Extent of damage for lobby on Hill unclear; ‘huge setback,’ says expert.
James D. Besser
Since it was formed, J Street, the pro-peace process lobby and political action committee, has fought for credibility in the face of charges from the right that it is anti-Israel. This week it was reeling after revelations in the Washington Times that the group has received substantial contributions from controversial financier George Soros — despite two years of denials.
Early indications suggest J Street’s membership base is holding fast, but there were reports that some members of Congress connected with the group may be reconsidering their affiliation.
(JTA) -- The United States arranged the 9/11 attacks "to save the Zionist regime," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the U.N. General Assembly.
After suggesting that U.S. officials at the highest levels were complicit in the 9/11 attacks, he called on the United Nations to establish "an independent fact-finding group" to investigate the attacks. The U.S. delegation walked out of Ahmadinejad's speech Thursday at the United Nations, as did all 27 European Union delegations, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Costa Rica, according to reports.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- When the fat lady sings on Sept. 26, it may only be an intermission.
That’s the word from an array of Mideast experts across the political spectrum. They are predicting that the seeming intractability between Israel and the Palestinians over whether Israel extends a settlement moratorium beyond its end date will not scuttle the peace talks.
Instead, the observers say, the sides are likely employing the brinksmanship that has come to characterize Middle East peacemaking.
Will Erdogan's victory lead to further strain in relations following flotilla incident, or is it an opportunity?
Tel Aviv - A resounding victory at the polls Sunday for Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's referendum to remake the country's constitution and weaken the secular forces in government has spurred Israeli uneasiness about deteriorating ties with an important regional ally.
Though the referendum was about advancing civil liberties in Turkey and weakening the influence of the secular army, the wider-than-expected margin of victory was also seen as a broad approval of Erdogan's foreign policy shift toward Israel.
(JTA) -- A Saudi Arabian diplomat based in Los Angeles has requested political asylum because he is gay and close friends with a Jewish woman.
The diplomat was identified Saturday by NBC News as Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. Asseri said he was effectively fired from his position since his diplomatic passport was not renewed by Saudi officials. He told NBC in an email message that he would be killed if he returned to Saudi Arabia.
(JTA) -- The European Union's trade chief apologized for saying that rational discussion about Israel was impossible with Jews and that the Jewish lobby is the most influential in Washington.
Karel De Gucht, a former Belgian foreign minister who is now the E.U.'s Trade Commissioner, had been asked in a radio interview on Thursday for his opinion on renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks launched in Washington.