Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

Obama bashing watch: Prez hit on anti-Semitism envoy

Friday, July 31st, 2009 This just in from the Jerusalem Post: President Barack Obama’s failure to name a special envoy on anti-Semitism “raises questions about the importance the new administration attaches to the fight against anti-Semitism,” according to Rafael Medoff, director of the Washington DC-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.” Seriously.

U.S.-Israel tensions? Yes. A crisis? I don’t think so

Thursday, July 30th, 2009 The other day I was struck by a couple of lines in a Ha’aretz story about ongoing U.S.-Israel talks over Washington’s demand for a settlements freeze – a debate that could ease a little with today’s report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is freezing some construction in East Jerusalem. The most interesting line in the story was this: “The settlement issue has given rise to the worst public tensions between Israel and its closest ally in nearly two decades.”

Holocaust Museum teams with Google Earth to show Darfur destruction

Thursday, July 30th, 2009 The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has always been out front in using new technologies to tell the story of what happened to the Jews in World War II. And it has for several years been a leader in trying to focus world attention on the continuing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, in the belief that one important way to honor the slaughtered Jews of the Holocaust is to prevent genocide in today’s world.

WaPo: Obama focus on settlements “self defeating”

Thursday, July 30th, 2009 Jewish groups that claim President Obama has been too hard on Israel on the issue of West Bank settlements will be happy with today’s Washington Post editorial, which  argues his emphasis on the issue could be “self defeating.”

George W. Bush for — get this — Mideast envoy?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 In the craziest-idea-of-the-month sweepstakes,, this one can’t help but come up a winner. Writing in Newsweek, Gregory Levey suggests replacing U.S. special Mideast envoy with – are you ready for this – former President George W. Bush.

Obama slammed on faith based office

Monday, July 27th, 2009 It’s no secret that many liberals and church-state separation advocates are angry about  President Obama’s handling of the faith-based initiatives of his predecessor. Although they’ve mostly kept quiet about it, the folks at the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee – which were hoping for much more of a rollback from policies of the George W. Bush administration – can’t be happy.

NJ Mayors, Rabbis and the BBC

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 Like many in our community, I’ve been transfixed by the dramatic FBI arrests in New Jersey that netted prominent rabbis as well as mayors, city council presidents and other officials. It’s both titillating and scary; first Bernie Madoff, now this.  There haven’t been so many high-profile Jewish baddies since Leopold and Loeb. And this one looks huge, involving as it does some of the leading figures in the Syrian Jewish community, money laundering and trafficking in human organs.

Christians United for…Settlements?

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 I confess: because of other assignments, I didn’t get down to the Christians United for Israel Washington summit this week, the first one I’ve missed. But based on past years events and interviews with several folks who attended this week’s, I’ve reached one new conclusion about the group. From the beginning, CUFI has embraced the Israeli settlers movement in a way no major Jewish group has.

More J Street craziness

Jeremy Ben-Ami. Photo: J StreetOkay, I’d resolved  not to blog about J Street for a while, since every time I do it takes days to sort through the angry email, but I just have to ask again: what is it about this group that drives people so batty?

Read through J Street’s press statements, Web site and op-eds, and it’s obviously a strongly pro-Israel group, even if its views of what constitutes the best policy to secure Israel’s future aren’t the same as the Israeli government’s or AIPAC’s and even though it is clearly not a big fan of the current government.

Jewish leaders meet Senate Democrats

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 A gaggle of Jewish leaders met with a record number of Senate Democrats today – 22 lawmakers in all, according to one count, including most of the top leadership. The meeting, put together by the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), demonstrated the breadth of concerns of the community, according to several participants.
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