Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

The New York Times’ gift to AIPAC on eve of policy conference

 AIPAC policy conferences – the annual pro-Israel extravaganzas meant to spotlight the power of the pro-Israel lobby group – are always the most interesting in presidential election years, or when they're a big fight brewing over U.S. foreign policy.

Big surprise: Biden Israel visit hits snag

 Some things in life are predictable – like the fact that every time a top U.S. official travels to Israel, the government in Jerusalem will announce some decision on settlement construction or East Jerusalem housing that angers the visiting Americans.

Iran sanctions hypocrisy

Politicians in both parties talk a tough game on Iran sanctions, but their toughness quickly evaporates when sanctions collide with corporate profits – as they inevitably do.

The Armenian Genocide, Turkey and the Jews

In the stories-that-never-die department, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, under the stewardship of Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), has passed a resolution acknowledging the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

In more than two decades of covering the Jewish scene in Washington, I've found this to be one of the most durable stories, returning every few years with different actors but much the same script, with Jewish groups playing bit parts, although some of the main players think they should be stars.

Levin gets Ways and Means, Stark dissed

This just in: Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich) will replace Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) as chair of the powerful House House Ways and Means Committee, according to a New York Times news flash.

The partisan gap on Israel - do Jews really care?

Over at the Jerusalem Post, blogger Shmuel Rosner has a provocative analysis of last week's Gallup Poll, which shows that support for Israel is at a 19 year high among the American public – but which also a widening gap between Democrats and Republicans on the

State Department wrist slapping on Hebron historic designation

The AP reported today that the Obama administration is unhappy about Israel's designation of the Cave of the Patriarchs and the tomb of Rachel as “national heritage sites,”  which comes amid a “flurry” of U.S. diplomatic activity in the region.

Pardon me while I yawn.

Ron Paul, tea parties and the GOP's Jewish problem

More than a few people wrote to complain about my story last week on the potentially damaging impact of the “tea party” movement on the Republican Party's continued outreach to Jewish voters.

The tea partiers “love Israel,” one  said.  Others accused me of just parroting  a tired old liberal line equating conservatism to anti-Semitism.

More J Street Silliness

When are Israeli leaders going to get smart about American Jews? Not soon, if their clumsy efforts to brand J Street an anti-Israel group are any measure.

Gridlock in Washington: Let's blame ourselves

I was much taken with Washington Post business writer Steve Pearlstein's column today.  Pearlstein had the audacity to point to two of the biggest reasons for the political and legislative gridlock in Washington – an electorate that demands completely contradictory things from the people it elects, and a president who apparently lacks the backbone to tell it like it is.  (See t

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