pro-Israel activism

AIPAC on the rocks? Don't bet the farm

A few readers took me to task for downplaying the threat to AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying giant, posed by the surprisingly lurid legal drama centering on the defamation suit by Steve Rosen, the former AIPAC honcho fired after his arrest in 2005.

Lurid tales about AIPAC: will they have an impact?

Well, it's lurid enough, but I can't exactly see how this week's revelations that a former high-ranking AIPAC official looked at pornography on his office computer and that some of his colleagues may have done the same will make much of a difference in the big pro-Israel lobby group's political muscle.

Huffing and puffing on the Saudi arms sale

 We just posted a JTA story  about a bipartisan congressional letter “raising concerns and asking questions about a proposed $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia.”

The letter, signed by 198 lawmakers and co-authored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the incoming and outgoing chairs of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Obama's communications gap and U.S.-Israel military cooperation: what's wrong with this picture?

JTA reported yesterday that the Obama administration plans to store an extra $400 million in military equipment in Israel – stuff Israel can use in the event of emergency. Included in the arsenal: smart bombs “and other precision weaponry.”

By 2012, the total inventory of weapons stored in Israel will reach $1.2 billion.

Let me see if I've got this right.

A Generation 'Up for Grabs' at the GA

11/11/2010 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

When protesters heckled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly in New Orleans, the adults in the audience may have been surprised or even shocked. Many of the students in the 600-strong Hillel presence had a different reaction.

Rachel Racoosin

Dueling exit polls, Sestak-Toomey and the eternal J Street debate

The dust has settled from Tuesday's electoral earthquake, which was about a 6.2 on the political Richter scale, and  the spinmeisters are hard at work telling us how to interpret the piles of rubble.

As promised, I've been looking at exit polls about the high-profile Senate race in Pennsylvania. The exit polls aren't exactly conclusive – and aren't exactly in agreement.

A most un-illuminating election

Question: what have the congressional election campaigns told us about the state of the debate over U.S. Middle East policy?

Answer: Nothing good.

The fierce, bitter midterm campaigns have demonstrated once again that a small but vocal minority in the Jewish community thinks only of partisan concerns – partisan support for a political faction in Israel, or for the Republican party in this country – and not much about the need to strengthen U.S.-Israel ties or to ensure support for Israel is a bi-partisan affair, not just another partisan wedge issue.

Jewish Federations join fight against Israel delegitimization, but is that smart?

I just got a press release from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) announcing a new program to “fight efforts to delegitimize Israel,” and I confess, it caught me at an inopportune time.

The reason: I've been thinking more and more about the fact that Jewish groups all want to ride the same train – the locomotive of Israel activism. And I wonder how much of that comes at the expense of other critical areas of Jewish life.

The Arab Lobby and the Palestinians

09/28/2010 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

While Israel’s detractors have obsessively scrutinized, mischaracterized and demonized the Israeli lobby, the equally powerful Arab lobby has been studiously ignored. In fact, some people deny it exists -- or if it does, that its power pales in contrast to the all-powerful AIPAC. As proof, they often point to the failure to create a Palestinian state. Surely, these critics maintain, if the Arab Lobby is really as powerful as people like me say it is, a Palestinian state would long ago have been established.

U-Turn At J Street

09/27/2010 - 20:00

Few Jewish organizations have generated feelings — pro or con — as intense as those ignited by J Street, the pro-peace process lobby and political action committee created two years ago to provide a left-of-center address for politicians and activists who support more aggressive U.S. peace process diplomacy.

That intensity took another quantum jump with last week’s Washington Times disclosure that the group has been getting substantial donations from financier George Soros despite repeated denials from its leaders.

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