Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Saudi - American 'friendship': are you kidding?

Ha'aretz ran this headline the other day: “Saudi king assures Obama of commitment to two-state Mideast solution” – and I was happy, since I needed a good laugh.

Obama's immigration reform speech: first reactions

President Obama, coming off a handful of important legislative victories, hinted today in a major speech that he might try his hand at legislation on the third rail of American politics – immigration reform.

That's good news for Jewish groups like the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the American Jewish Committee, as well as a coalition of some 600 faith leaders that gathered at the White House today and delivered a letter urging strong action to pass legislation that “both protects our interests and abides by our values” before the end of the year.

Eric Cantor for ...what?

Politico has a piece today on the rising star of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the lone Jewish Republican in Congress whose ambitions, the newspaper reports, are making some GOP leaders nervous.

Mike Huckabee loves Israel, but will Jewish voters love him?

The Jewish political world is buzzing ...well, it's a pretty quiet buzz, more like a murmur ... about the New Yorker profile of former Arkansas governor, Fox news commentator and 2012 GOP presidential Wannabee Mike Huckabee.

First Jewish reactions to Supreme Court gun decision

 It will be much harder for cites to regulate the firearms that are turning some neighborhoods into free-fire zones in the wake of Monday's Supreme Court decision in McDonald v. the City of Chicago, according to several Jewish groups.

In a 5-4 decision, the Justices ruled that the right to keep and bear arms can't be restricted by state and local governments, at least not easily.

The case zeros in on the nation's toughest laws, starting with Chicago, but could also affect gun restrictions in New York.

Sen. Byrd dies: no friend of the pro-Israel lobby, but a 'venerable institution'

 Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) has died at the age of 92 in a Washington-area hospital.

Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who became a fierce advocate for West Virginia, one of the Senate's most liberal members and a vehement opponent of the Iraq war, was not among the 95 best friends of the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. Senate.

But that didn't stop him from winning the respect of colleagues in both parties who recognized his unmatched understanding of the legislative process and his ability to reach out to political adversaries.

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren - U.S. and Israel drifting apart?

What to make out of yesterday's report in Ha'aretz that Amb. Michael Oren, meeting with Israeli diplomats in Jerusalem, said the U.S. and Israel are in a “tectonic rift” and drifting apart?

Jewish Democrats blast Palin, so what else is new?

I generally stay out of the 'hit-Sarah-Palin-for-the-stupid-things-she-says thing because ...well, it's just boring, there's so many of them.

And stories about the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) criticizing Republicans are real yawners. It's their job, after all.

Jewish groups praise Iran sanctions passage, dovish groups split

My email inbox today has been chock full of statements from Jewish organizations and Capitol Hill politicians lauding final passage of the new, tougher Iran sanctions bill, and groups like AIPAC deserve a pat on the back for getting the legislation through a largely gridlocked Congress.

This from AIPAC:

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