private investor with a linebacker’s build, extending his hand.
James Besser |
The Clinton administration is pulling out all the stops this week to provide Prime Minister Ehud Barak with a warm Washington welcome intended to signal a new and more congenial bilateral atmosphere.
Barak, while pleased with the symbolic thaw, has some hard-edged items on his agenda — including his desire to preempt the Israeli politicians who are already working Congress to stir up an anti-Barak, anti-administration backwash.
Authorities are stepping up the pressure on the World Church of the Creator, an Illinois-based white supremacist group that law enforcement officials are linking to three synagogue fires in Sacramento, Calif., and a shooting rampage in the Midwest that targeted blacks, Jews and Asian Americans, leaving two dead.
In Illinois, state tax officials have launched a tax-evasion probe. Sacramento police have increased the monitoring of members and followers of the group.
James Besser |
This week Maryland prosecutors suffered yet another serious setback in their effort to make a teen murder suspect who fled to Israel and claimed citizenship pay for his crimes.
Making matters worse, Israel is apparently balking at paying the bill for the extraordinary legal proceedings despite earlier promises.
Over the weekend Samuel Sheinbein, accused in the 1997 murder of another suburban Washington teenager, Alfredo Tello Jr., surprised prosecutors with a not guilty plea.