Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Jewish positions generally unchanged as CUFI, John Hagee begin Washington summit

Vacation plans mean I'm missing this year's Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Washington summit, which begins today. I'm sorry because CUFI puts on a pretty impressive show, and the Jewish community's ambivalence about the meaning of this and other “Christian Zionist” groups is endlessly interesting for journalists.

Netanyahu 1, Abbas 0, peace process - who knows?

Whether or not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a strategic vision for peace I'll leave to the experts in the mysteries of Israeli politics. One thing I can say with confidence: in the day-to-day diplomatic trench warfare with Palestinian leaders, he looks like a genius.

The latest example: his ongoing call for direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, which has now become a refrain of the Obama administration.

Emergency Committee for Israel: It's about Jewish campaign money, stupid

Jewish Washington was buzzing this week with the news – first reported in Politico, expanded on in the Jewish Week – that a few Republican heavy hitters have created an “Emergency Committee for Israel” to slam the

Arizona immigration law lesson: political demagoguery works

There are a lot of scary aspects to Arizona's Draconian new immigration law, but the scariest might be this: it has worked like a charm for the politicians who supported it.

Obama's Israel interview, and the U.S.-Israel emotional gap

What is it about the Israeli psyche that talks about a U.S.-Israel alliance, but really demands an America that lavishes love on the Jewish state? And what is it about American policymakers that make them so blind to this need?

Jack Lew to head budget office, deal with flood of red ink

The job will look familiar, but when Jack Lew takes over as director of the Office of Management and Budget the challenges will look a whole lot more daunting than when he held the post during the last two years of the Bill Clinton administration.

Meg Ryan, the "cultural intifada" and stupid PR tricks

First the term was used by Palestinians, referring to artsy events meant as protests against Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank; now Israelis and their supporters here are using “cultural intifada” to describe the accelerating trend of pop music and Hollywood stars who've decided to boycott Israel.

Cool; I'm sure Israel's brilliant PR mavens are patting themselves on the back for co-opting the phrase .

The Presbyterians, Israel and the value of community relations

In a world where Israel has fewer and fewer friends, Jewish groups here increasingly face a choice: do they treat Israel's critics as implacable adversaries? Or do they look for ways to work with some critics and perhaps change their mind on some issues?

Increasingly, muscular pro-Israel groups take the first approach; the second, which defines  the whole Jewish community relations movement, is in disfavor in many Jewish circles.

The last word on the Netanyahu - Obama summit: what we don't know

What we know after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Washington visit this week: both the Israeli leader and President Obama have decided that for various reasons it's best not to be quarreling, especially in public. Both have a strong vested interest in restoring the public trappings of the “special” U.S.-Israel relationship.

The problem is what we don't  know; the pomp-rich visit leaves us with more questions than answers:

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