Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Jewish, Israeli guests at White House Ramadan dinner

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 It wasn’t the first Ramadan dinner at the White House, but it was the first with an Israeli guest. And what a guest: Michael Oren, the spanking new Israeli ambassador.  

Is Obama being ‘gamed’ by experts in the Mideast stall?

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 Doesn’t it seem like the ongoing negotiations over an Israeli settlement freeze, pressed by a U.S. president who says he wants to do things differently than his predecessors, are taking on a familiar Middle East business-as-usual quality?  

Thank You, George W. Bush

Monday, August 31st, 2009 Comments by former Vice President Dick Cheney this weekend suggest his boss, George W. Bush, may have done Israel one huge and unintentional favor. In a Fox News interview, Cheney hinted that he pressed for military action to end Iran’s nuclear program, but was rebuffed by Bush. “I was probably a bigger advocate of military action than any of my colleagues,” Cheney said. Why was that a favor to Israel?

Cutting to the heart of the Sweden / IDF controversy

Friday, August 28th, 2009 I was going to blog something on the Sweden-Israel dust up over the ludicrous charge in a Swedish newspaper that IDF forces harvest the organs of dead Palestinians as soon as I could figure out what to say, but it seems to me the Jewish Week’s Gary Rosenblatt and liberal Israeli blogger Gershom Gorenberg said just about everything that needs to be said on the subject.

J Street snags Susskind

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 J Street’s legion of detractors have something else to be unhappy about; the year-old pro-Israel, pro-peace process lobby and political action committee has hired one of Washington’s most highly regarded Jewish activists. Hadar Susskind, who currently works as vice president and Washington director for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), has signed on as director of policy and strategy for the political arm of the group.

Teddy Kennedy

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 What strikes me the most about Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who died last night after a battle with brain cancer, is how he represents something we’ve lost in American politics: a genuine passion for the issues, combined with a willingness and ability to work across party lines and actually get things done.

Pollard and his admirers

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 I don’t know why – I’ve been doing this for a long time, after all – but I still react with surprise to each new indication that Jonathan Pollard, the convicted Israeli spy who wants out of the prison he now shares with Ponzi king Bernie Madoff, is his own worst enemy. Case in point: a new posting on the “official” Justice for Jonathan Pollard Web site by an Israeli rabbi, who just can’t contain his admiration for Jonathan.

Torture, the CIA and a mostly silent Jewish community

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 Most major Jewish groups have steadfastly avoided taking a position on issues involving the treatment of U.S. foreign detainees. Not so the Reform movement; this week the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism hailed Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to appoint a federal prosecutor to look into cases of possible violations of the law by CIA interrogators who used coercive techniques.

Huckabee: the settlers’ best friend (and maybe the Armageddonists, too)

Monday, August 24th, 2009 Isn’t it nice that former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee and his fellow evangelical Christians are “so much more supportive of Israel than the American Jewish community.” That’s what Huckabee, a 2012 Republican presidential frontrunner, told the Christian Broadcasting Network after a trip to Israel that focused mostly on Jewish settlements and East Jerusalem, places most national politicians in this country try to avoid. Well, no, Huck, I think you got it wrong again.

The Jewish Week political insider is taking a break

Friday, August 14th, 2009 The Political Insider is going off the grid for a week.  We’ll catch up with you after August 23.
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