Political Insider

A look behind the scenes in the political world

New Gig for Coleman: Senator-in-Limbo Joins RJC

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009 James Besser in Washington UPDATE: a longtime pro-Israel lobbyist saw the blog item on Norm Coleman and called with this analysis: “He’s toast. You don’t take a job like this as a kind of temp.  This is the clearest indication yet he knows he’s not going back to the Senate.

Let the Whispering Begin: Did Obama Diss Jews?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009 James Besser in Washington Only hours after President Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday, the Jewish right was buzzing about a perceived religious slur in his inaugural address. In the ritual nod to religious inclusiveness, Obama said “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers.”

Obama Inaugurated, Jews Party

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 James Besser in Washington It was a day of joyous celebration for the many thousands of African Americans who came to Washington to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama, but Jews weren’t exactly slackers in the celebration department. Inaugural events provided ample opportunity for Jewish machers to see and be seen – and for advocacy groups to display their political connections.

Wanted: Obama administration Jewish Liaison

Monday, January 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Who will be appointed Jewish liaison in the incoming Barack Obama administration?

Last-minute pardon speculation and Jonathan Pollard

Monday, January 19th, 2009 James Besser in Washington With just hours left in George W. Bush’s presidency, speculation is at flood tide about possible last-minute pardons and commutations. Yesterday’s Politico took a look at some high-profile cases that could grab Bush’s attention as he packs his bags for Texas (read the story here) .

Inauguration Religious Diversity — Sort Of

Sunday, January 18th, 2009 James Besser in Washington In a nod to religious diversity, three prominent rabbis representing the biggest streams of Judaism wil take part in a Wednesday prayer service in Washington, along with an Islamic official and other clerics.

Polls Show Strong, Nuanced Support for Israel in Gaza Fight

Friday, January 16th, 2009 James Besser in Washington For pro-Israel groups that have been fighting the PR wars since the latest Gaza conflict began in December, the polling news has been mostly good, with indications Americans to blame the Palestinians for the current violence much more than they blame Israel. What is unclear: just how high a priority the issue is with a populace that has its mind on other things, starting with their disappearing 401Ks an disappearing jobs.

Gaza War: Reinforcing Hamas?

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Okay, we all know by now that Israel was “justified” in mounting a major offensive against Hamas to stop the rocket fire from Gaza.  We’ve sure heard it enough from Jewish groups across the political spectrum that have rallied to Israel’s defense as, predictably, world opinion turns against the Jewish state.

Behind the Pro-Israel Congressional Resolution: Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Monday, January 12th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Pro-Israel groups are still kvelling about last week’s lopsided passage of a House of Representatives resolution expressing support for Israel in the current Gaza crisis and citing a long history of Palestinian attacks justifying Israel’s heavy military response.

It’s Almost Official: Dennis Ross, Redux

Friday, January 9th, 2009 James Besser in Washington Now that the incoming Barack Obama administration is fleshing out its ranks, talk is hot and heavy about who will handle key Middle East portfolios. And the results are certain to be controversial in a pro-Israel community that is more divided than ever on the best route to peace in the region.
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