Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

American Jewish Congress and American Jewish Committee to merge? Don't hold your breath

The Jerusalem Post is reporting merger talks between the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress.

Pardon me while I snort.

In 23 years on this beat, I can't tell you how many times I've written about rumors of a merger between these two groups that have sometimes quarreled over which has the right to be called "AJC." It's never amounted to much except talk.

Gen. Jim Jones and fast and easy charges of anti-Semitism

 I can't quite get my mind around the fierce reaction to an allegedly anti-Semitic joke told by Gen. Jim Jones, the Obama administration national security adviser,  during a recent appearance before the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israel think tank.

Those reactions range from ADL national director Abe Foxman's relatively sedate label of “inappropiate” to emails I've received (the usual chain emails, suggesting Obama-inspired pogroms are just around the corner) calling his joke “outrageous” and “anti-Semitic.”

Another poll on Obama and Israel that should worry Jewish Democrats

 Another poll is out looking at public opinion on Obama administration's handling of the Middle East and U.S.-Israel relations, and despite the small Jewish sample (see JTA's Ron Kampeas, who loves analyzing poll methodology; I defer to him, since I barely passed graduate statistics) there's

Jewish groups silent on finance regulatory reform, and an interesting dilemma for the Tea Partiers

Isn't it interesting how Jewish groups with a lot to say about almost everything have been so conspicuously silent about the politically charged debate in Washington on regulatory reform intended to prevent a recurrence of the financial meltdown whose impact is still being felt – by many Jewish organizations, as well as countless individuals?

Report from Haiti: Jews making a difference

This is one of those Jewish organizations that's still pretty much under the radar, but ultimately may be as important  to our communal future as all those communal powerhouses with fancy their acronyms and megabucks contributors.

Repair the World was created last year to "inspire American Jews and their communities to give their time and effort to serve those in need," according to its Web site "We aim to make service a defining part of American Jewish life."

Must Reading: Aaron David Miller on 'The False Religion of Mideast Peace'

I've always regarded Aaron David Miller as one of the smartest, most thoughtful U.S. peace processors. Since he left the State Department a few years back, he's been one of my favorite analysts for the simple reason that his take on the Middle East doesn't flow from hardened ideology but from long experience and a willingness to constantly reevaluate old assumptions.

Call most Middle East analysts about the crisis du jour, and you know in advance what they're going to say; calling Miller often produces interesting journalistic surprises.

A possible 'Obama Plan' and J Street's dilemma

I had several calls in the past few days expressing emotions ranging from anxiety to rage because of the Obama administration's rumored Middle East peace plan. And that made me wonder about how the other side – and J Street, in particular – will respond to the inevitable firestorm from mainstream pro-Israel groups when and if a plan is unveiled.

Second Amendment mishigas

 I post this pretty much without comment, except to say that the group “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership” is reportedly supporting the protest.

Okay, one comment: “Totalitarian socialism?” And these guys are armed?

WaPo columnist: democratization, not a U.S. peace plan, should be administration goal

With talk continuing about a possible U.S. Mideast peace proposal, the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl has a thought provoking analysis suggesting this is exactly the wrong policy for the current situation.

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