Jewish Washington was buzzing this week with the news – first reported in Politico, expanded on in the Jewish Week – that a few Republican heavy hitters have created an “Emergency Committee for Israel” to slam the
J Street called for an investigation into American charities — including one based in the Five Towns — that fund Israeli settlement activity.
J Street, the self-proclaimed political home for “pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” launched a campaign Monday calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to look into whether organizations named in a July 6 New York Times report have broken the law.
Kristol, Bauer target J Street’s candidate in Pa. Senate race.
James D. Besser
J Street, the pro-peace process political action committee and lobby, already had a lot on the line in Pennsylvania’s hotly contested Senate race, where it has bet heavily on Democratic nominee Rep. Joe Sestak.
But the ante was raised this week with the creation of a new group including Republican heavy hitters William Kristol and Gary Bauer that launched with hard-hitting television ads accusing Sestak of being hostile to Israel.
First the term was used by Palestinians, referring to artsy events meant as protests against Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank; now Israelis and their supporters here are using “cultural intifada” to describe the accelerating trend of pop music and Hollywood stars who've decided to boycott Israel.
Cool; I'm sure Israel's brilliant PR mavens are patting themselves on the back for co-opting the phrase .
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) has died at the age of 92 in a Washington-area hospital.
Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who became a fierce advocate for West Virginia, one of the Senate's most liberal members and a vehement opponent of the Iraq war, was not among the 95 best friends of the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. Senate.
But that didn't stop him from winning the respect of colleagues in both parties who recognized his unmatched understanding of the legislative process and his ability to reach out to political adversaries.
New sanctions surge could lead to new dilemmas for groups that have banked on issue.
James D. Besser
Recent breakthroughs in the U.S.-led effort to squeeze Iran could change the political calculus for American Jewish groups that have benefited hugely from their decades-old focus on Iran — and which have largely succeeded in making Iran’s threat to both U.S. and Israeli interests a top policy for Congress and the White House.
Update: the folks at Americans for Peace Now point out that I missed a key finding of the B'nai B'rith survey. APN spokesman Ori Nir, in a press release, points out that "a full 55 percent agreed" with the statement "A two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is essential to Israel's survival as a national home of the Jewish people as a vibrant democracy."
Could pro-Israel leaders here face a grim day of reckoning on the issue of Iran's nuclear program?
Last week the UN Security Council passed new sanctions demanded by the Obama administration, which won the support of China and Russia – the biggest obstacles to a new sanctions regime. Congress seems poised to pass tougher U.S. sanctions targeting companies, individuals and states that deal with Iran's nuclear sector, JTA reports.