International

J Street Reeling After Soros Money Revelation

Extent of damage for lobby on Hill unclear; ‘huge setback,’ says expert.

09/29/2010
Washington Correspondent

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.

George Soros contributed $750,000 to J Street over a three-year period. The group had repeatedly denied the contributions.

U.S. Was Behind 9/11 Attacks, Ahmadinejad Tells U.N.

09/25/2010

(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.

Barely Months Into Talks, Will the Freeze Freeze a Peace Deal?

09/22/2010
JTA

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.

Referendum Vote In Turkey Fuels Uneasiness In Israel

Will Erdogan's victory lead to further strain in relations following flotilla incident, or is it an opportunity?

09/15/2010
Israel Correspondent

 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.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan

Avigdor Lieberman to Address U.N.

09/14/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Avigdor Lieberman will become the first Israeli foreign minister to address the United Nations General Assembly.

Lieberman will travel to New York at the end of the month to address the international body, according to Israel Hayom.

He will be addressing the General Assembly instead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to the latter's commitments to the relaunched direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Second Round of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks Held in Egypt

09/14/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The second round of direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians brokered by the United States ended in Egypt.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gathered Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheik.

Gay Saudi Diplomat Fears Persecution

09/13/2010

(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.

Michael Oren, Making the Case for Obama

09/12/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Michael Oren outlines what may be his toughest assignment: Making the case to a skeptical public for a leader who's hard to pin down.

Pitching Bibi to the Americans?

No, that's an easy one.

The real problem for the Israeli ambassador to Washington is how to make Israelis understand President Obama.

"Obama often doesn’t get the credit he deserves in Israel," Oren said in a pre-Rosh Hashanah interview with the U.S. Jewish media. "I think it’s important at some point that he visits us."

Abbas, Netanyahu to Meet Every Two Weeks

09/03/2010

 WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli and Palestinian leaders will meet every two weeks to advance peace talks.

George Mitchell, the senior U.S. envoy to the region, said the sides agreed to meet in the region Sept. 14-15, the first concrete outcome of renewed talks launched Thursday in Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met first with Mitchell and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before moving into face-to-face talks.

EU Commissioner Apologizes for ‘Irrational Jews’ Remark

09/03/2010

(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.

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