Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

AIPAC letter reveals: Obama Israel policies making House members nervous

 So AIPAC has convinced some 327 members of the House of Representatives to sign a letter essentially telling the Obama administration to keep its criticisms of the Israeli government private.

Mazel tov; that's an impressive achievement for the pro-Israel lobby group, although it probably didn't take much arm twisting; there's a lot of unease on Capitol Hill about where this administration's Mideast policy is headed.

New J Street poll: American Jews support Obama Mideast moves

There's a new poll of American Jewish public opinion by J Street, and I'm just going to take a wild guess and say Jewish Republicans and mainstream pro-Israel groups are going to dismiss the whole thing as propaganda because it's done by...well, J Street, the pro-peace process lobby and political action group that everybody else loves to hate (see the J Street results here).

Bibi, Barack and the Big Chill

 Okay, I confess, I missed the AIPAC policy conference this week, the first I haven't attended as a reporter in 23 years. But it's okay, I had a note from my editor because I was working on the new Jewish Week Web site, which you're now reading and I hope you're liking.

But you didn't need to be on the floor of the Washington Convention Center to know there's something afoot in the U.S.-ISrael relationship that worries the leaders of mainstream pro-ISrael groups and has given new hope to groups that favor a more robust U.S. peacemaking effort in the region.

One take on AIPAC policy conference, a fake press release and some flaky demonstrations

You can't turn around today without reading blogs and news items about the AIPAC policy conference, underway in Washington cavernous Convention Center; one of the most interesting comes from the Atlantic's prolific Jeff Goldberg.

Obama's staying in Washington, what will Netanyahu do?

The ongoing U.S.-Israel diplomatic tiff had already made Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Washington visit next week – he'll keynote the AIPAC policy conference here – a little awkward.

Today it got awkwarder (is that a word?) The White House announced that President Barack Obama's once-postponed Indonesia trip is being put off again – this time until June – so he can lobby for his health insurance reform proposal.

Links: the U.S.-Israel crisis intensifies

The U.S.- Israel diplomatic firestorm continues to rage, and a lot of questions remain unanswered: exactly what did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu know about the plan to build 1600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, announced with such devastating impact when Vice President Joe Biden headed to Israel on a make-nice mission, and when did he know it? What is the Obama administration trying to do with its tough new demands on Israel and harsh rhetoric?  Where does all this lead?

Here are some interesting and very different takes on the  crisis.

U.S.-Israel tensions rising, high stakes for AIPAC

The escalating U.S.-Israel diplomatic crisis will dramatically change the calculus for the upcoming AIPAC policy conference, which starts on Sunday,  in ways difficult to predict.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to be the top administration speaker, and you have to bet AIPAC leaders are nervous about how she will be received by the 3000-plus delegates after her tongue-lashing call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.

Biden's Israel speech: not a game changer

 So did Vice President Joe Biden accomplish his top goal during this week's Israel visit – reassuring a skeptical Israeli public about the Obama administration's intentions while also reassuring the Palestinians that the administration is still determined to play a role in bringing the two sides back together for serious peace talks?

Why did the Netanyahu government greet Biden with a bunch in the gut?

Was the Netanyahu government sending a message when it welcomed Vice President Joe Biden to town with a sucker punch announcement about new building in an East Jerusalem neighborhood  (see this earlier Political Insider item, and Janine Zacharia's excellent piece in today's Washington Post).

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