Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Chas Freeman and the pro-Israel lobby: watch your definitions

Thursday, March 12th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Was it really the  “pro-Israel lobby” that scuttled the nomination of Chas Freeman as head of the National Intelligence Council, as Freeman himself charged in an outburst after his withdrawal on Wednesday and prominent columnists like the Washington Post’s David Broder agree? Well, it depends on you definition of “the lobby.”

Rep. Ackerman counsels - gasp - patience on Iran

You don't hear a lot of politicians talking sense about Iran these days. Either they pretend tough talk and unilateral sanctions will do the trick, ignoring history and common sense,  or they are part of the  “don't bother me now” faction.

That's why I liked Rep. Gary Ackerman's statement to the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia this week during a hearing on the political reform movement in Iran.

Obama hit from both sides on faith-based initiative

The natives are getting restless when it comes to the Obama administration's Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships .

Today the Anti-Defamation League joined with 23 other national organizations  in a statement urging the administration to make sure federal funds distributed as part of the ongoing faith based initiative aren't used to proselytize or discriminate based on religious beliefs.

National Prayer Breakfast controversy - again. And where are the Jews?

Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast and President Obama's planned participation are generating the usual controversies centering on the question of whether top political leaders should attend an event sponsored by a super-secretive Christian group, The Fellowship Foundation, also know as The Family.

Obama's spending freeze: Band aid leadership?

I'm having a hard time getting my hands around President Obama's expected call for a domestic spending freeze in response to the populist surge that ended the Democrats' Senate super-majority and threatens to cut deeply into their absolute majority come October.  (He will make his case in tonight's State of the Union address).

Jewish Democrats, Republican trade shots on Holocaust allusions

Well, it sounded like a good idea.

Yesterday the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) urged candidates in both parties to sign a "pledge to condemn and repudiate abusive Holocaust comparisons and anti-Semitic rhetoric carried out by anyone claiming to support my candidacy or attending my campaign events.”

According to NJDC CEO Ira Forman:

Howard Berman, Peace Now and right-wing pot shotters

So let’s see: J Street is “anti-Israel,” according to the many emails I continue to receive and blogs I read (if Google News Alerts are any measure, J Street must be the single most active topic in the entire known universe).   And Americans for Peace Now (APN) is, by almost any objective standard, further to the left than the upstart J Street.

Supreme Court campaign finance decision and Jewish clout

I had a bunch of calls and emails in the wake of yesterday's blockbuster Supreme Court decision on corporate political contributions basically asked the same question: what does it mean for Jewish political clout?

The decision overturned a half-century-old ban on using corporate money to endorse political candidates – or to oppose them.  The rationale of the Court's majority:  corporations basically have the same free speech rights as individuals.

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